Tonight’s episode, which comes complete with a typically ominous and particularly indecipherable introduction by Werner Herzog, dives straight into Dethklok’s woman problem. It also addresses the band’s skewed relationship to the economy they wrecked, and, as a bonus, reveals how Dethklok helped bring liberation from tyranny to the Middle East. That scene, which involves the women of a vengeful harem using an impromptu Dethklok performance to turn on their captors, bears no resemblance whatsoever to Niall Ferguson’s account of the role that rock music played in undermining the Iron Curtain, which means that it must be plausible.
The latest victim of the apology-challenged Nathan’s failure to own up to his responsibility for breaking the world by smashing the master recording for the lost Dethklok album (“It’s not my fault the record wasn’t perfect so I had to destroy it. Don’t blame me”) is producer Dick Knubbler, fired by the record company after he’s failed to snap Nathan out of a titanic writer’s block. (Listening to Nathan second-guess himself after half-heartedly laying down some gibberish, Dick, the born enabler, tells him the new “stuff is good. I mean, it’s good enough.”) The record company brings in Abigail, a statuesque redheaded “record cleaner” with the voice of Janeane Garofalo. “Bands,” Vater Orlaag explains, “have been known to break up because they can’t handle her unorthodox ways of working.”
This move inspires consternation within the Tribunal, which calls in an expert on misogyny in the workplace to brief them on the nature of this particular powder keg. “Misogyny in the workplace,” he tells them, “is a dangerous tightrope to walk, especially if you’re a lady. Good-looking babes have trouble gaining respect even if they’re good at their jobs, which they usually aren’t.” Enlightening as this lecture is, it doesn’t seem pertinent to the ways in which Abigail immediately gets on the band’s wrong foot. Her unorthodox ways of working include questioning the efficiency of their creative process, which consists of sleeping till early evening, enjoying “an imported breakfast,” masturbating, and then going back to bed because they feel sort of tired. Abigail informs the band that their “process is bullshit” but offers the conciliatory insight that they’re “burned out and, deep down, you’re worried that you don’t have anything left to say.” (Devastating as this is, her sharpest line may be her response to Murderface’s demand that she fetch the band some refreshments: “How ‘bout you fetch ‘em? You’re the bass player.”)
Frustrated, Nathan arranges a meeting with Dick and proposes that he win his old job back by polishing the demos. He urges him to devote all his time and energy to this task, stressing that under no circumstances is he to embarrass himself by trying to seduce Abigail. “I understand,” says Dick, “what you’re saying. Secret message received.” On that unpromising note, the band is shipped off on a mandatory vacation to the aforementioned Middle Eastern sultanate, an experience that introduces them to the horror of flying coach and punctures Swisgaard’s assumption that the button for summoning the flight attendant is “the international sign of the groupie slut.” Once the plane lands, Nathan leads the charge at baggage claim, demanding to know the whereabouts of the band’s luggage. What color are the bags, someone asks. “How should I know?” says Nathan. “I didn’t pack it.” “You never put any bags on the plane?” the man asks. “That’s what I’m saying,” says Nathan. “I guess I’m answering my own question.” Oh well, says Nathan, “I know we forgot to bring money and stuff, but let’s go get a hotel and some food.” This sets up a montage in which the boys are seen to grow up fast, if one way of growing up fast is to dine from dumpsters while in dire need of hair products. Will their time away from their mansion and platinum cards radicalize the guys and inspire them to embrace the 99 percent? Too soon to tell, but they'll probably end up embracing something. The promise of good TV awaits.