“Reunion” is elegantly written to pack every conceivable meta joke to be made about Delocated into a brisk half hour that barely feels like it’s getting going when it ends. I mean that in the best possible way: The conclusion to Delocated’s excellent third season leaves us all wanting so much more, unable to cope with the show’s too-short season.
Here’s the basic jist of what’s going on. In the fictional world of Delocated, where Jon is the star, the season finale was actually last week, culminating in the humongous drug bust that took Sergei, the leader of the Wang Cho gang, and Jon himself to prison. This week is a reunion episode, hosted by John Hodgman, bringing together the entire “cast”—including Trish, TB, David, Yvgeny, The Glaze, Eun Mi, Greg the FBI guy, Mishka, and a perpetually texting Todd Barry—as Susan watches from behind the camera. (Oh, Jay’s there for a second until Jon not-so-politely tells him to get the fuck out.) With the deft Hodgman at the helm, the group reminisces and addresses a few elephants in the room.
One of the big things for me is, “Now that Jon’s in prison, is he still going to be as much of a dick as he was before?” And “Reunion” answers that, over and over, with a resounding YES. Hodgman brings up the matter of Jon’s exwife Susan dying, and Jon’s the first to link her death to the many “sympathy bones” he received (and, consequently, “sympathy crabs”). Then Hodgman, as the voice of the viewers, points out that Susan’s death happened off-camera, which was one of the funniest things about this season of Delocated: just how cursory her death was. Jon freezes up, shouting at Susan that he never wanted this footage aired. Susan insists on showing it, pulling network rank, and soon we’re privy to Jon sitting on the toilet eating a sandwich, weeping over the news as his balls dangle out and food sprays from his mask. A little box in the corner of the screen shows the reaction shots of those at the reunion, and their horrified looks take the already-comic segment over-the-top.
Jon’s dickishness never subsides, not after being forced to watch that clip, not after being subjected to footage of The Glaze and Eun-Mi getting married behind his back. He shuts up, sure, but his entire face radiates dickishness. It’s amazing that after three seasons, that mask has become so expressive in and of itself. While Trish goes on about her trip to Cabo (it’s great that the show made her character just so above all this mob business), Jon sits there—as does the expressionless Sergei when Yvgeny presents him with an honorary bottle of vodka in thanks for taking the fall for the entire Mirminsky family.
Hodgman cuts to an inconsequential montage of Greg flossing his teeth when things break down in the studio. A bomb has gone off, and the three criminals have escaped. The Mirminsky family sprang them, it turns out, and now they’re en route to a safe house where Jon is surely to be killed. All hell has broken loose, but Susan is committed to this reunion episode, so she tries to get the studio to show another montage. Later, while the FBI waits outside the safe house before rushing in, Susan will casually mention Jon’s love of The Town, cueing yet another montage. Even after the special has gone off-the-rails, Susan still tries to shoehorn in reunion-y stuff. After all, the show-within-a-show must go on.
There’s a lot happening in “Reunion”, but I loved it most for its ability to poke fun at the entire show in a way that wouldn’t alienate new viewers. There was the fact that the first Susan’s death happened off camera, which Hodgman explains but regular viewers will remember as one of the more fanciful things the show has done. Then, when Hodgman dies, The Glaze hovers over him in agony, reciting the various parts Hodgman has played over the years. “No! He was great on Bored To Death!” he cries out, paying homage to the Paul Rudd scene from the pilot and digging into the silliness that’s driven Delocated since the beginning. Later, in the safe house (before he’s shot), the leader of the Wang Cho gang bonds with Sergei over a hatred for Todd Barry. “We had a comedian hang out with us once,” he says. Cut to Reggie Watts Reggie Watts-ing it up with the Wang Chos.
Then, suddenly, Sergei has escaped on a boat with Jon—sort of like the opening credits, only decidedly less awesome. I’m not sure where season four of Delocated is headed, and I definitely don’t care. This is one of the most clever (but least pretentious about it) shows on television, and I trust that Jon Glaser will think of a way to grow the universe, satisfy all kinds of fans, and keep Jon as the dick he deserves to be.