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Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Even Nathan Fillion's severed head can't save a Santa Clarita Diet tangent

Santa Clarita Diet season 2, episode 3
Santa Clarita Diet season 2, episode 3
Photo: Saeed Adyani (Netflix)
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Episode three is where Santa Clarita Diet started to lose me for a bit, though the writers brought it home at the end of the episode. But the Gary diversion (until the end) seemed like kind of a waste of time. I would have preferred to watch Joel and Sheila deal with moving Gary’s body rather than carrying out his last request. If the body-moving plot is in episode four, then I think this all could have been tightened up a bit.

Nathan Fillion is a welcome addition to pretty much anything and he is very funny as Gary’s severed head, but I would have rather watched him berate/advise/backseat drive on the body-moving process than get mixed up in this whole random thing where his last wish is that the Hammonds deliver the deed to his summer house to his niece Kayla, who is a young single mom that Gary always took care of.


That being said, the payoff of Sheila and Joel’s Good Samaritan actions being that Sheila now has a softball team full of Nazis to eat was excellent. It’s a great callback to “young, single Hitler” from season one and also temporarily solves the problem of the Hammonds having to repeatedly find bad people to kill. We watched plenty of that last season and the show can’t keep going to that well every few episodes or it’s going to get repetitive and boring.

What was much more interesting than the Gary-Kayla thing was the Abby-Eric-Ramona storyline. I was afraid it was going to be all about Abby’s supposed jealousy, which is such a cliche, but I should have known the writers would not let me down here. It turns out Ramona is deteriorating just like Sheila was—her ear fell off, so she velcroed it back on, which is awesome and very creative. And Ramona has sussed out that the Hammonds have a stop-gap for Sheila’s zombie problem, so she seduces Eric to get her hands on it.

When he finds out she’s a zombie (by discovering a body in her tub), he calls Abby for help and she (sort of) rushes right over. But Ramona doesn’t kill him, she deflowers him. Three times, in fact, in the time it takes Abby to get there.

Illustration for article titled Even Nathan Fillion's severed head can't save a Santa Clarita Diet tangent
Photo: Saeed Adyani (Netflix)

When Abby finds out what’s going on, she’s super pissed at Eric and it does read like jealousy a little bit, but later, after Ramona gets her serum and ditches him, Abby says it wasn’t jealousy, it was anger that he would be so careless. They have a great moment where she tells him she can’t handle anything happening to him and they look meaningfully at each other and it’s just so lovely. Then they awkwardly say see ya later and that’s where Abby and Eric are now.

I like how they handled that. I think even if Abby had zero romantic feelings for Eric she still might be jealous of Ramona, if only for the fact that more Ramona means less Eric time. But I’m glad it was more fear of losing someone she cares about than some “cat fight” trope. And while I will clap and squeal like the 12-year-old I am on the inside when Eric and Abby finally do get together because they are the cutest, I love how the show is slowly building their friendship first. That’s a solid foundation for a relationship and it nicely mirrors what Joel and Sheila have together.


As for the episode as a whole, the overall plot didn’t advance much here and that was a little annoying, but the show still tickles me to no end even when not much is happening, so I’ll allow it. I hope the next episode gets back on track, though. We need to see the Hammonds look into the whole Ramona thing (I’m assuming Abby is going to tell them she’s undead) and for Abby and Eric to investigate the two people they met at Goran’s apartment.

Stray observations

  • It’d be a lot of fun if the Hammonds keep Gary’s head around for a while. As I said, Fillion is great and it’d be funny if he was joining them for dinner or something, propped up in his vase.
  • Gary: “People can be more than one thing, Joel!”
  • Joel: “I haven’t written a restaurant review for Yelp in a long time and my followers rely on me. Elite status is a privilege and a burden.”
    Sheila: “Yeah, I was kind of hoping that Yelp thing would die with me, but I know it’s important to you so I pretend to care.”
    This small exchange is why I love how the Hammonds are written so, so much. Also their conversation about having the best Halloween decorations in the neighborhood. And I love Joel’s Yelp reviews becoming a thing. I feel like this is going to be important later. Chekhov’s Yelp Review? “The Cherry Orchard strikes such a delicate balance between comedy and tragedy, often within the same scene.” Heh.
  • Joel: “Well, there was traffic on the 405. I just don’t understand why people slow down to look at a mattress.”
    Sheila: “Well, it was brand new and it had a cowboy boot next to it. It invites questions.”
    If you guys have ever spent much time in Los Angeles, this is especially funny.
  • Sheila: “Get the tarps out of the car, baby, because we just found our young, single Hitler!”
  • Abby: “I think your dignity also snapped off inside her.”
    I laughed out loud SO HARD at this. Liv Hewson’s delivery was outstanding.
  • Sheila: “This is my lobster tank and these gentlemen are my lobsters and whenever I get hungry we can just reach in and grab one and have a tasty meal.”
    Joel: “Wow. Nazi lobsters. That’s intense.”

TV critic by way of law school, Andrea Reiher's television heroes include CJ Cregg, Spencer Hastings, Diane Lockhart, Juliet O'Hara and Buffy Summers. TV words to live by: "I'm a slayer, ask me how."

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