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Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Santa Clarita Diet's midseason bombshell sets up a killer back half

We’re going full-on Dexter here.
We’re going full-on Dexter here.
Photo: Saeed Adyani (Netflix)
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Episode four of Santa Clarita Diet kicked off some investigating into the zombie virus source and episode five picks up the ball and runs with it, leaving us with a midseason cliffhanger (for all of 30 seconds if you’re binge-watching) that I’ve been waiting for since episode two ended. The episode does kind of take its sweet time getting to the big reveal, but Jonathan Slavin’s reappearance makes it OK.

But first, Joel goes “undercover” at Japopo’s to try to get his hands on their receipts so he can find out if anyone else had the clam special the same night Ramona and Sheila did. However, a cook recognizes him from his Yelp picture and the owner demands Joel write something more positive before he hands over the receipts. That’s a pretty good payoff for the Yelp review bit, even if the receipts get almost entirely forgotten when a couple other problems arise.


First, Sheila is finding it harder to kill Nazi Boon than she thought it would be, so she and Joel decide to rent a storage unit that is solely dedicated to the killing and storage of bodies. That kind of paper trail seems ill-advised, but it’s better than trying to do it in empty houses that are for sale, I guess. They lure Boon there under the guise of buying Nazi memorabilia, but he brings along his Nazi friend who is in a wheelchair and suddenly the Hammonds are having second thoughts because they can’t kill a guy in a wheelchair. But he’s still a Nazi and when he calls Sheila a “gypsy-nosed c*nt,” that’s lights out for the two dudes.

Meanwhile, Ron is back—budget cuts got him released—and he’s super pumped to introduce undead Sheila to his paranormal enthusiast friends. Sheila feels utterly betrayed that Joel would tell her secret to anyone, even a mental patient, and Joel at first can’t even really apologize because he doesn’t fully understand what he did wrong. Being able to apologize is such a key thing in a relationship. Our philosophy has always been that if you hurt the other person, you should just *want* to apologize because you hurt them, even if you don’t necessarily think you did something wrong (though we usually realize that we did). Joel comes to realize this too and offers Sheila a sincere apology for betraying her secret, while she admits it’s hard to have a secret life because it’s so lonely and they never feel “normal.” Just another great Hammond moment, framed by Sheila being covered in blood and having Nazi breath.

In a twist I did not see coming, Ron meets with the two mysterious people from Goran’s. They are apparently his paranormal enthusiast friends that he met on a sub-Reddit and they’re very interested in meeting Sheila—probably because the dude has to kill her due to being a member of the Ball-legs Knights (or whatever they’re really called, we don’t yet know).

Illustration for article titled Santa Clarita Diet's midseason bombshell sets up a killer back half
Photo: Saeed Adyani (Netflix)

Abby’s subplot this episode was interesting. Continuing to have her act out in increasingly dangerous ways would be a retread of the first season, so instead, she is aiming her anger at her parents at other things. First, she smacks Christian with the tray and then she wants to do something to protest the fracking about to start in Santa Clarita. As she tells Eric, people can’t just do whatever they want and get away with it. Obviously, she’s projecting her feelings about her family life onto things she can actually have some control over. Hopefully, Sheila and Joel will recognize that they have kind of been ignoring their daughter lately and perhaps they should work a little harder to be more involved in her life.

Abby also has a potential love interest in Sven, who is the quintessential high school dreamboat, with his floppy hair and black T-shirt. How’s his lean? Can he lean against a locker Jordan Catalano-style? He does have the guitar player thing going for him, so obviously Abby says yes when he asks her out.


Stray Observations

  • Joel: “If we get high, we’ll just end up designing sneakers again.” You know, I really think they could bring Rick into the circle of trust. He would probably freak out at first, but he’s a pretty chill guy and he loves Joel. He would understand and try to help them, I think.
  • Joel: “You’ll be happier here, it’s like having your own place.”
    Gary: “Yeah, sure, is that what you told the Bowflex?”
  • Sheila: “You’d be proud of me because Carl just mansplained to me how to work a lockbox. I smiled, said thank you and didn’t pull out the vocal cords he used to insult me.”
    Joel: “Somebody’s ready for an audience with the pope!”
  • The conversation about morality when the Nazi turned out to be wheelchair-bound was amazing. I would now like to request that The Good Place find a way to casually drop in a “Nazi in a wheelchair” morality joke next season.
  • Joel: “Boon’s buddy is in a wheelchair.”
    Sheila: “Hmm. Did this just get easier or harder?”
    Joel: “I don’t know, killing someone in a wheelchair might be a hate crime.”
    Sheila: “Well, these are Nazis. They invented hate crimes.”

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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