Arrested Development S5E2, “Self-Deportation”

First, a programming note: I know this one is going up not even two days after the last one, but don’t expect that pace to continue. I don’t know how often I’ll get to watch the show and then write about it; what I’m definitely not going to do is wait a week again to write about it when I do watch it. But it’s only eight episodes so I expect to keep things moving along reasonably enough. (Also, feedback was such that yes, we’ll be continuing the reviews.)

Onto the episode, which I preferred significantly to the first. We start with Kitty dismissing Michael from the project because he’s failed to get the necessary releases from his family; Kitty has to come up with something, because they’ve already spent so much money on the movie, including Ron Howard bribing the Hollywood Foreign Press (Narrator: “She’s just kidding. They’re great!”) Michael desperately pitches an idea centered around Buster’s robotic hand, but Kitty rejects it; when she mentions “Ron [is making] a real movie in Mexico,” Michael gets the idea to head there.

Buster tries to get Michael to take him with him since the police are looking for him in connection with Lucille Austero, and not only does he not do well with cops (especially without Barry around to guide him), his last interaction with Lucille 2 probably makes him more of a suspect than otherwise. Michael decides to go ahead and leave Buster and tell him to talk to the cops and everything will be fine… which, uh, is pretty dark considering that IIRC Michael is the one responsible for her disappearance, but from what I can tell either he doesn’t remember that or it hasn’t happened yet.

Michael then decides to say goodbye to George Michael and apologize for the Rebel Alley situation, but just they miss each other at the model home. He heads to Mexico… in the Google car, and Google quickly tracks him down and returns the car (and him) to the campus. (Apparently whatever Google has in store is much worse on the cars than the humans, who merely get reassigned to out-of-the-way positions à la Silicon Valley‘s Big Head.)

After George Michael and Maeby arrive at the model home, Steve Holt (whose pest control company is working there) tells them they just missed Michael. Maeby pitches an “anything goes” trip to Mexico for the cousins, which interests George Michael… except that, of course, Steve Holt, also being their cousin, tags along.

While trying to cross at George and/or Oscar’s land, they run into some men on horseback who tell them it’s not theirs anymore and that they’re not welcome. Steve has to head back anyway for a job… and George Michael poorly sells the idea that the two Bluths have to press on, because they wanted him gone anyway. They head to a bar and talk things over, deciding to head their separate ways.

Their respective next steps both land hard, but in different ways: George Michael manages to immediately fall into another frat house / dorm-life situation with a bunch of expat bros around his age (somehow his collection of Noahs keeps growing), by far the funnier scene. Maeby hitches a ride and discovers that her driver only brings her as far as a refugee camp of deported DREAMers they volunteer to help with supplies and the like. “They’ve been kicked out of the only country they’ve known their whole lives because of the cruelty of your president… Barack Obama,” a cutting reminder of how ugly American policy on immigration has been long before it had an equally ugly face on it. But something in their plight and the selflessness of the people helping them reaches Maeby, and she decides to volunteer her help too. (I can’t wait to see how this puts her and Lindsay in conflict.)

George and GOB continue their attempted sex tourism tour which definitely isn’t an attempt to overcompensate and avoid dealing with their respective loss of virility and feelings for Tony Wonder, and they flame out in hilarious fashion, deciding that two women who buy them drinks (“One has daddy issues, the other has granddaddy issues”) are making it too easy, then getting excited when they see what they think is a woman but turns out to be a plastic bag.

Lindsay runs into someone who “looked a lot like her Mexican father.” Is it Oscar? Pretty funny line here: “I’m so hungry I could eat.”

Lucille and Tobias continue her therapy; she tells him Lindsay’s going to divorce him after he asserts he’s part of the family, and he insists on being given a chance to show what he can do for them. He also provides some pretty good analysis, a reminder that Tobias is a pretty capable psychiatrist when he’s actually doing that and not chasing delusions. His mention of the walls Lucille puts up causes her to recall (with the help of flashbacks and the Narrator) everything Lucille that’s gone wrong with their plan to build a border wall. Later, after the session is over, the two are watching TV when they see Donald Trump’s campaign announcement. “I’m going to build a great, great wall on our southern border– “Which was my idea!” “–and I will have Mexico pay for that wall.” “Okay. That is a clever twist.” Lucille’s cooking up something here.

Back at the Google campus, a month later, Michael is teaching “Self Defense From Families” (a class he requested to start after mistaking the purpose of a “Self Defense For Families” class) and considering going on a scuba trip. The equipment rental is expensive, but then he remembers he has some back at the model home. He starts reminiscing about seeing his family again… and decides that the money he could save is worth the risk.

But at the model home, Michael gets sentimental for the rest of the family, and then discovers a letter from Lucille Austero forgiving his $700,000 debt. He decides to thank her in person, heading to the penthouse… where he decides to see the family again, but they’re not there. He heads to Lucille 2’s… and the family is there, seemingly having schemed to get him to return. (Minus Maeby and George Michael, who never came back from Mexico, and Buster, who never went and may be in custody now. And also with a few other people I don’t recognize, including a woman in a neck brace– see the header photo.) Whatever scheme they schemed to get him back for isn’t clear yet, but with only eight episodes, I have a feeling that ball’s gonna get rolling very soon.


  • On the next Arrested Development: Immediately following the final scene of Michael discovering the rest of the Bluths in Lucille 2’s penthouse, Tobias and GOB engage in “just some harmless bathhousing amongst brothers.” Also, George Michael and his Mexico crew get wild and hit up all the frozen-yogurt joints in town.
  • When Kitty mentioned Ron and Mexico, did anyone else think of Ron Mexico?
  • Buster being the only member of the family whose release Michael didn’t destroy echoes season 2’s “Queen For a Day,” when Buster was the only member of the family who didn’t immediately sell his unfrozen stock.
  • Also, impressive (and impressively bleeped out): Buster’s Lucille monologue / dialogue.
  • George Sr. and GOB end up at “Pescado en un Barril.” Given the women who bought them drinks there, this name seems accurate.
  • “‘Always leave a note’… where’s that from?”
  • The leader of the horsemen commanding “strum!” and getting a little guitar from one of the riders was a great gag, one that felt like it came straight out of classic Arrested Development.
  • “I’m confused by the word ‘it.’ Are you implying that you don’t want to see me anymore?” “I’m confused by the word ‘anymore.'”
  • “These people have nothing. We are lucky. We have next to nothing” is both a pretty funny line and a surprisingly strong call to action and expression of morality for a character in the Arrested Development universe.
  • “This is America. They don’t want us to burn signs, they shouldn’t write ’em in Spanish.”
  • I paused on Lucille’s letter and it turns out some of the text is pretty funny. What I was able to see in the final paragraph: “It is important to recall that our shared company has been forgetting debts and … insults and personal slights and sexual advances and larceny and tender mom[ents?] … never forgiving. Forgetting this debt should help us move in a positive direction … foreseeable future.”
  • “Maybe you don’t want to get hurt, because as I say, ‘Hurt people… hurt people.” “Oh, that’s nice. I always say ‘Make people cry, make people cry,’ but your includes the people who don’t want to give you the satisfaction.”
  • “No, no, no. Puta night is Thursday.” “Oh, that’s so nice.” Let’s hope Lindsay figures out what that actually means. (She probably won’t.)