When we last left Lindsay Bluth-Funke, she had just found out that she was adopted during the disastrous boat ride/party that ended Arrested Development’s third season. While at the police station, she decides she’s one of the Bluth family “victims” and sides against her own family, claiming her life is a “fallacy.” Her husband, in typical Tobias fashion, bursts into cringe-worthy song, and Lindsay tells him their marriage isn’t working and there’s nothing keeping them together, leading to the Most Awkward Kiss Ever as Tobias manages to make light lip contact with her shoulder as she turns away.
You have to give Tobias credit, man: he’s tried to make it work with Lindsay, despite her constant flirting and attempted affairs with other men and the face that Tobias has GOT to be gay. If he’s not, he has the most unfortunate (yet hilarious) phrasing.
Lindsay, reading Eat Pray Love, gets inspired and goes to India on a spiritual journey to let go of her need for personal, material possessions. On the way to the airport, she unknowingly has a run-in with Tobias, whose car has a license plate that reads “ANUSTART.” (Of course it does.) A new start, anus tart, either way, that’s got Tobias written all over it.
Lindsay grabs the wrong luggage and so – HORROR OF HORRORS! – has to go shopping at Mall Mountain for clothes and a depressing Louis Vuitton knock-off purse. She’s trying to learn how to love, and the hotel shaman tells her that Lindsay must “live truthfully” and love is where Lindsay left it. This is one impressive shaman.
In this case, the ostrich is both literal (the shaman “turns into” the tall, frightening bird) and figurative, representing (in my opinion) her financial problems. (Wait, ostrich? I think that should be an albatross. Right? As in, an albatross around her neck? Sometimes I question my own notes. But right now I’m sticking with ostrich. You interpret it how you want: I’m not your symbolism shaman.)
As usual, Lucille is throwing money at her problems (oh to have money to throw at problems! I would so be a Bluth child if it meant money to throw at problems. I’d make up problems just to be able to throw money at them.) by bribing Lindsay to “testify” at Lucille’s trial and that Lucille is “a wonderful woman who did her best.” On the assumption that they’ll get a windfall, Lindsay and Tobias buy an oversized, overcompensating house from a douchey Ed Helms (in a sequence that goes on a bit long and is the one sour note in an otherwise vintage-feeling episode) in a time of ninja loans. “Ninja please!” squeals an ecstatic Tobias.
And then, of course, comes the housing economy collapse in California, and Lindsay and Tobias haven’t made the first payment on their house. Lucille tells Lindsay that she won’t give her daughter any money unless Lindsay’s “testimony” is believable, so Lindsay agrees to go to (what Tobias mistakenly thinks is) an acting class.
“I really love you, Tobias.”
“Oh Lindsay, we really need to get you to that acting class.”
“And that was me picturing fudge.”
So, of course it’s not a method acting class, because this is Tobias we’re talking about. It’s a methadone clinic, not a Method One acting class. And of course Lindsay becomes captivated by a man there to support his addict girlfriend, who turns out to be Marky Bark (great name), the son of Johnny Bark, an activist Lindsay romanced as he attempted to save a tree years before. Tobias, convinced Marky’s girlfriend Debrie is a talented improv actor, is similarly smitten.
The four meet at C.W. Swappigan’s, a barter-oriented gastro-pub that Lindsay knows her mother would hate, so she is enchanted. While Tobias and Debrie are still high on methadone (or, as Tobias calls it, “acting juice”), Lindsay and Marky Bark bond over their activist tendencies and decide to run away together. To Marky Bark’s ostrich farm. (I’m telling you, there’s something going on with these ostriches.)
Marky Bark has face blindness, which appeals to Lindsay; she explains how all her life everyone has told her how pretty she is, but she wants to be more than just pretty. (I love how even in its irreverence AD attempts to have a moral depth to it.)
After a night of dancing and making (quick) love, Lindsay wakes up to Marky Bark’s mother screeching on the ostrich farm. As a slight twist on the usual “I’ve made a huge mistake” line and echoing her father, George Sr., Lindsay frowns up at the mother and mutters, “I have the worst fucking shaman.” Only in Arrested Development could that line make complete and funny sense.
This episode was the first that, for me, felt like vintage AD. I loved having an entire episode with Lindsay and Tobias, who have consistently been two of my favorite characters. (No one can touch Lucille, no one.) I liked seeing their dynamic again, especially the magical Thanksgiving flashback in which Lindsay has forgotten to cook Thanksgiving dinner (as if she would have done it if she had remembered) and the family manages to scoop up a live duck they find in a kitchen cabinet and coax into the oven. Alive. That scene was paused for my guffaws and rewound, and it’s worth watching the entire episode just for that flashback.
Oh, and for Lucille’s best one-liner of the episode, to Lindsay with a pointed glance at Tobias: “Well, at least I was able to turn my queen around.”
Tomi L. Wiley is an author, poet, and freelance editor. She is an unabashed Arrested Development fan.