Now the story of a great television show that got cancelled and the diehard viewers who had no choice but to keep yelling and screaming until Netflix brought it back for another season, seven years later. It’s the Arrested Development Season Four Recap-A-Thon, Episode 10: “Queen B,” which gives us (at long last) thirty-plus minutes of raw, uncut Lucille Bluth.
The season’s now regular start-in-the-middle-and-backtrack structure pops us into an episode of The Real Asian Prison Housewives of the Orange County White Collar Prison System, where the “Jade Dragon Triad” has made Lucille a member—but not for long. She’s marked for a noodle shivving, but that plotline is put on hold as we travel back to the immediate aftermath of her commandeering of the Queen Mary. With George out of the house, she ends up spending a bit too much time alone with Buster (and, with him, discovering the phrase “hot mess”). She’s also discouraged to discover that her children have already put their names on her belongings, as dibs for either her incarceration or death, though she misunderstands the child’s scrawl on the bottom of George Michael’s ash tray art project (“And he’s supposed to be the good one”). Nice call-back to that later in the episode, by the way.
As we might’ve guessed from the pictures-on-empty-chairs in previous episodes, Lucille Austero turns out to be the only one who shows up for Lucille Bluth’s trial, and over the course of her testimony, “their 30-year passive aggressive dance was losing some of its passive.” Off she goes to country club prison, but she ends up working out a transfer to Austerity, where we’re given the endlessly entertaining sight of David Cross and Jessica Walter staring and glaring at each other before arriving at an actual breakthrough for Lucille—which Tobias, of course, steamrolls right over.
Though it’s a delight to watch Walter do her thing for a full episode, the relationships with her son-in-law there and her sons elsewhere provide the best scenes: her prompting of Buster to recite his pre-written testimony (“In your own words”), the way she and Michael carefully and painstakingly examine each other’s documents (“So happy to help you,” he assures her). One of the most enjoyable continuing narratives of this season is the way that the quid pro quos keep getting more and more complex; it is now a “four-favor family pact,” according to the narrator, and smart money says it’s going to get more complicated.
For the record: the episode’s best visual gag is Buster trying to flag down his father in that fake wall video (“My god, he Steamboat Willie’d it,” she disapprovingly notes), while the best in-joke has to be referring to Lucille 1 referring to Lucille 2, played by Liza Minelli, as a “Sterile Cuckoo-bird.”
- Gene Parmesan (“Ahhhhh, Gene! He gets me every time!”)
- Lucille’s wink—twice (“Correction, it’s a glare”)
- “I wonder if we’re in a treason-adjacent place?” (Light treason?)
- Lucille references “that horrible monster movie” Gangy; narrator indicates Shirley MacLaine appeared in Gangy IV
- The “Dove bar” in a bag—revealing that Rebel is dating G.O.B.
- “I’ve got news for them: anyone who comes after me is gonna be one unfortunate cookie. Ha, ha! I made a pun.”
- “I got Olive Garden to offer us unlimited bread.”
- “You’re such a large shareholder—oh, I made a pun!”
- “The same girl who hands me towels does the cavity checks. You tip.”
- “Ryan Seacrest is straight!” “And I’m 40. Sign the form.”
- “Bring me those thin, post-strained lips!”
- “It’s only a trial separation. I made a pun! Even in times in stress.”