ANOTHER PERIOD Review: “Annulment”

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This week’s was a near perfect episode, which makes sense, as it was written by show creators/showrunners Natasha Leggero and Riki Lindhome and directed by executive producer Jeremy Konner. It had everything: hilarious talking heads, a timely critique of modern society with the gun control debate thinly veiled as ridiculous conversations between Albert and Beatrice about hatchets, the return of Jason Ritter as the petulant Bellacourt son Frederick, a “downstairs” subplot that was just as entertaining as the “upstairs”, and a wound shaped like a vagina. It’s glorious insanity at its very best.

As Beatrice and Lillian explain in their opening talking heads, today is the best day of their lives. Their marriages are being annulled and according to Lillian, “Now we’re living the dream. We’re two single women in 1903 with 16 children between us.” Albert and Victor counter in their talking heads that no, they’re the ones living the dream, as two “vivacious bachelor friends” living in their ex-wives’ father’s house. Victor and Lillian split up their children—Lillian’s disregard for her children has been a running joke throughout the series. Here, she doesn’t even know their names, but does let them know that the divorce is entirely their fault.

Lillian and Victor’s divorce seems to be going fine until it comes time to split up the various rooms in the house. Both want the butternut room, and neither is going down without a fight. They decide to stay in the room, doing absolutely nothing until someone caves. A dangerous game: Lillian has been doing nothing for thirty-five years. The feud escalates with some harmless pranks—Victor puts bananas in Lillian’s shoes—that quickly take a dark turn. Lillian writes a telegram ordering the slaughter of Victor’s entire family in Bavaria. All he has to do is stop the servant from sending it and his family will be saved, but of course he decides to stay in the room. He proves he’s equally as awful as Lillian by bemoaning, “How typical of my family to get brutally murdered just when I’m finally happy.”

NatashaLeggero.RikiLindhome

Albert and Beatrice’s uncoupling is going better, until Albert hits her out of nowhere. Beatrice has been taught by her father when whenever a man hits her, it’s because she did something to provoke it, but this time she really didn’t do anything. It turns out Albert is still suffering psychologically from last season when Frederick threw a hatchet into his chest, causing him to go into a coma and almost die. Whenever he sees a hatchet, his hand acts up. The ensuing conversation between Albert and Beatrice is perfectly done. Albert wants to get rid of the hatchets in the house, but Beatrice refuses: “Wait, so you’re saying I should give up my hatchets just because they cause some people to act violently? First you take my hatchets, then you take my buzzsaws? What’s next? My timber jigs? Then how am I supposed to chop beaver carcasses or defend myself in a mutiny?!”

Instead, Beatrice decides that she’s going to help Albert get over his fear of hatchets, with a montage expertly parodying the inspirational training montages in 80’s movies, where she exposes him to several, culminating with him strapped to a bed, covered in hatchets. And it works! Albert is cured. There’s just one more thing he wants to do. He’s never shown anyone his wound, but it’s part of him. When he unbuttoned his shirt to reveal that his wound looks exactly like a vagina, I lost it. It’s so over-the-top; it’s almost brilliant.

Meanwhile, Peepers went to an orphan fair to recruit new servants for the manor, rejecting several candidates before finding Jay (Thomas Barbusca), who seals the deal by charming him with an adorable thumbs up. Jay turns out to be a nightmare, harassing poor Garfield and stealing jewelry from Dodo’s old room. When Garfield catches him and Peepers walks in, Jay claims that Garfield was trying to seduce him. Peepers has always had his suspicions about Garfield and his squeaky voice, but it’s time for Kermit’s baby shower.

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Frederick has returned home from the Senate for the shower, because he’s in a completely one-sided feud with the newborn child over who is the best Bellacourt boy. When Albert sees him, his PTSD kicks in and he tosses a hatchet directly at him. Frederick holds up Kermit to defend himself, but they’re miraculously saved by Beatrice, who throws her own hatchet, knocking Albert’s out of thin air. Beatrice is right—the only thing stopping a bad guy with a hatchet is a good guy with a hatchet. The hatchet does fly at Jay, cutting off his thumbs, but no one really seems to care. The other flies into the butternut room, marring the wall and rendering it unlivable in Victor and Lillian’s mind. I guess Victor’s family was murdered for nothing.

As Albert and Beatrice walk down the hall, Albert falls on top of the comically huge pile of hatchets he’s carrying. As his screams echo through the manor, Chair wakes up from her coma. Yes! This is shaping up to be an amazing season.

TB-TV-Grade-A
Season 2, Episode 2 (S02E02)
Another Period airs Wednesdays at 10PM on Comedy Central

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lives for two things: spreading the “Superstore” gospel and themed “Law & Order: SVU” marathons on USA.

Twitter: @jtrof

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