I initially thought it was a foolish choice to air the second episode as the premiere and post the pilot weeks before online. But after seeing the second episode, I can begin to see why they decided to switch them up. I’m still not saying that was the right decision (as the ratings may seem to confirm), but the sophomore episode of SON OF ZORN was much stronger than the pilot.
After an extremely brief recap, the episode begins with Zorn going through his old belongings that he left in Edie’s garage. While the recap was informative, it might not be enough to retain the casual viewer, making them feel like they’ve already fallen behind. It also neglects to mention certain details like Zorn’s antagonistic relationship with Craig. As Zorn goes through his old stuff, Edie pressures him to get rid of everything. After some more digging, he finds the Stone of Sight, an old artifact that allows the user to see what anyone else is doing at any time. After antagonizing Craig about his bike riding and being generally obnoxious, Zorn notices Alan talking to a classmate, Nancy (Ellen Wong) outside the house. Once realizing Alan likes Nancy, he decides to help by pretending to make out with himself through the window.
Since that doesn’t work, he later realizes he can use the Stone of Sight irresponsibly to spy on Nancy and tell Alan what she likes. It works, and Alan starts to warm up to Zorn now that he’s actually helping him. Back at the Sanitation Solutions office, Zorn is struggling to make a single sale. His boss Linda, tells him he needs to make a sale or he’s fired. The plan continues to work with Alan until Edie realizes Zorn is using the Stone of Sight. She gets upset and locks it in Craig’s safe. This forces Zorn to spy on Nancy the old fashioned way, by parking outside her house. He sees Nancy kiss another guy and breaks the news to Alan. Alan is hurt, but Zorn actually manages to comfort Alan and inadvertently himself, talking about how sometimes you have to accept that the person you want to be with doesn’t want to be with you, and although it hurts, it gets better with time.
He caps this fatherly moment off by playing his GameBoy and ignoring Alan for the rest of the conversation. Zorn then decides to finally move his boxes out of Edie’s house. He also destroys the Stone of Sight and apologizes to Craig. He asks Craig if they can start over. Craig obliges and Zorn immediately pressures him into buying $600 of soap dispensers. Later, Zorn watches Craig and Edie through the taped up Stone of Sight, revealing he made the sale to drive a wedge between them. When Craig tells Edie he bought the soap dispensers because he felt bad for Zorn, Edie loves him for it and Zorn gets angry, destroying the Stone of Sight again and proving he hasn’t changed much at all.
In general, the episode’s writing was much stronger. The jokes were quicker, wittier, and more plentiful. The show also seemed to take advantage of the animation, putting Zorn is weirder positions and subtly pointing out the absurdity of a giant animated man walking around in the real world. Jason Sudeikis seems to get even more comfortable with his delivery and really makes the character his. Johnny Pemberton and Ellen Wong were great together as well, creating very weird, awkward scenarios that hit the sweet spot, making me laugh instead of just cringe. However, Cheryl Hines and Tim Meadows seemed to fall behind. Cheryl had several lackluster moments where she seemed to simply be over it. Tim is putting in the effort and delivering his lines well, but Cheryl’s lack of enthusiasm combined with his character’s calm and analytical demeanor make their relationship seem especially fake. It does the job for now, but I would certainly like to see more depth to their characters and relationship.
All in all, the show is still absolutely worth checking out. It needs work, but if this episode is any indication, the series will only improve. I just hope Fox’s decision to premiere the second episode doesn’t turn off too many viewers, allowing this original premise to blossom into its full potential.
Season 1, Episode 2 (S01E02)
Son of Zorn airs Sunday at 830PM on Fox
Max Ouweleen | Contributor