Whenever an episode of Workaholics separates one of the three guys, it has the possibility of becoming overwhelmed by the worst tendencies of the individual. Anders can be too cocky at times, seemingly believing that he’s better than his other two friends, while Adam acts like a kid in middle school who just hit puberty. Yet with Blake, there isn’t really that dark side. If anything, he’s too innocent and comes off as the group’s heart. “Menergy Crisis” places Blake as an unexpected antagonist and in doing so, creates one of the most adorable and fun episodes in quite some time.
Adam, Blake and Ders have created a band called Menergy and have written a song called “Best Friends,” but when the song gets into the recording process, it becomes abundantly clear that Blake just cannot sing at all. As Anders says, it sounds like life leaving something, like a child’s nightmare. So Adam and Ders kick Blake out, just as an office party gives Menergy their first opportunity at super stardom. Or to perform in TelAmeriCorp’s parking lot. Instantly, Blake takes matters into his own hands, suggesting to Alice that their other band, The Wizards, perform, taking over that band as his own. “Menergy Crisis” quickly becomes about two dueling groups fighting over that prime real estate of the parking lot.
“Menergy Crisis” finally brings us back to the office and it’s a welcome return. As fun as it can be to watch them wrestle, go to college or engage in swim meets, this show started at the office and it feels almost like home returning to that setting. Since it’s been so long, we gladly get at least one fantastic moment from each of the supporting characters we rarely see anymore. Montez dancing to “Best Friends” is hilariously awkward while Bill’s on-the-nose proclamation that the three are singing a song about being best friends forever while they’re currently fighting is classic Bill.
Maybe the best set piece of this entire season is Blake’s attempt to sabotage the office party that Blake has been kicked out of and which Menergy will perform at. His actions aren’t even Kevin McCallster level, with Blake pretty much knowing he shouldn’t go too far. So to sabotage a pancake breakfast, he just switches the syrup with teriyaki sauce—which turns out not to be so bad. He pops the velcro wall that Jillian was so excited about, forcing Alice to go save her stuck partner, while Montez almost gets a face full of one of Karl’s homemade stink bombs, yet is saved at the last minute by Ders and Adam. His attempts at sabotage are more playful than they are actually sinister, which is surprisingly a departure for the direction this show usually goes in.
But it’s the final performance in “Menergy Crisis” that makes the “Best Friends” song fully true. After trying to break apart from Menergy, they all realize how foolish all of this has been and even though Blake can’t sing, it is out of nowhere explained that oh yeah, Blake knows sign language. Rather than leave Blake out of the band, they find where his talents lie and make room for him in the band. It’s a wonderfully sweet moment and a show of the bond between these three that is also quite rare, considering that the show is largely about this friendship.
This fifth season of Workaholics has been vey smart to focus on the friendship between these three in a way that isn’t mean spirited, but incredibly fun. Rather than go to extremes against each other, even when they’re mad at each other, the retaliations don’t feel like they’re trying to actually destroy their friendship. “Menergy Crisis” is a great example of this direction for the show and how it can create some of the most fantastic episodes, rather than relying on being simply gross and mean.
Ross Bonaime is a D.C.-based freelance writer and regular contributor to Paste. You can follow him on Twitter.