With both Nick Kroll and Mark Duplass surely busy with other acting gigs, The League has had to find interesting ways to write and film around them. So, in this episode, Ruxin is still in Puerto Rico and not seen at all, even on an iPad. As for Pete, he still managed to bear a huge impact on the story, but was pushed to the background a bit as he was too busy doing his referee work to hang much with the rest of the crew. More importantly to the story, he was too busy hanging with his ref buddies, including a handsome young man also named Kevin (the “trophy Kevin” of the episode’s title), to bother spending much time with his league buddy Kevin.
What the episode also felt like was the creators and writers for the show gearing us up for the series finale. They’re warming us up to the idea of Andre having a successful and non-ooky relationship with a lady through the introduction of a woman he met through a farmer dating site, and who proved to him that he could be himself and still get the girl. You know, before Taco scared her off with his drone. And they’re starting to pull the gang apart bit by bit, through Ruxin’s disappearing act and Pete being busy with other friends and a new career.
The fun of this half-hour was watching Kevin deal with the jealousy and hurt of his best buddy being busy with other people. He shows up at a youth basketball game that Pete is refereeing to cheer him on, and then joins the all ref pickup game that finds him hilariously flailing around to find his teammates because everyone else is wearing the same black and white striped shirt. This also opened the door for a lot of weirdness with Andre trying to fill the hole left behind by Kevin’s friend, leading to comments like, “When we play dick chicken, I’m gonna let you win.”
I also truly enjoyed Jenny’s growing frustration over having to do something for her daughter, in this case, being a literal soccer mom and driving Ellie to her Sunday games, thus keeping her from watching football every week. So when her kid’s team gets close to making it to the playoffs, she freaks. And tries to bribe Pete, who is working the game, to let the other team win, and when that fails, getting the other ref, aka Trophy Kevin, to do it instead. This ends about as badly as you would expect from this show, with Taco’s drone (an EBDB Prime perk) attacking the field and then cutting off one of the ref’s fingers. No embarrassment is too big, and no defeat is too dramatic for the members of The League. We’ll just have to wait and see how many of the main characters lose limbs or, at the very least, their dignity by the end of the show’s seven season run.
Robert Ham is a Portland-based freelance writer and regular contributor to Paste. You can follow him on Twitter.