Episodes: “Episode 5” (Episode 3.05)

TV Reviews
Episodes: “Episode 5” (Episode 3.05)

Episodes takes a break from being overly funny this week, mostly by design. There was some plot movement that needed doing, and by the end of the episode, we covered some good ground: Sean and Beverly have rekindled their sex life, Carol and Castor have newly kindled theirs, and the last faint flicker of hope for Pucks is almost out.

If this episode could be summed up in one word, it’s “dicks”: people talking about them, using them or acting like them. Sean’s is still on hiatus, to the point that he and Bev find themselves seeing a sex therapist. Nothing could be more awkward for these two repressed Brits. Sean comically squirms at questions about erections, oral pleasure and anal play. Bev, when asked to talk to her husband from the perspective of her vagina, ends up sounding like a suggestive Yoda.

Once those gags are out of the way, the scene ends on a sincere note with Sean opening up about the loss of trust in their marriage and wondering if they’re fundamentally broken. This moment of vulnerability is exactly the reconnection they need, and by the end of the episode, Sean and Yoda have finally been reacquainted.

Meanwhile, Castor is still in erection overdrive thanks to his new medication. Even his doctor’s suggestion to “wean” him off the drug gets him a little excited. So when he has to face TV critics at a network press party and catches one reporter eagerly slurping on a daiquiri, it’s not just their questions that are hard.

Now, see what I did there? Used “hard” meaning difficult as a double entendre for “hard” as a description for an erect penis? We get a full scene of this misunderstanding between Castor and Carol, who assumes his panic stems from the pressure of heading up a failing TV network. And because the exchange is rooted in a dick joke, of course they end up having sex. If there’s any advantage to the speed at which this relationship is moving, it’s that it will be over that much faster.

Finally, Merc’s around again for the sole purpose of being a prick. First, he steals all the artwork from Jamie’s house, something she couldn’t notice until Matt points it out. After Matt confronts him, Jamie happily feels the canvases back up on the walls, unaware they’re filled with profane spray-painted sentiments from Merc. A decent gag, but probably a long way to go for it.

The writing’s also on the wall for Pucks. After its first outing on Saturday night loses to Storage Wars: Texas (a rerun, no less), even Carol can’t be swayed to keep it on the schedule. Knowing Showtime has already renewed Episodes for a fourth season, and that we’re now past the halfway point of this one, it will be interesting to see how the characters fare in a post-Pucks world. This could be where the series jumps a level or jumps the shark. “Episode 5” may have been one of its less LOL-worthy outings, but Episodes still maintains a consistent warmth and charm that, for now at least, will keep me rooting for it.

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