Flight of the Phoenix- Season four focuses on mainly one character per episodes. While a few other main characters are in this episode, it mostly focuses on Michael.
It's 1984, where a young Lucille and George Sr. are played by a pitch perfect Kristen Wiig and a passable Seth Rogan. In a brief Grinch parody, Lucille decides to hold a holiday the day before Cinco De Mayo so that holiday supplies would be depleted and her Hispanic help would be around to clean her house. This plan backfired over the course of more than 30 years, because the Hispanic community profited financially off of it and even had a boat parade. Also, Lucille, cinco de cuatro would be April 5, haha. Nice little joke there.
Right after the events of the season three finale, Michael and his son returned him to the family, of course. Lucille had hijacked the Queen Mary, leading to charges falling under Maritime Law (ha), but she turned it around and came home as well. A hearing was scheduled for Lucille, but, surprise, Barry Zuckercorn missed it. Michael is trying to take over as the family lawyer, and his parents are discussing a stimulus package the company got. George Sr. spent it on 4,000 acres of California desert, where he will be moving, and we are not surprised at all.
George Sr. and Lucille announce that they are getting a divorce, and Buster freaks out a little. Buster's hook is now encrusted with jewels. Michael is upset that his father didn't spend the money to build more homes in Sudden Valley, the budding development where the family lived in a model home for years. Lucille would like Michael to testify in her hearing that she was a good mother, which Michael sees as perjury. Also, the Bluth parents don't tip black people.
Michael trades his shares in the company to Lucille 2 in exchange for Sudden Valley so that he can develop it himself. He also wants Lucille to have all the power in the company. Michael tells his family he's done with them again, gives the stair car to George Michael, and sends his son off to college. Michael is successful in finishing Sudden Valley under his own company name, The Michael B. Company. Sadly, the city hasn't yet paid for a public road to it. Even sadder, the housing market collapses, and Michael is unable to sell a single house.
Both Michael and George Michael miss Lucille's hearing. To cover his building costs, Michael borrows $700,000 from Lucille 2. Michael lives completely alone in a self-made "ghost town" with only a vulture and the mail man to keep him company…until the mail man has a heart attack, freaking Michael out. The mail man's last words were "Love Each Other."
Michael goes to his son's college dorm, which has a sign on it that urges people to "leave a note." George Michael has a glorious mustache. Michael enrolls in online college and lives in George Michael's dorm room because he has no place else to go. Six months later, George Michael is feeling crowded and yearns for space. It's getting really weird. They even shower together. Their other roommate is a student named "P-Hound," and Michael doesn't care for him.
Michael walks into the dorm room one day and finds Maeby there for tutoring with George Michael. We don't like Maeby's haircut.
George Michael is (finally) starting to hate his name. We find out that Michael went to law school for a while, but put that on hold when George Michael was a baby. Apparently, that's what he's working toward now. You're a CROOK, CAPTAIN HOOK.
George Michael tries to tell his father that he needs privacy and that's it's lame for a parent to go to college with you. Michael is so pathetic about it that George Michael pretends it was a misunderstanding and that he doesn't want his father to move out after all. This is all deeply embarrassing for everyone, including the viewer. George Michael tells his dad that he was talking about his privacy software that he's creating. Michael is so desperate that he buys this story.
Michael tells his son that an in-flight magazine, Altitude, is doing a spread on him so that he could get attention for Sudden Valley, the housing development. George Michael tells his dad that the dorm room is only sanctioned for two people and that he wanted to have a vote over who should leave. Michael thinks that P-Hound will be the one leaving.
In order to prevent the roommates from knowing who voted for who, George Michael suggests getting a fourth person to vote. They pick Maeby. Michael says that he will vote against himself so that P-Hound doesn't know who voted him out. Michael says, "It's adios, brothiero." That's right. Michael still doesn't know how to say "brother" in Spanish.
Michael, Maeby, and George Michael decide that the person voted out should leave without saying a word. It should be a silent goodbye. Every vote is for Michael to move out. George Michael had even started to write "Dad" on his before crossing out the first two letters and writing "Michael." The kids put their fingers to their lips to silence Michael as he left. Michael put his hands in a prayer gesture to "save face" as Indian music played briefly in the background.
To boost his spirits, Michael goes to the airport to get a copy of Altitude. The people working for the airline are the three guys from Workaholics. Michael ends up having to buy a plane ticket in order to get on a plane where the magazine is available. He decides to actually fly to Phoenix, a place he has always been threatening to go, and go to school there, instead of just going to University of Phoenix online.
On the flight, Michael opens the magazine and kicks himself for making the prayer gesture with his hands in an effort to look humble, because that's the picture the magazine used. The story is called "Discontinued Development: Michael Bluth is praying you'll fix his huge mistake (and why his prayers won't be answered).
Michael leaves Phoenix immediately because of the heat. He returns to California and moves into his mother's apartment, since she is now in prison. He opens the door to find the apartment in shambles and an actual ostrich runs into him. Michael decides that this is the handiwork of Gob. The narrator informs us that it was actually Lindsay.
Later, it's May 4 at the "Cinco De Cuatro" celebration at the pier. Michael Bluth is at the fake holiday, getting trashed, and reaching his lowest point. He is $700,000 in debt to Lucille 2 and is going to try to be the third brother to seduce Lucille 2 (a returning Liza Minelli). Lucille 2 is at the top of the stair car, which says "Austero-Bluth Company" on the side. She is partying with Sally Sitwell (Christine Taylor) when Michael interrupts them.
Even though Michael is by far the most attractive Bluth brother (and she's apparently boned George Sr. too), Lucille 2 doesn't seem too interested. We don't know if they sealed the deal, because the show cuts to Michael walking into the old model home, the narrator telling us that he's just done something "unspeakable." Michael has a black eye.
Gob is in the house, post-coitus, with someone who shocks Michael. We only see shaved legs with toenail polish. Michael says, "I knew it. I always knew it!" Gob is down to one roofie, and he force feeds it to Michael so that Michael will forget who Gob slept with. This is all really funny once the show lets us know who Gob slept with.
This episode is pretty good and definitely the best of the first six episodes. It doesn't guarantee to the viewer that Arrested Development is back, but it retains the tone of the original series and has some solid jokes. The callbacks (hermano) are subtle, and it sets up the storyline for the rest of the season. It's kind of sad to see Michael where we always knew he would be without his family, but it's realistic for his character.
Episode grade: B+