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'Episodes' finale fan recap: Release the bugs

Season 4 | Episode 9 | “Episode Nine” | Aired Mar 15, 2015

At the opening of Episodes‘ fourth-season finale, Beverly and Carol carry on with their secret dumpster meetings, where Beverly tells Carol that she will be going on a hike alone the following morning at their usual spot. “Do with that what you will,” says Beverly.

Matt and Merc get ready to shoot the first episode of The Box. Merc suggests that Matt hit the gym; Matt suggests Merc do the same. “I’m not the one in front of the camera, I don’t have to be pretty!” says Merc. “Mission accomplished!” says Matt. Merc and Arjen (Barry Atsma) explain to Matt that unleashing the bugs on the contestants will be the highlight of the show, with the audience chanting “Release the bugs!” along with the players.

Carol and Helen’s lunch date is interrupted by former network head Castor Sotto (Chris Diamantopoulos), who jokes that Helen must still be pulling pills out of the carpet (“Like Liza Minnelli’s dressing room,” says Helen). Castor announces that he’ll be running The CW, apparently doing much better than the last time we saw him. He apologizes to Carol for his behavior and praises her good work before leaving. Carol can’t believe he’ll be running another network: “They rolled him out of ours strapped to a thing like Hannibal Lecter!”

Castor calls Carol once she’s alone in her office, offering her the number-two position at The CW once he takes over. She tells him that she’s happy working for Helen and isn’t looking to leave, but he asks her to think it over.

Sean and Matt go out for drinks on the eve of The Box‘s first taping, where Matt says it’s crazy that the contestants are willing to stay in those boxes for 17 weeks just for money and TV exposure. Sean points out that, ironically, Matt is essentially doing the same thing: He needs the money badly, and though he isn’t physically encased in a glass box, he’s locked into a show that he really doesn’t want to do, as if stuck in a metaphorical box. “You know what else is ironic?” asks Matt, shoving Sean off his bar stool. “That’s not actually what irony is,” says Sean from the floor.

The next morning, Beverly and Carol set off on their secret hike. Carol can meet Beverly, she explains, because Helen is in New York. As they walk, Beverly advises Carol against taking Castor up on his job offer, but before they can really get into it, Helen pops out. She accuses them of having an affair, arguing that they wouldn’t have to keep their meetings secret if they were just friends. Helen tells Carol to get her stuff out of her house; she also wants her anklet, top, and bra back, all of which Carol is currently wearing. Carol and Beverly cower back to where they came from, defeated: “The car is so far away!” whines a half-naked Carol.

That night at the studio, Matt and Merc fight over Matt’s vest, which Merc thinks looks bad on him. “I’m looking at my reflection on your forehead, and I think I look good,” says Matt, agreeing to take it off but not actually doing so.

In the audience, Beverly tells Sean about Helen’s sneak attack and subsequent breakup with Carol: “She may as well have been wearing a hockey mask and carrying a machete.” Carol comes over to chat, but Sean shoos her away when Helen sees them all talking, worried about what Beverly’s role in this situation might mean for The Opposite of Us. Things are already looking bad for Carol; Helen kicks her off the stage before The Box begins shooting. Carol immediately calls Castor and takes the job.

Matt takes to the stage as the cameras roll; naturally, an audience member shouts, “How you doin’?” “Glad we got that out of the way,” jokes Matt in genial host mode.

One box is empty by the first commercial break, as the contestant was faced with the choice of being subjected to the bugs or quitting the game. Matt and Merc take this opportunity to fight about the vest again, which quickly dissolves into an argument about who works for whom, which they take into the now vacant box. Merc mocks Matt for being a washed-up actor; Matt makes fun of Merc for being nobody. Ultimately, Matt shuts Merc in the box and calls for the bugs to be released—the crowd joins in, just as Merc hoped they would—and the sound of buzzing fills Merc’s box as the screen fades to black.

The next day, Carol shows up at The CW, only to be told by the receptionist that Castor doesn’t work there; no one has even heard of him. “That’s insane!” says Carol, a look of realization quickly spreading over her face.

Back in Helen’s office, Sean and Beverly get some bad news as well. Though Helen says she won’t let her personal issues interfere with The Opposite of Us, she announces that she’ll be making one tiny change. Tim enters the room, and Helen reveals that he will be running the show. “Oh no,” says Tim.

Though there seems to be no word on whether or not Episodes will return for a fifth season, this doesn’t feel like a series finale, with Carol out of work and both the Lincolns and Matt likely shut out of their projects as well. (Helen has effectively minimized Sean and Beverly’s role in their own series, and Matt surely can’t continue as host of The Box after what he did to Merc.) After a solid fourth season, here’s hoping the real Matt LeBlanc is still employed.

Stray Observations

  • Merc greets the Lincolns as “Downton Abbey.”
  • Andy describes Helen and Carol’s breakup as “like Frozen without the songs.”
  • Other than “release the bugs,” disadvantages that The Box contestants can unleash on the others include: 10 degrees hotter, feathers, stinky cheese, and Gilbert Gottfried.
  • Myra’s baby makes the same whiny, groaning noises she does.
TV Families | EW.com
Mark Harris
February 23, 1990 AT 05:00 AM EST

The Bradys are back, with a passel of 90’s hassles. Do they represent the typical American Family? Did they ever? Who does? Stare and compare!

Kind Of Family
TheBradyBunch 1969-74: Blended
The Bradys 1990-: Enormous
Married…With Children 1987-: Postnuclear
Thirtysomething 1987-: Extended
The Flintstones 1960-66: Modern Stone Age

Family Pet
The Brady Bunch: Tiger
The Bradys: Alice
Married…With Children: Buck
Thirtysomething: Grendel
The Flintstones: Dino

Typical Guest Star
The Brady Bunch: Davey Jones
The Bradys: There’s no room
Married…With Children: Sam Kinison
Thirtysomething: Carly Simon
The Flintstones: Ann Margrock

Expression Of Joy
The Brady Bunch: Groovy!
The Bradys: Ritual hugging
Married…With Children: ”Oh, great.”
Thirtysomething: ”Of course I’m happy for you. Really. But what about me? Why does it always have to be about you?
The Flintstones: ”Yabba-dabba doo

Expression Of Rage

The Brady Bunch: ”Hmmm…”
The Bradys: ”If you back away from something you really want, then you’re a quitter!” (the angriest any Brady has ever been)
Married…With Children: ”Aaagh, God, take me from this miserable life!”
Thirtysomething: ”I’m not angry, OK?”
The Flintstones: ”Willllmaaaa!”

Typical Problem
The Brady Bunch: Marcia and her rival both want to be the prom queen.
The Bradys: Bobby gets paralyzed.
Married…With Children: Al doesn’t buy his family Christmas presents.
Thirtysomething: Nancy gets cancer.
The Flintstones: Fred and Barney are staying out too late.

Typical Solution
The Brady Bunch: The prom committee decides to have two queens.
The Bradys: Bobby gets married.
Married…With Children: They hate him.
Thirtysomething: If only we knew…
The Flintstones: Wilma and Betty decide to follow them.

House Style
The Brady Bunch: Conservative but mod, circa ’69
The Bradys: Conservative but mod, circa ’90
Married…With Children: Roach motel
Thirtysomething: Enviable
The Flintstones: Suburban cave

Clothing Style
The Brady Bunch: Early Osmonds
The Bradys: Made in the USA
Married…With Children: Flammable fabrics
Thirtysomething: Eclectic earth tones; nice ties
The Flintstones: One-piece

Most Annoying Character
The Brady Bunch: Alice’s cousin Emma, the substitute housekeeper (too strict)
The Bradys: Marcia’s husband, Wally (chronically unemployable)
Married…With Children: Steve (supercilious)
Thirtysomething: Ellyn (goes through Hope’s drawers, babbles, changes hairstyle every other week, generally mistreats her friends)
The Flintstones: Mr. Slate (bossy)

Attitude Toward Sex
The Brady Bunch: Never heard of it
The Bradys: Omigod — even Cindy does it!
Married…With Children: Peg: Yes. Al: No.
Thirtysomething: They didn’t get all those kids by accident.
The Flintstones: Prehistoric

How Spouses Fight
The Brady Bunch: They don’t.
The Bradys: Infrequently, but it happens
Married…With Children: Tooth and nail
Thirtysomething: They stop talking
The Flintstones: Fred and Barney go bowling while Wilma and Betty max out their charge cards.

How Kids Get Into Trouble
The Brady Bunch: Greg takes a puff of a cigarette.
The Bradys: Carol’s grandson steals her business cards and sticks them in the spokes of Bobby’s wheelchair.
Married…With Children: By committing felonies
Thirtysomething: Ethan plays with a forbidden toy rocket.
The Flintstones: They don’t.

How They’re Punished

The Brady Bunch: ”It’s not what you did, honey — it’s that you couldn’t come to us.”
The Bradys ”Next time, ask.”
Married…With Children: By the authorities
Thirtysomething: It blows up in his face.
The Flintstones: They’re not.

What Family Does For Fun
The Brady Bunch: Takes special three-part vacations to Hawaii and the Grand Canyon
The Bradys: Has flashbacks
Married…With Children: Exchanges insults
Thirtysomething: Talks
The Flintstones: Attends showings of The Monster at the Bedrock Drive-In

Unsolved Mysteries
The Brady Bunch: How exactly did Carol’s first husband and Mike’s first wife die?
The Bradys: What’s with Marcia’s new face and Bobby’s blonde hair
Married…With Children: What kind of hair spray does Peg use?
Thirtysomething: Why did Nancy take Elliot back? What do Gary and Susanna see in each other?
The Flintstones: How does Barney’s shirt stay on if he has no shoulders? Where do Fred and Wilma plug in their TV?

Worst Behavior
The Brady Bunch: The Brady children once made Alice feel under-appreciated.

The Bradys: Marcia’s son Mickey watches Bobby’s car-crash tape for fun.
Married…With Children: The Bundy’s kill their neighbor’s dog.
Thirtysomething: Elliot has an affair and talks about it.
The Flintstones: Characters don’t wear under-clothes.

Best Reason To Watch
The Brady Bunch: This is what life should be.
The Bradys: They’re all grown-ups now!
Married…With Children: Terry Rakolta hates it.
Thirtysomething (Tie) This is your life. This isn’t your life.
The Flintstones: This is what life might have been.

Best Reason Not To Watch
The Brady Bunch: Blurred vision from rerun overdoses.
The Bradys: You’re all grown-ups now.
Married…With Children: She has a point.
Thirtysomething: After a while, you think it’s real.
The Flintstones: The Simpsons

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