People of Earth is usually 80/20- Comedy/Drama; however, this particular episode was full-on tug at your heartstrings 80/20 Drama/Comedy. If not done well, this switch can undermine or derail a show, but Norm Hiscock (writer) really delivered something unique and tenderhearted. In fact, I’ve been thinking about his episode for most of the time since I watched it. You begin thinking that the story will be all about Jerry saying goodbye; instead, Norm gives us an episode about love, family, and basic human… even tribal bonds.
When I first learned screenwriting, my teacher made me make list all of the things that would worry a caveman.
I responded: finding a mate, a bad king, predators, and natural disasters.
He responded: SEE!
Then, he wrote on the board “When Harry Met Sally”, “Nixon”, “Predator”, and “Day After Tomorrow”. “We are moved by movies because they tap into our genetic fears and desires.”
This episode did that for me.
We open with Gerry telling Ozzie about a clear pattern of abductions that all occur at a specific area and he wants to be the next in the line. This abduction will be permanent because no one ever returned when they were taken at this time. Gerry states that he has quit his job and Ozzie shows concern for this, but Gerry is determined to be a full-fledged Starcrossed member, even though it means never returning to Earth.
Gerry cleans himself up and does A LOT of grooming, including an abundance of nail clipping. Then, he packs a Go Bag and with his “Family Photo”- it’s a selfie-stick shot of him with the Starcrossed group. This shows a clear, visual example of familial/tribal love.
Gerry’s determined to tell Yvonne his feelings, but chickens out. This is the emotional and physical love.
Coffeehouse: Kelly visits LOTR-Guy at his coffeehouse. Kelly tries to apologize and LOTR-Guy shuts her down with an apology on behalf of all men because he was a nosy-pants and male privilege something. Kelly is now all over LOTR-Guy like a Today’s Man Suit.
Ozzie follows up on a lead about Senator Pelosi’s connection to Glint and how Jonathan suppressed stories at Glint. My favorite: This Privileged American Life – Ira Glass. If you’ve never heard This American Life, you should, BUT be prepared to become depressed. “However, this shouldn’t matter because happiness is a lie we tell ourselves so we can wake up everyday.” Just kidding, Ira never said this because he’s much more upbeat than I am.
Nancy overhears that Ozzie is getting close to uncovering the conspiracy. Jonathan is ordered to get a donut.. again. Jonathan tries to stall and arranges a lunch with Ozzie.
Gerry says goodbye to Richard and gives him all of his alien research.
The Lunch: Jonathan tries to bully Ozzie using the carrot and stick technique formerly used by Henry Kissinger. The Stick: Jonathan threatens to expose/discredit Ozzie for being a member of “Space Losers”. The Carrot: “Brews Skettah”. It fails. Jonathan shall eat his “Brews Skettah” all alone. Michael Cassidy has some real drama chops. He should consider some drama or Jason Bourne-ish action movie stuff. What was great about this scene is that when Jonathan is saying “After all that I’ve done for you” He means it literally because he helped raise and protect Ozzie since he was a child, explaining why Jonathan has empathy unlike his purely Reptilian counterpart Nancy. This hammers home the fatherly love that Jonathan has for Ozzie and this was shown in previous episodes wherein he gives Ozzie veggie drinks and mentoring.
Gerry goes to Yvonne’s house and he nearly chickens out, but Yvonne helps him along and they make sweet love. However, he still wants to try to get abducted and say goodbye for good.
The Date: LOTR-Guy is REALLY in touch with his feelings. They try to dance and it’s awesome. It reminded me so much of the dancing I saw at clubs in Europe … like seizures. Kelly shows a protective and physical love for LOTR-Guy by trying to get him to assert himself in many different ways. At one point, a waiter spills a drink on him and he goes beyond Canadian levels of politeness, saying that “I was sitting way too close to the spill.” She pushes him to insist on getting the drinks for free and owning it! Boom! It’s awesome.
The Donut: The Alien Overlord orders Jonathan to pick a weapon to use to kill Ozzie. Jonathan doesn’t want to and he remembers being on the Ship with Young Ozzie. He comforts Ozzie when he’s scared and promises him that he won’t hurt him. Michael really delivers this scene well. He knows how to play the silence without dragging it. Good beat. Jonathan chooses the gun and it’s hard to watch.
Jonathan goes to Ozzie’s hovel. I won’t lie – I gasped a little, when he reached in his coat pocket and was relieved when he pulled out a jumpdrive. Jonathan gives Ozzie the proof he needs confessing how he suppressed stories. This is an obvious act of fatherly love and has improved Ozzie’s life. Jonathan, like all good Dads, with his mission of pushing his son forward complete, takes a step back and sets him free to succeed or fail without him.
Yvonne and Gerry are in bed and she gives him a lift to the abduction location, even though this may be their last time together; it’s very sweet. H. Jon Benjamin provides some comic relief along the way.
Kelly forces LOTR-Guy to be empowered and self-confidant. There’s just love burgeoning everywhere in this episode.
Donut Part 2: The Overlord is furious and wants to kill Jonathan and Ozzie. Jonathan thwarts this by revealing that there is a code he needs to enter every 12 hours or their lizard plan will be published worldwide. Jonathan flashes to when he and Young Ozzie were on the ship and Ozzie made him a drawing of them holding hands like father and son. He puts on a brave front, but leaves the meeting with some fear and pain on his face because he has left his family to save his adoptive son Ozzie, but in doing so, he will be forever alone.
Gerry gets to the abduction site…..and they never come.
Once again, the near credits delivers an amazing song that presented what could’ve worked as the scenes for the series finale. Not a bad song, not Kmala my Friend or the Ship song from earlier episodes, but a solid – not bad.
We see Ozzie’s article with a big picture of Jonathan as a story suppressor, ruining him forever. Jonathan packs up his things from his office and says goodbye to his moving desk.
The group stares at Gerry’s empty chair and is relieved when he returns, completing their tribe. They console him for not getting abducted, but he states sheepishly and in love, “It wasn’t all bad.” *sniff*
LOTR-Guy returns to the ship all swagger. It’s pretty badass. Scroty shows him respect for the first time and informs him that the Main Ship is coming. We also learn that Gerry would’ve been abducted if LOTR-Guy had been at his post.