Curb Your Enthusiasm S09E10 Recap: 'Fatwa!' [Season Finale]

I'm not gonna lie, I'm pretty disappointed that things didn't go Larry David's way at the end of Curb Your Enthusiasm's ninth season. We've spoken a lot about how Curb is all about a balance between Larry's prickishness and the prickishness of the people around him, and quite frankly, in "Fatwa!", the odds were stacked against our protagonist. Other than the stage manager Cody (played by the unusually chipper Nick Offerman) and the innocent bystanders at Sami's wedding, Larry got the short end of the stick on most draws in the season finale.

He was outfit tracked at every turn, he had ungrateful, rude house guests, his friend was late on more than one occasion, Lin-Manuel Miranda was an absolute asshole to him at every turn, and he was subject to a bounty of uncommensurate thanks/insufficient sorries. And to put a nice bow on things, he ends the season by stumbling across the one person who hasn't heard that the Fatwa has been called off.

To be fair, Larry going up against the world makes for a fun episode, and the last scene of the episode was a great visual. But I think I prefer the finales where Larry gets a little bit of vengeance, a little bit of comeuppance at the end of a hard-fought season. The moments that have stuck with me throughout the years are the successful restaurant opening, or how he salvages his The Producers debut. And granted, the opposite can be true as well; I love the end of the eighth season when he gets run out of New York and has to argue with someone in Paris over his pig parking. The end of "Fatwa" just felt somewhat off balance, all things considered.

But it was filled with a lot of great things. Lin-Manuel played against Larry perfectly, and the surprise Hamilton paintball duel near the end was absolutely perfect. F. Murray Abraham was great too, immediately fitting into this world as a foil for Larry, as was Flula Borg as Larry's annoying house guest; to the point where I wouldn't think twice if Ernst was suddenly living with Larry and Leon at the start of the inevitable tenth season. And Nick Offerman was absolutely delightful playing against type.

It's just that outside of the duel, there was a certain grandness missing from a finale. Considering that they were practicing songs from Fatwa!, I almost feel robbed that we didn't get to see more of the musical in some shape or form. Maybe I'm being greedy, because this damn show manage to pull together several musical numbers featuring a living legend (and, in all fairness to Mr. Abraham, one of the greats from the big screen as well). The Fatwa stuff that we got fits the exact spirit of this show and everything that I come to it. We've just been spoiled in season nine, especially with the last two episodes, both of which garnered 10/10 scores from me.

My aloofness for this finale shouldn't take away from its quality or the quality of the entire season, because I truly feel as if Larry and the gang pulled it off and gave us something great and special, a seemingly impossible feat considering the length of time the show was off the air. It's left me wanting more, and it never bored me, which is quite impressive in the age of Peak TV, at a time where every little second of a new piece of content gets torn to shreds and over-analyzed. All Larry David did was come in and do the same thing he did for eight seasons prior, and it worked.

My expectations for what this finale should have been only very slightly taint any of that. "Fatwa!" gets 8 separate bathrooms out of 10.

Notes & Quotes:

  • Another great crop of guest stars this week: Lin-Manuel Miranda of course, F. Murray Abraham (who interestingly got top guest billing, even ahead of Lin and some curb regulars), Nick Offerman, Casey Wilson, Flula Born, Carly Hughes, Chris Sullivan, Chet Hanks.
  • Larry tackles the issues of today:
    • Uncommensurate thank yous/insufficient sorries.
    • Restaurants that don't seat until the entire party arrives.
    • Actress stage names.
    • Outfit trackers.
    • Boobs as a distraction.
    • Gross salary vs. net after deductions.
  • Larry: "I've only been excited twice in my life, unsnapping my first bra and this, this is like my second bra."
  • Lin: "It's not quite professorial enough."
  • Larry: "You know what the optimal dining experience is? To eat when you're hungry."
  • Larry: "I will put your card in my pocket. I will never call you, but I'll put it in my pocket."
  • Jeff/Larry: "Maybe someone is so off the grid that they have no idea the Fatwa is over." "Maybe someone is so stupid that they're saying things they shouldn't be saying." "Maybe."
  • Larry: "If I was twenty minutes late, I'd be apologizing like I accidentally killed your family."
  • Funkhauser: "I had a colonoscopy, clean as a whistle!"
  • Larry: "I just feel like I'm living in some sort of clothing police state, it's 1984, Big Murray's watching me."
  • Lin: "You wanna segregate the deaf?"
  • Ernst: "You've named six old baseball players who are married but sleep in separate bedrooms?"
  • Lin: "All you gotta do is rotate, baby."
  • Leon: "I thought you were maybe sleepfucking."
  • Cody/Larry: "I'm gonna call you a prick." "With all due respect, you are the prick."
  • Lin: "Why do you keep hiking your britches up?"
  • LinL "You gesture rescinding motherfucker."