Vice Principals S02E02 Recap: 'Slaughter'

As "Slaughter", the second and final season of Vice Principals descends upon us, I'm left worried that the comedy that delighted and surprised us last is starting to become somewhat formulaic. With last week's season premiere, we were introduced to a new reality where Neal Gamby, returning to North Jackson High with a bullet hole and a bruised ego to the old job he once wanted to leave behind, would become obsessed with finding the person responsible for shooting him, and where his cohort Lee Russell would have to face new realities as the school's singular principal.

To a certain extent, these new realities for Gamby and Russell could be seen as character growth. Both are treading new territory, having to find new ways to deal with their problems and insecurities, traits which often lead them down destructive paths. But these realities are merely esoteric for both of them. From a certain perspective, nothing is really all that different for either character. They're both still disliked losers, they both still have the same familial situations, they both still obsess over the perception of their image, they're just doing it differently now that their jobs have changed.

I don't know if any of this is necessarily a bad thing, as there wouldn't be a show if Gamby and Russell were suddenly well-adjusted, nice people. It's just that we're 2/9ths of the way through the final season of Vice Principals and I've yet to be wowed. I've been entertained, I've laughed, and I've cheered on as the two main characters go about their regular hijinxs, but like I said, it just feels as if the show is setting up a procedure, and that's the last thing I want from a sitcom that started off by promising us a certain amount of directness that you would think is inherent with a mere 18 episode run.

But I feel as if that's just a thing that has to be brought up, because "Slaughter" is actually a very good episode of Vie Princials, as was the premiere, and it's even somewhat different from what we had seen in the first season, since Gamby and Russell have become genuine friends. Truth be told, you actually do see some advancement in who Gamby, at least, is as a person, as he winds up feeling sympathy for someone he wronged, even if it was only after being firsthand witness to his suffering.

The episode sees Gamby continuing his investigation into finding his assailant. He's exhausted the willingness of the on-site police officer to help, as his tactics amount more to a wild goose chase towards the first suspect he lays any eyes on than instead being based on any sort of evidence. But this time, he's sure who the culprit is, as Dayshawn points him to a student that Gamby got expelled the previous year. The student was dealing drugs, but Gamby pushed down on the scales of justice, in his own words, planting drugs in his locker in order to ensure his demise. Gamby is certain this is his man, but when he and Russell go out to find evidence, Gamby witnesses firsthand the student's affection for his ailing grandfather, and has a change of heart, reinstating him at school.

Meanwhile, Russell's story involves a vindictive plan to humiliate and fire half a dozen teachers who don't respect him and talk about him behind his back. In any normal world, dismissing a subordinate or two who makes fun of the boss could be seen as the right example to set, but in true Lee Russell fashion, he takes it to an extreme, which may only lead to further alienating his teachers. This serves as a parallel, a dichotomy against the growth that Gamby seems to be experiencing. Gamby is stuck in a loop of his on ways, but every suspect he clears he gains respect for, at least. Russell is just delving further into a spiral of his own madness and assholery.

The hope here is that this rift that is forming between who Gamby and Russell are as people will define where the show goes in this final season. I just hope that I'm not sensing a pattern in it all, because Vice Principals proved early on to be more than just a formula, and that's more than necessary as it nears its end. But that's more of a general comment than any slight against "Slaughter", which is at least as solid an episode of Vice Principals as the season premiere, and for that, it gets 8 dusty old queefs out of 10.

Notes & Quotes:

  • Snodgrass's new boyfriend looks suspiciously like character actor Fisher Stevens from afar. That's an exciting prospect.
  • I don't know who the actor who plays the kid that Gamby goes after is, but that's some perfect casting. His performance is weirdly rough, but it fits perfectly in this world.
  • "I wanna kill her so bad. I wanna do like the Muslims and chop her fucking head off, Christine, and make a fucking video out of it."
  • "I guess now I know what Willows stands for. Pussy willows."
  • "What are you doing with those bolt cutters? You're going to do something fucked up aren't you?"
  • "She doesn't even like you, she's probably getting 69'd right now."