“I AM GOING TO FIND DUQUAN FELDMAN.”
Note: The following review goes into detail about the episode. SPOILER ALERT!
Wow, this was a pleasant surprise. Not only is New Girl back from its lengthy hiatus, but it’s done so with an episode that addresses nearly all the flaws of Season 4. Not only does it utilize the show’s own lore and established character dynamics to drive the story, but it also gets a great performance out of its entire cast and provides a nice story for Winston. Oh, and it’s a bottle episode.
Things kick off with Winston announcing to a breakfast-munching gang that his boss will be coming to the loft to interview them all as part of his background check. However, Jess begins freaking out as Winston prepares, revealing to Schmidt, Coach, and Nick that she is hiding a huge bag of meth in the closet. She found it in a chair she bought at a garage sale, and now is hiding it for fear of jail time if she takes it to the police. This kicks things off in a wonderful way, as everyone (especially notoriously terrible liar Nick) attempts to keep the secret. Guest actress Cleo King does wonderful work in the role, being the sole stern voice in a loft full of cartoon characters. Not to mention she creates some of the episode’s funniest scenes by being so against jokes that it’s hilarious.
But it isn’t just King that gets to bring the funny. Being confined to the same location allows for every member of the cast to get their due: Coach’s invention of fake foster child “Duquan Feldman,” Nick’s confession of every secret he knows (except the bag), and even Schmidt got his moment with the return of his derided kimono. What really makes the episode work so well is how the show lets the characters breathe and allows for their relationships with each other to create a giant pressure-cooker of comedy that drives the story forward. There’s just something so entertaining about seeing Nick’s meltdown occur at the same time Jess is freaking out, all while Winston remains earnestly innocent about the whole affair. The ending, while a little convenient by simply revealing the bag of meth was aquarium rocks, works great allowing Jess a moment with Winston; she revealed she didn’t tell him about the bag because she doesn’t see him as a cop. The episode’s final scene where Winston is endorsed by both his friends and “The Fish” is a nice way to progress his arc towards being his own person and proving his self worth, especially since Winston remains one of the show’s less utilized characters.
It’s hard to deny that “Background Check” delivered on all fronts, mixing a simple premise with some excellent writing and terrific acting to create a fine half hour of television. While previous episodes this season have felt too self-contained and divorced from the show’s overall narrative, “Background Check” embraces it wholeheartedly, moving Winston’s character forward while showing his roommates at their funniest.
What’s everyone’s thoughts on the episode? Would you live in a former biscuit factory? Let us know in the comments zone.
*We do not comment on anything relating to previews for the next episode and beyond.
The Night Of: “The Call of the Wild” Review
Vice Principals: “The Foundation of Learning” Review
The Night Of: “Ordinary Death” Review
Joe Hill’s ‘The Fireman’ Review
How Speedrunning Changed My Perception of Games
Vice Principals: “Circles” Review
The Night Of: “Samson and Delilah” Review
‘Batman: The Killing Joke’ Review
Vice Principals: “Run for the Money” Review
The Night Of: “The Season of the Witch” Review