I am sicker than a dog and am sleeping very poorly, thus giving me much more viewing opportunity than I otherwise would have. I’m not sure that I’m entirely coherent, but let’s see if you can make sense of my 3 am ramblings.
I have watched this show enough to posit the following hypothesis of what is going on. As there is LOTS going on here, and tons of it is META (a hallmark of AD writing), this might not be in any type of logical or temporal sequence, a trick used by the writing in season 4 heavily, BTW. Let me start by saying that AD season 4 is the most brilliant thing I have seen in a long time, and represents the pinnacle of the series, and therefore, the best tv of all time (a pretty low bar if you asked me).
Lets start with the first obvious issue. If you thought the ending sucked, then you WERENT paying attention. It was not the ending. Season 4 is a setup, and in fact is THE announcement of the much hoped for AD MOVIE, effectively the 16th episode still pending.
As evidence of this I submit:
1 - One of the meta plot threads of the whole season (from episode 1 to 15) is Michael getting the permission of all the family to make the movie through Ron Howard’s Imagine Entertainment.
2 - Michael Bluth has already been made an “associate producer” for the fictional movie: Read: Jason Bateman will be an AP on the actual AD movie.
3 - What was the actual final scene of the season? The George Michael punch in the face to Michael? NO!!! The actual final scene is between Ron Howard and Brian Grazer deciding that since they have Buster’s permission signed, that’s really all they need to go ahead and make the movie, exclaiming in a big hug that they have found their next DaVinci Code!!!</span></p>
4 - Reminder that AD was always famous for writing REAL events happening to the production into the script (META). When fox moved them a half hour earlier on Sunday night, they wrote that in as the bluth company moving from the expensive top floor, to the floor just underneath it to save money. When they had their number of episodes cut to 18, it was in the script as the number of houses in the development being cut back. When fox announced that they were being dropped, they went shopping to HBO (the Home Builder’s Organization) and if that didn’t work, then it would be Showtime! They’d do a show, which they did in season 3. So the tradition continues, and the final scene serves as the actual announcement of an AD Movie! Woot!!! There is no way I’m wrong about this.
So… the problem… AD has a cult following. Much more popular today than when it was actually airing, and growing in popularity, but a movie?? How do you market that and build anticipation, even among the uninitiated??
The answer can be found in one of the most famous lines (and marketing gimmicks) in TV History. Who shot JR? The who shot JR mystery launched Dallas into the stratosphere of television at the time and made it the biggest TV show in the world.
The AD equivalent is: WHO KILLED LUCILLE TWO?
That in effect is THE entire plot of AD4. Season 4 is not a complete story, it is just the setup for that key question: Who Killed Lucille Two? That question and all remaining loose threads will of course be answered perfectly and in a most satisfying way in the pending movie (which for all we know has already been shot).
If you analyze the entire plot front to back, you realize that it is ultimately about that question.
When I re-watched the opening scene from Episode 1 (Michael and Lucille at the top of the Stair Car at Cinco de Quatro, then Gob and Michael in the model home) I initially thought they had done a clever thing demonstrating that Michael was the killer, and had shown the scene that proved it in the beginning of the movie and hid it very cleverly. But that is not the case. Michael might be the killer, but there are far, far too many other scenes that go out of their way to establish motive, means and opportunity for other characters to kill L2:
1 – Buster: clearly innocent, but caught red handed (genius continuation of the hand gag, and if you wondered why ARMY gave him a new hand? Because he couldn’t be caught red handed without one). So the movie will be in part Buster on trial, doubtless in a court, or at least a mock trial, presided over by Judge Reinhold.
2 – Michael: Motive is the debt owed to Lucille 2, and the collection pressure from Argyle. Michael is wearing a blue shirt on the stair car with L2, and a Bluth Banana shirt in the next scene with Gob, that same night where is frets about the horrible thing he had just done. First watching: He prostituted himself to Lucille 2 for a loan extension, and was horrified by it. Second watching: He actually killed L2, and hid her in the banana stand, and changed clothes (means and opportunity). A careful watching of the scratch L2 gave him on the cheek (a deliberate time stamp by the writers) and the bandage on his forehead (present when George Michael punches him the next morning, but conspicuously absent during his discussion with Gob, flaw? No way). Third watching of the whole show… plenty to cast the “Michael as Killer” story into doubt, not the least of which is the mysterious disappearance of the body during a brief blackout. Of course the fact that Gob forces a ForgetMeNow down Michael’s throat (and more importantly the reason that he does it) just then is PERFECT writing.
3 – Lucille and George: The Wall issue is the motive here, and Lucille has the means with the Chinese Triad Gang she was a member of, and from where she got funding. There is the insane and completely unexplained scene of the hooded strangers wearing Guy Fawkes Masks. Triads there to kill Lucille 2 on behalf of Lucille and George? (opportunity?)
4 – Tobias: When Lucille 2 finds DeBrie stoned in a pile of debris, she freaks because it will be bad for the Austerity clinic. She threatens Tobias with being sent back to prison (where was beaten with a ladle for being a child sex offender, and does NOT want to go back to prison (the point of that whole sex offender thread btw was all to establish motive for Tobias, how desperately he does not want to go back to prison). She gives him an ultimatum until Monday to fix it. He laughs maniacally. Of course there is the whole thread of making people disappear / invisible girl, subtle allusions to the manner in which L2 disappeared. Also, consider that when last we saw Tobias, he just blue himself, to play the invisible girl, and was on the boat with Marky Bark. Ron Howard made a point of how hard it was to see him. Establishing means and opportunity for Tobias.
5 – Sally Sitwell / Tony Wonder – This one is the most interesting. Several facts we know in no particular order:
Tony Wonder uses very convincing masks of himself, so that one of his gay assistants appears to be him, when in fact it is not (he was hiding in the bean bag chair).
Tony Wonder looks surprisingly like Lucille 2, especially from a distance. Same hair, build, height, etc…
Sally Sitwell, Lucille 2’s campaign manager, embezzled $100,000 from Lucille 2 to fund Tony’s transformation into a gay magician for career purposes.
Tony Wonder is Sally Sitwell’s boyfriend, and claims to be straight, while pretending to be gay, though in Gobs case, might just be a little Bi-curious.
Sally Sitwell is taking Lucille 2’s place on the ticket now that she is gone. Between the embezzlement and the political move, you have motive.
There is the bizarre mention of caterpillars and the “weird fuzzy moth in the drain”, between sally and tony. Perhaps they kidnapped Lucille, Tony has been using a Lucille 2 mask to fill in for her, and one of his gay assistants is standing in for him and was the actual one who slept with Gob. Therefore, Tony might have disappeared himself from the stairs of the stair car? Opportunity for the murder?
Either way, Tony wonder is a magician, and can make people disappear, which is the means for murdering Lucille 2.
There may be others that have a clear motive established, but I didn’t notice them that clearly on the viewing I’ve done so far. I’m sure there are. BTW, the repeat watchability of these episodes is every bit as good as the first three seasons… if not better.
So, you have a murder mystery, missing body, falsely accused Buster Bluth, and at least 4 other people / pairs with motive, means and opportunity to kill Lucille 2.
I fully expect to see a huge explosion of internet driven PR over the coming months around the question: Who killed Lucille 2? This will be the guerilla marketing engine that will make the AD Movie vastly more successful than it otherwise would be, and you will have a perfectly plotted and marketed story.
AD4 is the ultimate murder mystery setup, it’s utterly brilliant on all levels, and It ain’t over. You heard it here first.
P.S. Remember as an additional bit of proof of all the above, that Netflix took a huge gamble in shelling out that much $ to produce a whole season of a cult sitcom. The ONLY way they recoup their investment in new subscribers is to get vast numbers of new subscribers who intend to just watch AD4. I think they need more than just the existing AD fans. They are depending on the “who killed Lucille Two” hype to bring in tons of new subscribers to watch all 4 seasons of AD4, just to figure out what all the hubbub is about.