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The Untethered Sole

"The Untethered Sole"
Directors: Troy Miller — Writer: Chris Marrs — Aired: March 15, 2019 — Icon-image      

"The Untethered Sole" is the thirteenth episode of Arrested Development's fifth season.


In 1982, the Bluths are at the beach cottage as Lucille spreads suntan lotion over young Buster. George tells the kids they need to compete in the family pageant for Mr and Mrs. Bluth 1982. George and Lucille are the judges, and this year they will take themselves out of the running, so the kids better try hard to win. Gob's talent has previously always been pushups. As the kids go outside, Lucille puts on Buster's "gentleman collar" a leash in the form of a yellow bowtie. It goes only to the porch of the beach cottage. Young Michael finally arrives from the banana stand, after covering Gob's shift, and he spent the pay on a magic kit. He bought it for the talent part of the family pageant. Gob calls it a gay magic kit and later says it's for girls. Mother has made Buster a friend in the form of a yellow volleyball with a leash, which he has named Lucille Ball. Lindsay worries that Mom is ruining them, but Buster insists that they're normal. They treat him like a dog while he's on the leash. Michael goes to change into his swimsuit, while Gob plots to let Buster swim in the ocean. The only time Mom lets him wear a swimsuit without the collar is during the family pageant. Gob also predicts that Michael's magic dove will die and return from whence it came.

In 2015, the Bluths gather at the jail after Buster's arrest; only George, Lucille, Gob and Tobias are sitting in the waiting room. On eyewitness news, John Beard describes how Buster was caught on video throwing the body off the staircar, when an eagle-eyed viewer saw it behind a weather graphic. Michael and Barry return with the bad news that Buster is charged with first degree murder. (The good news is that Barry's sentence was reduced, but he cannot be around people younger than 25.) Lucille complains that the police don't even have a body. Michael says they have Buster's fingerprints and Lucille Austero's blood all over the staircar.

The narrator recaps how George Michael and Maeby drove the staircar to Mexico, then abandoned it. Later Oscar found it and hid it while living in the old Father B sweat lodge; when Barry let slip that Buster was in jail, Oscar drove the staircar back to the US to break Buster out at the parade. (Even though Barry had told him that the staircar was key to keeping Buster in jail.) Gob then told Buster to make the body bag disappear and Oscar abandoned Buster at the police station. He left the staircar in the parking spot of the evidence supervisor Eddie Cantrow.

Gob asks Michael if Buster has confessed what he dumped off the staircar and where he got it, but Barry says he told Buster to say nothing and keep a poker face. Buster does his mannequin pose for his mug shot. Gob says that Mom had Buster on a leash until he was six, and Michael also blames Lucille for raising him poorly, but Lucille acts like Lupe was the one who raised Buster, along with her own kids. Michael says no one should say anything publicly, even though they're all talking right there in front of other people in the waiting room. Michael says it's going to be a media circus, and Tobias wants to be ringmaster. Tobias, his son, and Debrie are still living with Maeby at the Spotted Palm like a Golden Girls parody, but it's actually tense because they've been fighting over Maeby's stolen pain medication.

At the jail, Tobias paints Buster sympathetically as a Iraq war vet suffering from PTSD, so Lucille hires him to speak for Buster. She and George complain that Michael has been screwing up everything lately. Michael insists that they need to hire Buster a criminal lawyer, and Barry informs them that he's been disbarred. He suggests hiring a prestigious law firm called the Guilty Guys, who also have a Netflix reality show. George says they don't have the money for expensive lawyers, and Lucille says when they sell Fakeblock, they'll have to give the money to the Chinese investors, and build the border wall. She got a recent message from them, which she thinks is a threat to their feet. Michael suggests selling the beach house, but they coldly reject this option.

At the Bluth Company, George Michael delivers a package to Michael who pressures him to finish the software. Michael hired the Guilty Guys despite the lack of money, and after a week they've already spent $7000 of money. Michael hints that George Michael needs to get Rebel Alley to invest. When George Michael told Rebel that he sold the company she was upset, saying even her dad was going to invest. She says he doesn't trust her and breaks up with him "a little."

Michael opens the package, which has Chinese writing on it, and it contains a foot wrapped in plastic. Michael worries that Lucille was right about the Chinese threatening them. Without showing the package, he sends George Michael to work on the software. Two days later on Thursday, Michael gathers reporters at Sudden Valley for an announcement about the border wall. Inside the model home, Gob calls Adhir and complains during Michael's speech. Michael announces that the Bluth Company bought Fakeblock and will integrate its privacy tecnnology into their prototype wall. George Michael is upset, and Gob interrupts the groundbreaking with a bulldozer. As president of Fakeblock, he announces that he's building the wall and it will be done in two weeks.

George and Lucille are glad to placate the Chinese, and hope the software will make money within the month. George Michael confronts his father about using Fakeblock for the wall, and Michael says they need it ready in a month. George Michael fires his dad, then Michael fires Adhir.

On the next AD, Buster's mug shot is featured in 2015 memes. The Guilty Guys clear Uncle Jack as a suspect, even though he's been dead for two years.




  • Kevin Dorff as Eddie Evidence Guy
  • Bernardo Pena as Booking Cop
  • Jessica St. Clair as Anita Bramwell
  • Bashir Salahuddin as David "G-Man" Barnes
  • BJ Bales as Jack Griffin
  • Todd Aaron Brotze as Garrison "Harvard" Sweet
  • Monnae Michaell as Shara Winfield

Recurring themes[]

On the next Arrested Development...[]

  • "Buster becomes on of 2015's biggest memes. And the Guilty Guys have another breakthrough in the case as they clear a man who had died two years earlier."


  • Cast Away - The Lucille Ball has a red face on it, similar to the Wilson volleyball in the 2000 Tom Hanks film Cast Away.
  • Golden Girls - An instrumental version of the theme song plays over the footage at Maeby's retirement village and Tobias' family arguing there.
  • Lucille Ball - Buster calls the ball with a face this, although it is a reference to his mother Lucille buying the ball for him and not to the actress Lucille Ball.
  • The Young Lawyers - The Guilty Guys are inspired by this TV show, mostly the opening scene

Callbacks/Running Jokes[]

  • "Are those police boats?" - In the model home, G.O.B. says "Are those police- TV cameras?" In "Pilot" and "Development Arrested", he says police boats.
  • Avoid the sun - Lucille wants young Buster to avoid the sun and is upset when Michael lets him go in the sun in "Bringing Up Buster".
  • Banana stand - Young Michael has been working there that summer.
  • Bees - Adhir mentions the parable of the honeybee.
  • Clapping - George Sr. is the only person to clap at one point during Michael's speech and in "Prison Break-In", only G.O.B. claps when he appears in the video.
  • Evidence Guy - Earlier in Season 5, he complains that his parking spot is a mile away from where he works. The narrator tells us, in this episode, that is took a long time to get a new parking spot where he "didn't have to walk, like, a mile from."
  • Firing family - Lucille wants to fire family members and George Michael fires Michael from Fakeblock. George Michael also fired Maeby from Fakeblock in "Senoritis" and George Sr. fired G.O.B. after the colony collapse in "Double Crossers".
  • From whence it came - Young G.O.B. says "It (the bird) will go back to... whence it came".
  • George Michael tries to talk to Michael - George Michael wants to tell Michael that Fakeblock is fake but Michael dimisses him, as he does in Season 3 when George Michael wants to talk about his feelings for Maeby.
  • Glass table - Tobias threatens to push Murphybrown's head through a glass table, which is what happened to Tobias as Mrs. Featherbottom in "Meat the Veals".
  • G.O.B. stuttering - G.O.B. stutters which we first see him do in "Afternoon Delight".
  • Lupe - Lucille tells Michael not to blame Lupe for Buster's bad behavior. This is possibly a reference to when Buster joined her family in "¡Amigos!"
  • Practice Kisses - Mark Cherry's song plays over the montage of memes based on Buster.
  • Stick it to - George says he wants to "stick it to" Lucille, which is a phrase we first heard in "Burning Love".
  • Sugarfoot - After Michael has opened the package with the foot, and told George Michael to get back to work on Fakeblock, the Sugarfoot music plays.
  • Two full weeks - G.O.B. wants to unveil the wall in two weeks, similar to when he wanted to build a house in two weeks in "The One Where They Build a House".
  • - When the attorneys are working on Lucille 2's case on the board there's a press of the opening page of Oscar's website

Hidden/Background Jokes[]

  • Seal - The gentleman collar looks like a yellow bow tie, like the one on the seal who bit off Buster's hand.
  • Trump University - Buster's graduation photo is shown in the news. It looks similar to G.O.B.'s photo from "Unexpected Company".
  • Magic Kit - In the Magic Kit that Michael is holding in the 1982 sequence, there's written "Feel the wonder inside you," something that Gob will do at the end of season 4.
    • The Eric Axel man on the kit also looks like Mitch Hurwitz.
  • KFAK Eyewitness News - At the bottom border of the tv there's written "WHY IS LIBERAL REP. SITWELL ANTI-WIND?" referring to her Alopecia
  • See something, say something - John Beard says "... who saw something and said something" referring to the viewer who saw buster in the staircar. Later on we see a poster that says "IF YOU SEE SOMETHING, SAY SOMETHING"
  • Season Five Part 2 Original Release - Lucille says "Are we already talking about Christmas layoffs?", referencing the original date release of Season Five Part 2
  • Tracy - During the "flashback" Gob says the bird Michael plans on using for his illusion will die. This is a reference to Tracy's death, since the word "bird" is a British slang for an attractive woman.
  • Guilty Guy's research
    • On the board, George and Lucille are connected to Ann Veal, Michael, Lindsay, and Buster, which implies that they think Ann is their child.
    • George Michael listed as Michael's son but, in the next shot, is by himself, unconnected to anyone else on the board.
    • Tobias is married to Lindsay and there is a line from them to Maeby, and one from Tobias to Murphybrown.
    • Murphybrown's photo is actually of the actress Candice Bergen, who played the TV character Murphy Brown.
    • Lindsay has a note above her name which says "Adopted?"
    • There is a question mark on the connection from Buster to his parents, showing they are unsure whether George or Oscar is his father.
    • Lucille 2 and Barry are also on the board.
    • lnterestingly, Ann also has a connection to Steve Holt.
    • A timeline says Cinco began at 7pm and 8:57(?)pm "Buster speaks with Lucille Austero".
    • In the "On the next..." section, G.O.B.'s photo has taken the place of Ann Veal's which may explain why her photo was connected to Steve Holt's earlier as he is G.O.B.'s son.
  • A miniature stair car can be see in the Guilty Guy's model, as well as the "Cinco de Cuatro" sign from Season 4.

Foreshadowing/Future References[]

  • A magic poster in the Fakeblock offices looks like Gob in the same pose as the guy on the magic kit.
  • Barry recommends hiring the Guilty Guys if you are guilty.
  • The foot Michael receives is revealed, in "The Fallout", to be a fake that Buster ordered, although he actually wanted a fake hand.


  • Lindsay appears only in a photo in this episode
  • Lucille refers to Lupe raising the Bluth kids, but she was hired in season 1. Actually Rosa was the maid/housekeeper who raised the kids in the 1980s. Rosa accidentally got Buster's pet bird killed, and Michael once said that Lucille was happy when she found out Rosa could breastfeed Buster.
  • Gob apparently stole magic as a talent from Michael, who in the future always makes fun of Gob for being a magician. Previously in season 4, Gob told Tony Wonder that he did magic to get out of gym. Maybe he always did push ups at the gym.

Promotional Photos[]

External Links[]


1. "Family Leave"
2. "Self-Deportation"
3. "Everyone Gets Atrophy"
4. "An Old Start"
5. "Sinking Feelings"
6. "Emotional Baggage"

7. "Rom-Traum"
8. "Premature Independence"
9. "Unexpected Company"
10. "Taste Makers"
11. "Chain Migration"
12. "Check Mates"

13. "The Untethered Sole"
14. "Saving for Arraignment Day"
15. "Courting Disasters"
16. "The Fallout"

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