Key & Peele
“The 420 Special”
Season 5, Episode 9
From the eternal! From within!
“Change is coming” a young monk boy spouted as he quickly flashed on screen following one of the more strange and unfunny sketches of the show’s history. Week in and week out, we are reminded that Key & Peele would be ending soon. As the final episode draws closer, the segments and vignettes get more real. There’s a sense of finality that I do feel. Perhaps the show will end with some sort of epilogue, something not expected from a sketch series. Shows like this usually don’t have big finales…they just sort of end. Like many Disney, Nickelodeon and Cartoon Network shows, Key & Peele would just have a regular episode in place of a final one if it had come on years ago. But now, we need closure. Comedy Central is allowing the guys to take a journey – to some place we will find out by the end – and do their sketch series justice. Meta commentary drips in from last week’s show as the beginning, middle and end of the episode each contain a Neil DeGrasse Tyson based sketch.
Peele plays the scientist as he tries to get out of trouble with his wife. He uses his backwards way of talking from Cosmos to confuse his wife played by Key. Long, drawn out drifts through his excuses are the joke here and they work well. Actually, it’s the only good thing about the entire episode really. Sadly, this episode is like the one from a few weeks ago wherein both lack in the laughter department, both big and small. The first sketch is a prime example. It’s has Key interviewing for a state attorney’s job and Peele being the boss. As Peele discusses the duty the job entails, Key gets distracted by the jar of marbles – yes marbles, not candy – on his desk. He tries to eat them and Peele tells him to stop but the glass balls continue to call his name. It’s odd and unsatisfying, leaving the joke to be desired. It’s the type of sketch that usually ends up on the writer’s room floor yet somehow it made it here. Peele continues to play the power position in the next sketch as a man getting sized for a suit by tailor Key.
The tailor hears strange noises from Peele’s crotch which turn into screams of darkness. Then he farts. It’s a lot of build up for no pay off. That is except for the following thirty seconds involving the aforementioned monk boy say the lines “change is coming.” Way to bury a prophetic message in a fart joke, guys. The valets make their second appearance this season talking about Game of Thrones. Their joyful, exuberant explanations continue to be delightful. The sales call sketch is decent in itself as Peele plays a nonchalant telemarketer and Key plays his unsuspecting victim. Peele uses reverse psychology in order to get Key to purchase a vacation package. And then the episode ends with a third Neil DeGrasse Tyson sketch. This one is all inclusive as it harkens back to an earlier mid sketch vignette. Plus, Peele does this slow turn that is just magical.
Should you watch “The 420 Special?”
While the longer sketches are nothing to write home about, the shorter Neil DeGrasse Tyson ones are funny. What does it mean when they bookend the episode with them? I have no clue but perhaps they’re becoming more cosmically attuned for a reason. There are only one or two episodes left. Buckle up for a weird ride.