“Cryogenics/Lightning/Last Review” - Review review

  Photo: The A.V. Club (Review)

Photo: The A.V. Club (Review)

Chad White

“Cryogenics/Lightning/Last Review”
Season 3, Episode 3

Television's only show....as far as I'm concerned.

Forrest MacNeil got exactly what he deserved. Exactly. He’s alone, now; probably thinking the next phases of his life are part of some elaborate prank. He’ll be living in Grant’s garage for the foreseeable future as everyone around him moves on. In many ways, Forrest had a chance at redemption. This week’s last ever episode of Review saw him get two chances. TWO. No character has been given so many chances to redeem themselves.

The first of the final two redemptions came after the first review. Forrest was tasked to see what it was like undergo cryogenics (skin rejuvenation) to which he mistook as cryogenic freezing. It’s a simple mistake but – ignoring the environment of the office around him – Forrest goes through with it, unsure of the future state he’d wake up in. He leaves letters for his ex-wife and son, even leaving a neat little chew bone for their dog, and sets off. Forrest then falls asleep in the chamber, only to wake believing himself to be at least a century into the future. Stupefied, he walks around his town in awe of the “future” that has hoverboards (with wheels) and smartwatches. Forrest’s first inclination is to find Suzanne and Eric – just in case they want to live out the remainder of their lives with each other. He finds Josh delivering the notes and finds out he’s only been gone for 45 minutes.

It’s here that Suzanne presents Forrest with another option to get out of the review game. Prior to believing that he was going to be frozen, the way Forrest reacts to the proposition is the most human the host has appeared. He recounts the many ways that the show has tried to maim or kill him and reluctantly goes along with this asinine idea. But why go through with something that scares you? Forrest himself said earlier in the episode “I do whatever’s asked of me, no matter what it is.” It’s the saddest revelation that’s ever arisen on this show – more so than the divorce, shootings of various objects and murder combined. Forrest is trapped in his linear duty to review life. The only issue is he’s not experiencing life himself.

There have been forces in his life that try to deter him from this sadistic show. His co-host AJ has consistently been someone that suggests he doesn’t go through with the harsher reviews. Suzanne, of course, says Forrest should quit the show. She goes so far to even call into the show and suggest he review not reviewing anything. AJ responds positively saying that she’ll miss Forrest and he – chocked up and visibly happy – says he’ll miss her. Yet Forrest can’t go through with it. No matter how relieved he looks – and he looked like Zeus had taken a mountain off his shoulders – there’s always another, pestering voice to deny him happiness. Review producer Grant is the most dubious person possibly on the network. He’s a constant thorn in Forrest’s side, subtly convincing the host that giving up reviewing is the wrong thing to do. Forrest is so susceptible to the suggestion that he decides to use one of his infinite vetoes on the request. Suzanne offered him the world: the return of his son and family (which would still be broken); the chance to live his life; and the chance to be happy.

But he still couldn’t allow himself that much.

Grant’s guilt trip proves successful and Forrest finds his next review is pranking. As he waits for his inevitable prank, Forrest is given news that Review has been canceled. Thinking that itself is a prank, Forrest goes along with it because he believes everyone else is going along with it. Josh and Tina have been given paid jobs on AJ’s new travel show; Grant’s becoming VP of the network; and even Forrest’s receptionist has published three romance novels. Everyone is moving on and Forrest – inept and clueless – is staying behind.

Ending a show like Review can be incredibly difficult. Had it not been for a cagey Comedy Central, this show could’ve veered into darker territory. Our time with Forrest should be cherished; he’s one of the most memorable characters in recent comedy show history. Andy Daly and his crew did fantastic work with the character. It’s a shame he can’t be redeemed.

Should you watch Review?

Review is one of my favorite shows. I cannot recommend it enough. Through all the moments where I flinched at how dumb Forrest can be, he sure did leave a lasting impression. Review needs to be watched by anyone who says they’re a comedy fan. I give reviewing Review five stars out of five.