“A Small Step for Manly” follows Wray Nerely (Alan Tudyk) on the commercial set for Astro Puffs cereal. While the actor has been fighting against doing a commercial, Wray’s finally given in. The tv ad seems to be the only thing standing between Wray and his project of choice: Doctor, Cop, Lawyer. Episode 4 of Con Man features a lot of strong character development. “A Small Step for Manly” is yet another solid entry into Con Man season two.
The episode has two notable cameos. First, Battlestar Galactica alum Tahmoh Penikett appears as stunt coordinator, Randy Lane. Castle alum John Huertas also co-stars as future Doctor, Cop, Lawyer director Diego Alfonso. Both men previously cut their teeth on much darker subject matter (especially Penikett), and both seem to be enjoying themselves immensely. A highlight of the episode occurs during a safety meeting for the commercial shoot. Wray, who’s feeling a bit insecure in the shadow of the physically imposing Randy, shows off a tiny scar he received on Spectrum. However, Randy one ups him. He lifts his shirt, showing off a scar he receved doubling for Levar Burton on Reading Rainbow. As the startled crew turns away, Wray exclaims “I can see you digesting!”.
Much of this episode hangs on the performance of Alan Tudyk. As a performer, Tudyk always brings a sense of honesty to his roles. From Wash in Firely, to Wray Nerely, and even his extensive voice work, Tudyk always brings a relatable depth to his characters. While it’s been present all season, this aspect of Tudyk’s star persona is particularly important in this episode. It builds from the little moments. While Wray walks down a hallway in his space suit, very much in an homage to The Right Stuff, he stumbles, nearly dropping his helmet. Later, as he enters the studio to Bobbie’s thunderous applause, no one else notices him. It’s in these little, but relatable moments where Tudyk shines as an actor. He brings an honest realism to Wray. As such, the humor of Con Man is reliant on this aspect of the character’s personality.
“A Small Step for Manly” is a fun episode, pitting Wray Nerely against the rest of the world. It doesn’t matter how hard Nerely tries, there’s always something standing between him and his ultimate goal.
New episodes of Con Man drop every Thursday on Comic Con HQ.
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