Good evening, ladies and germs! Welcome to another Season 2 recap of Schmigadoon! In the Season 2 premiere, Josh (Keegan-Michael Key) and Melissa (Cecily Strong) learned that no matter how much you might want to, you can never return to Schmigadoon. However, if you go looking for it, you may accidentally find yourselves in Schmicago, which might not be a place you wanna be.
In just the first episode, our darling Josh was arrested for the murder of Elsie Vale (Justine Gera) — which he didn’t commit (uh-oh!) — and carted off to jail!
But before we start the main event, remember to silence your phones and that this recap is chock full of spoilers. Proceed at your own risk.
In S02E02, “Bustin’ Out,” the title sequence starts as usual, but then a “Schmicago” marquee knocks the “Schmigadoon!” title card out of place, and the rest of the title sequence gets slightly modernized. This episode is written by Jonathan Tolins and directed by Alice Mathias.
We open with The Narrator (Tituss Burgess) and a bunch of harmonizing incarcerated extras. As we learn, “Joshie’s rotting in jail.” “Joshie” reiterates his innocence, but The Narrator knows that doesn’t matter in Schmicago. Luckily, an unexpected friend has arrived by way of Topher (Aaron Tveit).
Before we move on, Burgess is seriously impressive. The seemingly small things he does with his eye rolls, gestures and minute shifts in vocal tone emit volumes. It’s so much fun!
Back to Topher, I guess. Sergeant Rivera (Jaime Camil) has arrested this flower child for unlawful assembly. It’s OK, though; Topher loves him anyway. Topher, who has walked straight off the set of Hair, loves everyone and believes in everyone’s innocence.
But, like the overprivileged white manchild Topher is, he doesn’t really care about Josh’s or anyone else’s woes. He launches into a song about finding his purpose (that little flame!). He just wants to know when he “will see [his] doorway to where,” man. Josh and I? We’re not impressed by this fool.
Although … Topher does promise Josh he’s gonna make it his mission to get Josh on the Happiness Bus. Is that a real thing? Or is it a cannabis-fueled allusion? Will love be enough to save Josh from the electric chair?
Speaking of, Melissa is working on saving her hubby right then. She shows up at Bobbie Flanagan’s (Jane Krakowski)’s, aka “the Lady Lawyer,” office. Bobbie knows all about Josh’s case, but she needs a retainer before she takes it on. Luckily, the land of Schmicago doesn’t run on IRL prices, so they’re good to go when Melissa hands over a 20.
Bobbie launches into her life story. She’s got good credentials and a shady reputation. If it wasn’t obvious, Schmicago is partially running a gender-flipped version of Chicago, which I am here for. That said, I’ll admit that it makes me queasy to see Josh, a Black man, in jail, and it makes me much more uncomfortable than it would to see Melissa, a white woman, there. But if that means we’ll get an alt-male “Cell Block Tango”?
Anyway, Bobbie doesn’t seem to believe (nor care) whether Josh is guilty. However, she suggests Melissa get a job at the Kratt Klub to find clues to prove his innocence; or, rather, find the real murderer.
At the Klub, Madam Frau (Ann Harada) is holding auditions and berating her auditioners while doing so. Sargeant Rivera and Octavius Kratt (Patrick Page) are also present. With a “fünf sechs sieben acht,” they start. And they are good. They then launch into a spoof of “I Hope I Get It” from A Chorus Line that’s perhaps a little rawer. These performers need to “get it,” or they won’t have food on the table, they won’t be able to keep their kids.
Melissa arrives and joins. To put it kindly, she is not good. No matter; the ability to dance isn’t the only thing that concerns Madam Frau: She wants to know why the auditioners are there. The stories are about being children of divorce, abusing alcohol from a young age, and growing up in Buffalo. Melissa sings about her difficulties conceiving. Comedy is always better with a dose of pain, so there’s that. But oof.
There’s no way Melissa is gonna beat the other auditioners, so she literally knocks them down. But she was always gonna get the job anyway because of Kratt’s Krush on her.
Back at County Jail, Topher is rhyming about how awful his hair is (he’s even made a sock puppet with a matching fro). But never mind, because here comes Bobbie (baby). The other incarcerated fellas beg her to get them off (“on technicalities”), but she only has cash for Josh. Bobbie tells him if he does exactly as she says, he’ll be free in no time. He’s only got an hour to prepare for his press conference.
Over at the Klub, Madam Frau gives Melissa the grand tour, tells her the dead gal’s dressing room is off-limits, and hands her some rouge for her knees. Also, Jenny Banks (Dove Cameron) is still overcaffeinated and, in her babbling, asks Melissa to move in now that her roomie is dead.
Press conference! At first, Josh goes along with Bobbie’s plan of taking the blame for Elsie Vale’s murder and blaming jazz for his crime. But he cannot do it. Of course, when he tries to retract his guilt, the press takes his comments out of context, making Josh seem extremely suss. The Narrator watches it all, cackling.
Melissa visits Josh later to tell him some good news — she got the job! He’s happy for her, but um, task, hand? He tells her that he flubbed the press conference and wonders if he could actually die in Shmicago. The Narrator pops in with a bucket of popcorn and a big ole “definitely.”
Even more determined to free her hubby, Melissa returns to her flat — err, “den of iniquity” — with Jenny. The place is filled with flowers Jenny has received from Kratt. Because now that Elsie’s dead, she’s the creep’s new fave. But Jenny’s no dummy; she’s only doing what she needs to survive.
Sargeant Rivera enters the flat to inform Jenny that she’s wanted for dinner and ought to wear this skimpy outfit; thanks. While Jenny changes, Melissa tries to interrogate the Sargeant, but he doesn’t bite, just threatens.
Melissa begins her investigation with everyone out of the flat, though she is quickly distracted by a feather boa. This leads to her dance number that night. Sh, Jenny and the Emcee (Ariana DeBose) are chained together, singing a song called “Bustin’ Out.”
Meanwhile, at the County Jail, it turns out the Happiness Bus is a real bus. Topher, the Narrator and all the other incarcerated buddies cheer Josh on — c’mon, dude, don’t put your faith in The Man! So, he busts out. After which, The Narrator gives us a knowing look.
Backstage after Melissa’s performance, the whole gaggle of gals is celebrating, and because she did so well, Madam Frau gives Melissa her (Elsie’s) own dressing room. As she starts snooping around, she picks up a box of chocolates that Kratt had in his hands last episode, though she doesn’t seem to realize it. What Melissa does take note of, however, is an address in a notebook: 17 Quick Street. Jenny tells her to stay away from Quick Street.
This episode ends on a reprise of “Doorway to Where,” with Josh plus The Hippies in the Happiness Bus, with The Narrator looking on in disgust.
Woo! That was another solid showing for Schmigadoon! Season 2. I’m thrilled with where this season is headed and love all the music so far. What do y’all think?
In which I call out some of my favorite lines or small pieces from each week’s episode.
- Josh: “Aren’t you omniscient?”
- The Narrator: “Am I? Who knows?”
- Josh: “You!”
- Sargeant Rivera: ” ‘Peace and love, peace and love’! How ’bout ‘shut and up?'”
- Bobbie: “It’s not like we expect to be judges. We’re not crazy! Except right before our monthlies,” she says with a wink.”
- Bobbie: “Bobbie doesn’t dwell on the past. Bobbie stays in the present tense, third person.”
- Melissa & Josh: “This is not about you, Topher.”
- Melissa: “Yeah, everyone’s going to miss Elisie so much.”
- Sargeant Rivera: “Yes, I’ve seen you dance.”
New episodes of Schmigadoon! premiere Wednesdays on Apple TV+.
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