It’s time for another Schmigadoon! recap! Last week on Schmigadoon!, after some ill-planned matchmaking courtesy of Josh (Keegan-Michael Key) and Melissa (Cecily Strong), Ms. Codwell (Kristin Chenoweth) and Dooley Blight (Alan Cumming) baked up a plan of which Sweeney Todd himself would be proud. Elsewhere, Topher (Aaron Tveit) finally found his “doorway to where” — Jenny (Dove Cameron) ‘s pants.
And thus begins Season 2 Episode 5, “Famous as Hell,” written by Josh Lieb and directed by Robert Luketic. But before we start the main event, remember to silence your phones and that this recap is full of spoilers. Proceed at your own risk.
We open with Ms. Codwell yelling at her orphans to EAT! and The Narrator (Tituss Burgess) really chewing on that Cockney accent as he imitates her. He then screams about a cleaver being hungry for meat as he stands before a drawing of an “Orfan.”
Next, it’s time for Melissa to go on stage to perform. Josh is sure she’s going to be great. Madame Zhenshchina-Frau (Ann Harada) — that accent! — is sarcastically happy that Melissa is back. But Jenny’s missing, and she’s gotta replace her as the star.
On stage, Melissa sings, “Maybe it’s [her] turn now” for the spotlight. In other words, “Maybe This Time.” If I haven’t mentioned it before, I’ll do so now: Cecily Strong has a lovely voice. Josh thinks so. He’s not the only one who’s transfixed. Octavius Krat (Patrick Page) and his nephew, Sergeant Rivera (Jaime Camil), are intriguèd.
Then, Josh exits the Krat Klub onto Llyod Street, whistling Melissa’s song. Ruh-roh; he’s got some followers. Leading the pack of the Tribe are Michael (Michael Delleva), Marisa (Marisa Gold) and Alex (Alex Gullason). They want to know what’s up.
These adults are lost without a leader. Poor Marisa has stepped on glass and is just walking around, all hurt. Josh steps into doctor mode to help. When Josh learns that Topher no longer has time for his groupies, he tries to explain the fundamental concepts of new love (youth + sexiness = longer limerence). At which Alex stands in awe of his wisdom. Our Joshie just found himself a cult to lead!
His fate is further sealed when The Narrator pops in to call Josh’s fixing Marisa’s foot “a miracle.” Michael cries that if Josh tells them what to do, they’ll do it. He finally agrees to help them.
The Narrator arrives again. He now smirks — there’s a danger in becoming “Famous as Hell.” Where will this lead? Not only are there multiple dangers inherent in being a real-world celebrity, but the stakes are higher in the world of Schmicago. It turns out Jenny wasn’t enough for Topher, and he’s angry that Josh has stolen his other doorway. Meanwhile, Jenny seethes that she and Melissa are “Kaput” because the latter has stolen the spotlight.
More concerningly, Codwell, Blight and Kratt are still planning their respective murders. And Karin Konoval is still amen’ing it all with her “I’ll drink that that!” As the Narrator listens to all this, he stirs a martini, reminiscent of all the 💩 he’s stirred up with his meddling.
The Tribe sings, “Hey, Josh, give me your feet to anoint and your head to wash.” While at the Kratt Klub, as Kratt does the best half-assed handwave dancing I’ve ever seen, they sing, “Hey, hey, Mel, looking swell. How does it feel to be famous as hell?”
After the number, Mel and Josh share a comped hot dog and discuss whether they’ve created enough good to get the heck out of dodge (“ending comma happy”). Everyone should love them, right? It seems the only thing they haven’t done is bring the law down on Kratt for murdering Elsie (Justine Gera).
They return to the apartment where they’ve been staying, but Josh and Mel are no longer welcome guests in Jenny’s flat. Before she can kick them out, Topher needs a chance to sing about how Josh is a “sour, dour macaro(o)n.”
Ms. Codwell is delighted to take the two New York doctors in for a bit, especially since she’ll soon have some rooms opening up. That gives Josh pause. Any questions will have to be saved for later, though, because the orphans have a gift for Ms. Codwell: a box with a ribbon! The ribbon is the gift. And she loves it.
The clueless husband and wife duo visit Dooley next door, and he couldn’t give two farts that they’re staying with Codwell. He’s too busy sharpening his knives. Cumming does some great face-acting here when they quiz him about why he needs knives if he doesn’t have a new meat supplier.
Later that night, Josh is probing Melissa. He wants to know why she’s not concerned about the Codwell-Blight situation. She wants to sleep because she’s got 12 shows the following day, but Josh insists they investigate.
So, to Dooley’s butcher shop they go. Mel doesn’t take things seriously until they find the man’s chalkboard detailing the “orfans'” weights and how many sausages they’d make. Just as they’re freaking out for their part in the deadly scheme, Codwell and Dooley catch them.
But instead of murdering our dear friends, they just serve them tea. They were never going to hurt them — it’s not like they’re orphans. Next, Melissa gets irritatingly patronizing when she tells Dooley that he can’t kill children for slaughter. Like, yes, but also, that’s not how you talk to people. I wonder if her patients complain about her bedside manner.
Josh correctly figures out that Dooley is playing Sweeney Todd, using the orphans as a substitute for his blood lust for Kratt. So, he offers up a deal — Melissa will get close to Kratt for Dooley. Melissa doesn’t want to deliver Kratt on a silver platter because, apparently, his life is worth more than the orphaned children of color in Codwell’s care? Well, hello, Corporate America! Melissa gets over it by convincing herself that maybe Dooley won’t actually kill Kratt.
Codwell and Blight agree not to kill the kids in exchange for Kratt. Ugh. Chenoweth and Cumming are perfection in these roles. I previously said I want to see Cumming as Todd, but how about Chenoweth as Mrs. Lovett in a revival as well?
At the Kratt Klub, Sergeant Rivera gets a drink from Mrs. Frau, but really, he wants to commiserate about his awful uncle. It seems both have sold their souls to have what they have. Oh, and warning us about a twist that’s coming.
As they sing, Melissa and Josh arrive at the club. Melissa is nervous about executing the plan. So she flirts with Kratt, the man who has sent her poems about her feet. She has something special for him in her dressing room, and he won’t be sorry if he follows her, she says. He’s incapable of feeling remorse, he says.
He kidnaps Mel.
And Sergeant Rivera kidnaps Josh.
Dooley runs out of the Klub, his thirst for revenge not even slightly slated.
Alex has seen all of this.
Meanwhile, in Kratt’s car, Melissa asks what’s going on. Surprise! They’re getting married — or else, Joshie’s getting shot. As The Narrator says, closing the episode, “There’s always a twist.”
After last week’s slightly lackluster episode, this was another joyous outing. The performances, in particular, were on point. I cannot believe next week is the Schmigadoon! Season 2 finale! We’ll see you here for the recap!
And now, here are some of the best lines or small pieces from this week’s episode:
- Made Frau: (deadpan, lifeless) “I am ecstatic.”
- Marisa: I was trying to hug a butterfly.
- Josh: Oh, don’t do that. They don’t like it.
- Michael: “See. I didn’t know that. I’m stupid.”
- Alex: “So stupid.”
- Marisa: “Please!”
- Alex: “Please help us. “
- Marisa: “We’re so lost.”
- Michael: “I have drugs!”
- The Narrator: “Melissa, how does it feel to be their fantasy?”
- Melissa: “It feels great!”
- The Narrator: “It was a rhetorical question!”
- The Narrator: “Can you live up to all they want you to be?”
- Josh: “Was that also a rhetorical que — “
- The Narrator: (popping up next to Josh): “Yessss. Yes, it is another damn rhetorical question.”
- Melissa: “I feel like I’m on the cover of a Nancy Drew book.”
- Dooley: “God made them meat. I’m just making them into sausage.”
New episodes of Schmigadoon! premiere Wednesdays on Apple TV+.