Episode Title: "Forget the Herring"
Writers: Rachel Axler & Jonathan Ames
Director: Adam Bernstein
At the end of last week's episode of "Bored To Death," struggling novelist/freelance writer turned private investigator, Jonathan Ames (Jason Schwartzman) finally received a tip regarding the infamous Hudson sperm bank fire that claimed the records of his birth father. The caller turns out to be the beautiful Rose Hiney (Isla Fisher), a young woman who is very much like Jonathan and also searching for her father's identity.
Rose also happens to be a much better detective than Jonathan, as she's already discovered the fake name of the Hudson sperm bank owner and found the man who burned down the building, Fishman (Chris Elliott). Jonathan laments that's she's practically solved the mystery already, but Rose takes pity on him and lets him accompany her to prison for a meeting with Fishman.
Fishman initially dismisses the duo, but his latent attraction to Rose leads him to admit to the arson and to share the real name of the man who hired him, Harry Bergeron (Stacy Keach); who had the business destroyed for the insurance money. Jonathan amusingly also tries to take Fishman's hand for support, but he only has eyes for Rose. The inmate even tries to plant a kiss on Rose, which Jonathan and the guards manage to stop. Well… mostly the guards, but Jonathan does get to hug a pretty woman for the fourth or fifth time in his life.
Jonathan and Rose find Bergeron at his latest business, a hat store near Coney Island. Bergerson actually prepares to shoot them if they're insurance investigators, but he relents when they reveal their real purpose. He apologizes because all of the records were lost and he tries to pawn off some hats on them, but Jonathan insists that they refuse. However, Jonathan does leave his business card behind if Begeron remembers anything.
At the ferris wheel, Rose gives Jonathan an opening to kiss her… which she has to explain because he completely missed it. Hours later, they sleep together in his apartment and he misses yet another cue when she wants to go again. She openly wonders how he ever solved any mysteries before meeting her… and yet Rose seems open to teaming up with Jonathan on a permanent basis because she needs a sidekick. Yes… it seems that Jonathan has finally found the perfect girl.
A little too perfect, wouldn't you say?
Hours later, Jonathan gets a call from Bergeron asking to meet him at the aquarium with short notice. The older man tells him that he was moved to see Jonathan and Rose looking for their sperm doner fathers. And Bergeron reveals that there were no records lost because there was only one doner, himself. He embraces Jonathan as his son, who just realizes that he slept with his own sister.
Congratulations, HBO! You may be the first network to prominently feature incest in three programs this year: The Lannister siblings in "Game of Thrones," Bill Compton and his great-great-granddaughter on "True Blood" and now Jonathan and Rose on "Bored To Death." Keep a spot on that shelf for another Peabody Award!
I did guess earlier in the episode that Jonathan and Rose would be related, because she was so much better at being Jonathan than he is. Bergeron as their father was a slight surprise, but fitting. Still it would have been nice if the best girlfriend that Jonathan has ever had wasn't his sister.
Meanwhile, Jonathan's friend and mentor, George Christopher (Ted Danson) is despondent over his estrangement from his daughter, Emily (Halley Feiffer) and her much older husband-to-be Bernard (David Rasche), especially when the couple skips his performance as Don Quixote singing To Dream The Impossible Dream from "Man of La Mancha." Danson looked particularly hilarious in his Don Quixote costume.
But suffering from a broken heart, George leaves mid-performance to ride off on his stick horse. The visual of George as Don Quixote dramatically emerging from the fog on the streets of New York was amazingly well done. George proceeds to serenade his daughter with the song and she accepts him back into her life.
Perennial loser, Ray Hueston (Zach Galifianakis) actually gets a great comedic moment of his own when he almost takes over the performance of George's song. But Ray is also overcome by emotion (and pot cookies) as he races out of the building like Sancho Panza on his own romantic quest.
Ray runs home to Leah (Heather Burns) and he confesses to suppressing the pain of their breakup. Leah seems to appreciate the gesture, but she also makes sure that he understands that they will remain apart because they end up making each other unhappy. Amazingly, Ray seems to accept this with more dignity than he usually has as he tells her goodbye.
Despite that one moment of humanity, Ray was still at his unfunny dickish heights earlier in the episode when he bossed George around like he was a small child and then protested that he was being infantilized. I don't know why Ray was so surprised by that. He's such a big baby that he should be wearing adult diapers decades ahead of schedule.
But I can't say that the episode wasn't satisfying. The other plotlines for the season seem like they've been dealt with. All that's left is to see how Jonathan breaks the news to his sister and what mayhem will ensue.
Crave Online Rating: 8 out of 10.