Santa Clarita Diet Season 1 Episode 8: How Much Vomit? Recap

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Sheila is obsessed with her little toe, and trying to reattach it. Unfortunately, she’s not very handy. The glue gun gets glue everywhere (who hasn’t had that happen?), she’s not much of a seamstress, and the toe splits like dry wood when she tries to nail it back on. We’ve all been there. A little part of something has broken off, and it seems like it should be simple to fix, but ends up a disaster. Usually the answer is duct tape.

She gives up and goes back to bed. Joel is awake and hopeful, but losing a toe is bit of a turn off for Sheila. Not that she tells Joel about her toe. She convinces him that they need to make brownies for Lisa instead.

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In the morning, they bring the brownies to Lisa, and Anne, who seems to have replaced Dan already. They tell Joel and Sheila that Loki is still alive. He’s disappeared again, after vomiting all over his motel room. Joel and Sheila visit Loki’s motel room and talk to the maid. Loki also vomited up the characteristic red organ-like ball and left behind a notebook with an address and “Must Kill” written inside.

It’s time to weapon up. The Hammonds buy everything available at whatever store they go to. Possibly Target, since it seems to be a favorite. If you are a middle-class liberal who is opposed to Wal-Mart’s business practices, you shop at Target. They both also go off list for a few personal items so that they can look their best for their first zombie kill.

They are trying on their body armor and debating which weapons to take when Abby shows up. She wants to join in on the zombie kill, and she doesn’t think Sheila looks like the Edge in her hat. I liked the hat. Abby was just being mean because they won’t let her in on the murder.

Instead, Abby decides to fix up Joel’s old motorcycle. She and Eric take it to the very sketchy illegal chop shop down the row from their storage unit. The biker who runs the chop shop, Travis, wants $1200 in payment or for Abby to sleep with him. Eric offers to help pay for the repairs using some of Dan’s illegal cash.

Loki is not out killing people. He is playing folk music in a small club, and he’s not bad. The “Must Kill” was talking about his performance. He has a drink with Joel and Sheila after his set, and tells them how becoming a member of the undead changed his life for the better. He and Sheila agree that being undead has freed them to be who they’ve always wanted to be. Joel and Loki are a little jealous of each other over Sheila. Sheila confides in Loki about her toe while Joel is away from the table, and they share other secrets about zombism.

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Abby and Eric return to the  to pick up Joel’s bike and discover that Travis has OD’d on heroin and chopped up the bike. Abby decides to bring Travis to her storage unit for her mom to eat, but the body is already too stiff to fit in the freezer. Abby has a moment of self-doubt as they’re replacing the body. Eric reminds her of how awesome she is. They find the starter for Travis’ supercool tricked out bike, and take it for a spin.

Loki texts Sheila about fixing her toe. She hides the text from Joel, who becomes more jealous and suspicious. He doesn’t like feeling that Sheila is shutting him out.

Sheila meets Loki in his van. He has a collection of feet for her to choose from, so that she can use one to replace her lost toe. But, it turns out that he was using the toe as an excuse to try to sleep with her. Sheila tells him that she won’t cheat on Joel and leaves. Loki decides to murder Joel.

When Sheila arrives home, Joel has made her an apology dinner just like the first meal he ever cooked for her. Only this time, the spaghetti and meatballs are made from 100% free range Dan. He’s set up a romantic atmosphere and reminds her of their first house sale. Sheila’s in the middle of telling Joel that Loki is no threat to him or their marriage when Loki literally busts the door down in a rage.

Joel tries to talk Loki down, and he’s really upset about the front door, but Loki won’t listen. Loki thinks he and Sheila share a bond no one else can understand. Loki brings up Sheila’s toe, and Joel gets upset, but only because he loves Sheila. Sheila smashes a realty sign over Loki’s head. Then she and Joel race upstairs and barricade themselves into their bedroom. Except, oops, the weapons aren’t in the bedroom any more since Sheila tidied up. Time for a plan B.

Sheila expresses her fears about what her toe falling off really means: That she’s going to deteriorate further, go feral, need to be put down, or die. Joel calms her down, letting her know that they’ll get through it together, just like they’ve gotten through every other scary, uncertain situation they’ve faced. Joel is the best husband ever in this episode.

Loki discovers that the barricade in front of the bedroom door has been removed, and he enters the room. It’s empty, so he goes to search the walk-in closet. In the closet, he bends down to pick up the copy of his CD that’s on the floor. Sheila and Joel leap out from either side of the closet door, and each stab him through the head, Sheila with the extra hairbrush she bought on the weapons shopping trip, and Joel with the scissors from the men’s manicure set that he picked up. Those impulse purchases came in handy after all.

Sheila can’t eat Loki, because the undead can’t eat the undead. They clean up the house and body, and Joel looks at Sheila’s missing toe. It’s not that bad. But then, her eyeball falls out of her face and hangs by a thread. Finding a cure needs to move to the top of the priority list.


 

Sheila: I know your hellos honey, and that one was pouring me a glass of wine.

Sheila: We’ve made a lot of mistakes as parents, but we’ve never taken our kid to a murder. I think we should hold firm on that.

Sheila’s physical deterioration might help with the critics who have attacked this show for portraying cannibalism. It’s been striking to see how this show has attracted so much more of that type of criticism than any other zombie show. My guess is that people who don’t really watch closely are fooled by Sheila’s ability to mask her actual condition most of the time. Her alternative food source is often hidden in socially acceptable containers, and she looks and acts okay most of the time. It’s easy to forget what’s really going on. She’s not a cannibal, she’s a zombie/member of the undead, with the equivalent of a serious chronic illness. Like many of the chronically ill, she can mask her illness when she needs to. She has an illness with a negative stigma, so it’s especially important for her to mask its signs and symptoms when in public. But she’s also getting prejudice in the opposite direction, which the disabled and chronically ill also face. To the casual observer, she doesn’t appear sick/disabled/zombified/undead enough to justify the special diet/expensive treatments/disability payments/school or workplace adaptations that her condition requires. Because if you look okay, you must be okay, right? Or, if you can pull yourself together enough to look and act okay for school or work or an appointment or activity, you can’t really be that sick. Or, if you’re not blind or in a wheel chair, then you aren’t disabled. It’s a Catch-22 situation. No one wants people to walk around complaining about how they really feel and showing their symptoms. Then you’re a Debbie Downer, weak, negative, and a whiner. Plus, medical privacy is a right that we all have. But if you put on your best face and look and act okay as much as possible, as Sheila does, then you are accused of taking advantage of the system, malingering, possibly abusing drugs (the medications prescribed for your condition), and faking symptoms as a way to get attention. You can be a cannibal who is ruining society by costing society too much to support, or you can be the whiny ill person that people are slightly repulsed by and worry they might catch something from.

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