Now that Sheila’s feeling more like herself, it’s time for the Hammonds to try to return to their normal lives, starting with getting their careers back on track. There are also a few loose ends to tidy up from the whole “becoming a flesh-eating zombie/finding a cure” odyssey, but nothing that the family can’t handle.
This episode finds the Hammonds dealing with relatable issues, like trying to beat out the underhanded competition at work, figuring out the best microwave setting for an unusual item, trying out a new exercise routine, and having to redo a chore they thought they were done with. It’s all taken care of with the family’s usual good humor, and hardly anyone gets eaten. Plus there’s an adorable dog.
The episode picks up the morning after episode 1’s sleepover in the basement. Joel wakes up to find Sheila on top of him in bed, staring at him and panting hard. He’s confused. Sheila’ tells him that she was waiting for him to wake up, because she needs to go out, but she thought it would be weird after everything that’s happened if she was just gone when he woke up, so she’s been waiting. That’s a lot for Joel to process moments after becoming conscious. Abby wakes up, too. Sheila kisses Joel and says goodbye, then runs upstairs. Abby and Joel call after her to suggest that maybe she’s not in the right frame of mind to go out on her own yet, but she’s already gone. They bicker over who should have stopped her.
Sheila goes running. She chases a bunny out into the desert, hurtling over bushes as she goes. She catches it, gives it a bunny pep talk, then lets it go so that she can chase it again.
Back at home, Sheila explains her new exercise regimen to Joel and Abby. Chasing rabbits is scratching the hunting itch. She doesn’t even have to kill and eat them for it to work. Abby takes the news in stride. Joel worries about what the neighbors will think of her running through the streets like a coyote in yoga pants. He suggests they get her a treadmill, and hang up a toy on a string over it for her to chase. Whoa, bad husband.
Sheila: Well, make up your mind, . Am I a coyote in yoga pants, or a greyhound at a racetrack?
Abby: He’s thinking. He’s thinking. He knows he screwed up. And he’s going with…
Joel: You are my beautiful wife. [To Abby] Nailed it. Don’t come at me with that weak tea.
Abby: I love you very much.
Joel: What’s that supposed to mean?
Sheila: She’s trying to get in your head. Don’t listen to her.
Sheila’s still full of energy, despite her run. She’s wants to go confront their boss and insist that he let them work on the big housing development that’s going up nearby. She’s ready to take their lives and careers to the next level. Joel just wants to keep everyone out of jail, build some nice cherry wood book shelves, and maybe eat an apple or some brie every once in a while. Maybe return some of his zombie fighting weapons to their original purposes.
Sheila decides that she’ll go talk to Carl (Andy Richtor), their boss, on her own. Joel, fearing that Sheila will rip out Carl’s vocal chords and feed them to him if they disagree, decides to go with her after all.
On his way to the car, Joel runs into Lisa and Anne, who are still in the flirtatious honeymoon stage. They all pretend to worry about Dan, Lisa’s missing, abusive husband and Anne’s police partner. Lisa and Anne soon return to flirting.
Lisa: You know what they say. When God closes a door, he always opens a window. With a breathtaking view.
Anne: Don’t you start. We’re still praying for Dan.
Lisa: She loves God.
Anne: He blesses everything we do.
Lisa: Well, he sure made you his instrument.
Anne is ready to turn serious now, as she questions Joel about what he was doing at Principal Novak’s house. I’ll bet she’s the best interrogator on the force, with that steely eyed glare that pins you down and won’t let go until you’ve answered. Joel quickly dissembles and deflects, but she won’t let it go. He finally tells her that he was teaching Novak’s grandmother to dance the salsa. They danced with such pasión that it destroyed Novak’s living room.
Sheila joins them, and makes plans to go running with Anne sometime, since Anne saw her on her run that morning. Lisa reminds them that they’re having dinner together on Tuesday, and asks if she can bring Anne. Sheila’s all for it. Joel sees his life flash before his eyes.
Eric stops Abby as she’s about to leave for school to tell her that they have to get rid of their email trail with Goran, since it could be used as incriminating evidence. Since Goran’s phone is gone, they’ll have to go to his apartment to access his computer. Abby’s ready and willing to skip school for the cause.
Once Joel and Sheila are in Carl’s office, it’s easy to see why Joel wanted to put off seeing him indefinitely. He’s surly for his own petty reasons, and takes it out on them. But Sheila’s single-minded with her goal, just like she was with the bunny, so Carl’s in no danger as long as he stays reasonably reasonable.
Which he does, despite his overall negativity. Carl’s put the housing project on hold since Gary’s disappearance. He thinks that Gary was his only salesman who was good enough to sell those houses. Sheila now has another race to win, the competition with Gary.
Sheila insists that Carl give them a chance to prove that they’re as good as Gary. She throws a few insults at Carl in along the way. Joel rewords everything she says to make it more palatable. Carl gives in and tells them that the new development is much more expensive than their normal range. Before he’ll put them on it, they have to get a new, high end listing on Linden Drive.
Abby and Eric break into Goran’s apartment to delete the incriminating emails from his computer. Being back there triggers Abby’s feelings about Goran following her home. It was really scary and upsetting. She had to sleep with her parents. Who knows what he might have done. Eric feels bad that he wasn’t there, but Abby reminds him that he was a hero in his own way, because he made the serum that saved Sheila.
Eric’s phone chirps with about twenty texts from Rite Aid Ramona. Abby isn’t sure how she feels about Eric and Ramona together. She doesn’t want to get into discussing it while they’re in Goran’s house, either. Goran’s computer has a touch sensor, so they need one of his fingers to access his files. Hopefully Sheila hasn’t snacked on all of them yet.
Sheila and Joel get right on pinning down the new listing, which is for a house owned by a woman named Becky, played by Markie Post. Becky explains that she raised two kids in her house, three if you count Rachel, her cute, fluffy, little, white dog. Rachel isn’t allowed outside, because Becky likes to kiss her by sucking on her front paws, and Becky can’t do that if Rachel’s paws aren’t clean.
We’re just going to let that one go and not think about all of the places inside a house that paws can get into. Rachel doesn’t like being kept inside, and is constantly trying to escape. There’s a brief metaphorical discussion about being allowed to run free and be oneself, in which Sheila and Rachel are the same, which ends when Rachel kisses Sheila. Becky takes it as a good sign, because Rachel never likes strangers.
Before Joel and Sheila can seal the deal, another pair of realtors, Chris (Joel McHale) and Christa (Maggie Lawson) arrive and steal their thunder. They’ve brought tiramisu, the correct pronunciation of the world realtor, and stories from high school that make Joel and Sheila look bad.
Joel leaves Becky’s house in a competitive mood that’s kind of a turn on for Sheila. Time to take a break back at the family home. Once they’re done with their fun in the bedroom, Joel muses that if they did that enough, she wouldn’t need to chase rabbits. Sheila doesn’t want to break Joel with her high energy.
They consider how to get rid of Chris and Christa, turning to the idea of murder first and having a hard time thinking up alternatives. It’s such a one size fits all solution that it’s hard to go back to detail work after you’ve tried it.
Still hashing over solutions, they go back downstairs and find Abby collecting the key to the storage unit. She’s feeling a little neglected by Eric now that he’s flirting with Ramona. Joel is impressed and psyched for Eric. Sheila tries to comfort Abby and give her motherly wisdom. Abby blows them off, telling them that she doesn’t need life advice from criminals.
Joel plays the supportive husband with Sheila, saying that he thought telling Abby to put other people’s needs above her own was good advice. That gives Sheila an idea. They should stop worrying about beating Chris and Christa, and instead think about what the client wants.
While they’re chiseling Goran’s thumb out of the giant ice block of his remains , Abby tells Eric that he should go for it with Ramona. She wants him to be happy, and she thinks that she and Eric only have like a 3% chance of ending up together. They find the thumb, but it’s stuck to the nose, so they have to defrost them in the microwave to safely separate the parts.
Joel and Sheila go back to Becky’s house, and make another pitch, this time with the angle that they’ll find a family who’ll love the house as much as she has. Becky is ready to sign with them, but Chris and Christa interrupt once again. They’ve just sold Johnny Depp’s house, and gotten Becky an introduction. Johnny Depp is one of her favorites, so she ‘s thrilled.
While Chris, Christa and Becky go to the kitchen for more tiramisu, Joel realizes that he’s been wrong about Sheila. She needs to run free and use all of her talents. Right now her talent for running is the one that they need. He opens the door and lets Rachel the dog outside. She takes off for parts unknown. Joel exclaims that Rachel has escaped because Chris left the door open. Sheila takes off on a chase through the neighborhood.
Several minutes later, Sheila returns, victorious, with Rachel in hand. Rachel was a worthy adversary, but Sheila wore her down. She tells Becky that they’re the realtors who’ll go the extra mile. Becky is grateful to have Rachel back. She gives Rachel to Joel to hold while she gets the doggie bathing supplies.
Eric and Abby successfully use the thawed thumb to break into Goran’s computer and delete the incriminating emails. As they’re leaving the apartment, another couple break in (Zachary Knighton and Jee Young Han), also wearing rubber gloves. Abby and Eric claim to be teen models protecting their hands. The new couple claim to be janitors who don’t like to change at work. Once Eric and Abby are gone, the woman in the new couple wonders who they were, and if they were there for bile, too. She also wonders if, “they’re with us.”
Eric’s phone has continued to chirp incessantly. Abby encourages him to ask Ramona out, but he procrastinates. After they leave Goran’s apartment, Abby drives Eric to the Rite Aid, and tells him to go check on Ramona. Eric tells Abby that he’ll still always be there for her.
Sheila and Joel give the official listing papers to Carl, who agrees to reopen the development project. He tells them to take a look at the map and familiarize themselves with the layout. They notice that the new development is meant to be built over the spot where they buried Gary. Oopsies.
Back out to the desert they go, to dig up and rebury Gary’s remains. As they dig, they bicker about whether they’re bad people, or just bold. Gary chimes in to sarcastically say they’re fantastic. Sheila cries out in shock, and pulls Gary’s severed head out of the grave. It’s alive and talking and yells, “What did you do to me?”
The chemistry and comic timing between Mary Elizabeth Ellis (Lisa) and Natalie Morales (Anne) is impeccable. They need their own spin-off. I would watch a show that was just the two of them flirting in front of other people for half an hour every week.
Chris and Christa bring tiramisu, which has the little cakes called ladyfingers in it. Is everyone in Santa Clarita undead or partnered with someone who’s undead? Was Carl angry because he’s at that stage of the cycle?
Nathan Fillion’s head is back! We’ll have to wait until episode 3 to find out what he’s been up, or down, to for the last few weeks. 😉
In this episode, Sheila and Joel find a silver lining to Sheila’s symptoms- her urge to hunt can be channeled into a competitive edge and used to succeed as sales people. But they also discover that even lives filled with excitement can fall into ruts. They’ve gotten too used to using Sheila’s violent tendencies to solve problems, and have to push themselves to try something more creative. We’ve all been there. If it feels like something’s working, it’s hard to change, even if it’s ultimately destructive.
Ramona’s pursuing Eric pretty hard. Is this her hunting instinct kicking in?