Tuesday, June 29, 2021

What I’m Watching: United States of Al (Season Finale)

United States of Al: Season 1, Episode 13 “Help/Komak” (B)

This was a mostly dramatic ending half-hour, one that highlighted the work that still needs to be done for Riley to acclimate back to being home after his time in war and that Al is not the only one who’s having trouble coping with his surroundings. Going from that to Lizzie throwing up in the backseat of Al’s new car to keep the comedy going didn’t feel all that smooth, and that’s probably because, in the end, this is a sitcom and one that’s going to go for comedy, heartwarming if possible, over its more serious subtext. Aside from Al acknowledging his own tendency to be belligerent especially when people tell him not to see something through, this episode found him in a less giving and reassuring context, instead the one who, thanks in part to his abstention from alcohol and also because he was concerned about how this was all affecting Hazel, kept first Riley and then Lizzie on track when they went to the bar and didn’t have any plans of coming back to keep the camping experience going. Art did his part to be there with Hazel and then to admonish Riley for his behavior when he did finally return. Riley going to Vanessa to tell her he was finally giving the VA a shot was a good step, and I’m sure that Al will be thrilled to hear the other part of that conversation, which is that he’s also planning to get her back, which sets up a nice subplot for season two. I’m happy this show will be continuing – it’s fun and light, and I’m enjoying these characters.

Season grade: B
Season MVP: Adhir Kalyan as Al

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