Arrested Development, “Off the Hook”

Buster Bluth with the Lucille dollIn “Off the Hook,” we get to see just how much Buster’s relationship with Lucille has addled his brain. After the Queen Mary debacle, Buster blithely tells the police the truth about Lucille’s actions aboard the boat. Lucille is carted away, shocked at Buster’s idiocy.

Buster returns to the penthouse, assuring Lupe he’ll be fine, but minutes later he’s already laying out Lucille’s clothes and mixing martinis. He goes through several iterations of fixing up a Lucille doll, hacking a pillow because it’s too wide, laying a wig around the photo he taped on a pillow, and talking to it. Buster acknowledges he’d better stop, but then he ‘hears’ something Lucille says and gets to work with her sewing machine to make an outfit. In the dark. Naked.

Buster runs out of food (that he knows how to make) but Lucille eventually returns to find him on the couch with the Lucille doll. “I was just thinking about you,” he mumbles sleepily. Three months later, Lucille cannot handle being with Buster any longer. She cuts him down when he wonders about wearing a John-John Kennedy outfit to the trial, then they have a yelling match about who is really a “hot mess.”

Buster as John-John KennedyHe leaves for the park, but runs into Lucille 2 outside her apartment. She’s bought lots of produce to juice and offers Buster some, which becomes an “off the hook” juice party. He wakes up after a juice hangover to see the Lucille doll shredded. “Well, that was a freebie,” he says. Then he remembers the trial and we are treated to a race down the dock as Buster flaunts his legs in the John-John Kennedy costume.

Lucille’s verdict is guilty, which means Buster has to go back to being alone. “I cannot go through another two days like that,” he says. He decides to move in with Lucille Austero, but accidentally leaves the “2” off her name, questioning whether he views her as a mother or a lover.

Buster as "Alex Tribek"Buster visits Lucille while she’s in jail, but she refuses to see him. He even dresses like a former flame (“Who is Alex Trebek?”) but Lucille sees through the ruse. He isn’t off the hook yet. He needs money, but since his Motherboy awards are practically worthless, he has to pawn the diamonds off his hook. It’s a low point for Buster, and he decides to return to Army. “I’m baaaaack!” he declares.

Lucille is then informed that Buster’s in the hospital. She agrees to go see him and the doctor tells her that he was piloting a plane that went down in Afghanistan. She enters the room to find that Buster is alive and well, just learning to work with his new electronic hand, which is quite a bit bigger than his regular hand. He is now “off the hook,” in a sense.

Buster was put in an Ender’s Game scenario and after playing too long fell off his chair, so the paramedics decided to award him with a mechanical hand. Technically, the plane he was piloting was in Afghanistan, but Buster wasn’t, prompting Lucille to scream at the doctor, “This is why you can’t keep a job at the same hospital!”

Buster explains to his mother that he was only trying to win her back, but she says she can’t take care of him anymore and leaves. Buster is then put into a rehab program but because of his worry that he’ll be used as a monster, he fails miserably at every attempt to use his hand gently. He is suspected of faking the failures and so must endure a “Q-Test”. They put a kitten in his room (“Aren’t you the cutest?”) and when he doesn’t squash it, he’s found out and sent away.

Ophelia Love finds out that Buster is a veteran with no place to go and offers the Love home.  He helps the kids with their bullies, resulting in the undercover cop at school giving him an anti-bullying badge. He also takes care of Ophelia by mixing drinks and giving her flowers.

This results in a mixed signals conversation and Ophelia kisses him when he says they should take it to the next step (he meant adult adoption). She shows him pictures of Herbert Love and a redheaded prostitute and tells Buster he can be either a son or a lover, and she already has two sons. This is the one time that Buster acts as a man.

The next morning, Buster visits his mother to tell her he’s no longer a MotherBoy, he’s a MotherMan. He runs into Michael and signs away his rights, and then heads back to Ophelia, who tells him that she’s making up with Herbert and that she and Buster are done. His mechanical hand begins to move and she says, “Your hand is broken again.” “No,” he says, “that’s just my heart. Oh, and also my hand.”

Buster, now in possession of incriminating photos of Herbert Love, decides to visit Lucille 2 at Cinco De Cuatro and help her undermine Love. He is stopped, however, by her revelation that she planned the juicing fiasco to prevent Buster from attending the trial, and the fact that she’s been dating his father.

Buster visits the Donkey Punch stand and requests to punch a donkey, but is instead given a few cups of the punch, which is basically juice, by Gene Parmesan. Feeling charged up, Buster knocks out Herbert Love with his mechanical hand and wakes up near the staircar to see Lucille 2’s seemingly dead body with red liquid down the stairs. And then he sees the video camera.

The “On the Next…” portion of “Off the Hook” shows Buster visiting George Michael to borrow FakeBlock in an attempt to block the video from being seen, but he’s captured on camera while FakeBlock is “working” and is watched later by the security guard, who shakes his head and laments that Lucille really did a number on Buster.

K.M. Cone

K.M. Cone

K.M. Cone is a story nerd, particularly for the episodic stories told via the medium of television. When not parked in front of the TV, K.M. Cone can be found writing kooky urban fantasy on her personal site, attempting to learn German, or making a huge pot of soup for her friends, who are probably coming over to join her in her latest TV or animated film obsession.
K.M. Cone

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