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Arrested Development Recap: Acting Juice and Horrible Shamans

Vulture is doing fifteen immediate recaps for hard-core Arrested Development fans. Five regular Vulture writers will write on three episodes each. More in-depth analyses of the new episodes will appear in the coming weeks.

During an argument with Lucille, Lindsay finally decides that, adopted or not, the Bluths are not her family after all, and that she should end her marriage with Tobias.

Lindsay heads to India for spiritual awakening after getting to the “pray” section of Eat, Pray, Love. She picks up the wrong luggage at the airport, and immediately goes on a shopping spree in the midst of her quest to live with less. Once back at her hotel, she makes an appointment with a shaman, who promptly tells her she is “full of shit” and needs to go home to reconnect with love “where she left it.” When her AmEx card is declined, she gets kicked out of the hotel and heads home. On the plane, she reaches out and calls Tobias, saying she is ready to try to make their marriage work yet again.

Once home, Lindsay agrees to testify that Lucille is a wonderful mother — in exchange for some money. Since they have nowhere to live, Lindsay and Tobias’s first task is to buy a house from James “I Don’t Sell” Carr (played by Ed Helms). He cajoles them into buying a house well outside of their means, making decisions to add more amenities “just so [they'll] have it.” Lindsay makes an effort to work on her testimony for Lucille’s trial but cannot seem to talk about Lucille’s excellent parenting with a straight face.

The market collapse affected Lindsay, too — she and Tobias walk around their giant house fighting when Lucille tells them she won’t give them any money if Lindsay’s testimony isn’t believable. So Lindsay agrees to go to Tobias’s acting class in an attempt both to bond with him and to prep for her trial testimony. Tobias thinks he is taking acting classes at the Garden Grove Method One clinic, seeing people give “monologues”; Lindsay catches on right away that it’s actually a methadone clinic. She meets a man called Marky Bark at the coffee station; he’s the son of Johnny Bark, an activist Lindsay once helped protect a tree. Marky is at the meeting with DeBrie (played by the amazing Maria Bamford); Tobias takes the methadone (acting juice), and they agree to go on a double date. Lindsay thinks Marky is a real activist, Tobias thinks DeBrie is a real actress, and both are thrilled to have friends to go out with — exactly what their marriage needs.

Both couples head to a barter restaurant called Swappigans, a chain that sprung up after the economic collapse. Lindsay trades a serving tray for mozzarella sticks. Lindsay thinks it’s refreshing to "meet people with passion for changing status quo." DeBrie gets into a tub of butter on the table and smears it on her face, so Tobias takes her to clean up while Lindsay and Marky get closer. She explains that her shaman wanted her to come home for love and turned into an ostrich; when Marky tells her he runs an ostrich farm, Lindsay kisses him, and they run away together. After they bone in their camper during traffic, Marky explains to the insecure Lindsay that he has a condition called face blindness: He can’t tell that Lindsay is pretty, and, accustomed to being valued for her beauty, it really bothers her.

Lindsay decides to call Tobias and tell him she cares about him but their marriage cannot be saved. She dances around a fire with Marky and the next day wakes up on an ostrich farm with Marky’s mother being pecked at by an ostrich. Her destiny as mapped out in India is coming true, but she "has the worst f---ing shaman." She also misses Lucille’s trial, and cuts off her hair in an effort to be less glamorous, though it ends up being super cute. And Tobias gets hooked on “acting juice.”

Odds and Ends

  • Lindsay constantly getting talked up in price on knockoff items

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  • Lucille: “If I told them we were taking a bunch of gays out there to get married, they would be throwing me a parade … Let’s tell them I was taking a bunch of gays out there to get married!”


  • Tobias want to give their marriage “another shot … to the head. Kill it."

  • “Were you able to book my three o’clock shaman?”

  • Lindsay and Tobias qualified for the Ninja loan: no income, no job, no assets
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  • “You don’t need a wine cellar if you’re going to do wine tastings in your butler’s kitchen."

  • “Mom, 'suckled at her Champagne-glass breasts' isn’t a joke?” 
“Buster wrote it in camp.” 


  • “She used to be in big movies — then, like any actor, the teeth go.”

  • Best Cameo: Eddie Peppitone

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  • The duck flying out of the kitchen cabinet and being gently ushered into the oven was funnier than it had any business being. 


  • In India, any clothing size under a small is considered a David Spade instead of Kate

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  • “We’re like a Salvation Army meets a soup kitchen, meets a gastropub, meets a Marxist- or Leninist-type social structure.” 


Photo: Netflix/FOX