Wet Hot American Summer: First Day of Camp Recap: Switch Ops

WHAS-1517.CR2 Photo: Saeed Adyani
Wet Hot American Summer: First Day of Camp
Episode Title
Day Is Done
Editor’s Rating

We made it. The end of Wet Hot American Summer: First Day of Camp. After the relatively low-key staff party, things are heating up again. Beth and Steve the robot kid head back to camp to “save the can.” Unbeknownst to them, President Ronald Reagan is meeting with top military advisers in Washington, and they determine that the only way to solve the camp problem is to nuke it and everything in ten square miles.

While Reagan plans the camp’s nuclear-heat death, the staff party continues. Even DJ Ski Mask is still here.

Neil and Sherri, who were made fun of last episode, get into an argument on the baseball field, but then they make up. Their argument takes about as long as it took you to read this sentence. They have very brief sex on the baseball field. It looks like Neil has actually won the virginity bet he and Victor made. Who could’ve seen that coming?

A team of soldiers heads to the mess hall to capture Mitch the can, the only evidence of Xenstar’s wrongdoing. But there’s one thing they didn’t plan on: Gene, the ‘Nam veteran. He and the Falcon go at it, trading increasingly elaborate knife throws.

Jon Hamm's stunt double gets his 15 seconds.

During the surprisingly well-choreographed fight, Gene gets distracted by the fridge, because, as we all know, he humps the fridge.

That leaves the Falcon with an opening to knock out Gene, grab the can, and make his getaway. Beth returns to find a dazed Gene, who then reveals that he executed procedure 865-Delta, code name: the Old Switcheroo. That’s a trick he learned back in his military days as part of the elite Switch Ops team.

Gene also has a man on the inside: the Falcon, an old Switch Ops brother in arms. “I was on your side the whole time!” he reveals.

Of course, this makes absolutely no sense. “I completely agree,” Falcon concedes. “There are a lot of elements of this that do not make sense.” The Falcon has tried to kill Beth multiple times this season. Also, he definitely killed Greg and Jim Stansel. Beth and the Falcon spend a full minute hanging a lamp shade on this.

Unfortunately, he’s got the thing, and he’s gotta take off. Farewell, Falcon. You were very handsome, and your involvement was totally illogical.

With the Falcon story line wrapped up, we can move on to the Tigerclaw-Firewood showdown. Blake and his army have come to the camp brandishing their weapons of choice: field hockey sticks, boat oars, frat paddles, and jai alai cestas.

Blake and Andy prepare for a showdown outside the round house. Coop foolishly tries to resolve the situation by reminding them of the truce they brokered, but his attempts at peace fail.

What follows is a lot of well-executed, goofy physical comedy. Counselors are taken down by softly lobbed tennis balls and Frisbees. Katie stabs Victor with an oyster fork. Both Andy and Blake bring out their nunchuks.

Eric, watching all of this from his rock-and-roll hermit cave, knows that only he can stop the madness. So he grabs his guitar and heads up to the roof. “This is a song I’ve been workin’ on for a while, about friendship.” He launches into a previously unheard version of “Higher and Higher,” joined by Ben on drums, McKinley on bass, and Gail on violin.

Immediately, the fighting stops and everyone joins in on a rousing sing-along. Blake, Andy, and Katie resolve their differences in a three-way handshake. “All this fighting. It’s not gonna change anything anyway,” Blake realizes. “Deep down, we all bleed red.”

Just as everyone is reconciling, the military rolls in. The counselors try to repel them with Frisbees and kick balls, but it’s no use. Having successfully “saved friendship with his song” once, Eric starts to play it again. He is shot in the chest and then run over.

Out of nowhere, Lindsay shows up. “Stop! I am a journalist!” She threatens to expose the government conspiracy in the pages of Rock & Roll World magazine. President Reagan knows that he has lost this fight: “I may be the most powerful person in the modern world, but there’s one thing I’ve never been able to conquer. And that is freedom of press.” For everyone who is not a journalist, this is a very funny, very ludicrous ending. For journalists, this seems like a plausible outcome.

Reagan appoints Ron to remain at Camp Firewood and clean up the toxic waste. He and Gail immediately hit it off. By the next morning, they’re engaged.

And for saving the camp, Lindsay, a 24-year-old working professional, is allowed to stay and hang out with teenagers.

It’s now the second day of camp. The counselors gather around the flag for the Pledge of Allegiance. Andy and Katie are already on the rocks.

Victor and Neil are still friends, both lying about their virginity.

Mitch names Beth the new camp director and breaks up with her. “You can rejuvenate this place with a new energy,” he tells her. “So much so that by the end of August, everyone will feel like they’re 15 years younger.” (Get it??? You get it.)

So ... I think we’re all caught up. Everyone has made it to whatever place they’re at at the start of the 2001 film. Let’s just check in with Coop to make sure:

I had to break up with Donna after Yaron tried to make us have a threesome. And then Tigerclaw showed up because Andy stole Katie away from Blake, and they tried to destroy the camp. And then, well, right after that President Reagan and the U.S. military also tried to destroy the camp. But that was after they also shot Eric, the hermit who lived at camp and turned out to be a musical legend. And then that new counselor Lindsay? Well, she saved us all because she was secretly a rock-magazine journalist. And then Gail blew off Jonas at their wedding, and his name is actually Gene and he fought in Vietnam, and Gene also got beaten up by an assassin named the Falcon, who tried to kill Beth and did kill Greg and this guy Jim Stansel. But then he turned out to be good the whole time — which I acknowledge doesn’t really make any sense — but he was only here to protect Mitch, who was turned into a can of vegetables. And then also Ben and McKinley are dating, Susie hooked up with Claude, Neil got laid, Victor didn’t get laid, and Abby had her period. So, it was a hard day.

Yeah, I think that’s pretty much all of it.

One week later, on the side of the road, a vagabond who looks suspiciously like dead rock star Eric hitches a ride to New York City ...

That’s it for this first (but hopefully not last) season of Wet Hot American Summer. It was great! It’s kind of insane that this show even got made and that it worked as well as it did. I have no idea where it goes from here, and given how ridiculous this season was, it doesn’t even seem worth it to speculate. But regardless, Netflix, if you are reading this, please make another season. Thanks.