Going into episode 3, “The King,” Gamby is more sympathetic than ever and Russell is even closer to his breaking point. This episode continues to explore the leads’ roles in the school after the change in status quo this season, and of course things can’t help but go off the rails.
After the opening, the episode dives in with Gamby (Danny McBride) ushering the kids into school. He’s back to where he started at the beginning of last season. Now, though, he has more reason to live; he’s driven to find the person who shot him and to help Shandrell, a former student, get back into school. Last episode it was revealed Shandrell was thrown out because Gamby planted drugs on him. It’s nice to see Gamby has a pet project that’s doing some good. His relationship with Shandrell (Conner McVicker) continues to be comically at odds–they throw swears back at each other like crazy–which is a different type of dynamic for Gamby this season. On top of that, Russell’s massive firings last episode forces Gamby to fill in as a substitute teacher. Showrunners McBride and Jody Hill utilize this to change his dynamic with the other teachers in new, interesting ways.
Meanwhile, Russell is determined to find the culprit that circulated a dirty picture of him with a “small, itty-bitty penis.” Becoming king is hard, but apparently maintaining control is even harder. A new investigation is started to find the person drawing the picture, which is a great opportunity to show how little the other teachers think of Russell. Given he already fired a bunch of them last episode, it’s going to be interesting to see how he can win the teachers back.
This episode is bookended with relationship troubles between Gamby and Amanda Snodgrass (Georgia King). It’s the one element that ties into the bigger mystery of who shot Gamby, but I’ll say no more to avoid spoilers. The relationship was cute at times, but strangeness between Snodgrass and Gamby is thoroughly poked and prodded for some meaningful emotional moments. This show is quite good at capturing dysfunctional people and their relationships.
It’s not the best episode, feeling a bit like filler. Gamby and Russell having entirely new missions and that forces the bigger Gamby shooting mystery to the backseat. It’s still a funny episode, and it develops the leads’ new roles, but its plotting can’t help but feel off.