Cold Opening – Roe v. Wade
in England in 1235, men’s attitudes toward abortion echo modern trends
- Wow, the host in the open? I cannot complain with the always-excellent Benedict Cumberbatch being in the front-and-center of this cold open.
- Oh, I’m loving this take on abortion, with a medieval setting, it feels incredibly rare & unique for SNL. Such a creative, different, and very inspired way to tackle Roe v. Wade.
- I love how Andrew is not even attempting to sound that English at all, yet he’s still his usual funny self without even trying.
- As expected, Benedict is already coming of excellent here, with solid line deliveries and perfect characterization. I especially love his old-school pronunciation, especially the trilled R’s.
- Cecily is using the same English accent she used in the suitors sketch early in the season, it’s still solid enough, and is providing good laughs.
- Funny entrance from Kate, and thankfully she didn’t use her tired Maggie Smith voice.
- I love the turn with Kate’s witch character speaking of the future, even the checklist moment here with Depp & Heard gave me a pretty solid laugh.
- An overall pretty strong, creative cold open. The finest of this whole season in my opinion.
host thanks his mom & his wife & wishes them a happy Mother’s Day
- Good, energetic entrance from Benedict.
- Pretty hot crowd so far. Clapping for literally everything.
- A big laugh from the Will Smith joke.
- A predictable, but funny Hogwarts joke.
- I love the endearing turn with Benedict talking about his mom, especially how she would call him by his name instead of a nickname.
- Aww, this monologue is turning effortlessly charming with Benedict’s direct messages to his mom & wife.
- I love the callback to Benedict’s awkward “smile”.
- Such a solid, feel-good monologue overall.
Mother’s Day Gifts
pithy sayings on wooden signs gifted for Mother’s Day unsettle (AIB)
- They’re bringing this sketch back? A weird decision, but it makes sense as our Mother’s Day sketch of the night.
- I sure hope Aidy doesn’t corpse and flub her lines constantly like she did last time, which sadly hurt the strong material.
- A big laugh from Aidy correcting Benedict that she’s his wife.
- Huge, cheap laughs from the bathing suit sign.
- Thankfully, Aidy’s straight man work, and line deliveries are better than last time.
- I’m enjoying the oblivious attitude from everyone except Aidy, an improvement over how the female cast reacted last time.
- A good laugh from Benedict’s abrupt laugh when Chloe is not even done with reading the sign.
- A priceless bit with the whole ever expanding wine sign, and Aidy’s far better here than last time.
- A great, dark ending, and Benedict’s abrupt, fake laughing is the icing on the cake.
Blue Bunny ice cream evokes memories in kindred spirits (host) & (HEG)
- It feels kinda jarring to see a Heidi Gardner-starring sketch this season, considering how much she’s been phased-out of Update and has been stuck in mostly dull, straight roles all season long.
- Oh, I guess it’s time for our sponsored sketch of the episode.
- Was it intentional that they made Benedict look like Sam Elliott in this sketch? A pretty solid accent from him by the way.
- Some ok laughs from Heidi’s overlong, dramatic description of how the ice cream tastes.
- Mikey’s solid straight man here, his dust bowl line delivery was funny.
- My god, the ”generations of women” line from Benedict is priceless.
- Ok, this sketch seems to be repeating the same premise over and over, despite the solid performances by Heidi & Benedict.
- Man, the chemistry between Benedict & Heidi is off the charts here. Reminding me of how damn good she was with Daniel Craig in his season 45 episode.
Just Like You
teen’s (CLF) mom (CES) elides youthful transgressions
- Ah, this seems to be a continuation of those lovely Mother’s Day-centric pretapes in this era like The Day You Were Born, and The Perfect Mother. I always enjoy these, and considering how much of a momma’s boy I always was, they put a big smile on my face each time.
- Cecily is surprisingly fitting as both a mom, and a teenager, much like Alex.
- I always enjoy these for the low-key, understated humor, and the good heart in these pieces always speaks to me. A not laugh out loud piece, but with enough warmth and good feeling in them.
- Kate’s always stuck in playing old ladies, again a fitting role for her, and I’m happy that she didn’t use her stock voice for this one.
- Funny, brief bit with young Kate at a David Bowie concert.
- Solid American accent, yet again tonight from Benedict.
- Maybe because of how emotional of a person I’m but these shorts always put a big smile on my face, and the ending message honestly made me choke up.
snitch (host) is treated more favorably than other chain gang members
- Great to see James being used more and more in non-impression roles, even when I would love to see more impressions by him.
- Good southern accent from Benedict, he’s been impressing me even more than last time so far into this episode.
- A good laugh from Benedict’s special treatment and admission to being a snitch.
- Heidi’s perfect as a 50s southern wife, and another good pairing of her with Benedict tonight.
- Pretty funny song from Benedict about sleeping with the warden’s wife, and Alex’s creepy characterization is very fun too.
Musical Performance – “Unconditional I”
Amy Coney Barrett (KAM) tells pregnant women to “do your nine” & bear it
- Damn at that Mother’s Day joke early, one of the more brutal ones this season, which is saying something.
- Colin: “Former Mayor & Current Rumpelstiltskin Rudy Giuliani”.
- Good to see another Kate commentary, considering how much I enjoyed her last two, in particular her brutal takedown of Liz Cheney toward the last season’s end.
- This is Kate’s 827th sketch appearance in her tenure, making her now the 5th most utilized player in SNL history. An outstanding, and frankly deserved milestone for Kate to accomplish.
- Oh, this seems to be going through the exact direction as her Liz Cheney one, I’m enjoying this so far.
- While I’m not liking the beginning of this commentary with Kate’s Coney Barrett admitting how bad she is, Kate’s effortless charisma is carrying this well.
- Solid line deliveries from Kate as always, her delivery remains very on-point.
- A big laugh from the stork & lesbian line.
- Kate: “Just do your nine and dump”.
- An ok bit with Kate’s Coney Barrett bringing up Ginni Thomas, and while this one is not as sharp as her hilariously brutal Liz Cheney commentary, I’m enjoying it.
- Was the bit with Arby’s at the end a character break from Kate? It didn’t seem like it as Kate’s whole commentary was pretty giggly intentionally.
- An overall good Kate showcase, she’s been having a good season in general, better than her mixed one last year. Between Lonely Christmas & Dream Home Cousins, and now her two desk pieces, this season is turning out to be one of Kate’s best in this late stage in her tenure. I do hope she’ll say goodbye in two weeks from now, while I’ll miss her greatly, she would be leaving on a pretty solid note.
- Just rolled my eyes at that Chalamet joke, at least it reminded me of how much I loved his episode from last season.
- That’s it? Update is over? What’s the matter with these short Updates this season? This edition was at least good enough, with a good Kate commentary, and some decent jokes throughout.
at Landsdowne House in 1914, (CES) keeps missing the fainting couch
- This sketch, from it’s setting feels very Carol Burnett. Yet, seeing Cecily Strong here, I KNOW we’ll be getting tons of excessive mugging and vamping for four minutes straight.
- This sketch was cut from way back in the season, from the Kieran Culkin episode in November. I remember not caring for it back then, and I’m afraid I won’t this time too.
- Solid English accent from Alex.
- Benedict seems perfectly cast in this old-timey sketch. And as expected, is coming off very well.
- Aaaaaand there goes our first fall of the sketch, with tons of vamping from Cecily as expected.
- Great that Benedict is here to hopefully add something of quality to this D.O.A. sketch.
- Look, I appreciate slapstick humor, as I’m a classic comedy fanatic, but this one is poorly-written for me, and has nothing that it could stand on outside from Cecily’s mugging. This sketch would work far better with someone NOT named Cecily Strong.
- Benedict’s excellent straight man here, and his reliable delivery is salvaging this sketch.
- Aaaand the sketch is repeating the same joke over and over and over and over….
- (*sigh*) Please SNL, just end this sketch already, I can’t take it any longer.
- Good physical comedy performance from Benedict, he’s almost saving this sketch for me.
- A wretched sketch overall, and aside from Benedict’s excellent straight man work, this would’ve been absolutely DIRE.
The ReKhline from Kohler is a revolutionary toilet that leans back
- Ah, they’re bringing this very fun commercial from Benedict’s first episode.
- Lots of airtime for Mikey tonight, not complaining though. And it’s good that he’s in this commercial too, as I absolutely loved him back in the first one.
- Is this Sarah’s first appearance of the night? Geez SNL, why waste her after how much she’s been killing it this season with tons of airtime and strong showcases, particularly in the 2nd half of the season? This is frankly inexcusable to me.
- Like last time, very solid direction to this short and solid, intimidating performance from Mikey.
- Ah, this one seems to be a Dead Poet’s Society spoof, one of my personal favorite movies of all-time.
- Cheap, yet big laughs from Benedict’s sexy acts while sitting on the toilet. And a perfect music accompanying his various ways of sitting it.
- Funny reaction from Sarah, even when she’s barely used, she makes most of her airtime.
- I love the reclining toilet idea. A creative, fun premise and Benedict is executing this perfectly, just like last time.
- A very sexy “class dismissed” delivery from Benedict. And a perfect ending to this commercial.
- Great, clever tagline at the end.
Chuck E. Cheese
new wave duo Reflection Denied (host) & (BOY) performs at Chuck E. Cheese
- Bowen’s been killing it in these last few episodes, getting tons of airtime and showcases, sadly they’ve been more hit or miss than usual, hopefully this one works out better.
- Benedict & Bowen are working pretty well here, or maybe it’s a testament to Benedict’s talents that he can easily work with anyone.
- This seems to be veering into the camp, silly side of Bowen’s humor, which is a shame as I’m missing his absurdist pieces that he seemingly abandoned after the memorable iceberg commentary from last season.
- Funny cutaway to a dancing Alex.
- A fun-feeling & silly sketch so far, and it seems to be our ensemble sketch of the night, glad to see this tradition continue throughout the season.
- Cecily’s singing is working better in this context, instead of her 4,636 lounge singer sketches.
- Solid delivery from Chloe of her line about being that carrot.
Musical Performance – “The Lightning I, II”
CLF is SNL’s understudy via castmember mimicry; Elizabeth Olsen cameo
- Ah, I cannot be happier to see another Chloe Fineman showcase in this second half, which has been low-key pretty good for her after struggling for some time. It’s a smart idea for her to use these backstage shorts as solo showcases for her, considering how shockingly little she’s been showcased on Update or in solo live sketches this season.
- A very fun concept, using Chloe’s outstanding impression skills. Not only this short works as a closer look into Chloe’s talents, and her personality, but also as a very fun backstage piece, once again this season.
- Unsurprisingly, Chloe is nailing Kate’s mannerism and voice down, and Kate’s great sport in participating in this short.
- Good laughs from the whole legs spreading bit between Kate & Chloe.
- Wow, Chloe’s Melissa impression is absolutely spot-on.
- It’s adorable that we can see Chloe’s cue card that contain her first lines in the background, back when she absolutely stole the Dem Debate sketch in her very first SNL appearance.
- A good inclusion of Elizabeth Olsen, and Chloe’s fitting well as Scarlett Witch, as there’s some noticeable facial similarities between her & Elizabeth.
- Funny bit with Benedict here, and his excellent deliveries all night are really elevating anything the writers give him.
- (*sigh*) Sarah’s barely in this episode, I’m hoping she’ll get more airtime in the next two episodes.
- Solid Aidy Bryant voice from Chloe, and Aidy’s corrections are quite amusing, her excellent line deliveries make them funnier than they are.
- Funny reaction from Sarah to Chloe’s impression of her. Sarah’s been proving that she’s a good straight man whenever they use her in that capacity.
- I love the silly ending with Punkie, who’s coming off very likable and loose even with the minimum amount of time she appeared in this.
- Overall, I loved this short. An absolute riot, and even better than her first strong one. I hope we continue to see more backstage pieces and to know our performers better outside of the characters they portray.
Goodnights / Musical Performance – “End Of The Empire I-IV”
- Whoa, we’re getting a third Arcade Fire performance tonight? I cannot recall the last time a musical guest got a third performance, was the Kanye debacle in season 44 the last time?
- I’ve just noticed that we surprisingly didn’t get our obligatory Arcade Fire sketch tonight. Too bad, as they could’ve made up for participating in that fucking wretched CBC Report sketch from the last time they were musical guest.
Segments Ranked From Best to Worst
Roe v. Wade
Just Like You
Mother’s Day Gifts
Chuck E. Cheese
- A pretty solid, fun episode, with lots of silly sketch concepts all night. And aside from the insufferable Cecily Strong vamping/mugging sketch, the rest of the night was fun enough and silly with several solid highlights, especially in the post-Update half of the night, with two excellent pretapes, including yet another very fun Chloe Fineman backstage piece, and nothing got a bad rating from me, aside from the aforementioned flop.
- Like last time, Benedict Cumberbatch was a fantastic host, coming off game, charismatic, and tons of fun. I enjoyed how the show utilized him through most of the night, even when I’m disappointed that we didn’t see another Monty Python-esque sketch that showcases him like the Mr. Shaw one from his previous stint, he still was very strong all night, and had several sketches that showcased his talents very well. Overall, I would say this episode was an ok step up from his last hosting stint, which was still good. I hope he comes back and host soon, I won’t complain about that AT ALL.
My Favorite Moments of the Episode, Represented with Screencaps:
- Selena Gomez makes her hosting debut with musical guest Post Malone. But, before that, the season 41 reviews begin with double duty host Miley Cyrus and one new addition to the cast.
My full set of screencaps from this episode is here.