Cold Opening – Hallelujah
- Trumpwin is not the sight I want to first see in a big season finale.
- I see that SNL is spoofing its own infamous Hallelujah cold open earlier in the season, but this “spoof” is doing nothing for me.
- Bah, cue the wild applause as Scarlett Johansson enters the scene as Ivanka Trump.
- SNL yet again is confused on how to portray Melania Trump, as she is here standing by her husband, despite all the odds, and in later sketches they’ll portray her as a conflicted & rebellious figure.
- It is absolutely tragic that such a beautiful, powerful, and beloved song like Hallelujah is being butchered here for a very weak political “satire”. Not the last time that a beloved song will be butchered by this era for a so-called “satirical” take.
- This cold open starts a three-year tradition with us having an “epic” Trumpwin-themed musical number in the season finale, as we’ll be getting one when Tina Fey hosts the next season’s finale, and another one with Trumpwin at the Oval Office in the season 44 finale.
- As always, Dwayne is coming off a complete natural and he’s also doing a very good job in hyping up the audience for the season finale.
- Good that we’re celebrating Dwayne’s entry into the Five-Timers Club right from the monologue.
- Weird casting of Alex in the role of the guy that places the Five-Timers jacket on Dwayne.
- HUGE applause as Tom Hanks shows up for the monologue.
- Funny & charming moments between Tom & Dwayne with both demonstrating how they’ll handle a natural crisis as presidents. A really good use of the beloved image that both men greatly possess.
Cartier Fidget Spinner
- A brilliant take on the fidget spinner craze at the time from SNL.
- It feels great seeing another Vanessa Bayer-starring pretape in this season, and better yet, in her final episode as a cast member.
- Not only does Vanessa look incredible here, but is also brilliantly playing against type, YET AGAIN in her terrific final two years. Her various actions & expressions here are nothing short of excellent to me.
- Beck is doing an excellent job, per usual, with his hilarious descriptions of Vanessa.
- Great punchline at the end of the commercial.
- Ah, the return of this classic as part of Bobby’s swan song.
- Beck has now replaced Taran as the announcer, and is actually doing a good job in this role, even when I still feel that Taran was more a natural in this role than Beck is.
- Like last time, Dwayne & Bobby are killing it here, especially the latter’s frustrated & shocked reactions throughout the sketch.
- A hilarious photoshopped image of Bobby’s character with blue hair.
- Great DeVito line from Dwayne towards Bobby’s character.
- While this sketch doesn’t have the classic element of surprise that the first one had, it’s still tons of fun with several great lines by Dwayne who’s been crushing in this sequel just like last time.
- A very solid take on the ridiculous rap tracks that have an infinite amount of artists featured in them.
- Great look on Leslie’s character. And she looks quite beautiful here.
- Very funny & sketch-stealing appearance from Colin & Michael as “2 Black Guyz”, and the former’s rare appearances outside of Update never fail in being absolutely hilarious to me.
- Bobby’s absolutely stealing this entire short with his whole scene, and especially with him supposedly spitting bars.
- Very fun, silly feel to this short so far.
- Not sure that I needed Katy Perry as herself in this short, and is Aidy playing a celebrity or a character here?
- Damn, that’s some good verse & flow from Beck’s character. Who knew he could spit bars like this?
- Great quick appearance from Tom’s legendary David S. Pumpkins character as “David S. Pimpkins”, which gets a great audience reaction.
- An overall very fun, full-cast piece.
- Dwayne’s casting as a superhero is a no-brainer.
- Boy, the conceit of this sketch is really lame to me, as the other women in the sketch are starting to fawn over Dwayne’s character’s costume design instead of his heroic actions. Again, this is focusing on a type of humor that I really don’t care about.
- Cecily is coming off fairly likable in her performance here at least, even when it feels like she played this role too many times already.
- Dwayne is doing a solid job with his responses as well, and other than these two positives, this sketch is not working for me. Not awful at all, just a waste of airtime.
Jurassic River Rapids
- I guess they wanted to make a sequel to the debut of this sketch, considering how solid & natural Dwayne was in the first sketch, but it is not really worth it in my view.
- Sadly, while Dwayne is as solid as always here, he’s not able to elevate the material he’s given here. This sketch is nowhere near as surprisingly tolerable as the first installment.
- I’m not really caring for the moments where Vanessa is splashed by water. They seem like an attempt to make her break character on her final show. Save this shit for rehearsals please…
- Very interesting concept to this traditional fake commercial, and Dwayne is a perfect spokesmen for it.
- Like last time, Dwayne is doing a terrific job with his very solid & straitlaced commercial spokesmen delivery. His whole overlong “And he said…” and “And I said…” bits are absolutely priceless, made even better with his aforementioned straitlaced delivery.
- Very funny visual of Dwayne roughing up Kyle in the background while the drug’s side effects are displayed on screen. Some of my favorites are: “Decrease in Semen”, “Increase in Semen”, “Night Terrors”, and of course, “Whooping Cough”.
- I love the visual of Dwayne’s nose bleeding and him saying in a comforting, straitlaced manner as the commercial ends: “Hail Satan.”
Musical Performance – “Swish Swish”
- Jesse Nathan: Aaaaaaaaannnnnd the mostly-good streak of musical performances this season comes to an unbelievably screeching halt in the finale, as I recall HATING these two performances. Let’s see if my memory of them is correct or not, though knowing me, it’ll probably be correct.
- This deep voice at the beginning sounds awful, and is already proving my memory right.
- Ignoring that, this actually starts out promising, as Katy sounds great, and I like the piano. However, I already know in hindsight that the latter ends up being a fluke.
- Aaaaaaaaaaannnnd now the song all of a sudden changes the beat, as Katy tries to attempt a fierce attitude, which she’s incapable of pulling off.
- Why am I getting the strange feeling that the pretaped vocals are being played in the background?
- This chorus is awful.
- Oh. My. God at Katy’s dancing. I…I…I have no words to describe it.
- OH NO. And now we get Russell Hornsby, aka the fucking Backpack Kid, doing the “floss”. Thanks so much, Katy, for bringing this kid into the forefront. Either that, or he was already popular and Katy’s just having him there because of that. If it’s the latter, then that’s pretty much a sign of how much she’s tried to come off as “hip” around this time period.
- This ending dancing is doing nothing for me.
- Overall, this performance was just as horrible as I remember it being.
- I do enjoy the idea of using “Bad Day” over a montage of departed Trump associates, and the part with Giuliani is priceless. Even though it feels like a precursor to a pretty rough Update bit, IIRC, in the David Harbour episode from season 45.
- Ah, great to see Dwan Lazarus back to the Update desk, after debuting two episodes ago, as part of Vanessa’s swan song tonight.
- Vanessa is killing it as this character much like last time, and her sudden professional delivery of her hopes of no rain was great, and a solid change of pace.
- And here we get the famous “Hap!” utterance which never fails to kill with me and the studio audience.
- A bit of a groanworthy callback to Michael’s Dwayne “The Scissors” Johnson joke, even though I do admit getting a good laugh from it. Maybe because of who the tonight’s host is.
- Great to see the return of Bobby’s Drunk Uncle, as he last time appeared was during the Donald Trump (*shudder*) episode last season.
- The usual big laughs throughout this Drunk Uncle commentary, and Bobby is crushing it per usual here, even though Colin never worked much for me as the straight man to him.
- Great bit with Bobby’s Drunk Uncle asking Colin to take a shot with him for the road; a nice subtle sendoff for Bobby, even when I wanted him & Vanessa to have an actual big sendoff. I certainly can’t complain with how much both were heavily utilized throughout their final show.
In Memoriam – a photo of Brad Grey marks his passing
RKO Movie Set
- Great to see Vanessa getting her third big showcase in her final episode.
- Holy hell, is SNL kidding me with putting this on the air?! A FARTING sketch? And in the season finale of all episodes??!!
- Boy, while this sketch is not as dreadful as that fucking horrendous Rear Window sketch with January Jones, it is still giving me unwanted flashbacks to it.
- Very rare breaking from Vanessa in reaction to the fart noises, which I’m assuming are being done by Steve Higgins, as he did the ones in that wretched sit-ups sketch earlier in the season.
- Was that “ending” even an ending?!
International Mad Scientist Society
- Yes, yes, YES!!!! One of my absolute favorite sketches from this era & SNL’s history!!!
- Ah, this sketch continues the tradition of having at least one classic, legendary sketch in each of Dwayne’s hosting stints that heavily showcases him, and this sketch has always been my favorite of them.
- Right out of the gate, the atmosphere of this sketch is just great & silly in all the right ways, almost Monty Python-esque, even before the reveal of the sketch’s main conceit.
- An absolutely priceless & incredibly dark reveal of Dwayne’s character’s invention for this evil invention contest: a child-molesting robot. Hoo, boy.
- Fantastic escalation with the other evil scientists in the room being horrified and disgusted by Dwayne’s evil invention. This is dark, dark stuff.
- Great straight man reactions by Kyle & Sasheer, and the latter’s underrated abilities in that aspect are being well-utilized for the final time in her tenure.
- Dwayne is, of course, outstanding in this sketch with both his characterization & terrific line deliveries of how his invention is supposed to work, his line about molesting a robot so he can continue the cycle was both unsettling & darkly hilarious.
- Kyle is very funny in how much he wants to disassociate himself from Dwayne & his evil invention, especially after Dwayne’s constant remarks about how Kyle’s character is with him all the way.
- Very funny disgusted sound from a female audience member in reaction to Dwayne’s Mussolini line.
- I know some didn’t like that ending much, but I didn’t exactly hate it, as what came before was so outstanding, so brilliant, and so daring that I just have to go all the way with my rating for this sketch. A true all-time SNL masterpiece.
Musical Performance – “Bon Appétit”
- Jesse Nathan: Nice staging, but I fear that might be the only thing this performance has going for it.
- Not loving this opening keyboard, or the chorus.
- Look, I’m all for visuals being justified in the performance, but my God, why does it have to be for this?
- Why is Katy going all whispery in the vocals during the first verse? They sound awful.
- Not loving these lyrics.
- Katy’s “under candlelight” fell flat.
- Katy’s moves during the third chorus are so stiff.
- The change in beat isn’t making this dire chorus better.
- Not loving this dancing during the third chorus.
- OH FUCKING NO. Now we get motherfucking Migos doing a verse to make me hate this somehow EVEN MORE.
- Why are Quavo’s vocals heavily autotuned? It’s so goddamn unnecessary, and is just many of the problems that I have with people like Migos and Future.
- During Takeoff’s section, Katy has this look on her face that says “I don’t know what I should be doing”.
- What the hell is up with Katy’s odd moves once Offset starts rapping?
- “Sweet tooth, no tooth fairy”. Ugh, what an awful lyric!
- In fact, Migos’ lyrics in general are terrible.
- Awful ending visual of Katy and Takeoff using a banana as a phone.
- Finally, it’s over. Yep, these two definitely lived up to my negative memory of them. Hands down, HANDS DOWN, two of my least favorite musical performances of the 2014-22 era, along with Iggy and Kanye.
Rating: * (If I could give negative stars, I would)
- Ah, great to see Beck absolutely dominating the night alongside Bobby & Vanessa, this has to be one of the biggest of his entire tenure.
- Cecily looks even more beautiful than usual in this sketch. Radiant & breathtaking.
- An absolutely hilarious & priceless threesome reveal, and Beck is simply perfect in selling the concept.
- Very funny moment with Dwayne suddenly agreeing on a threesome so he could sleep with Vanessa’s character.
- Bobby absolutely steals yet another sketch in his final episode with the priceless initial reveal of him behind Dwayne.
- It feels so good seeing the solid & underused Sasheer Zamata in so many sketches for her final episode.
- Good ending to a solid, silly sketch.
- (*Blood sighs the deepest of sighs*) Well, here we are folks, Bobby & Vanessa’s final sketch of their tenures.
- Man, Dwayne looks gigantic in that shirt.
- Bobby & Vanessa’s delivery early on in this sketch, especially the former’s, were absolutely heart-breaking. It honestly made me choke up just now not only due to the reality subtext conveyed within these lines, but that this is the last sketch that will have the two performers for me to review. I’m sure going to miss the hell out of both of them after this season, and knowing this era’s history with the Trump fatigue, these two would’ve been a true saving grace during some rough times that will soon to come.
- While this sketch is not big on laughs, it has true charm to it, and a sense of family and friendship displayed to perfection by our four performers. I appreciate that the season decided to close out with such a warm sketch.
- Sweet ending.
Segments Ranked From Best to Worst
International Mad Scientist Society
Cartier Fidget Spinner
One Voice / Xentrex (tie)
Jurassic River Rapids
RKO Movie Set
- A strong season finale, which serves as the fitting ending for such a strong, memorable season. Despite few flops throughout the night, we got several standout, fantastic sketches, including a well-known & highly-regarded SNL classic in International Mad Scientist Society. And the great most certainly outnumbered the bad in this episode, with many highly-rated sketches & memorable moments; a microcosm of this season as a whole. Dwayne Johnson was an outstanding host per usual, who had several terrific moments throughout the night, especially his fantastic performance in International Mad Scientist Society. I hope he can host soon, as I’d be very happy to review him at least one more time in this blog.
- It is the wrap-up post of season 42 with overall thoughts, hot takes, and data. Stay tuned tomorrow!!