Mulligan – Season 1 Episode 5 “The Stench” Recap & Review

The Stench

At the centre of episode 5 of Mulligan is a new problem – “The Stench.” Apparently, there has been a lot of decay around the city. Due to the vast spaces of land, strong winds pick up and carry the stench across the city.

In an emergency cabinet meeting, we see LaMarr suggesting that Lucy take the job of solving the problem by creating awareness. It was she who called the meeting as part of her “caring for others” pleas. Braun’s sensible and scientific approach is once again stifled by LaMarr. The two seem to be sworn enemies and are still after one another since the last episode.

She decides to do a “Quench the Stench” celebrity concert to further the cause. Axtarax decides to make an effort to know the human race better. Braun and Simon are engaged in a trivial contest of who uses their wits to get to the correct date on that day. The former believes it is Monday, while Simon seems to think it is Sunday.

Lucy goes out into the relief camps to find celebrities, which are scarce since the attack. People show a willingness to follow her and like the idea. Just then, Questlove and Weird Al appear from the bushes to offer themselves up.¬†They’re in the mood for some means to channel their artistic talents and join the concert.

Matty gets annoyed when Vance Barry, the newsman, announces Lucy’s efforts to deal with the stench problem. He looks for secret passageways in the White House but LaMarr has an important job for him. LaMarr shows him an inactive oil field. He proposes they start drilling to get the city back up and running. He even alludes to the skilled workers who hid in bunkers and survived.

LaMarr convinces Matty that oil is “natural,” even as he cites Lucy’s abhorrence to it. Matty agrees to it, before turning his attention to “Stench Aid.” He gets jealous seeing the huge crowds gathered to support the cause and he reaches the spot. He takes to the stage and tries to upend Lucy, who is confused. It is all showbiz and no real work. The stench has remained and people are starting to get annoyed. Axatrax’s attempts to “know the human race” aren’t going too well.

All the secrets are spilt when Lucy, Matty, and LaMarr convene at the office. The seasoned politician concedes to sending Lucy on a wild goose hunt because he wanted to manipulate Matty like a puppet. They dismiss LaMarr and try to come up with a solution themselves.

Braun and Simon’s stupid competition has wagered on and it seems like we might have a winner. The deciding factor is the Washington Comet, which is supposed to be seen on Monday. But a more important issue catches their attention – the old field.

That is what’s causing the stench. The two confront LaMarr about it. Even he gets frightened when he sees a big bubble of toxic, bad-smelling gas about to pop. We have yet another musical to explain LaMarr’s plan to deal with the issue – “Hog Lagoon.” The idea is to give the stench a positive spin by explaining that it is coming from a pig farm, which would mean more jobs for the locals living near the field. A “Stench Fest” is organized by Lucy and Matty to execute their plan.

LaMarr also seeks Zhao’s help to help with the pivoting. “By getting rid of the stench, we are getting rid of history; and how can we let that happen?” is the central piece in the plan. It turns out that Simon was right. They can see the comet in the sky. But due to the fact that the moon is broken into pieces, it heads right toward them.

Braun says it will break into pieces before piercing Earth’s atmosphere- and it does – barring a small piece that breaks the bubble. Toxic and repugnant sludge showers on the people who celebrate the stench. Axatrax, though, has a feast eating.

The Episode Review

The sense of irony and sarcasm in this episode was definitely not lost on the writers. They couldn’t have made it more obvious. Their derisive commentary on politics and pivoting is old news and especially undermines the viewers’ intellect. It was one of those episodes where you could just turn off the screen and switch to something else. The breaking down of episodes into smaller subplots is a nice touch, though.

It can streamline the upcoming episodes of Mulligan to work better. But episode 5 was not greatly helped by this compartmentalization as the central plot itself was weak. We are no closer to really “knowing the characters” than in the last episode and that is a shame.

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