“One Year Later” pops on the screen when the Delocated finale begins, and immediately, the elephant in the room is addressed. It’s literally been a year since the show has been on the air, and it has been apparently unceremoniously canceled in the interim. Luckily for Jon Glaser and his wonderful, wacky show, he’s been given one more half-hour to tie loose ends together—to don the mask one last time. Still, there’s some resentment present in “The Frrt Identity” that cannot be covered up by the bulkiest of balaclavas, and Glaser’s willingness to let it all show up on the screen makes this a satisfying conclusion, even if there are no happy endings.
None. Delocated has always been a show about an asshole getting his comeuppance from the world. And much like Curb Your Enthusiasm, I found myself rooting for the bad guy at first by default—seeing as he was the main character—and later by choice. Familiarity on Delocated bred affinity, and no matter how many times Jon snarled insults at his own son or Jay the doorman, I liked him even more, for his willingness to get inside a giant hamster ball, or maybe his odd obsession with a potato skin bar.
There are comeuppances galore in “The Frrt Identity.” Jon has been programmed, over the last year, by Sergei, off in a cabin somewhere deep in Russia. Like Jason Bourne, Jon doesn’t recall anything about his training nor his identity. He’s a loose cannon, sent back into New York to wreak havoc on his family and friends—Sergei’s revenge plot come to fruition. Even after remembering who he is (by hanging out in his sweet loft), he kills TB and David, gets in a few more jabs at Jay, then has to sit back and face what he’s done. He’s been played, and in true action movie-trope fashion, he now must take down the player. His fight with Sergei might be one of more elaborate things to ever happen on this show, made all the more ridiculous by Jon’s low voice, at this point basically eliciting Pavlovian laughter when I hear it.
This show never really took itself too seriously, and neither does “The Frrt Identity.” In the end, Jon is off in the woods—unceremoniously unmasked—putting under the dismembered corpse of Sergei. Susan and the FBI guy kiss after tossing Jon’s mask into the trash—“the Smithsonian.” And there’s an open offer out to Richard Belzer, should he ever want to team up. It’s abrupt and nonsensical, and I think that’s exactly how Delocated wanted it.
It is a little strange, though, that logistically this is the way Delocated ends. It truly has been about a year since the last episode aired, and suddenly here’s a half hour-long finale wrapping up stories introduced way back when. As far as future TV anthropologists go, I assume this episode will be thrown onto the end of season three, and nobody will be the wiser. It speaks to Adult Swim’s credit that it was willing to essentially burn off an episode in the middle of whenever so the Netflix-streaming season feels more complete. But I also wonder why only one episode was commissioned/decided upon, especially a half-hour one. As long as the publicity was going to be there, “The Frrt Identity” feels like a hurried solution to the larger problem of ending a cult-followed show a year after the fact. It’s a really good episode of Delocated, but it’s also not the kind of memorable spectacle some of the others have been.
But admittedly it’s hard to separate the odd timing of this finale with the largely under-appreciated whole of the show itself. Arrested Development and 30 Rock get a lot of attention for being basically live-action cartoons, but I think Delocated belongs up there as well. It was a magnetic show that transformed seemingly unlikable characters into charming comic relief. Jon’s basically a 21st century Homer Simpson, and to create such a character who’s not incredibly despicable is a feat for Jon Glaser and the rest of the crewski. Farewell, Delocated. You were a show I could describe as, “about a guy who is the star of his own reality show but he’s in the witness protection program,” and there will truly never be another like you.