Photo: Netflix

I’ve been patiently (and then impatiently) awaiting Natalie Morales’ arrival on Santa Clarita Diet. She’s a helluva comedic actor—RIP, Trophy Wife and The Grinder—and now that her big moment has arrived, it was everything I hoped it would be and more. Morales plays Anne, Dan’s partner in the sheriff’s office, who is part of the investigation of Dan’s whereabouts after he didn’t show up for work.

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Anne’s presence—and that of practically the entire sheriff’s department—obviously makes Joel and Sheila very nervous about having Dan’s body in the bathtub, and they spend the entire episode trying to figure out what to do with it. It’s a bit trickier than taking him to the storage locker, since their neighborhood is crawling with cops and they can’t pull their SUV into the garage to load his body inside, though even if they could, that would be an extremely risky proposition. Having the body does let Eric say goodbye (in his own way) to his jerky stepfather, which is a nice bit of closure for him. But the Hammonds can’t keep Dan indefinitely, so…

The first big idea Sheila comes up with is that she will try to eat Dan in one night. She makes a valiant (and disgusting) effort, but she just can’t pull it off and who can blame her? That is a lot of meat. So the Hammonds decide to pack up what remains of Dan and head off on their planned day at the beach—with Dan stashed in a cooler, to presumably be disposed of elsewhere.

As the Hammonds leave, the cops find Dan’s locker of pilfered stuff, courtesy of the still-lit flashlight Abby left in there, along with Gary’s finger. So the new working theory is that Dan was mixed up in some bad stuff, since he was apparently being blackmailed by Loki and now Loki is also missing, and he killed Gary and then took off when his dirty dealings caught up with him.

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And that’s pretty much the episode. There was no update on Loki, which is a bummer, and only a passing mention of Rick getting Joel the number for the guy who alleges to have a copy of the Serbian book that talks about a cure for the zombiedom.

But a few things really save the episode from being kind of mundane. First, the aforementioned addition of Morales. She’s a gem and should be in all the things, but what was especially hilarious here is that she and Dan’s wife Lisa (Mary Elizabeth Ellis) are kind of into each other. Forget Ryan Hansen, I am now firmly aboard the Anne/Lisa ship (Lanne?).

Secondly, there is some outstanding work between Barrymore and Olyphant as a married couple. I’ve read criticism from viewers that Barrymore is not their favorite part of the show. I think she’s actually grown into the role as the season has progressed, as has her chemistry with Olyphant. The exchange between them about places to hide Dan that Abby never goes was excellent. It’s too long to transcribe here, but it felt like an organic conversation a married couple would have.

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Finally, in the waning moments of the episode, Sheila discovers her right pinkie toe fell off in the bathtub. That was a really interesting development, because does that mean being a zombie is temporary, as in it lasts until you fall apart? Or does it mean she’ll always be a zombie, but become progressively more like a Walking Dead zombie?

This will surely make Joel’s quest for the cure even more fervent, but what show are we looking at if Sheila gets cured? That doesn’t sound terribly interesting. But “Strange or Just Inconsiderate?” was a nice transition from Act II to Act III of the season and the final three episodes should be a lot of fun.

Stray observations

  • “I can’t believe you eat this.”
    “You eat meat, even after we saw that slaughterhouse documentary.”
    “I cut out veal and I limited bacon to the weekends. That’s all I can do.”
  • “You mess with this kitty cat, you get the claws.”
  • Speaking of cats, Barrymore coughing up Dan’s hairball was really funny. Does she have cats? Because she definitely looked exactly like my cats when they do that.
  • “Hey, murderers! Let’s go to the beach.”

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