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Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Santa Clarita Diet reveals Dan’s killer instinct

Photo: Netflix
Photo: Netflix
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In our review for episode four, we wrote that, “We could do with a little more from Dan than just ‘I’m a hardass cop’ all the time, but maybe that’s coming later in the season.” Ask and you shall receive from Santa Clarita Diet, because episode five, “Man Eat Man,” zigged where we thought it would zag and made the show 100 times more interesting than it already was.

In the wake of finding a finger in Joel’s (Timothy Olyphant) backyard, Dan (Ricardo Chavira), like any good cop, runs the finger for prints and knows it’s Gary (Nathan Fillion), who has been missing now for a while. Instead of arresting Joel (and why not Sheila? We agree it’s sexist that Dan assumes it was Joel) Dan wants Joel to be his friend… and also kill someone for him while Dan is out of town on an “alibi trip.”


It’s not often a show can surprise viewers these days, and I fully admit I did not see that coming at all. I figured Sheila (Drew Barrymore) and Joel would either find a way to explain it or they’d have to kill Dan. Shows what I know. In something equally amazing, but amazingly stupid, the Hammonds go after Dan’s mark—a hardened criminal named Loki (DeObia Oparei) who has killed multiple people—without much preparation or plan.

Killing a seasoned killer who is roughly the size of a refrigerator in his own home is not the same thing as taking some hot-headed jerk by surprise in a parking lot, and as badass as it was to hear Sheila say, “I’m the weapon” in her own personal “I am the one who knocks” moment, it was very shortsighted of them not to have a better plan.

Trying to kill Loki goes predictably awry and all that Sheila can do is take a little nip at him—she doesn’t even think she broke the skin. But she did, because now Loki’s a zombie. Which apparently defines the way the condition is transmitted, since Joel has been having all the sex with Sheila and hasn’t turned. So it’s not just bodily fluids, it has to be a bite? That seems to be the takeaway.

Speaking of more details about the condition, Joel also goes to see Principal Novak’s (Thomas Lennon) grandmother (Grace Zabriskie—hey there Laura Palmer’s mom!) and finds out Sheila’s condition affected an entire Serbian village hundreds of years ago, but there is reportedly a cure out there if they can find a rare book that supposedly contains said cure.


Of course, what becomes of a show like this if they cure Sheila? That doesn’t seem like much fun. However, we’ve learned to trust in the Santa Clarita Diet writers, so we are confident they’ll turn that plot into something equally as great as the others.

Stray observations

  • A commenter remarked a few reviews back that “stray observations” could be made up entirely of many, many quotes from the show. Totally. But we try to narrow it down to just a choice few.
  • On the one hand, Eric (Skyler Gisondo) is right that using “Part-Time Lover” lyrics to woo your mistress is “lazy and on the nose,” but on the other hand, that song is so damn catchy!
  • “Probably couldn’t hear me over all this weed. Marijuana nice, yes? I smoke it with my black lover, having sexy time.”
    “What reaction are you hoping for right now?”
  • The scene where Eric kissed Abby was incredible. Oftentimes shows that are primarily about adults can fall into the trap of kid-centric storylines that are awful and excruciating to sit through, but these two are so great. We were literally thinking, “You should kiss her!” and then he did and then she freaked and then he played it off and our hearts broke a little for him. Ugh, it is the worst to be rejected by someone you’re so into who you think is into you back, especially as a teenager. Eric is the best. He’ll have his day.

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