Warning: This recap contains major spoilers for Season 6, episode 1 of Schitt’s Creek.
There’s nothing like reuniting with old friends for some much-needed perspective and self-care in the new year — especially when those friends are messy, ex-rich people relegated to a small town they bought as a joke, whose life problems and meltdowns are high-key entertaining as hell. New year, new Schitt’s Creek season, same Rose family!
In the first episode of Season 6, the sitcom's final season, the Roses — David and Johnny (co-creators and father/son duo Dan and Eugene Levy), matriarch Moira (the inimitable Catherine O’Hara), and Alexis (Annie Murphy) — are back on their lovable bullshit. Six seasons in, the show still goes down like a warm cup of tea that comforts and soothes while hitting a spot we didn’t even know we needed it to hit.
When the episode opens, we find David and his fiancé Patrick (Noah Reid) stifling laughter while watching Alexis unsuccessfully attempting to close a suitcase she’s packing for her trip to the Galapagos Islands to join her boyfriend, Ted (Dustin Milligan). Some classic Alexis/David back-and-forth ensues, but I’m too distracted by the epic black-and-white checkered shorts and sweater combo Dan Levy is wearing the shit out of to pay attention. Gimme this outfit! The gist of the convo is this: Alexis can’t wait to get out of their crappy town, and David and Patrick didn’t invite her on their wedding venue hunt. Dan Levy has talked about how Schitt’s Creek is deliberately a utopia where homophobia and racism don't exist. Not to harp on the shitstorm of horrific headlines dominating our timelines, but when the real world is the opposite of a paradise for members of the LGBTQ community, watching David and Patrick plan a wedding and lovingly gripe over venue details is exactly the kind of escapism I signed up for. Later in the episode, Johnny tries to ease former soap star Moira’s predictably emotional reaction to the shelving of her film The Crows Have Eyes III. She’s locked herself in their motel closet. We’ll come back to Moira’s closet theatrics, I promise. First, we’ve got a wedding venue to find.
Alexis tags along while David, Patrick, and a raccoon-eyed Stevie (still wearing her Cabaret show makeup, which is supposed to be a hot mess, but Emily Hampshire pulls it off) head to the site, which is “the only venue for miles that doesn’t look like a scene from a missing persons docuseries,” says David. In real life, the location is Graydon Hall Manor in Toronto. I also looked at this venue for my upcoming nuptials and I could not afford it. David Rose and I have so much in common. He falls in love with the mansion’s sprawling grounds, but when he’s given the pricing guide (gold, silver and bronze packages), he quips, “Is there a package lower than the bronze package? Perhaps a copper package?” Hey, Schitt’s Creek, I came here for entertainment, not to be triggered by the wedding industrial complex! David and Patrick are presented with a cheaper option on a Sunday afternoon but it’s in a month (god, I love a good rush-plan-a-wedding TV trope). The catch: Alexis will be tanning (not in a tankini, never in a tankini) on a beach in the Galapagos Islands. Sweet Patrick notes that they can’t get married without Alexis, proving as always that he is too pure and good for this fictional world.
Eventually, Alexis realizes that she misread her flight itinerary and she actually isn’t leaving on her trip for another month. Murphy and Levy proceed to play a simple scene where Alexis tries to convince David she’s selflessly moving her trip back for him in a way that perfectly showcases these actors’ dynamic and their bullseye comedic timing. When David points out that this is “like that time you showed up to Kate Winslet’s wedding a month late,” Alexis whines, “The calligraphy was hard to read and Billy Zane also did the same thing, David.” Six seasons in, Murphy’s enunciation of “David” is still worthy of its own Emmy. Every single time.
As for the real Emmy nominees, Eugene Levy and Catherine O’Hara, they’re coming out the gates STRONG. The first time we see Moira, she bursts out of a closet to say, “John, remind me to reprimand that latch, it’s being awfully moody today” before confusing her kids for hotel staff. This scene is for the tweet that was circulating a few weeks ago claiming that Schitt’s Creek isn’t funny. I dare you not to laugh at the way Moira orders an orange pekoe tea. I DARE YOU. Or when she gets stuck in her closet during a smoke emergency (caused by Schitt’s Creek mayor and town jester Roland Schitt) and yells, “my legs are in slumber, carry me!”
After her near-death experience, Moira is clutching her wigs like a Black auntie at Cloré Beauty Supply and declares to Johnny that she is retiring. “I all but perished for an unrequited love for an industry that has burned me over and over again,” she coos in her indistinguishable accent. When Moira and Johnny intend to go impromptu skinny dipping to celebrate her retirement, she leaves him up Schitt’s Creek without his clothing to call her agent. She returns to a half-dressed Johnny — as a cop is about to bust him for indecent exposure — to announce that the Crows movie is back on. Johnny is disappointed and concerned for the next time Moira is inevitably rejected, proving that he is also too pure and good for this world.
This episode has all the things that make Schitt’s Creek great — family drama, Moira zingers, and schmaltz that somehow works — but it barely has the core four Rose members together. The best scenes are when all four actors get to play off of each other. With our time with the Roses dwindling, they need to get the gang back together and let us watch them bond over their final days at the Rosebud Motel. That’s not a spoiler; I just assume this show ends with the Roses escaping their low-income nightmare.
This episode was also a little light on the cameos from the quirky townspeople we’ve come to know and love. Aside from Roland swooping in to save Moira from her closet, we’re missing Schitt’s Creek faves like Jocelyn, Twyla, and Ronnie. My final note: Patrick needs more to do than just gaze at David lovingly and periodically inject some sense into a scene (his biggest moment is suggesting they get married at the motel). Give the man back his acoustic guitar!
Other Things We Gave A Schitt About This Episode
Who Was The Schitt?
This week’s MVP goes to Moira Rose, if for nothing else but her pronunciation of “plea barg-AHN” and use of the word “habilimented."
Best Pre-Schitt Name Drop
One of my favourite things about this show is how hilariously it calls back to the Roses' rich years. This week, we know that Alexis almost went to Kate Winslet’s wedding, dated Sean Penn (of course) and that Johnny and Moira were close with the Gores. This line had me howling: “I’ve never been more lucid and I’m including that Peruvian ayahuasca retreat we embarked upon with Al and Tipper.”
A Moment For Moira’s Wigs
What would this recap be if we didn’t take a minute to appreciate Moira’s “bebes?” As she’s running out of the smoke-filled motel room, Moira yells instructions to Roland to save certain members of her wall of wigs, “Lorna, second from the left. If she takes on smoke, she’ll never recover! Cindy, I just gave her a blowout!” Lorna and Cindy survived. No wigs were harmed — only snatched — in the making of this episode.
— I have a feeling Alexis’ month without Ted is going to include an appearance from Mutt, the bearded brooding hipster who stole her away from Ted the first time. I don’t think Alexis will give in to Mutt’s musky charms (he looks like he smells like firewood and pretension), but I predict a declaration of affection from the prodigal Schitt son.
— I have a seriously hard time believing David would be down for getting married in the back of the decrepit motel he loathes. However, if David and Patrick really do get married at the motel, I sense a business opportunity for Johnny. How much do you think the Rose Weddings copper package is going to be and will it be available next September? Asking for a friend.
— Stevie alludes to having a Belle moment (aka wanting more than this provincial life) this episode and I for one hope the series ends with her getting out of Schitt’s Creek. While the Roses have found their stride in the town, she seems to be floundering miserably. #FreeStevie!