‘Birdgirl’ Episode 6 Review: Baltimo

Original sin is defined by iniquities that are passed down, by no volition of our own. The Bible calls it the Apple. The mob calls it the Bloodline. In the season finale of Birdgirl [adult swim] titled “Baltimo”, you will realize why Sebben & Sebben calls it the Legacy.

We open in on HOT SYNTHS as Evie (Sonia Denis) is chomping away at the keyboard, with onlookers Charlie (Lorelei Ramirez), Judy (Paget Brewster), Meredith (Negin Farsad), and Dog with Bucket Hat (John Doman)… and with the punch of an Enter key, their commerce site is seconds away from being live. Their first order of, well, orders is divesting their office supplies. It’s called The Paper Collector’s Collection, and bundles are one of a kind like 1 stapler, 4 binder clips, 8 paper clips, 1 pen, 1 legal pad, and two (blue and yellow) post-it note pads.

That’s 500 boxes of office supplies at 24 bucks a ‘drop’. Mer thinks of it as a ‘consumer-defined vintage organization experience’. once dog crunches the numbers on what amounts to a 700% markup. Another drop is about to go live. This one includes two types of mini scissors (left and right-handed), a big pair of scissors, a letter opener, a full clip of staples, and Insult Gagz! Pro Editio for 24– well, you get the idea.

To be honest, for Mer and Charlie getting rid of old Sebben & Sebben overstock and marketing it as a curated experience is kind of genius, despite the idea being born out of being stoned. The group, even with Paul (Tony Hale), saved the company. This instills pride in Judy, prompting her to unveil their new digs, but not before momentarily glitching out.

Now while Paul is super all about it, Charlie, Mer, and Evie are a little less on the enthusiastic side. Mer tries to spread some honey on the wound, but Charlie, pours some Morton’s on it, calling their ‘extracurricular’ activities a pain in the ass since they don’t get paid. Hurt, Judy shows them the door.

Her ego ain’t the only thing that’s gutted, however, grabbing her side as if an ulcer’s hit. She downs some pills on continues the day solo checking in with Gillian (Kether Donohue), already fielding complaints from irate customers whose product is disappearing before their very eyes. Judy offers to take Gillian out to lunch as she’s feeling a little empty, and not in the friendship area type of way. Just as Gillian explains the customer situation, a stapler disappears into particles.

The board room is frenzied with phone calls. Dog with a Bucket Hat tells Ms. Sebben why the company is going down like a lead balloon. It turns out in ‘97, Sebben & Sebben designed a business phone that lacked heft- that is until one day when Phil Ken went mining and found an abundance of a mysterious mineral that was heavy, so Dog with a Bucket Hat engineered a phone comprised of that mineral.

Not only did it make the phone heavier, but also feel better, so they started constructing everything out of the stuff. They called it Baltimo. The reason that everything is disappearing is that Baltimo has a half-life, and though they’d known it for years, they didn’t project the half-life would outlive the projected end of the world, which was in 2015 (and Dog swears that it did.)

The problem could go away with Judy signing a contract approving refunds. Yet, upon taking a once over on the fine print, she notices the phrase “Baltimo Project” and before Brian (Rob Delany) can get a word in about Sebbentown, Dog chokes him out. Now, with a piqued curiosity and a demand for a personal briefing, time is of the essence for Judy.

This includes delivering a letter to Meredith, already swamped with relaying refunds ad nauseam. Meredith intercepts the letter before Judy can walk away. The instructions are to be opened 25 years following the event of Judy’s death, but not always one to play by the rules, Meredith opens the missive anyway. It’s basically a maudlin guilt trip wrapped in a candy-coated mea culpa with a playlist for her memorial as a stinger. What, pray tell, is on said playlist?

Who says you can’t jam while you’re dead?

Out of view, but listening in for tears, Judy once again feels a pang in her side, continuing to her office. Looking over the Approval Refund Form, she tries to log into her laptop, but can’t. She tries to page Gillian to no avail, but it’s neither here nor there, as Dog chloroforms her, maintaining she shouldn’t have stuck her nose where it doesn’t belong. Brian approaches and Gillian comments on how pretty she is sleeping… and awake.

Loaded up on a chopper piloted by Dog, Judy’s air-bound, Brian’s bored, but Gillian has the solution.

At an off-site clinic, Dog explains to Judy, now bound to a table that she was the first human to ingest Baltimo. It wasn’t the Baltimo Project, however. As a child, she found a jar of it on her dad’s desk and like most kids, she used to put every fucking thing in her mouth. After Phil Ken saw it improved other products, he fed it to his daughter. He would sprinkle it on her cereal, put it in her stuffed animals, and even make her prom date 100% Baltimo. That’s the realist doll you can get.

That shit is punching holes in her and “not the metaphorical ones.”

The one thing, not 100% though, is her being on her own. Dear Daddy’s built a town constructed entirely of the insidious element Baltimo: Sebbentown (aka the Baltimo Project). Pissed off that a town bearing her good name on it is disintegrating, Judy chloroforms Dog and takes him for a ride, but not before tossing the handkerchief at another scientist, immediately knocking them out. Hilarious sight gag.

Back in her office, Gillian proposes she and Brian play “Honest Assessment”, with the gist being looking at each other and spouting the most soul-crushing things possible. The first one to cry loses (or wins), but the only rule is to be brutally honest. Brian’s at the disadvantage, as he honestly admits that he was raised to never be honest to a woman. Gillian goes first and carves him up like the Thanksgiving she references. She doesn’t allow for water breaks. He attempts to dig into her, but it doesn’t count if it doesn’t bleed according to her. C’est une savauge.

Donning his new Bird Team “junk pouch”, Paul looks over the cards he’s purveyed. These pagan greetings include “Howl You Doing”, “Have A Jolly Little Eostre” and “Happy Solstice.” The codpiece glows as a stapler, pencil sharpener, and various brick-a-brack disappear. Eostre cards are now half off!

On the chopper, Dog has taken Judy’s place on the stretcher. They are headed to Sebbentown because she wants Dog to fix the problem he and Phil Ken started by building the damn place. Dog explains that he promised Phil he would mold Judy in his image. She understands and lets him escape with a parachute. Before he goes, Dog notifies her the BM-1136 lag bolt’s makeup was 87% Baltimo, found in copy machines, office chairs, and alas, helicopter rotors. He apologizes, but not before hearing Judy admitting that next to her dad, he’s been the biggest disappointment of her life. Dog’s visage says it all and with that, he jumps as she nosedives.

Pulling the cord, he realizes the abandonment would not let him float freely from the guilt nor keep his snout about water for the iniquity he’s contributed to… because this was for cushion use only. This was a well-deserved guffaw as he plunges into the water.

Escaping her downed ‘copter, Judy is in a town completely awash in Sepia tone. After being met with some gunfire, she reveals her identity as Phil Ken Sebben’s daughter. The locals are filled with joy as SHE has returned, as the profits have foretold. No, not Judy but rather Birdgirl, as pointed out on a copy of her titular comic book.

In Gillian’s office, Brian might be catching on to her game, accusing her of creating it to project her self-loathing unto others and that the only people pretend to like her is that because she works for a rich, single woman and that when she dies, she may get her inheritance and that because she’ll die alone, they may someday get rich. Gillian weeps, only to fake out Brian. Now it’s on.

Evie and Mer enter and complete the last of the refunds. With both Gillian and Brian having a stare-off, Mer dares not to question outside of where Judy is. They both make up a fake location with a fake consequence. I smell the sweet scent of sad cookies baking!

Evie overrides Judy’s computer to pinpoint her in Sebbentown. Mer calls a meeting and wants to get the band back together. Evie opts out, saying she has “a thing.” Paul’s immediately in, as he may be of some service in a town made entirely of Baltimo. You see, it all started with his foreskin…

In Sebbentown, everything is in vintage Sepia tone, everything is Birdgirl centric and everything is paid in Phils, her dad’s own branded currency. Since Judy claims to be Birdgirl’s representative and since she’s the only one in color, they promise to take her to the mines to be cured.. but just then, things start exploding into atoms, including a mailbox and mailer’s arm.

The team awaits in the car and the pull is strong on paul’s crotch. Strong enough to nail him to the windshield.

In a place where even all the movies feature Birdgirl, something is aFowl (fucking had to get one in.) Everyone is holed up and being literally holed up because they are putting Baltimo in the food.

When the economy for Baltimo dried up, it was Birdgirl that told them to eat it, which boosted their economy… along with the 91 hour workweek, which she promoted as well. This was a town that she created by way of her father. Yes, to turn a profit, his slick, but the sick sense of paternal guidance would have him knowingly risk the lives of an entire town with his only begotten daughter as their savior.

Before she can truly process this, Judy passes out due to Baltimo poisoning. Apologizing for taking her friends for granted, Mer assures her there’s nothing to be sorry for. Having read all 9 (!) scrolls of the letter, she would rather Judy say how she feels instead of penning it. Too late though, as Judy’s sporting a pretty cavernous hole in her midsection and the townsfolk want the entire Bird Team dead, Judy included. Dog rams a few of them down to claim some last-second redemption.

In Gillian’s office, Brian attempts to ride his wave but ultimately is at a loss, conceding that they’re both awful people… so they happily switch to Backgammon instead. They are sooo gonna fuck next season!

Mmmm MMmmmm
A Heaping Help Will Do Ya!… IN!

Observing an ad with her likeness claiming that Balt-Mix Cereal can help you work ALL DAY in the mines, Judy realizes Birdgirl was just a shill for the product… a shill-cum-god. Mer hates herself for suggesting it, but she throws out the idea of retrieving the Bird Team costumes.

Clad in Sepia tone, Birdgirl emerges to a round of applause, having the people clapping their arms off. Paul’s crotch isn’t making things any better, as it is blowing limbs off of the denizens at an alarming rate. Evie, however, can restore not only the missing limbs (or heads) but also their missing color. She can talk to buildings, so she acts incredulous that people can’t believe she can’t talk to molecules as well.

Judy collapses, making peace with the fact that she has friends that filled the hole in her… the metaphorical one. Just as Paul, lamenting the old lady heads to Judy, Mer, and Evie mind-meld and cure the WHOLE town… well, except for the giant dam. Damn.

As leaks begin to spring, the Bird Team assembles and succeeds in fixing the wall, but then the rock beside it explodes, flooding the town. With people still in the mines, Charlie springs into action with finesses of hole-in-one, escaping with everyone intact.

On only floating remains of a cursed town,  Tells everyone that Birdgirl and her friends have agreed to temporarily relocate everyone while Sebbentown is being rebuilt… which was really Paul speaking on their behalf. Birdgirl as a representative of Judy vows that it is a new day, and will atone for the sins of her father.

In the office, tired from the fight, the Team is greeted by Gillian, who pushes a button, introducing them to the Nest, which is now their version of a Batcave. Though Birdgirl plays it down, they seem to love it… except for Dog, who still hates being at the height of Paul’s crotch.

Overall, I really thought this was one of their stronger episodes yet. There are several funny moments that didn’t pass me, including the word ‘drop’ as if it were a fucking Supreme drip, and ultimately, there was no wicked crazy B plot (not that I’m opposed to that.)

That being said, this isn’t your daddy’s Harvey Birdman. This is Birdgirl! She’s her own conal thing and distant from all that beset her in the past, which I love. It’s absurdist and in that vein, it shares that pedigree. As Birdgirl says, “it’s a new dawn, it’s a new day.”

I think she stole that from Michael Buble’s rendition of “Feeling Good” which she may add to her new ‘living’ playlist.

Robert Kijowski
Robert J. Kijowski is a screenwriter who enjoys a good chuckle and an even better weep when indulging in art both good and even better bad. He enjoys the company of strangers in a theatre but adores the camaraderie of friends watching Netflix. He also loves to talk- a lot. This can be read through his recaps and reviews on the Workprint or heard through his weekly movie podcast, After the Credits. His presence can be felt through Facebook, Spotify or Ouija. Don’t use the latter though- he almost always ghosts people.

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