Roadies this week had no big names for guest stars, like Rainn Wilson in the previous episode although the musical guest was Jim James. The plot in “The City Whose Name Must Not be Spoken” was a parallel one of angst and turmoil. Rick the bassist goes missing and Double D says the ‘C’ word on the bus (Cincinnati). In reality the ‘C’ word should have been “contrived.”
Since the band have been playing the older songs, as suggested by Kelly Ann, Rick has been on a downward spiral. Increasing his booze intake and consuming more pharmaceuticals. Milo is concerned but even though Rick is his band member to look after, he has not acted.
On a offshoot of the “Rick is missing” storyline, Bill and Shelli experience an adventure as they track the bassist down. Initially she is annoyed with Bill after he decides to hang with a groupie and not her. Later, however, the two get on the same page and have a few laughs.
Double D, aka Reg, walks onto Kelly Ann’s bus and says the ‘C’ word effectively cursing the entire tour. Gooch then informs the crew members on the bus that to break the curse they need to drive 100 miles in the wrong direction. There are also eggs and balloons to collect.
The entire group have their day off ruined by Rick’s disappearance and Reg invoking the curse on the tour.
Roadies is utilizing a real tragedy in their use of The Who 1979 Cincinnati concert disaster. The “curse” seems to be the rock tour version of the theatre crowd’s “Scottish Play.” . Although in this instance, the curse can be broken.
To counteract the curse, as well as the 100 mile journey, 11 eggs must be broken and 11 balloons released. This all makes a certain amount of sense. The eggs equal the broken lives and the balloons, the souls released to heaven.
Unfortunately the whole thing feels like a contrived excuse to get Kelly Ann and Double D together. It also gave the show time to get Shelli and Bill on a magical mystery tour of their own looking for Rick.
However contrived the episode may feel, it had its fair share of comic moments.
Reg and Kelly Ann stealing eggs from an (apparently) dead person.
Shelli learning from Bill that “jazz” is a code word for swinging.
Reg’s dismay at “hot-bagging.”
Kelly Ann’s very English “Christ on a bike.”
The return of Natalie Shin.
Milo deciding he is dying after walking four minutes.
Bill and Shelli being chased out of the bakery by a baseball bat wielding shop owner.
Rafe Spall channeling his inner “Andy” from Hot Fuzz.
Phil, Reg and Bill:
“The City Whose Name Must Not be Spoken,” also featured the return of Phil. He is still on the Taylor Swift space tour and he solemnly informs Kelly Ann that “gravity helps you sh*t.” Phil also relays the “rules” on how to break the curse.
In many ways the episode allows Reg to bond more with the crew. More is learned about Bill’s wild days with Rick and the show proves just how good the chemistry is between Gugino and Wilson. There is also a great thing going on between Poots and Spall, their equally awkward characters are slowly moving toward one another. Each set of couples are in denial and this works.
The eggs are broken and the balloons released after a suitable recitation about the 11 victims who died at the Cincinnati concert. Kelly Ann tricks Milo into taking a shower in the rain. Rick is found in a waterbed with Natalie Shin and “Regg” is picked up by a car sent by Production Management at the bus.
A Note of Foreboding:
Earlier, when Kelly Ann has her Skype call with Phil he mentions that all the eggs need to be broken. That is a lesson, he says, that he learned on his first tour with Nine Inch Nails. As bus starts to pull away, Kelly Ann notices, and the camera zooms in on, a solitary unbroken egg.
Roadies airs Sundays on Showtime. Tune in and see if the curse has been lifted or if the tour is doomed.
- Luke Wilson – Bill
- Imogen Poots – Kelly Ann
- Rafe Spall – Reg Whitehead
- Carla Gugino – Shelli
- Keisha Castle-Hughes – Donna Mancini
- Peter Cambor – Milo
- Machine Gun Kelly – Wes
- Tank Sade – Christopher House
Musical Guest: Jim James