30 Rock season 5 episode 14 review: Double-Edged Sword

Even before the opening credits had had a chance to kick in, Louisa suspected that this latest 30 Rock might be really, really, good. She was right, too...

5.14 Double-Edged Sword

When 30 Rock‘s good, it’s really good. Double-Edged Sword treated us to a pithy setup, a fun Inception gag and a laugh out loud moment involving Liz’s flies, before the credits had even rolled.

As the title announced, double-edged swords were slicing their way through the TGS studios this week. Tracy realised that the life of a multiple award winner isn’t all it’s cracked up to be, while Liz and Jack initially revelled in, then struggled with having partners who shared their every insane character trait.

Ultimate power couple Jack and Avery  were off for what promised to be a knuckle-chewingly erotic getaway at the Toronto G8 summit before they were rudely interrupted by Avery’s eight-and-a-half month pregnant uterus kicking into action, sending the usually unflappable Avery into spasms of despair. Scared of childbirth? Hardly. Worried about the challenge of impending motherhood? Nuh-uh. No, what was giving blue-eyed, über-patriotic Avery Jessup of the good ol’ US of A the screaming abdabs was the prospect of giving birth to (whisper it) a Canadian.

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Facing a future in which, not only would her daughter be unable to become president, but would also grow up as a citizen of a country where milk comes in bags, Jack and Avery set out to cross the border. After some very sitcom-y contraction noises (zoink!), a ride in a mobile meth lab and a gas station heart to heart with John Cho (of Harold And Kumar fame), a happy resolution was reached. Baby Donaghy may be a Canadian-American, but Jack,in one of his funniest storylines of the season so far, is determined to raise her as a human. So, all’s well that ends well. 

Matt Damon was back, quite possibly for the last time, as Liz’s boyfriend pilot, Carol Burnett. Being his usual insanely stubborn classic self (I know, me neither), Carol was supposed to be flying Liz and a planeful of extras to Nags Head when an unspecified delay caused civil war to break out between passengers and crew.

Leading the rag-tag passenger uprising against Captain Burnett was, of course, Liz, whose refusal to submit to authority figures led to a pistol-pulling showdown between her and Carol. Damon’s few appearances on the show have all been fun performances, all the better for his earnest, straight-faced line delivery and frequent invocation of sky law, but I, for one, won’t grieve his departure. (I mean, he was no Wesley Snipes.) 

Tracy’s story was probably the weakest link in the chain this week, but still provided some laughs as he struggled to carry the weight of being an Oscar winner on his shoulders. Finally completing his goal of being an EGOT (Emmy, Grammy, Oscar and Tony) award winner, he realises that life on the next level isn’t all just about owning a guitar-playing chimpanzee, but involves like, actual hard work, cueing a fake indefinite escape to Africa. Presumably used to cover for actor Tracy Morgan’s period of convalescence from the real-life kidney transplant he underwent in December, the next few weeks are going to be light on Tracy, and it’ll be interesting to see how the writers choose to fill the crazy-shaped hole he’ll leave.

So, newly single and bearing the scars of a double-edged relationship sword, what’s next for Liz? Back to Dennis the beeper king? Fictional astronaut Mike Dexter? James Franco and his Japanese love pillow? Whatever’s in store for the lipless loser in love, you can bet that it’ll be smart, funny and worth 22 minutes of your time, or I’ll eat all 700 words in the Canadian dictionary.

Read our review of episode 13, ¡Qué Sorpresa!, here.

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