This Ghosted review contains spoilers.
Ghosted Episode 6
I wrote last week about how Ghosted could get a lot of mileage out of well-cast guest stars, and the series proved me right in this installment by delivering Dax Shepard as the face of a nefarious Artificial Intelligence that attempts to destroy the Bureau Underground from the inside. While using flattery and preying on anxieties, Shepard’s AI, named Sam, turns the bureau against Max, wielding Max’s inherent manic, conspiracist leanings against him.
Not only is Shepard great in the role, switching back and forth between faux-helpful and sinister, but Sam is the first threat that the Bureau has faced that’s made an impact. Sci-fi stories have long used the “evil computer” plot, but “Sam,” like all the best iterations, makes the evil computer the star of the show. That being said, Adam Scott hands in his best performance of the series as well, putting Max’s insecurities in his friendship with Leroy center stage and really selling his supposed unravelling to maximum comedic effect.
However, like all of the episodes of Ghosted thus far, “Sam” has its issues. Annie, Barry, and LaFrey still are struggling to standout. When the episode tries to use its final moments to have a tender moment between an embarrassed Annie and a compassionate LeFrey, it’s a complete miss. The side characters are either not given enough to do or, like in the moment above, strangely trusted to do too much.
The conclusion is also a bit weak. After establishing himself as a menacing, formidable threat, Sam is taken out by shooting down a small drone and Max mashing in some key codes. Once again, it’s an anti-climactic ending that comes way too easily.
Still, at the center of it all, Robinson and Scott make it worth tuning in. Since mostly abandoning the “believer/skeptic” angle since the premiere, Ghosted uses the dynamic to make Max look like he’s lost his marbles and Leroy apprehensively believes it. It’s aided by the two butting heads over Leroy’s friendship with anonymous co-worker Terry and Max insisting that the pair spending time together doesn’t bother him. It’s typical man-children drama, but its effective when these two are at the heart of it.
Also, Ghosted is still reliably funny. The cold open, with Max and Leroy both dressed as priests chasing a monstrous nun is silly without context. A reoccurring gag about Leroy’s mood “Sexy, yet dangerous. Like playing saxophone in a lightning storm,” and his theme music to go along with it lands well, and Annie even gets in on the action, delivering my favorite joke of the night, a lame Friends pun, “Handler Bing.”
Ghosted may not ever figure out how to make all of its moving parts work all at once, but it still gets enough right to be an entertaining, if shallow, way to spend a half hour.