This Vice Principals review contains spoilers.
Vice Principals Season 2 Episode 4
It’s becoming clear that Vice Principals is gearing back up for a Gamby versus Russell showdown, and the road to that inevitable clash is getting more enjoyable each week. Tonight’s “Think Change,” the best episode of season thus far, finds the series looking to establish that Russell is irredeemable while setting up Gamby for some sort of redemption. Gamby’s one day at the helm of North Jackson might be the turning point for these frenemies to flip the switch and get back to sparring.
When Russell receives word that his father has died, he needs to take a day off from school and leave Gamby in charge as acting principal. Russell’s sabbatical comes at a poor time, right in the midst of his latest attempt at breaking down his “lazy and disrespectful” teaching staff. Russell has hired a team building company to viciously whip the teachers into shape, hilariously led by guest star Scott Caan. In Russell’s absence, Gamby is to be sure that the teachers participate in the over-the-top exercises whether they like it or not.
While Gamby must deal with the increasingly aggressive Sweat Dogs, Russell is forced to return home, where we get a glimpse at his upbringing. With a preoccupied, “man’s man” father and two bullying, tomboy older sisters, we learn that Russell’s issues with masculinity and inferiority run much deeper than we thought. The scene in the garage with his sisters is as uncomfortable as any off color thing that Gamby or Russell have ever done and Goggins sells the scene masterfully, However, the real revealing nugget about Russell’s history is casually dropped by his elderly mother, who remembers how Russell was always a sneak and a liar. Even with two cruel siblings and a disinterested father, Russell was always a sniveling coward worthy of disdain. It’s not surprising to learn that Russell has daddy issues and the bullied always make the most insufferable bullies.
Back at school, Gamby is also forced to confront some bullies, as the Sweat Dogs begin taking their “team building” a tad too far, forcing Gamby to come to the aid of the staff. By standing up to the Sweat Dogs, the North Jackson teachers rally behind Gamby. With a taste of power and the respect Russell lacks from the staff, Gamby is going to have a hard time handing the reigns back to the tyrant that Russell has become. First with Robin Shandrell and now with the teachers, Gamby is starting to see the benefit in showing empathy for other people and their struggles.
Next week it looks like we’ll be returning to the “Who shot Gamby?” storyline, but this episode proves that there’s enough drama at school building between Russell, Gamby, and the teachers to fuel the plot. With the superintendent checking in often, it’s possible that Gamby could be promoted and Russell demoted, and the fallout from that could be pretty epic. In his speech at his dad’s funeral, Russell inadvertently states how his job and wife are the only things he can hang his hat on. If he were to lose one of those things, the meltdown could be dangerous.