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The League returns to FX tonight at 10:30 p.m. EST. I’m going to try to once again recap each episode this season, but to get ready for the greatness that is The League, here’s a rundown of just a few of the guest appearances they have lined up for this season.
This is why we can’t have nice things. Ruxin stroked out. Kevin got everyone busted for redrawing the draft order, and Andre still doesn’t have an ICE. How can we save this season?
We all got a bit of a scare in the last episode. Could Ruxin be dead? Will his face really stick like that? And who takes over his team?
You’ll be delighted to know that he lived — at least long enough for Rafi to rack up several attempted murder charges.
In my view, killing Ruxin would be a step in the wrong direction, so I’m glad Rafi’s thinly veiled attempts to smother his brother-in-law were a complete failure. He probably made more progress in spitting game at the gruff nurse.
Of course, Rafi first ensured Ruxin’s legacy by procuring his sperm in the most humane way possible. That’s all a decent guy could ask, right?
While Rafi may have a special way of coping with his brother-in-law’s close encounter with death, the rest of the league is a little more level-headed. Only Taco, sensitive soul that he is, feels changed in ways he nor we fully understand by the “near-death” experience of being near Ruxin’s near-death experience.
But the rest of the league just needs to know who’s going to take over Ruxin’s team for his showdown with Pete in the Sacko Bowl. For that answer, they turn to Ruxin’s video will, carefully crafted by his own law firm. And it’s a piece fit for the message boards itself.
After dictating that his golf clubs should be sold on Craigslist or thrown away rather than given to any of his very disappointed friends, Ruxin goes on to torture them even further by confessing that he was the one to trash Pete’s favorite vinyl and that he never really understood what Kevin saw in Jenny.
One might have expected that to be the other way around. But then again, evil Ruxin has always been full of surprises.
Eventually (and maybe the stalling was all part of the game for him), Ruxin finally gets to the issue at hand. He leaves his team to Andre — a surprise option D for most odd makers — before finishing with a final, sounding “Suck It!”
So we can gather that, in the event of his death, Ruxin wanted to leave us all with a joke.
The anxiety of managing Ruxin’s team in the Sacko Bowl immediately starts to show on Andre, who tries to channel his own inner Ruxin around the gang by swilling vodka and offering to buy hotel rooms as if it will somehow empower him to run Ruxin’s team more effectively.
Couldn’t he just laugh maniacally and second-guess all his lineup decisions? Seems to work for Ruxin-everyone-calls-me-Ruxin himself.
But Andre’s job gets a little more difficult when Rafi discovers he’s been left out of the family fortune and demands they run the team together, as Rafi is the rightful next of kin. And Rafi’s knifey conversation style can be pretty convincing.
A visit to Ruxin provides them with only positive reinforcement…
But Jenny has better luck.
Knowing her husband, Kevin, is hopelessly dependent on this season counting to validate his abilities as a fantasy football addict and as a man (because of the bet Jenny and Kevin made), Jenny pays Ruxin a visit to beg him to allow this season to count.
Dressing as Sofia to bypass the nurses station (“That Puerto Rican slut is my husband’s mistress!”), Whore-Jenny meets with Ruxin and gets him to agree to allow the season to count as long as he doesn’t win the Sacko.
But the charity is not strong with the Pete one. He’s done his St. Pete duties. Now he’s just the old, mean Pete, unwilling to take a dive in the Sacko Bowl to save the season for Kevin’s championship because it would be too dangerous for him as the ruthless Sacko del Toro commissioner.
One ray of hope does emerge from this intervention with Pete in the form of Taco — who else? Finally making sense of the life-altering moment that was peeing on a post-stroke Ruxin, Taco donates his money to Matt Forte’s charity, Mercy Home for Boys and Girls. The donation warrants a visit from Forte to Ruxin’s bedside, which could motivate the fallen villain just enough to get him back on his game.
But Matt Forte’s official visit is hijacked by Andre, who’s sizing up Forte’s knee in order to properly set Ruxin’s lineup. Forte’s only real encouragement for a very excited Ruxin is a jersey and a slap of the football into Ruxin’s nuts. But I have to say Ruxin seemed to enjoy it, even through the post-stroke duckface.
As the Sacko Bowl showdown draws near, Ruxin learns how to use a mouth device to type and click the trackpad on his laptop, which allows him to make add/drops that confuse and upset both Andre and Rafi. Rafi just wants Bruce Banner on the team so The Incredible Hulk can win it all for his brother-in-law. Is that so much to ask?
It’s Shiva that finally comes to Ruxin’s rescue. While being wheeled out to see his own wife, eager to see him start walking so they can get him out of the hospital, Ruxin spots Dr. Shiva — the person, not the trophy — in the hallway.
The sight of her and the accompanying vision sends Ruxin stumbling down the hallway to exchange a sloppy, duckfaced kiss with the embodiment of the trophy he still owns, at least for now.
Much like kissing a frog, kissing Shiva cures Ruxin of all the effects of his stroke, and, instantly, he speaks clearly and walks without a limp.
Back at Kevin’s house, the Shiva Bowl is wholly uneventful. Taco blows off even watching the games because he wants Kevin to win anyway and has more important things to do, and the lackluster experience just takes the fun out of bringing home the trophy, at last, for Kevin.
What good is a trophy without a face to rub it in?
The Sacko Bowl ends up the same way. Against the combined powers of stroked Ruxin, Andre, and knifey-Rafi, Pete wins easily to doom Ruxin to a term as the Sacko and put the very legitimacy in the league in danger.
But the gig is up! It’s then that the invites to the funeral arrive.
It seems Taco, disgusted by his fantasy football league this season, has been plotting all along to put it down. So he’s prepared a viking funeral for all the league’s memorabilia, including the Sacko, the Shiva, Kegel the Elf, and Andre’s laptop (“This is where the evil all began”).
Rafi arrives in the Bobbum van just in time to deliver the dead — err, not so dead — body of Ruxin to the festivities.
But only the crazies (Do I have to say? Okay, Rafi and Taco) and Ruxin really want to see this season burn.
Kevin desperately wants the season to count so that he can finally put his name on the Shiva, but Ruxin is determined not to let that happen.
It’s at that touching moment, standing by a boat full of fantasy football memories and a torch-wielding Taco, that Jenny reveals the news: she’s pregnant. So whether or not Kevin wins the Shiva, at least he won the bet.
That seems to calm him down, but they have to fight over something, right?
Ready to do this thing, Taco and Kevin become locked in a struggle for who gets to light the funeral pyre. When Pete tries to intervene, he gets knocked to the ground right on top of the hot SACKO brand from Andre’s weekly forced steak ceremony, searing “SACKO” into Pete’s own flesh.
Appropriate for the Sacko del Toro commissioner, you might say.
While Pete’s tending to his damaged skin and pride, he distracts everyone just enough for Ruxin to light the boat on fire and Taco to kick it out into the water.
For a moment, it’s actually quite peaceful as they all watch the memories of three seasons of bickering, trash-talking and tomfoolery float away.
It was good times, wasn’t it? You were there…and you were there…
However, touching moments are for losers, not champions. Kevin can’t settle for that. So Kevin, not content to be just a father, dives in the water after his Shiva — Shiva blasting all the way.
Will he drown? Is his life in danger? And more importantly, will they recover the Shiva?!?
In any event, the credits roll, and once again, we’re without The League for a few months. I don’t always comment on the overall quality of the show as we go through it episode by episode. I prefer to keep these as recaps rather than reviews — I’m no TV critic — but I enjoyed Season 3 a bit more than I did Season 2 of The League. I think it found a bit of that spark that gave Season 1 so much hype without losing the depth and character they developed in Season 2.
“We are thrilled to do more shows with a cast that makes us laugh hard everyday, on a network that actually lets us put those jokes on air,” the Schaffers, executive producers of ‘The League,’ said. “In the words of Taco: ‘The League’ on FX on Thursday nights is a law, like water or dinosaurs.”
Water or dinosaurs indeed.
What do you want to see out of The League in Season 4? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below.
Memorable quotes from Episode 13:
RAFI: “You had a stroke, okay? So it’s time to die…Great news! Your dick still works. I harvested a bunch of your sperm, so you’re going to live forever.”
RAFI: “It was a murder boner. What do you think it is?”
TACO: “You know what? He’s been through a lot. We should just give him the Shiva.” KEVIN: “You shut your goddamn mouth!”
Whether it’s karma or the careful plotting of the rest of the league, Ruxin’s had a string of bad luck ever since he brought home the championship last season. He hits rock bottom in this, the last episode before the season finale.
It’s easy to say he had it coming. I mean, he ended last season with a “Suck it!” to the entire league and a reign of terror that darkened the skies of Chicago. Now, as his champion season comes an end, Ruxin’s been beat down, abused, and put in his place more than once.
With Pete and Ruxin both one loss away from playing in the Sacko Bowl, Pete hatches a noble scheme to bring an end to the guilt and suspicion they’ve had to deal with all season.
Pete decides to commit “Shivacide.”
If Pete loses, it doesn’t matter whether Ruxin wins or not. The two of them, due to tiebreakers, will have the two lowest records in the league, and Pete is confident he’ll best Ruxin in Week 16, assuring Ruxin will take home the Sacko.
From first to worst. The perfect end to Ruxin’s reign of terror.
While Kevin protests at first, such a selfless gesture cannot be ignored. After all, Kevin’s full of guilt about allowing the league to change the draft order after they drew Ruxin’s name first. So he agrees to allow “St. Pete” to make the great sacrifice for the good of the league.
But allowing this further transgression against Ruxin doesn’t clear Kevin’s conscience. After meeting with Pete, he decides to simulate an alternate league scenario based on the original draft order — a parallel universe where fairness mattered.
Much to his excitement, when the calculations are done, Kevin still would have made the playoffs with the original, correct draft order. This must just be his season, outside of that small incident last week.
But now that he knows the truth, Kevin’s put everyone at risk by creating evidence that the league colluded against Ruxin, a secret they’ve successfully hidden the entire season. At Pete’s urging, Kevin agrees that his notes on the alternate league scenario must be destroyed…as soon as they find them.
Not to be distracted from his distractions by fantasy football, Taco’s moving forward with his plans for Taco Corp. And by moving forward, I mean he’s actually making it a “Corp.” by incorporating it.
To do so, he needs Ruxin’s help, which Ruxin’s not very willing to provide until he sees that Taco has first priority on the waiver wire.
Knowing he could assure himself the chance to grab Felix Jones as long as Taco doesn’t put in a claim, Ruxin changes his tune and assumes his role as lawyer and longtime consigliere of Taco and Taco Corp. to go “business dinnering” with Taco at Obscura, the new downtown restaurant in complete darkness.
As if gropers needed a more accommodating setting.
The darkness of Obscura works in Pete and Kevin’s favor as they don night vision goggles in search of Kevin’s misplaced alternate league notes in the briefcase Taco stole for “business dinnering.”
They get in and out of Obscura without getting caught by Taco, Ruxin, or the blind host with a supernatural sense of smell, but the briefcase is full of nothing but Taco’s peppermints.
The search continues…
To liven things up in their playoff matchup, Kevin and Jenny decide to make a wager, and Kevin sets the terms — he wants to make another baby with Jenny if he wins. Can’t say that’s what I would have gone with.
Andre, fighting to stay relevant in his Sacko season, decides now is a good time to campaign to be everyone’s ICE, or emergency contact.
Alas, most of the league would rather Doak, the homeless guy who answers any walkie-talkie call on channel 6, be their emergency contact than admit on record that they’re that close to Andre.
Andre forces his way into Pete’s phone. And, of course, Pete is happy to abuse it by calling Andre to pick him up at Kevin’s house, fetch him beers, and worse until he sees fit to trade Andre to Taco in a package with Jason Witten.
It’s after this trade that Andre finally gets a proper opportunity to reciprocate. Pulled over for texting while driving when he was, in fact, making a last minute waiver wire addition before kickoff, Andre discovers that cops only get angry when you persistently ask them to help you decide whether to start Jabar Gaffney or Lance Moore.
With his car impounded, Andre’s forced to call Pete, who refers him to Taco, but Taco’s no help. He arrives via a ride from a girl he doesn’t even know with no money and no transportation to Pete’s house. So they walk.
On the plus side, Jason Witten gives Taco the points he needs to advance to the Shiva Bowl.
At Pete’s house, Ruxin arrives to learn that Pete is losing his matchup with only Mike Tolbert, the vulture, left to play. But the vulture is sick…and he hasn’t been seen since the first drive of the game. Kevin’s “sick vulture” sound is too much for Ruxin to take, and he runs away in tears.
But out of his anger, the evil rises.
Ruxin suspects that there must have been some sort of collusion going on for him to have failed so miserably. When Ruxin storms off to Ellie’s room and, in Ellie’s words, starts “being a real dick” to her frog, Ellie gives Ruxin several new reasons to flip the switch back to his dark side.
First, she hands him Kevin’s “hair pills,” also known as Propecia, and explains that he takes them everyday.
And second, she reveals her latest school project, a presentation board explaining why her daddy, Kevin, is her hero. On that board, she’s pasted the alternate league draft order and the playoff results Kevin calculated.
It’s hard to disagree with Kevin: “This is why I wanted a new kid. This one’s no good.”
With only minutes left in the last NFL game of the week and with Taco already a lock for the Shiva Bowl, Jenny has the lead over Kevin. It looks like it’s going to be Jenny facing Taco for the championship.
But as luck would have it, just as Kevin looks away to catch Jenny, falling off a ladder while decorating the tree, the Ravens D/ST gets an interception and takes it back to the house for a pick-six.
The point swing sends Kevin to the Shiva Bowl, and he Shiva Blasts after telling Jenny to “Suck it!” like a true gentleman.
His celebration, however, is short-lived.
Armed with Ellie’s project, clearly showing the treachery that the league committed against him to start the year, Ruxin will take no excuses. Ranting about how the entire season is null and void, he storms off spouting gibberish, eventually collapsing in the snow outside of Kevin’s house while trying to talk to Sofia on the phone, who just assumes it’s another dropped call.
His frozen Ruxin face suggests stroke. He’s barely even strong enough to resist mouth-to-mouth from Andre.
Is Ruxin…dead? Should we celebrate or cry?
Memorable quotes from Episode 12:
JENNY: “Did you just check the TV? While I’m choking?” KEVIN: “No, I, you know…there was just a little ticker at the bottom about LeGarrette Blount.”
KEVIN: “So strong when you’re angry.”
RUXIN: “The app I want for my phone is ‘Phone.’”
ANDRE [on dropped calls]: “All of a sudden everyone becomes a cell phone Columbo.”
ANDRE: “You blew up the house…” KEVIN: “You should call you ICE!” ANDRE: “I don’t have one.”
PETE: “I’ve decided to commit Shivacide.”
KEVIN: “Saint Peter.” PETE: “Bless you, my son.” KEVIN: “Lunch?”
PETE: “Andre, you accepted your own Facebook invitation to me?” ANDRE: “Yes, it was sitting there for ages.” PETE: “No, seven years.”
TACO: “…you remind me of a young me.” RUXIN: “You’re younger than me.”
RUXIN [to Taco]: “It’s like talking to a block of marble.”
TACO: “The crotchal region is not flattering, but it’s accurate.” KEVIN: “It’s inappropriate, is what it is.” TACO: “Are you upset about the bend? Look, that’s a MacArthur family tradition.” KEVIN: “No, it’s a lilt, first of all.” ANDRE: “Whoa! That’s a bend. Anything past 19 degrees is a bend. I can fix that if you want.” KEVIN: “No.” ANDRE: “Technically, that’s a medical emergency.” KEVIN: “You are never touching my dick again.” ANDRE: “You give me the sign, I’ll do it at night.”
TACO: “I gave it an extra inch…because it’s about hero worship, right?”
TACO: “Yeah, dicks: Great at drawing them. Balls: Not so much. Faces: Not at all.” KEVIN: “Why don’t you just concentrate a little more on faces?” TACO: “I still have a lot of work to do on dicks. But then again, I’m my harshest critic.”
TACO: “Last week, I business dinnered with Doak.” RUXIN: “Taco, business dinner is not a verb.” TACO: “Yes it is. Like ‘moonwalk’ or ‘karate’”
RUXIN: “I can pay, Taco. ‘Cause you’re basically a homeless person.”
TACO: “No, no, no, I’m used to being in the dark.”
COP: “Jabar sounds like a wizard to me.”
RUXIN: “If I keep making this finger, you think it’ll freeze this way, too.”
TACO: “I made a Cheerio fart.”
RUXIN: “Propecia? Is that why his hair goes halfway down his forehead like teen wolf?”
RUXIN: “Your daddy’s your hero? … You should aim higher like a low-end bookie or a spare tire.”
KEVIN: “You know, I did not set up this league to have a trophy end up with my wife’s name on it or as a bong in my attic.”
KEVIN: “This is why I wanted a new kid. This one’s no good.”
TACO: “I think we’re supposed to pee on him…Might not help, but it can’t hurt.”