With what looks to be the first of its final three shows for Season 47 (and then a summer's worth of casting rumors & speculation), Benedict Cumberbatch (Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness) and Arcade Fire took the stages of Studio 8H and threw down the gauntlet to next week's combo of Selena Gomez (Only Murders in the Building) and musical guest Post Malone. Because this weekend's edition of NBC's Saturday Night Live was a ton of fun that didn't shy away from making some blunt, honest points. Were we surprised? Not really, because when you combine an amazing actor like Cumberbatch and an SNL cast that can more than hold its own with a musical guest that has a black belt in live-performing, you get a show that punches you in the face from the cold open and doesn't let up. And on a personal note? I had absolutely no opinion whatsoever on Arcade Fire… until this weekend. "Unconditional I (Lookout Kid)" & "The Lightning I, II" were jaw-droppers that had us playing the album versions in the background as we wrote during the rest of the night.
From a Blue Bunny focus group that goes horribly bad and a Chuck E. Cheese experience unlike any other to a chain-gang snitch who loves to sing and the next-gen in toilet-sitting, there was a ton to love about this weekend's show- here are some of our personal highlights:
Roe v. Wade Cold Open: A sketch set in 13th century England showing the exact moment when three men (Cumberbatch, Andrew Dismukes & James Austin Johnson) voted to outlaw abortion. Especially for a cold open, the message here needed to be as in-your-face as possible and it was… ten-fold. And special props to Cecily Strong for speaking for those of us who still can't believe we're heading towards "The Handmaid's Tale" territory.
Mother's Day Gifts: A family (Cumberbatch, Dismukes, Mikey Day & Chloe Fineman) surprises their mom (Aidy Bryant) with some "special" Mother's Day gifts. As much as we love seeing just how increasingly blunt and over-the-top the "well-wishes" get, let's never lose sight of the fact that it only works because of the way Bryant brilliantly handles each one with shock and (like us) a recognition that this might all be a bit much.
Just Like You: Strong, Cumberbatch, Kate McKinnon & Chloe Fineman combine for a sketch-reminder to all parents out there of just how much of hypocrites they are with their kids. And that sometimes? That's okay…
The Understudy: Even if this was "just" a showcase for Fineman's talents, that would be more than enough because her takes on her fellow castmates are scarily good. But a guest appearance from Elizabeth Olsen and a fun "Doctor Strange" joke made it just that much better.
Because "Weekend Update" is always great, it's officially removed from weekly consideration and given its own spot to shine. And while Michael Che and Colin Jost covered a wide range of topics (from Rudy Giuliani canceling his scheduled appearance with the January 6 committee to archaeologists discovering 1,000-year-old cave paintings in Alabama), it was the leaked Supreme Court draft opinion overturning Roe v. Wade and eliminating Federal protection of abortion rights that took center stage right out of the gate. But in the interest of fairness, WU also offered "equal time" to McKinnon's Justice Amy Coney Barrett so she could share her opinion on abortion:
And here's a look back to those excellent performances from Arcade Fire that I was talking about earlier: