7.3/10. I've been a big fan of South Park's trying out more serialization in recent seasons, but it means that, to some degree, we're in a brave new world when it comes to the show. If this were a Season 15 episode, I might call it unfocused. There are several stories in play: the titular member berries, Garrison vs. Hillary, the identity of skankhunt42, Cartman as a PC crusader, and the reboot of the national anthem. Sure, plenty of these stories intersect, but that's a lot of plates spinning and few of them get to any real resolution by the end of the episode. In a different season, that would be a knock.

But we're in Season 20 now, and what might have been scattershot in a prior season feels like it's setting things up to be resolved down the line in the current one. Who knows where the show is going to go with the Presidential election, or the reveal that {spoiler]Gerald is skankhunt42[/spoiler]. In the mean time, there's some of the show's usual biting satirical commentary, like connecting the recent push toward nostalgia-focused bits like the new Star Wars film with a Trumpian desire to go back to the "good old days." It's the neatest parallel the episode draws, while throwing in other bits about how we turn meaningful political acts into sideshow entertainment and co-opt it until it loses any meaning it might have had in the first place.

But maybe the most interesting person amid the tumult of this episode is Kyle. After last season, there was a push for Kyle to step aside a little bit, to not be so involved or active. The show connects his standing on the sidelines with the idea of collective guilt, with the notion that apathy, benign neglect, has its own form of culpability, and how in contentious times, people get painted with the same brush. Again, much of the episode takes the form of set up for things that will no doubt be developed further down the road, but it's an interesting place to start.

The comedy worked well regardless, whether it's Cartman's sarcastic (but maybe earnest?) comments about how women can be funny and seemingly showing off his troll bona fides, to the ridiculousness of the member berries, to bringing back the Douche vs. Turd dichotomy, to the way Congress fetes a reclusive and mystical J.J. Abrams to make things seem new again while reminding people of what they'd like from the old days. As a standalone episode, it's not the best South Park has to offer, but as the entree to a new season, it's a promising and intriguing beginning.

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