Another season under the belt, and South Park’s creators can walk away from the editing room with a smile on their face. Capping off many season-long arcs to varying degrees of success, Matt Stone and Trey Parker must be out of hammers after how many nails they hit on the end.
It’s a shame, then, that there is a distinct sense of a momentum left unfinished when the credits roll one final time for Season 21 – though we can hardly fault them for it. The last episode lands at a time where much seems to be building to a head.
With President Trump’s approval ratings plummeting to historic lows, an ever-encroaching FBI investigation, and the howls of a supporter base that have begun to fear that their “victory” will be denied them, the stage has been set for events of historic proportions to unfold.
Unfortunately, we won’t know what they are until we’re amid them – and the same goes for South Park. Cleverly lampooning shows like Stranger Things and IT, Stone and Parker set up a town that is on the hunt for an apparition-like President Garrison.
Popping up in the middle of the night to terrify children by asking how his approval ratings are, Garrison’s presence in South Park is a hot-button topic following his decision to nuke Toronto – and Ike’s impetus to hunt for Garrison in the most adorable Mountie costume we’ve ever seen him in.
Amid the chaos of the manhunt are the plot threads of two relationships: Heidi and Cartman, and immaculately-named PC Principal and Vice Principal Strong Woman.
While the former relationship finally finds itself on the brink as Heidi realizes the person she has become at Cartman’s expense, the Principal and Vice Principal do their best to keep their budding romance under wraps for fear of what would happen should the town find out.
Amidst all this, we are introduced to a new family in South Park just in time for the finale: The Whites. As the only family in South Park to fully support the President’s presence, The Whites make their presence known by asking the hard questions like: “What if Hillary did it?” and playing the victim like they were up for an Oscar nomination.
As the events build to their climax, Stone and Parker revert to their tried and trusted soapbox to spew a bit of wisdom at their audience, stressing the emphasis on how when one always plays the victim, it becomes easy to justify all hateful thoughts and actions. While Heidi does walk away from Eric, the town has a bit more trouble walking away from the President.
Although apprehended by the vindictive Ike (and his adorable outfit), Garrison somehow manages to slip out unscathed once more – not unlike his real-life counterpart.
And so, as the credits roll, we can’t help but feel that the whole story hasn’t been told – probably because we’re still building to the climax in our own, darkest timeline.