'Vice Principals' Season 2 Episode 3 "The King" Recap

The redemption arc of Neal Gamby has been a very interesting one to track. Starting off the series burning down an innocent woman’s house and alienating everyone in his life, he has grown leaps and bounds in just the span of a season. Now, in season 2 episode 3, “The King”, Vice Principals may be setting up the true key to Gamby’s redemption: his break-up with Lee Russell.

The majority of this week’s episode involved Gamby’s relationship with Amanda Snodgrass. The first scene takes us back to the day of the shooting, as a distraught Snodgrass rushes to the hospital to be by her boyfriend’s side. She is crushed to hear what the doctors tell her: he’ll be alright, but he doesn’t have a girlfriend.

Snodgrass is now dating big-shot novelist Brian Biehn (Fisher Stevens) and Gamby instantly puts the new beau at the top of his suspect list. He even goes as far as to show up to one of Biehn’s college lectures to wave around the gun and badge of Officer Willows as an intimidation tactic. Gamby’s actions in this episode boil down to two main factors: his jealousy of Biehn and his frustration with Lee Russell. Biehn is giving Snodgrass everything Gamby couldn’t: a stable relationship and maybe even a helper in getting her book published. His frustration with Russell is derived from one big issue: Russell’s growing ego.

After finding a sketch made by one of the teachers mocking him as the tiny penised “King Ding-a-Ling”, Russell goes on a witch hunt to discover the culprit. He uses his authority over Gamby to make him substitute for the newly fired Bill Hayden in an effort to have a double agent amongst the teachers. The way Russell speaks to Gamby in this episode is a far cry from the true friendliness they’ve shared for each other in episodes past.

Ultimately, Gamby and Russell are case studies on how some people can change and some can’t. The abrasive Gamby of early season one is slowly falling away. He feels true remorse over his prior actions and is constantly having to fight back against the stigma he’s created for himself. Russell, on the other hand, has only been power hungry. We’re seeing now that despite taking down his rival, achieving his goal, and forming a true friendship he may never be fully satisfied. As a massive fan of the friendship forged between Gamby and Russell it pains me to say it, but for Gamby to fully redeem himself he may need to cut ties with his buddy Russell.

Overall, this was an episode focused more on plot points and character moments than laugh out loud comedy. But we did get a brief appearance from new MVP Robin Shandrell and that’s enough for me.