Original airdate March 21, 2004
Written by Abraham Higginbotham
Directed by Jay Chandrasekhar
Production Code #1AJD17
“Following some hesitant contemplation, Michael comes clean to Maggie Lizer about his true identity. The pair try to part ways, but keep winding up in bed together, leading Michael to discover that Maggie is hiding a secret of her own. George Michael comes to a similar realization about his cousin when he learns of Maeby’s disabled and dying alter ego, Surely Fünke. Meanwhile, Gob tasks Tobias with breaking into Maggie’s home to steal the evidence she has against the family, as Buster attempts to make a deal of his own with the prosecution.”
NOTE: Deconstructing Arrested Development openly discusses spoilers when relevant (which can include episodes that come later in the series). Readers who have not seen the series in its entirety are advised to proceed at their own discretion.
Justice is Blind continues the two-parter kicked off by Altar Egos, picking up the story from where it left off, resuming shortly thereafter on the same day. As was the case with Beef Consommé, we open with a reasonably condensed recap of the previous episode, before we’re thrown back into the middle of things again. Where we last left off, Michael went to come clean to Maggie Lizer after discovering she was the prosecuting attorney, only for Maggie to request the assistance of “Chareth Cutestory” on the Bluth case, presenting Michael with a folder of evidence against the family. We, the audience, also learned some information that has yet to be deduced by any other character in the show: Maggie is not really blind (again, the premature reveal is not a creative choice I’m particularly fond of, though it’s understandable that the writers would want to do more to hook new viewers in at the end of part one, given the episode’s special promotional timeslot). As expected, this becomes the crux of the two-parter’s closing act, though for the most part, this is an episode about the defense and the prosecution each trying to get the upper hand on the other. Altar Egos spent most of its runtime treating Maggie/Michael and George Sr’s plea hearing as two disparate plot points before finally revealing they were one and the same, effectively turning it from a story about Maggie and Michael into a story about Maggie and the Bluths. Justice is Blind consequently takes this ball and runs with it, while still keeping the Maggie/Michael relationship an important plot point.
Arrested Development is generally framing Michael as a protagonist at this point in the show’s run – and indeed, he probably is the most morally upstanding Bluth after George Michael, at least in the sense that, more often than not, he eventually does the right thing. This proves to be the case here, as he chooses not to open the evidence, and instead confesses to Maggie. As it turns out, though, Gob did not come to the same conclusion, and had already stolen her documents before Michael could come clean. When he hands them over to the rest of the family, he derides Michael for trying to deny them the list, sneeringly referring to him as “Mr. Moral” – with his parents then holding hands and George Sr. proudly remarking (well within earshot of Gob) “Yeah. We did something right there, huh?” As we learn, the list in Gob’s possession is not a list of the evidence the prosecution has, but rather, the evidence they want. This leads the Bluths down a blind alley, not unlike how George Sr. was misled by Cindi Lightballoon’s blooper reel-inspired advice in part one. Michael, too, continues to find himself in the same situation he was in for much of Altar Egos: Desperate to end the relationship with Maggie, but unable to do so, as the pair repeatedly wind up back in bed together throughout the episode. That is, until Michael learns Maggie’s been faking her blindness, and instead sets his sights on exposing her as a fraud. It’s the right thing to do, though Michael’s chosen approach – hurling a bible at her in court – is definitely not the right way to do it.
Of all Michael’s romantic interests, Maggie (or, as she’s known by Gob, “that prosecutie”) may simultaneously be his best and worst match. She’s his worst match in the sense that it would be impossible to ever build a foundation of honesty and trust between them, but his best match in that she’s the most Bluth-esque. The Bluths are a family of compulsive liars, and there is none more adept at the craft than Maggie Lizer. Likewise, her subconscious desire for a messy life of constant drama make her a perfect fit for Michael and his chaotic world. But alas, as the two finally sit down one-on-one together with neither of them having to maintain a lie, they decide to go their separate ways. It’s a choice that goes hand-in-hand with the fact that they “can really see” each other now; while each may claim they originally sought “something completely uncomplicated,” it’s the danger of their relationship that predominantly fuels their attraction in Justice is Blind, now that there’s a forbidden element to it. While Maggie is ultimately thrown off the case, she and Michael find themselves “fully exposed in a court of law” together. This leads to them sharing one last dangerous, passionate encounter, making for a very fitting send-off (that is, until Maggie’s return next season, when their story picks up again eight and a half months later with Michael encountering a heavily-pregnant Maggie – the interesting sit-com sequel that poses the notion of consequences for what transpired previously).
Justice is Blind continues the parallels between Maggie and Maeby (even their names share some commonalities!), with Maeby also pretending to be afflicted with a disability she doesn’t really have; the aptly-named fictitious condition, “B.S.” Much like Maggie, Maeby’s ruse is a highly elaborate tightrope walk – and like his father, George Michael has discovered the same shocking secret about the girl in his life, and is conflicted about how to proceed. As far as Surely Fünke goes, it’s definitely the most intricate scheme we’ve seen Maeby pull to date – the first of four long cons she would run throughout the series (the others being her career as a film executive in seasons 2-3, her posing as a high school student in season 4, and her double-life as an elderly woman in season 5). Up until now, we’ve mostly seen Maeby dabble in minor scams and more conventional teenage acts of rebellion. Maeby’s been the most overlooked character in the series thus far, with multiple episodes this season indicating the writers hadn’t yet figured out how to use her. As such, the Surely story arc really is a major turning point for Maeby – a character who really comes to life when she’s running a long con. As for George Michael, he makes the opposite decision as his father, instead choosing not to expose Maeby as a fraud – even starting a crowd chant of “No more B.S!” While it may have doubled as a subtle message from him to Maeby, she eventually puts the persona to rest (for now) when she discovers the difficulty of cashing oversized novelty checks. Maeby’s lack of perseverance ultimately keeps her from following the same trajectory as Maggie, who kept her racket going for decades.
While Altar Egos and Justice is Blind share continuous A and B plots, the former episode’s C plot concerned itself with George Sr. and Lucille’s marriage. The storyline was mostly concluded when George Sr. severed ties with Cindi Lightballoon, leaving Justice is Blind with some room to instead shine the spotlight on Lindsay, Tobias and Buster (the last of whom doesn’t even appear until 31 minutes into the two-parter’s 43 minute runtime, proving once again that you can always tell a Milford man). Gob receives a comparable amount of screentime in both episodes, with his recent attempted one night stand-turned-sexless wedlock carrying into Justice is Blind. There are no new developments in the narrative, however, merely a reminder that it’s still in play. At this point, Gob’s marriage has been deployed less like a storyline and more like a running joke – for instance, Michael remarking that Gob has, at least, finally consummated his marriage, prompting Gob’s not-at-all-suspicious response of muttering “consummated” with an awkward chuckle, before abruptly changing the subject. So far, it’s mostly been place-setting for the next episode, Best Man for the Gob, where said marriage finally becomes a focal point for the narrative. Not that Gob doesn’t serve an important role in this two-parter; his advice motivated many of Michael’s decisions in Altar Egos, to the extent he could be considered the catalyst for the entire Maggie Lizer plot. Here, he similarly prompts a family member to make poor choices by attacking their pride, manipulating Tobias into a breaking & entering job that ends up being all for ought.
Altar Egos made it clear that the Bluths are completely in the dark with all things concerning their case: They have no idea what the plea bargain says, nor do they know what evidence the prosecution has on them. As Justice is Blind unfolds, it becomes apparent that the prosecution is no closer to the goalpost themselves; like Cindi Lightballoon before them, a lot of characters here are acting on faith rather than fact. Maggie’s initial ploy to trick Michael with the “evidence list” reeks of a desperate last-ditch legal strategy, as confirmed by the fact that their big break in the case – and closest thing to an inside source – turns out to be Buster. Childlike as he is in so many ways, Buster’s very comprehension of his own actions and their possible ramifications is questionable at best. He is, after all, acting out of panic and jealousy, attempting to cut a deal for himself after being wound up by Annyong, who insists George Sr. will be taking the plea and kicking Buster out of the penthouse. But Buster’s unlikely betrayal of the family doesn’t really lead to anything beyond the consumption of grilled cheese sandwiches and chocolate milk, as he doesn’t actually have any information to use against the family (despite this, Buster still leans into the microphone, speaking slowly and carefully enunciating his words, truly under the belief that he’s imparting valuable details). His interrogation isn’t a complete bust for Maggie, however, as he inadvertently proves helpful to her when he spills the beans about the break-in, sending Maggie into the orbit of Tobias instead.
For fans of Veep, the Maggie/Buster scenes are a particular novelty; the comic chemistry of Julia Louis-Dreyfus and Tony Hale is one of the cornerstones of that series, making their shared screentime here a major precursor to their future work together. While Maggie’s interrogation of Buster only takes up about a minute of the episode, it yields a lot of laughs nonetheless. Much of Justice is Blind seems to be built around having Maggie interact with Bluths other than Michael, and it’s one such scene that functions as the centerpiece of the episode. It’s also the funniest of the entire two-parter, and arguably one of the most memorable highlights of the series: Tobias “covertly” maneuvering his way around Maggie’s house like a cat, wearing her bathrobe and cloaked in her perfume, leading to her pursuing him across several rooms with a baseball bat, while still attempting to maintain the guise that she can’t see. This two-parter has been heavy on farce and slapstick, and the two collide here for a ludicrous game of cat and mouse, kicking off the story’s concluding act. It’s also an impressive showcase of David Cross’s physical comedy skills, which isn’t something he’s generally known for, but there’s no denying he has a gift when it comes to the craft (the Arrested Development writers would seem to agree, utilizing his talents as a physical performer with considerable frequency throughout the series).
Buster’s interrogation and Tobias’s assignment aren’t the only new storylines introduced here, as Lindsay comes to embark on a new crusade: The removal of the ten commandments from the courthouse steps. It’s prompted, unsurprisingly, by a very superficial reason (Lindsay trips and breaks her high heel on them), with Lindsay making no effort to actually educate herself on the cause in any way. With Altar Egos, Michael’s deceitful one night stand was reflected in George Sr’s short-lived affair and Gob’s new, unwanted marriage; in Justice is Blind, the subplots link in directly with Michael’s moral dilemma. Morality is one of Arrested Development’s most regularly examined subjects, but this episode puts a slightly different spin on the theme by representing it through religious imagery. As Michael’s family around him lies, cheats, steals, and rallies against a symbol of morality, George Michael is the only other Bluth in a comparable boat. Michael even says at one point, “Could we let another family bring down the Ten Commandments? This family’s already done more than its share.” But Lindsay’s advocacy group eventually proves victorious, right at the same moment father and son are using the large monument to hide (Michael from Maggie, and George Michael from his dad), and as it’s lifted up in the air, they’re left fully exposed outside a court of law. Having been separate for the entire two-parter up until this point, the pair finally confide in one another – lamenting the lack of a moral guide for their complicated situations, while the ten commandments disappear over their heads. It’s an equally clever and amusing utilization of the religious imagery, leading right into the climactic scene with the bible.
Though Justice is Blind is undoubtedly the more outlandish installment in this two-parter, it still makes for a tonally consistent and cohesive viewing experience when viewed as a whole, playing like something of a mini-movie in its own right (save from the minor storylines that are confined to a single part). If anything, it’s the closest we ever got to an Arrested Development movie, as the same cannot be said of the show’s other two-parters; Marta Complex/Beef Consommé, conversely, felt more like two regular episodes that directly carry on from each other. Indeed, the Michael/Maggie material alone probably makes up about an episode’s worth of content in its own right, and that’s without factoring in everything else concerning George Sr’s trial. Would it be possible to trim it all down to a single episode and keep most of the story beats in tact without the core narrative suffering too greatly? Probably, at least as far as the A plot goes, though other subplots would need to be trimmed significantly, if not cut entirely. Even then, it’s difficult to imagine any iteration of this two-parter clocking in at half the length and still being anywhere near as satisfying. While the story may unfold at a slower rate than usual here, it comes at no expense to the show’s traditionally fast pacing; jokes are still flying thick and fast, with few scenes clocking in longer than a minute or so. If anything, these two episodes are a glimpse into how the show might have looked in an hour-long format; telling the story itself in a slightly more leisurely manner and with a little bit more breathing room, but otherwise, still very much the Arrested Development we know and love.
While many would consider Altar Egos/Justice is Blind “vintage Arrested Development” now, indistinct in quality from the rest of season 1, this wasn’t always the case; the two-parter was originally a point of contention among devotees. For instance, fan site The Balboa Observer-Picayune (now defunct, but considerably active during the show’s initial broadcast) had an episode ranking system determined by votes from the member base; these two episodes held the bottom position for quite a while, until last place was eventually claimed by season 2’s Ready, Aim, Marry Me! – perhaps the most maligned episode of the Fox run. A common complaint was that many found the storyline too convoluted and implausible, and admittedly, it really does not hold up under scrutiny. However, this is often true of Arrested Development’s storytelling in general, and it’s also something the show usually embraces with glee, as if winking to the audience every time an absurd happenstance occurs. This element of the show gains much more prominence in the second season, when these moments start getting more audacious and elaborate. To that end, this two-parter feels a little more stylistically aligned with later seasons of the Fox run (something I also said of Staff Infection; another of season 1’s cartoonier installments), so it’s easy to see how these episodes would’ve stuck out more back when Arrested Development’s episode count was still just in the teens.
These days, the Altar Egos/Justice is Blind two-parter is held in reasonably high regard, and considered by quite a few to be a stand-out of the series (it seems to be particularly popular among more casual viewers, which is a testament to its accessibility). Maggie Lizer is also frequently cited on “best minor Arrested Development character” lists, despite initially being met with a more polarizing reception from viewers. The change in consensus could be attributed to the fact that most people who discovered the show after the fact binge-watched it (which tends to make the episodes blur together a bit more), while most long-term viewers came to discover there would be far more contentious episodes down the line. Whatever the case, these are two fine installments of Arrested Development; perhaps not perfect, but the show’s still bringing its A game in more ways than not. Altar Egos probably has the more refined storytelling (something that becomes a little more tenuous in this second part), while Justice is Blind goes in for the big laughs and largely succeeds. It’s easy to see how some of the gags would miss the mark for some viewers (ie. a blind dog walking into things, played for laughs), but even then, there’s more than enough crammed into this two-parter to dilute these moments. And as broad as these episodes may be, they also possess a strong subtextual unity; the theme of honesty working its way into almost every scene, with plenty of other nuanced links between the numerous intertwined plot threads. While the Bluths characteristically failed to make any progress here, the show itself wound up demonstrating its own cat-like agility, and it is a sight to behold.
GEORGE MICHAEL: Surely’s dying?
MAEBY: I figure I’ll kill her off just before graduation just so everyone gets really sad before prom.
GEORGE MICHAEL: Maeby, someone’s going to get hurt. Not to mention it’s kind of disrespectful for kids who actually have this.
MAEBY: Not a lot of kids have B.S. these days.
GEORGE MICHAEL: What does that stand for?
MAEBY: I don’t know. It’s B.S.
Gob attempts to break up with his wife, but his timing isn’t so great:
GOB: So, I think we should talk…
GOB’S WIFE: (hangs up the phone and turns around, sobbing) My parents are getting a divorce! (goes to embrace Gob, then notices his outfit) Why aren’t you wearing that sweater I bought you? What, you don’t like it?!
GOB: No, of course I like it. Just because I like it doesn’t mean I have to wear it. I don’t wear everything I like every day.
GOB’S WIFE: Why don’t we just get a divorce? Everybody else is!
GOB: No! We’re not getting divorced!
“She really wants to stay together, so…”
Gob, stunned that Michael has chosen not to betray the trust of a blind woman in order to free his criminal father, asks “What is with the insane moral code in this family?” The line is immediately followed by Lindsay’s perfectly-timed exclamation, “Yes! We did it! We’re getting rid of the ten commandments!”
MICHAEL: You’re involved with those protesters now? When did that happen?
LINDSAY: Oh, who can remember?
NARRATOR: Lindsay’s involvement began hours before when, leaving the plea hearing, she first determined the ten commandments didn’t belong there…
“Honey, they’re just heels. They can only support so much weight.”
Lindsay elaborates on her new cause:
LINDSAY: I’ve always been very passionate about the separation of church and state.
MICHAEL: What are you going to do with them?
LINDSAY: Oh, I don’t know… Give them to a school.
GOB: Oh, now you love the ten commandments. And yet you’re the one who so conveniently forgot “Thou shalt protect thy father, and honor no one above him unless it beith me, thy sweet lord.”
MICHAEL: I’m not sure that one made it down the mountain, Gob.
“That’s actually, uh, why I wanted to talk to you, Maggie. You see, ah, it turns out that- that… I am actually one of those idiots. I might even be the main idiot. Well, I’m not the main idiot, but I am the idiot in charge. Yeah. I’m Michael Bluth. Okay? And I want you to know that I- I never opened up this folder. And, if… if you could see my face, uh, you’d see how sorry I am that I lied to you.”
“You feel sincere… Damnit!”
MICHAEL: (waking up in bed next to Maggie) Oh, no! I’m supposed to be at the prison to talk to my dad in a half an hour.
MAGGIE LIZER: I can’t believe we did this again.
MICHAEL: It was so stupid.
MAGGIE LIZER: Incredibly stupid! It’s like we’re making naughty sex even… naughtier. (shares a seductive glance with Michael)
MICHAEL: Oh, no! I was supposed to be at the prison to talk to my dad a half an hour ago.
MAGGIE LIZER: Oh, this is bad, this is really bad! This is the second most unethical thing I’ve ever done.
MICHAEL: We cannot pretend that this didn’t happen, Maggie.
MAGGIE LIZER: Or that it won’t happen again.
MICHAEL: You think it’s gonna happen again?
MAGGIE LIZER: You tell me… (looks at Michael again)
“Let’s just assume that it will happen again, sometime…”
Gob, the “sleight of hand artist”:
“I had a really interesting date last night – a woman who actually works two jobs.”
Lucille says she has two children in the waiting room right now, and we cut to this:
BARRY: If you’re thinking of stealing the evidence, that is a very big offense… I- I think I’m gonna say that I signed myself out about ten minutes ago.
GEORGE SR: You’re right. You can’t afford to get caught, I don’t need my lawyer in prison. We’ll have Gob break in.
GOB: Well… Gee, dad, I- I- I’ve, I- I’ve got a wife now. I don’t think that I can afford to get caught either.
GEORGE SR: Good point… You might want to change out of that sweater.
MAGGIE LIZER: Alright, what do you want?
BUSTER: Uh, I- I want immunity for me and my mom, and I want my dad to stay in prison… Also, can you send Annyong back to Korea?
MAGGIE LIZER: Huh?
Michael decides to see what life in Maggie’s world is like:
MAGGIE LIZER: Do you know anything about your father’s trips overseas?
BUSTER: I knew I’d have a fun time at home alone with mom.
MAGGIE LIZER: Fine. Did you ever see him return from these trips with anything unusual?
BUSTER: He once came back once with a black statue with an erect penis. It stayed in our living room until my aunt objected.
MAGGIE LIZER: What about business associates?
BUSTER: I have none.
MAGGIE LIZER: All right, this guy’s wasting our time. Take away his grilled cheese!
“I submit into evidence this wine glass with the defendant’s fingerprints…”
Tobias finds Maggie an “uncannily difficult blind girl to outmaneuver”:
BARRY: Something smells wonderful.
TOBIAS: Well, thank you! Would that I could say that I wore it to impress you, but, no, I’m afraid it’s merely a cloaking agent from a (looks over at George Sr.) sadly blunderous afternoon.
GEORGE SR: Who else have we got? What about Buster? Worst case scenario, he gets caught… No more Buster.
BUSTER: I’m not going anywhere. You’re the one who’s staying put. Not me. You!
LUCILLE: What’s gotten into you? Have you been eating cheese?
Lindsay swiftly abandons her cause after the ten commandments are accidentally dropped on top of a car:
MICHAEL: Your honor, the purpose of a court of law is to find the truth, which is why witnesses swear on this. (holds up the courtroom bible) After all, they say justice is blind. Surely, she has enough sight to catch the truth before it hits her in the face.
MAGGIE: Objection, your…
“That was my plan, what do you got?”
MICHAEL: Are you going to admit that you were faking it?
MAGGIE LIZER: I think I’m going to go for, “I was struck by the bible and it restored my sight.”
Barry gets a sign from god:
“I was made to understand there were grilled cheese sandwiches here.”
In Maggie Lizer’s office, there is a photo board of the Bluths and their associates – which includes Michael. Unless this was assembled in the short span of time that’s unfolded since their encounter in court, Maggie must have recognized Michael when she first accosted him at the bar (not to mention the Bluths are public figures). This calls into question her motives for doing so; as she says here, “I could get disbarred for this.”
Similarly, her decision to disguise a blind dog as her seeing eye dog is a rather confounding one, as presumably, all it would take for the jig to be up would be for Justice to misbehave or bump into something (and he does both often – though perhaps most people, like Michael, just choose to keep quiet about it).
There’s a particularly perplexing moment in this episode, after Maggie pushes Michael into the bushes and Officer Kelley arrives to talk to her, when Michael to awkwardly emerges from the bushes and nods at him. The joke would seemingly be Michael’s attempt at nonchalance in the situation, but Officer Kelley doesn’t seem to have any reaction at all to Michael’s presence – despite the fact that his and Maggie’s relationship could put both of them in serious trouble (it’s the very reason she pushes him in the bushes in the first place, leading one to question why Michael wouldn’t just remain there until she and the officer left).
Also strange is that Officer Kelley is right there with Maggie when they learned her house was currently being broken into, but he apparently doesn’t accompany her back to the property when she returns to investigate – which would presumably be standard procedure in such circumstances. Especially considering that he picked her up near her home in the first place!
There’s another unusual stylistic anomaly, as the flashback footage of Maggie being blinded is presented in black and white:
Generally when the show is playing footage we’ve already seen, it’s presented in full color with a white border (like in episode’s opening recap). It’s possible this may have been a conscious stylistic choice, however, seeing as the moment in question involves a character losing their vision.
This marks the final deviation in the episode numbering between the broadcast/Netflix order and the dvds; from the next episode onwards, they are the same (meaning Best Man for the Gob is the 19th episode in both arrangements of the season, and so on and so forth for every subsequent episode of the series). While Altar Egos and Justice is Blind were intended to be seen as episodes 17 and 18, respectively, they were shifted forward to make Missing Kitty the 18th episode broadcast (when it should have been 16).
As mentioned, this is the second installment of a two-parter alongside Altar Egos. The next two-parter would be season 2’s Out on a Limb/Hand to God, which also functions as a sequel to this two-parter. Out on a Limb also features another storyline with Tobias breaking into Maggie’s house, this time with the help of Lindsay (he even goes to cloak himself in Maggie’s scent again, with Lindsay having to remind him she’s not blind).
The phrase “justice is blind” refers to the impartial and objective nature of justice; justice being one of this episode’s core themes (it could even be interpreted as a statement about how the defense and prosecution alike are both taking shots in the dark – with everyone being metaphorically blind when it comes to George Sr’s case). It’s also the name of Maggie’s dog, leading to this episode’s very literal titular line, spoken by the vet.
This episode’s cast contains quite a few returning characters: Maggie Lizer (Julia Louis-Dreyfus), Gob’s wife (Amy Poehler), Barry Zuckerkorn (Henry Winkler), Annyong (Justin Lee) and Judge Lionel Ping (Michael Paul Chan). This marks the final season 1 appearances for Judge Ping and Maggie, with both characters making their return in season 2’s Out on a Limb. The extended credits include Timothy Davis-Reed as Officer Kelley, Jay Ward as the veterinarian, and Frank Whiteman as the judge who tells Maggie she’s “so ahead.” Ping Wu also plays Proctor (the aide for Maggie’s LSATs); a notable casting choice, as he starred in multiple episodes of Seinfeld alongside Julia Louis-Dreyfus.
Gob and Maggie both misquote the ten commandments, continuing the show’s running joke about characters misquoting or misunderstanding religious texts (which thus far has been confined mostly to George Sr’s unorthodox take on Judaism). In Maggie’s case, she says “Be true to thy known self, and to thine own self,” with Michael erroneously attributing it as the seventh commandment (which is, in fact, “Thou shalt not commit adultery”). Maggie is actually quoting Shakespeare’s Hamlet, putting a variation on “to thine own self be true.” In the story, this is advice given to Laertes by the deceitful Polonius – a subtextual nod to Maggie’s own deceitful behaviour. Much like Michael and Maggie, Polonius is highly distrustful of Laertes.
Tobias’s cat-like agility was first exhibited in Bringing Up Buster, when he climbed onto the school auditorium stage. We would get more glimpses of it throughout the series, with the next instance in Not Without My Daughter (when he tackles Lindsay).
Additionally, the scene where he pounces on Gob’s back and says “This kind of agility?” is mirrored with Buster in season 2’s Ready, Aim, Marry Me! This time around, the line is “These kinds of skills?” – though in both instances, it’s delivered as they come up on Gob from behind.
The shot from Altar Egos of Michael giving Maggie “a ride home” is replicated here, as the two leave the bar together again after staying for “one drink.” This time, Michael initially heads in the wrong direction:
The flashback with George Sr. in the penthouse takes place during the Pilot. Specifically, on the day of his arrest, shortly before he, Lucille and Buster leave for the boat party. All three characters are wearing the same outfits from that episode.
There’s a more subtle callback to the Pilot shoehorned into the scene; Lucille tells George Sr. that his tie looks better on Buster – mimicking her line about Lindsay’s blouse in the show’s opening scene.
George Sr. delegates Gob the task of breaking into Maggie’s home. Earlier this season, in Charity Drive, he proposed a similar breaking & entering scheme to Michael (breaking into the permit office), telling him “Call Gob. He’ll handle it. That’s what he’s for.”
George Sr. attempts to run while the courtroom is distracted, having previously tried the last two times he was out of prison: The Living Classics pageant in In God We Trust, and his initial court hearing in Beef Consommé. This marks his last unsuccessful attempt before he finally succeeds in the season 1 finale, Let Them Eat Cake.
With Maggie thrown off the Bluth case, the door is open for a new prosecuting attorney to take over. In season 2’s Sad Sack, the role is filled by Wayne Jarvis, the lawyer Michael attempted to hire in In God We Trust. Wayne Jarvis would remain the prosecuting attorney through to season 3’s penultimate episode, Exit Strategy, where George Sr’s legal battle is concluded.
The closing moments of this episode (where Michael and Maggie part ways) are mirrored at the end of Maggie’s final episode, Hand to God – only with a hospital room instead of a courtroom.
Justice is Blind has a total runtime of 21 minutes and 54 seconds, and is rated TV-PG-DLS.
There are no deleted/extended scenes for this episode.
The banner Surely tows behind her wheelchair reads “Surely Fünke rolling 4 Treasurer. I would run 4 it, but I can’t.”
In the flashback scene with Gob and his wife, she gets upset that he isn’t wearing the sweater she bought him. Over the course of this episode and the next one, Gob can be seen wearing a series of garishly colored sweaters in most of his scenes.
During the prison visitation scene, we learn that Gob switched out (what he thought was) the evidence with miscellaneous documents and magazines from the living room while Michael and Lindsay were talking in the kitchen. If you watch the scene in question closely, you can indeed see that Gob and the folder disappear halfway through the scene, re-emerging for his line about the ten commandments.
When Michael and Maggie are in bed together and we first see the caption “One hour later,” Michael remarks that he was meant to be at the prison to talk to his dad half an hour ago. This is followed by us jumping forward in time by another two minutes. When we cut to the meeting at the prison afterwards, the narrator specifically says this scene takes place 32 minutes earlier, accounting for the second time jump.
Lucille has a line hinting she has far more involvement in the Bluth Company’s illegal affairs than the she lets on: “Well, it certainly looks like they’ve got a lot on us… uh… you. I was raising the children.” The show wouldn’t reveal Lucille to be the real criminal mastermind of the family until the final episode of the Fox run, season 3’s Development Arrested.
After Tobias mentions his cat-like agility in the first act, it comes back into play later in the episode when he receives his break-in assignment. Gob actually greets his brother-in-law with “There’s the cat,” while Tobias wears a fur, yawns and stretches his leg like a cat.
When the break-in unfolds shortly thereafter, Tobias finally puts his cat-like agility into action, maneuvering around Maggie’s house like a cat. And sure enough, it appears there really is truth to his claims about landing on all fours:
As the scene continues, the narrator even describes Tobias’s predicament with Maggie as a game of “cat and mouse…”
Since Tobias has already been designated the cat in this metaphor, this would make Maggie the mouse; an allusion to the nursery rhyme, Three Blind Mice.
The interrogation room contains a board with photos of everyone connected to the case: The Bluth and Fünke family, Kitty, Annyong, Carl Weathers, Lucille Austero and Marta – whose face is crossed out. “Surely” can also be seen pictured below Maeby, while Tobias’s photo is one of his head shots from Visiting Ours.
More intriguingly, in the bottom right corner is a “No Photo Available” image (specifically, the one IMDb used at the time). As for who this is is actually alluding to, the top candidates would be Oscar Bluth, Gob’s wife, or possibly even Tracey (though one would think her face would be crossed out like Marta’s if this were the case). And then there’s the theory that this is an exceptionally meta nod to the show’s narrator. Alternatively, it may have been an attempt to work in an abandoned running joke that Mitch Hurwitz had planned for the show in its early stages, as he explained in a Reddit AMA: “I always wanted there to be a 5th Bluth sibling that didn’t give his permission to be in the show. And it was an ambition that I had from the very start. And I realized during the Pilot that I’d blown it, because all the family pictures should have 5 people in them with one blurred.” The idea was eventually reworked into the show in S.O.B.s, in the form of the censored Richter quintuplet, Emmett.
Some more small hints are provided about the Bluth Company’s treasonous dealings, with Maggie specifically interrogating Buster about George Sr’s trips overseas, before pivoting to his business associates. The season 1 finale, Let Them Eat Cake, makes it clear why these two subjects were of particular interest to the prosecution.
Maggie’s house is on Scenic View Drive – an novel name for a street where a blind person lives.
After Justice falls into the trash can at the vet’s office, he can be heard scratching around inside it for the remainder of the scene.
Maggie is wearing a “Dukakis” pin during the flashback to the handicapped LSAT examination. It’s a reference to Michael Dukakis, the 1988 Democratic presidential candidate who lost the election to George H.W. Bush; presumably, this would place the flashback in the same year, unless the joke is that Maggie is wearing an outdated pin. It’s also an extension of the presidential motif established in Altar Egos with the images of Republican presidents scattered throughout the courthouse (the Bluths themselves having quite a few parallels with the Bushes).
A Cornballer can be seen in Maggie’s kitchen.
George Sr’s remark of “No more Buster” is later mirrored in George Michael’s chant of “No more B.S.”
The crane that is used to remove the ten commandments from the courthouse steps is decorated with crosses:
4 thoughts on “Season 1, Episode 18: Justice is Blind”
You write-ups are thorough as ever, but you missed one thing! *court gasps* When Gob goes to Tobias to get him to break into Maggie’s Gob says “there’s the cat.” Not only was Tobias wearing that fur boa-thing, he then yawns and stretches much like a cat.
I rest my case!
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Good cat-ch! Thanks for that, I’ll be making an update shortly.
EDIT: Alright, the amendment’s been made! Feline pretty good about this new version.
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Of all the times I’ve seen this episode I’ve never picked up on the crosses on the crane! That’s great. And Tobias’ cat-like agility is a favorite gag of mine. The gif of Cross jumping onto Arnett’s back is pretty mesmerizing (did Cross do that himself?).
I’m surprised this was initially ranked so low by a fansite, I remember loving this episode from its original airing onwards. Any rewatch I get excited when I reach it!
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I’d be very surprised if there was any sort of visual trickery going on in that shot of Tobias jumping on Gob’s back. The show’s never really been able to do that kind of thing convincingly.
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