We have seen Trey Parker and Matt Stone take South Park and turn it into a show that focuses on story continuity over that past few years. While I may not necessarily like the direction, it’s proved successful in the past. Unlike last year, however, each episode of season 20 so far lacks its own identity. We haven’t gotten episodes like “You’re Not Yelping” or “Tweek x Craig” from last year, episodes that stuck to the underlying theme of that year but could also stand alone in any season. Instead, season 20 feels like the next South Park movie painfully broken up over ten weeks.
This week’s episode, “The Damned”, continues on with Gerald and his efforts to troll the Danish Olympian Freja Oldengaard. Unfortunately, he took it too far, causing her to commit suicide and force the entire country of Denmark to declare war on internet trolls. We knew this would all eventually catch up to Gerald, as it appears someone knows about his online identity. I like Gerald’s unusually significant role this season because he’s a character I feel like we’ve never really gotten to know. Normally “Skankhunt42” would be the works of Randy or Cartman. Instead, making Gerald the culprit adds some mystery and uncertainty to the story.
This week was also saw the fallout of Cartman’s forced exit from the internet. Instead of seeking revenge on Kyle, Stan, and the others, Eric has connected with Heidi Turner and the rest of the “lost souls” by hanging out in the park. I have a hard time believing this will be the extent of Cartman’s role this season. Eventually, he will revert back to his old self. I have a feeling once the Danish appear to be a real threat someone will come and beg Cartman to return to social media.
Member Berries also showed up again this episode. Out of everything we have seen this season, these talking berries pose the biggest questions. What are they and how will they ultimately fit in with everything? My guess is they are there to represent the simplicity and prosperity of the past. We have seen a lot of chaos recently and Matt and Trey want us to remember how things used to be.
Overall I thought this was a decent episode. There were moments that actually made me laugh, and it actually seems like everything is starting to come together. We were also given a teaser of what to expect the rest of the season and it could be promising. I’m still disappointed about how continuous each episode had been, however. If it continues like this, season 20 of South Park could be the first that doesn’t give us at least one marquee episode.