It’s Always Sunny season 14, episode 4 recap: The Gang Chokes


In episode 144 of FX series, It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, Frank’s near-death experience has him doubting the gang’s worth as Dee’s fascinated by death.

Based on the previous It’s Always Sunny episode, one might already recognize the gang as strange and unreliable. However, what if one’s life’s on the line and you need them to save you? As “The Gang Chokes” begins, Charlie (Charlie Day) is actually saluting Frank Reynolds (Danny DeVito), and the gang seems to be getting along okay (they don’t literally always fight). In fact, Charlie is even oddly committed to Frank, offering to actually chew his food for him, much as a parent bird does for its young.

Charlie also says Frank should be sharpening his teeth. As he hasn’t taken such precautions, Frank begins choking on his food! Luckily for Mr. Reynolds, the Waiter (Michael Naughton) saves him. Good, right? Well, not entirely. The gang’s complete inaction during his trying time quickly incurs Frank’s anger. It’s understandable, too, as they did nothing but watch him!

Everything is poisonous

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As the episode progresses, we venture further down the It’s Always Sunny rabbit hole of bizarre co-dependence and food-phobias. Things stay weird. It’s argued that Charlie mashes Frank’s food too much, taking the flavor out of it. When put in the hot seat, Mac (Rob McElhenney) assures us that we would have saved Frank himself, had Dennis (Glenn Howerton) told him to.

Then, as if to reassert his control, Dennis says Mac shouldn’t eat pizza because cheese is poison and the tomato sauce has sugar. This is reminiscent of season 5’s “Mac and Dennis Break Up.” Just as disturbing, Dee Reynolds (Kaitlin Olson) admits she got a rush from Frank almost choking. Although Dennis calls the gang lunatics, it’s clear that they still depend on each other, albeit in freakish and unhealthy ways.

Frank’s new pal

Being a miscreant, Frank surprises the Waiter by appearing in the man’s home, adding that he entered with a hammer through the window. On the bright said, Frank uses this to stress the Waiter’s need to beef up on security. He also makes a glowing impression when he meets the Waiter’s mom (Eve Sigall), asking, “That old vegetable lady’s your mom?” He offers to throw a sheet over her head so she’s less haunting to look at.

When the Waiter urges him to leave, Frank’s kind enough to ask, “Door or window?” When told to simply use the door, Frank adds: “It’s going to take a long time for me to bash through that door.” This, of course, isn’t the first time It’s Always Sunny has entered without permission, and it’s probably not the last!

Fears on the court

The gang then hits the basketball court, where their co-dependence and strict rituals become obvious again. Dennis requires a pre-workout shake and for Mac to rub his ankle. Also, Dennis becomes quite frightened of pollen in the open air. Dee also continues living on the edge, saying she insulted some Puerto Ricans to see if they would react angrily. Dennis accurately calls it suicidal race-baiting.

Later, when done with basketball and with Dennis weakened by pollen, it’s revealed that Mac’s shakes are actually blended up pizza and soda shakes — no doubt adding complex layers to Mac’s already confused psyche (one wonders how many neurotic elements these characters have by now). Dennis says he wants to make Mac weak so he’ll depend on him. Dee enters their apartment by scaling the building, then privately suggests putting Dennis in danger so Mac can save him.

Frank breaks up with the Waiter

It’s Always Sunny gets complicated again, as Frank had been nice to the Waiter for a little bit. He had been feeding his mom and even signed him up for pilot school again. However, Frank’s extravagant demands quickly prove burdensome. He makes the Waiter give a speech honoring their relationship, which no one would want to do. Then, after Frank had put the Waiter’s mother in an old folk’s home, Frank can’t believe he’d let him do it. He adds that he’s not paying for his pilot school anymore, making it a likely financial problem (though Frank is loaded with cash).

Saving the day by destroying it?

By the end of the episode, Frank’s back to not recognizing the Waiter. Also, Dee has recommended strengthening Dennis and Mac’s partnership. How? By using a histamine toxin, letting Dennis flat-line, then jamming him with an EpiPen to bring him back. Charlie and Mac confess that they considered poisoning Frank a little, just to save him and regain his respect.

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Also, Dee ends up drinking the deadly shake before Dennis can. After the Waiter saves Dee, she says she didn’t see anything on the other side and no longer wants to live on the edge. Of course, we know “It’s Always Sunny” will still live on the edge, where it finds a permanent home.

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