In the season 14 finale of FX series It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, the gang has an existential funk while playing a game of laser tag.
In its stellar 14th season, It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia did an excellent job of grappling with its character’s issues. What better way to emphasize them but a game of laser tag? As the (mostly implied) action begins, we see that Charlie (Charlie Day) has uncomfortable shoes. Then again, he may be making them uncomfortable by stuffing cheese in the “five-finger soles.”
Charlie also fails to understand the difference between jokes and riddles, which becomes a source of consternation. However, the unifying crisis is that their competitor, “Big Mo” (Conlan Harveson) has been steadily climbing up the game’s scoreboard to challenge their supremacy.
As expected, Dennis (Glenn Howerton) fancies himself the strategic commander, emphasizing their need to steadily guard their base. They also predictably play dirty, with Mac (Rob McElhenney) and Dee (Kaitlin Olson) crawling through the air ducts. Dennis tries to control and manipulate their emotions for maximum performance. He chides Mac for his lack of elbow mass. However, in a big flip for “It’s Always Sunny,” Dennis exaggeratedly compliments Dee. Why? In his mind, Dee feels undeserving of compliments, so she’ll outwardly project her self-hatred onto their child competitors.
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The Funzone “Dolla Dolla bills”
For Dennis, it’s never just a game. To win Funzone’s Dolla Dolla bills is a serious endeavor. While the others play just for fun, he wants their aggression at a 10. In fact, even the incompetent Frank (Danny DeVito) has a function in this would-be arena. They’ve actually turned Frank’s pack off.
Not only does this mean he can’t get hit and lose points, but as he runs around making laser sounds, it’s either a fun or unsettling distraction for the kids! However, one of the riddles Charlie provokes highlights a theme of the episode: The more you have of darkness, the less you see. Things indeed get dark.
Despite the fun appearance of Rutherford B. Crazy on the 100 Dolla Dolla bill, Dennis emphasizes that being happy isn’t the goal. They must win! This inspires Mac to admit it feels like they’ve been playing laser tag forever. Meanwhile, we learn that Frank turned dads against each other by rumoring that one’s a pedophile for another’s kid. Dennis also says he doesn’t like what Big Mo represents — much like a soldier on the battlefield who’s trained to disregard his opponent’s humanity. While Charlie’s in it to win army guys and bouncy balls (which he can consume), Dennis claims Big Mo is like the death of all they are. He is a symbolic impediment to their legacy and success!
What would Rutherford B. Crazy do?
It’s Always Sunny has often warred against children, who are generally weaker than they are. However, it’s not Frank who crosses the line, or even Dee, who is said to have smashed a kid’s glasses. In an odd way, Dennis comes to realize he’s crossed the line into darkness (a tough thing for him to realize). However, when it’s noted that Larry Takashi, the owner of Laser Tag Fun Zone, had killed himself in a wishing well, it doesn’t sit right with Dennis. If that’s not enough, Takashi had written his suicide note on a precious Dolla Dolla bill!
It makes Dennis realize that Takashi’s empire (and his own power) was nothing and that it’s time to end the game. They unanimously declare that they’re not having fun anymore, and leave to let Big Mo have his victory. However, in a truly impressive fakeout, they ultimately gang up on Big Mo when he arrives at their base! This leaves us to wonder if Dennis’s realization was real…or if he continues to not care about the gradually self-nullifying futility of his darker impulses. Well, let’s face it: Dennis will likely continue down the path of the bastard man, as well he should for our entertainment purposes. Pew pew pew!
What are your thoughts on the It’s Always Sunny finale? Let us know in the comments!