Inside Job’s second half lets down its first half

Photo by: Hibault Penin

Rating: 3/5

Spoiler warning: minor spoilers for part two of season one (and major spoilers for part one of season one) of Inside Job.

While part two of Inside Job’s first season is still a lot of fun, it is a step down from part one. 

Inside Job is an animated workplace sitcom set in a branch of the shadow government called Cognito, Inc., where Reagan Ridley (Lizzy Caplan) leads her team on various assignments to keep their organization out of the public eye. Part two of this season starts by showing the fallout from part one: Reagan’s abusive father Rand (Christian Slater) has stolen Reagan’s promotion for CEO of Cognito. 

But while this part starts here, it does not stay on it for very long. Reagan initially tries to unite her team against Rand, but that doesn’t even last for the full first episode. After her failed coup, she goes to a group therapy session and meets Ron Staedtler (Adam Scott), who becomes her love interest. 

This is doubly disappointing, as part one of this season established that Reagan has worked tirelessly for this job. Now that it’s been taken from her, she hardly puts up a fight to get it back. Not only does Reagan seem to accept this way too quickly, but the focus on her romantic life over her professional life is a dramatic shift from her previous storyline. 

While part one did explore Reagan’s romances a few times, the primary focus was on her role at Cognito and her gradually improving people skills. But now that she has stopped trying to become CEO, part two only focuses on her relationship with Ron or her helping one of her coworkers with their work problems. It’s a huge change in how she’s been portrayed in the show thus far and it comes way too quickly. 

Ron himself doesn’t add much to the show outside of his relationship with Reagan. He exists solely to interact with her and doesn’t have much going on outside of that. There is one interesting episode centred around the fact that Reagan’s coworker Brett (Clark Duke) can’t get himself to like him, but that episode is interesting because of Brett, not Ron.

Outside of the characters, one of the biggest changes in Part 2 is the lack of interesting conspiracies. Part one’s conspiracies not only provided world-building, but also would generally turn common conspiracies on their heads. For example, in the show the moon landing was faked, but only after the actual manned launch got to the moon and decided to never come back to Earth. It was a fun way of refreshing the same boring conspiracies everyone’s familiar with.

In part two, the conspiracies are often just normal theories: certain famous people are immortal vampires who drain youth from mortals, the media is controlled by one group, the Catholic Church has its fingers in the shadow government. Nothing in this half of the season has the impact that the first half’s conspiracies had. However, these familiar conspiracies do give the show a chance to shift its focus away from the conspiracies and towards the characters.

The supporting cast is what helps carry this half of the season. Brett in particular is a lot of fun, with two episodes focused on him and the struggles that arise from him trying to maintain his “yes man” role when it no longer works. The other members of Reagan’s team have their highlights and usually provide the best jokes in each episode, though Myc’s episode is by far the weakest one in part 2. 

Overall, while this half of season one is far weaker than the first, it still has some funny moments. Though the show went in an odd direction, there is still room for it to find its footing again in season two, which I am still excited for.

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