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gob, tobias, and lindsey in arrested development season 4

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Everything you need to remember about Arrested Development before season 5

Where did the Bluths end up in season four?

Ryan Gilliam (he/him) has worked at Polygon for nearly seven years. He primarily spends his time writing guides for massively popular games like Diablo 4 & Destiny 2.

Five long years after Arrested Development’s Netflix revival, creator Mitch Hurwitz has given the polarizing season four a “remix,” subtitled Fateful Consequences. Fifteen, single-focus episodes became 22 recut, traditional-sitcom episodes... which is a lot of TV to watch before Arrested Development season five debuts on May 29. Even if you saw the original batch of episodes, the story of season four is still tightly wound and purposefully convoluted, and nobody would blame you for forgetting almost everything that happened. That said, knowing Arrested’s knack for callbacks, it would be unwise to go into the new season without a clue where the show’s been before.

In preparation for season five, we sat through all 22 episodes of the remix and took scrupulous notes. Here’s everything you need to know about the Bluths, broken down by family member, before watching season five of Arrested Development.

michael bluth in arrested development season 4 Netflix

Michael Bluth

Michael (Jason Bateman) has some of the roughest years after his mother Lucille (Jessica Walter) is arrested at the end of season three.

First he borrows $700,000 from Lucille II (Liza Minnelli) to finish the Sudden Valley housing development, but thanks to the housing collapse, nobody buys the McMansions. Then, after his mailman dies of heat stroke in his arms, Michael falls into a deep depression and moves in with George Michael (Michael Cera), who’s currently a senior at UC Irvine. Pinning all of his hopes and dreams on his upcoming profile in the second most popular in-flight magazine, Michael proceeds to stay in the dorm with George Michael and his roommate, P-Hound (Richard Jin) until life throws him a bone.

Shortly into his new job as a Google Maps car driver, Michael receives a call from director Ron Howard, who wants to make a movie about the Bluths. The rest of the season consists of Michael meeting with various family members, getting them to sign away their movie rights, then ripping up their contracts for one reason or another — leaving Ron Howard with the life story of Buster (Tony Hale).

Michael also begins dating Rebel Alley (Isla Fisher), Ron Howard’s illegitimate daughter. Unbeknownst to Michael, George Michael is also dating Rebel Alley, but it’s Ron Howard who Michael suspects to be the other man. He makes an ass out of himself by accusing the director, who explains that he is Rebel’s father, not her lover.

At his lowest points, Michael gets himself drunk enough to go seduce Lucille II in an attempt to extend his loan at the Bluth’s infamous holiday, Cinco De Cuatro; catches Gob (Will Arnett) having sex with Tony Wonder (Ben Stiller), only to be roofied by his own brother, leading him to forget the day’s events; and in the very end, confronts his son about his relationship with Rebel. George Michael punches him in the face and that’s that.

gob - arrested development season 4 Netflix


Gob’s season four journey starts with him in a relationship with Ann Veal (Mae Whitman), who he accidentally proposes. Seeing an opportunity to grow his magic act, Gob goes on the Christian talk show And As It Is Such So Also As Such Is It Unto You to announce their televised wedding.

On his wedding day, Gob dresses as Jesus Christ and comes out on a cross — which does not go well with the church crowd. He enters the tomb to be buried alive for a full two weeks, proving that he is more impressive than Jesus, but the latch that was supposed to hold the key to remove his handcuffs has been locked shut by his archnemesis Tony Wonder. Gob is knocked unconscious when placed in his escape rock.

After surviving life in the storage crate, Gob reconnects with his aged son, Steve Holt (Justin Grant Wade), then promptly ditches the guy to join the entourage of young pop star Mark Cherry (Daniel Amerman) as their driver “Getaway.” Gob then begins his roofie circle, where he takes a roofie too late to forget the day’s events, but not late enough to remember taking a roofie. This goes on for about a year.

After leaving the entourage, Gob becomes obsessed with ruining Tony Wonder. He finds his way into a gay club to meet up with Tony to try and get close to him, pretending that he is also gay. They actually fall for each other.

Gob also helps Michael fill Sudden Valley by selling homes exclusively to sex offenders. He also tries to help George Sr. (Jeffrey Tambor) build his wall between the US and Mexico using a “horde of Mongolians” since he couldn’t get any Chinese workers for the wall. When George Sr. tells Gob that he has no money to pay the Mongolians, the Mongolians wreck Cinco De Cuatro. Gob then runs into Ann Veal, who is with her five-year-old son. It turns out that Tony Wonder is the father, leading Gob to suspect that Tony is lying about being gay — which he is, or was until he and Gob really hit it off.

In an attempt to ruin Tony’s career, Gob tries to convince Ann to wear a Gob mask and have sex with him on camera while he wears a Tony Wonder mask. But Ann walks downstairs to find Tony Wonder, who she convinces to go upstairs and have sex with her while he wears a Gob mask. Gob and Tony accidentally have sex with each other while wearing masks of themselves.

Lucille Bluth looks shocked on the phone in Arrested Development. Image: Netflix


At the end of season three, Lucille was arrested for stealing the Queen Mary. In season four, she’s trying to control the family business from jail. Before her court hearing, she’s briefly released on house arrest, and announces that she and George Sr. are getting a divorce — a ruse in order to let Lucille still operate the Bluth business without it being suspicious. When nobody shows up to defend her, she’s taken away to her country club prison.

In prison, Lucille joins, then crosses, the Jade Triad gang. Afraid for her life, she accepts a transfer to her dear friend and enemy Lucille II’s rehab facility. Tobias (David Cross), her assigned therapist, who convinces Lucille to join his Fantastic Four musical as the villain.

At the end of the season, Lucille asks George for a real divorce when she finds out he’s been sending his twin brother Oscar to have sex with her when George didn’t want to visit.

gob - arrested development season 4 Netflix


Lucille’s imprisonment makes Buster’s season a little odd. He spends his first few days building a fake Lucille out of a picture and some pillows. When Lucille returns to the apartment under house arrest, Buster helps her smoke by inhaling cigarette smoke and coughing it onto the balcony.

Lucille plans to use Buster as her star witness in her upcoming trial over the theft of the Queen Mary boat, but feeling used by his mother, he turns to Lucille II for solace. Buster is then drugged by Lucille II so that he misses his mother’s trial, ensuring that she’ll go to prison.

Unable to visit his mother in prison, as she blames him for missing the trial and refuses to see him, Buster rejoins the Army as a drone pilot. The government gives him a giant, robotic hand that they’re testing for soldiers. When Buster is eventually dismissed for being beyond useless, he is adopted into the home of Herbert Love (Terry Crews), a local politician.

Soon, Buster strikes up an affair with Love’s wife — she mistakes his motherly pampering for affection. When Love promises his wife he’ll change, Buster is kicked out of the house.

At Cinco De Cuatro, Buster gets drunk and uses his big hand to knock out Herbert Love. He then stumbles over to the Stair Car, where he finds the body of Lucille II lying in what seems to be blood. Security cameras catch him just as the body disappears. With his prints all over the crime scene, the season ends with Buster arrested for the murder of Lucille II.

lindsey - arrested development season 4 Netflix


Lindsay (Portia de Rossi) and Tobias decide to get a divorce after Lucille’s arrest. In order to find herself, Lindsay travels to India, where she is tricked into meeting with a shaman who is actually just Maeby in disguise.

When she returns home, she and Tobias decide to work things out, buying a giant home together on a predatory loan. Tobias and Lindsay then meet Marky Bark (Chris Diamantopoulos) — son of Johnny Bark from the original series — and Debrie Bardeaux (Maria Bamford). Lindsay runs away with Marky, who has a sever case of “face blindness,” which is exactly what it sounds like.

Lindsay and Marky live with his mom on the boarder of Mexico before moving into Lucille and George Sr.’s apartment. In an act of political rebellion, they make a plan to sabotage Herbert Love’s speech at a gala, but she ends up falling for Love and Marky goes to jail. Thanks to an overheard comment from Maeby, Love thinks Lindsay is a prostitute. Love’s manager approaches Maeby, who he believes to be Lindsay’s pimp, to procure her services.

Lindsay then spends the rest of the season “advising” Love, who breaks up with her on Cinco De Cuatro. Lindsay takes the stage to try and ruin Love’s political career, and finds that the people of Orange County really respond to her anti-immigrant agenda. Lindsay ends the season poised to run for office.

Tobias on arrested development season 4 Netflix


After Lindsay and Tobias decide to get divorced, Tobias takes a trip to India on the same plane as Lindsay, then returns home to buy the house. Before long, Tobias brings Lindsay with him to what he believes to be the Method One Acting Clinic — known to non-idiots as a methadone clinic.

Here, Tobias meets recovering drug addict and actor from the never-released 1994 Fantastic Four movie, Debrie Bardeaux. He falls in love with Debrie almost instantly and decides that they should run away together and perform as the Fantastic Four.

Tobias and Debrie take to the streets of Orange County dressed as The Thing and Invisible Woman. But they both get sued by Marvel multiple times for infringing copyright. Depressed, Tobias returns home to the Sudden Valley house in hopes of running into his daughter Maeby, but he’s unaware that John Beard is hosting his own “To Catch a Predator” type show in the house. Thanks to his numerous double entendres, they deem Tobias to be a sex offender and send him to prison.

In jail, Tobias accepts a work release to become a therapist for Lucille II’s clinic. Here, he is re-acquainted with Debrie who is back in rehab. Lucille is then transferred from prison to Lucille II’s clinic and placed under Tobias’ watch. Debrie, Lucille, Tobias, Mark Cherry, and Argyle Austero (Tommy Tune) — Lucille II’s little brother — attempt to put on a big-budget production of a Fantastic Four musical with patients of the rehab center.

Tobias fails to gain the rights to the Fantastic Four musical from Ron Howard, but lies to the cast and says he gets them anyway. On the day of the big performance — Cinco De Cuatro, of course — Tobias finds Debrie passed out on pills. Deciding the show must go on, Tobias passes the role of The Thing to Buster and covers himself in blue paint to play the Invisible Woman.

Tobias boards a boat to take him to the stage for their performance, but he accidentally gets on the same boat as Marky Bark — who is at Cinco De Cuatro to blow up Herbert Love. Thanks to a mix up in Tobias and Lindsay’s suitcases, Marky and Tobias’ ship explodes and starts to sink.

Tobias is OK as far as it’s shown, but that’s where his season four journey ends.

maeby on arrested development season 4 Netflix


Maeby is still working in show business when the season starts, scouting locations for her horror series Gangi’s fifth installment. She runs into her mother in India, and pretends to be a shaman to mess with her.

When she gets home, she is on her fourth or fifth year as a high-school senior. She signs up for tutoring and gets picked up by George Michael. She is eventually awarded with an Opie Lifetime Achievement Award, which is viewed as a nail in the showbiz coffin.

Inspired by George Michael, Maeby begins selling and securing funding for a privacy app that doesn’t actually exist. She also becomes her mother’s pimp, unknown to Lindsay.

Realizing that her high-school boyfriend is an undercover cop, Maeby has sex with him as a form of blackmail. But she instead finds out that he’s not actually a cop, and is a normal, 17-year-old high school student instead. Maeby then becomes a registered sex offender.

george michael on arrested development season 4 Netflix

George Michael

George Michael goes to UC Irvine, though applies mid-semester to Julliard as a woodblock player. Obsessed with the instrument, he and his roommate, P-Hound, begin work on a woodblocking app, FakeBlock.

Afraid of what his dad would think, George Michael lies to Michael and Maeby about his app, saying it’s all about privacy. In order to get some space from his overbearing father — who has moved into the college dorms with him — George Michael, P-Hound, and Maeby all vote Michael out of the UC Irvine dorm. George Michael then takes on the name George Maharis, and begins dating Rebel Alley, his father’s girlfriend and Ron Howard’s daughter — both of which are unknown to George Michael Maharis.

George Michael is then voted out of his dorm by P-Hound and a large group of twins. Looking for somewhere to stay, his uncle Gob hooks him up in Sudden Valley, where George Michael is relentlessly hit on by sex offenders. P-Hound eventually sues George Michael over their app rites just as his relationship with Rebel gets more serious.

George Michael continues to lie about his identity and FakeBlock at Cinco De Cuatro. When he finally runs into Michael again, they reconcile before George Michael discovers that his father is also dating Rebel. George Michael punches Michael in the face to end the season.

george - arrested development season 4 Netflix

George Sr.

George Sr. tries to offload the Bluth company to his rival, Stan Sitwell (Ed Begley Jr.), but becomes wrapped up in Sitwell’s government contract to build a wall between the US and Mexico.

Determined to beat the competition, George Sr. hooks up with his twin brother Oscar to implement what he calls a “sweat and squeeze.” George invites a host of wealthy CEOs to the desert, who he then forces to sit in a sweat lodge with his identical twin brother pretending to be him.

After a few hours, the CEOs are moved to a small room and given no water as George Sr. swaps with Oscar, leading the CEOs to believe that “Father B” has reached a new plane of enlightenment. George then sells a cup of lemonade to the CEOs for thousands of dollars a glass, under the promise of that same enlightenment.

Not wanting to have sex with Lucille in prison anymore, George starts sending Oscar in his place. He also begins seeing Lucille II in a secret affair. Oscar also ends up going for Lucille II; the two of them make out on Cinco De Cuatro and Lucille II marks him with a campaign sticker. Infuriated with the men in her life, Lucille pushes Oscar away at the end of the season.

In the end, George finds out that his estrogen levels are off the charts. We last see him living in his apartment as a trans woman, a strange nod to his role in the Amazon series Transparent.

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