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Recap / Central Park S1E10 "A Fish Called Snakehead"

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Original release date: July 24, 2020

Written by: Mark Alton Brown
Directed by: Corey Barnes

♫ Let me do this one thing
Or at least die trying (trying)
I'm gonna do this one thing
Or at least die trying (don't die)
But if I do I hope you'll tell my story
And that's my dying wish ♫

Paige, Molly, & Cole:
♫ We'll always remember how you died
When you tried to catch a scary fish ♫
"Die Trying"

When Owen is informed of a possible snakehead fish sighting in Harlem Meer, he and his family try to catch it so it doesn't damage the ecosystem. Bitsy learns she's unlikable in New York and the Mayor hires a likability professional to help her with her image.

  • Hell-Fish - Owen
    Written by: Brent Knopf
    Performed by: Leslie Odom Jr.
    Additional Vocals: Brent Knopf
  • New York Doesn't Like Your Face - Ashley & Bitsy
    Written by: Fiona Apple & David Lucky
    Performed by: Audra McDonald & Stanley Tucci
  • Dick Flake - Dick Flake
    Written by: Kate Anderson & Elyssa Samsel
    Performed by: Danny Burstein
    Additional Vocals: David Herman, Kate Anderson, Elyssa Samsel, & Leo Birenberg
  • Die Trying - Owen, Paige, Molly, Cole, Bitsy, Helen, and Elwood
    Written by: Kate Anderson & Elyssa Samsel
    Performed by: Leslie Odom Jr., Kathryn Hahn, Kristen Bell, Tituss Burgess, Stanley Tucci, Daveed Diggs, Josh Gad, Rory O'Malley, & Janelle James
    Additional Vocals: Kate Anderson, Elyssa Samsel, & Leo Birenberg


  • Actor Allusion: In "Die Trying", when he is about to catch the snakehead, Owen asks his family to "tell my story" if he dies in the attempt. Owen is voiced by Leslie Odom Jr., who originated the role of Aaron Burr in the Broadway musical Hamilton, which has a running theme about legacy and who “tells your story".
  • Book Ends: The first episode of Season 1 started with the song "Central in My Heart". The season finale features a reprise from the song at the end. In addition, Birdie is the one to open and close season.
  • Continuity Cavalcade: "Die Trying" features several moments during the park scene:
    • The Tillermans skating with Glorious Gary, while Owen still struggles, and they're doing the side slide from "Skater's Park".
    • "Episode One":
      • The Tillerman looking at the hot lips turtleheads.
      • The Tillermans watching Brendan fly his kite at the same spot where Molly watches him while she draws.
    • The Tillermans watching an owl in a tree from "Rival Busker".
    • "Live It Up Tonight":
      • In the background, Zoom can be seen doing his sequel tour at Bethesda Fountain.
      • Elwood holding a temporary house with his pet worm, Diane, inside.
    • A Freeze-Frame Bonus shows a "SHART" tag on a tree from "Dog Spray Afternoon".
  • Continuity Nod:
    • When Paige brings up Bitsy wanting to buy Central Park and the mayor helping her, Owen starts anxiously rubbing his hands on his shorts like he did in "Dog Spray Afternoon".
    • Cole and Helen are still on good terms from "Dog Spray Afternoon".
  • A Dick in Name: There's a few jokes about Dick Flake's name, such as him having perfect aim and the news subtitle calls him a "master baiter".
    Birdie: Do I like saying Dick Flake? Dick Flake I do.
  • Fiendish Fish: Owen sings "Hell-Fish" to his family to explain what a snakehead is and how it can ruin the ecosystem of the lake.
  • Five-Second Foreshadowing: While the Tillermans are having a picnic in a boat while Owen is trying to catch the snakehead, two fishermen can be seen in the background. When Owen notices more people are coming to the lake, Paige realizes her snakehead story got immediate attention.
  • Foreshadowing: There were hints that Dick Flake was lying about catching the snakehead. When Birdie introduces Dick Flake as a "big-game fish hunter", he uses Air Quotes around it, and as the narrator, he already knows the truth about him. When Paige took a picture of the snakehead that Dick caught, she immediately noticed something off about the fish and Dick refuses to answer her question on how he caught it. Also, there was no signs of struggle between Dick and the snakehead before it was caught.
  • Forgotten First Meeting: When Cole confronts Bitsy about Shampagne, Bitsy forgets who he is and mistakes him for a tiny reporter, despite the fact that it was him who found her dog. Helen had to remind Bitsy who Cole was and she finally remembers.
  • Freudian Excuse: Molly tries to come up with a complicated backstory for the snakehead in her comic for why it acts so evil, such as its mother never loving it and it Never Learned to Read.
  • Hated by All: Bitsy is revealed to be unlikable in New York in a poll created by the mayor. How unlikable? The East Side Strangler did better than her in the poll. Another poll asked what's New York's most hated thing, with the options being slow walkers, New Jersey, Bitsy, rats, and tourists, Bitsy is the highest.
  • Heroic BSoD: After Bitsy slanders Owen in front of the media, he later stares out at the Harlem Meer upset for while because while he tries to avoid thinking about Bitsy trying to buy Central Park and she's out to get him, he knows he can't pretend this problem doesn't exist and has to face the reality of the situation.
  • "I Am Great!" Song: Dick Flake sings "Dick Flake", where he brags about how he has the right equipment to catch his fishes.
  • Instantly Proven Wrong:
    • When the Tillermans sees a mother duck and her duckling enter the lake, Molly and Cole are certain that they'll be fine because they think there's probably no snakehead in the lake and the jogger who spotted it is crazy until one of the ducklings is dragged down in the water. Luckily, the duckling is able to resurface and the mother duck and her ducklings gets out of the lake. They're now certain there's a snakehead in the lake.
    • When Owen thinks Dick Flake is going to catch the snakehead before him, Paige reassures him that he won't and he's a blowhard until Dick shouts out he caught it. It's subverted later on when she discovers Dick lied and bought an already dead snakehead to claim he caught it.
  • Laser-Guided Karma: When talking to the media, she uses this opportunity to slander Owen's management skills and tells them that someone like her can take better care of the park. After Paige discovers Dick Flake faked catching the snakehead and Owen and his family caught the real one, Paige reveals all this in her newspaper and Bitsy and Dick's reputation gets damaged as a result.
  • Malicious Slander: After Dick Flake caught the snakehead for Bitsy so she could improve her public image, she also uses this opportunity to slander Owen's management skills and tells the media that someone like her is needed to take care of the park. This leaves Owen upset after everyone leaves.
  • Meaningful Rename: Ashley’s original name was Debra but she changed it to her current name because, according to her, nobody likes a Debra.
    Helen: My mother's name was Debra.
    Ashley: And?
    Helen: Hmm.
  • Metaphorgotten: How Birdie tries to describe Dick Flake buying a dead snakehead and using it to claim he caught it in the lake.
    Birdie: It's like if a doctor couldn't find your appendix, so they bought somebody's else from an... an appendix store and waved it around and told... Well, you get the idea. That's not a good doctor, Dick!
  • Not Helping Your Case: When the male jogger is telling Owen and his crew about the snakehead, his wife tells them that he needs glasses, he's colorblind, and he hit his head this morning on a towel bar and they have to take his word with a grain of salt. The male jogger gets offended and angrily blurts out he also had brain surgery recently and asks if she should mention that while she's at it.
  • Nothing Is Scarier: The snakehead is briefly seen in the opening when it crawls back into the water and it's heavily implied its the thing that almost pulled a duckling down into the water. The snakehead is fully revealed when Owen catches it at night.
  • Obnoxious In-Laws: When Owen tells his family that the snakehead is the ultimate invasive species, Paige mentions that's what his mother called her when she started dating him.
  • Orbital Kiss: Owen and Paige have one near the end of "Die Trying".
  • Pet the Dog: Literally. Bitsy is stunned when Cole teaches her that she can pet Shampagne by playing a drum beat on his butt and is delighted that it perks up Shampagne’s mood. And even though Helen is trying to get rid of Shampagne to get in Bitsy's will, she suggests to Bitsy to try Cole's suggestion showing that she still cares about Cole.
  • Power Walk: When Owen, Elwood, and Fran are ready to catch the snakehead in the lake, they walk while carrying their fishing rod in slow motion while triumph music plays in the background. It gets cut short when Owen notices Elwood and Fran's fishing line somehow got tangled together and they try to untangle it while they're both panicking about seeing a snakehead.
  • Reprise Medley: "Die Trying" reprises "Own It", "Weirdos Make Great Superheroes", "Momma's Got This", and "Central to My Heart".
  • Revenge Before Reason: Bitsy considers plotting to buy "What's New, New York" in retaliation for Paige breaking the story on Flake's fake Snakehead, despite Helen pointing out to Bitsy that doing so would not be profitable.
  • Sarcasm Mode: Owen thinks it's so much easier to catch the snakehead now when Paige's snakehead story attracted the media with their loud noises and flashing camera and more fishermen coming to the lake to catch it.
  • Season Finale: The last episode of Season 1.
  • Sequel Hook: As Birdie sings, which sets up Season 2:
    Thanks to this family
    The park is secure now,
    But thinking it's over
    Is quite premature now...
    • When Bitsy is furious that the Tillermans saved the park again and she's made a fool, she reminds Helen that she's determined to buy Central Park, but also considers buying Paige's newspaper "What's New, New York". Helen points out that it's not profitable, but Bitsy admits it would be pleasing to fire everyone.
  • Serious Business: The Tillermans love eating spicy cheese bread at the farmer's market so much that Owen tells his family that if there's one spicy cheese bread left he's going to fight them for it, weapons and bare knuckles. Cole tells them he's going to rub the bread on his butt to claim it, but Owen and Paige say they'll still eat it regardless.
  • Shout-Out: The title of the episode is one to the movie A Fish Called Wanda.
  • Special Guest: "New York Doesn't Like Your Face" is written by Fiona Apple and David Lucky, and is sung by six-time Tony winner Audra McDonald.
  • Subverted Rhyme Every Occasion: When Owen is singing "Hell-Fish":
    It breathes air like a toad
    And it lurks in the muck
    If the hell-fish is really there
    Then the pond might be... screwed
  • Surprisingly Realistic Outcome:
    • While Paige knows that Bitsy is trying to purchase Central Park and the mayor is in league with her, she reveals she's unable to print her story because she has no proper leads to prove it. Birdie and Brendan may have given her the information but they're not suitable sources. Birdie is the narrator and he's forbidden to reveal any spoilers, and when he accidentally revealed Bitsy was the one who was laundering money to the mayor, he made up an excuse that he overheard some business talk in the park as a busker and that can be a questionable source. And while Brendan may be a Brandenham, he's only a kid and they're usually not taken seriously, and not to mention that none of his family takes Bitsy's plan seriously either. Also, the photo of Bitsy and Dmitry together during Anya's wedding that Paige took in "Rival Busker" means nothing without any context. And when Paige directly asks Bitsy if she's plotting to buy Central Park in front of the reporters, Bitsy plays dumb and ignores her question because she knows what she's doing is illegal and would never admit that to the public.
    • While the mayor is willing to go with Bitsy's plan to sell Central Park to her, he points out he won't be able to make that deal if she's the most disliked person in New York and people won't support the idea of her buying it.
    • Just because Dick Flake is an "expert" fisherman, that doesn't mean he can instantly catch a fish at a certain time. He had to go buy a dead snakehead and pretend he caught it in order to meet Bitsy's schedule.
  • Verbal Backspace: When the Tillermans are spitting their toothpaste out into the sink:
    Molly: If my spit is a different color and we're using the same toothpaste, is that bad?
    Owen: Yes. (Spits out toothpaste) Oh, God! Look at my spit. Eh, maybe it's fine.
  • Villain Opening Scene: While the snakehead isn't an outright villain, it does start the conflict in the episode and the music treats it like it is one, and considering what they do to the lake inhabitants they're pretty dangerous. When two joggers jog pass the Harlem Meer, the male jogger spots the snakehead crawling back into the water and decides to call the park staff about it.
  • Villain Song: Owen's song is portrayed as this as he warns his family about the dangers of Invasive Species such as the titular fish wreaking havoc should their behavior go untreated properly.
  • "The Villain Sucks" Song:
    • Ashley sings "New York Doesn't Like Your Face", where she sings to Bitsy how she's the most disliked person in New York and she needs to improve herself to be likable.
    • Birdie sings a reprise of "Dick Flake" where he reveals Dick is a fake for lying about catching the snakehead.
  • Violently Protective Wife: When Bitsy starts slandering Owen in front the media, Paige gets mad and wants to hurt Bitsy, or at least trip her.

♫ Thanks to this family
The park is secure now,
But thinking it's over
Is quite premature now
In Central... Central Park
Central Park ♫
Birdie, "Die Trying"


Die Trying Continuity Nods

"Die Trying" features several moments from past episodes in Season One.

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