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Recap / Central Park S3E04 "A Triptych Down Memory Lane"

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"Backing up through the years."
Original release date: September 16, 2022

Written by: Meredith Dawson
Directed by: Mario D'Anna

♫ Backing up through the years
I see all the times that I went
Back and forth between it all
I wish I had been present
Back then when it was clear
I only want to save a semblance
Of remembrance in me ♫
Owen, "Backing Up"

When Elwood forgets the password he created for the Tillerman's external hard drive (which contains the family's photos, videos, and important documents), Owen, Molly, and Cole try to help Elwood remember it before everything in the hard drive gets permanently erased if he types the wrong password again.

  • "A Song to Sing" - Cole, Molly, & Elwood
    Written by: Cory Chisel
    Performed by: Tituss Burgess, Emmy Raver-Lampman, & Rory O'Malley
  • "Bad Bad Bird" - Elwood & Helen
    Written by: Patrick Dacey & Tim Dacey
    Performed by: Rory O'Malley & Daveed Diggs
  • "Backing Up" - Owen
    Written by: Kate Anderson & Elyssa Samsel
    Additional Arrangements by: Emeen Zarookian
    Performed by: Leslie Odom Jr.


Tropes in General:

  • Chiptune: The end credits song is a "Backing Up" chiptune remix by Mike 2600.
  • Continuity Nod:
    • The box of square markers Brendan gifted to Molly back in "Ice, Ice, Not Baby", can be seen in junk drawer.
    • A picture of the corpse flower from "Celeste We Forget" appears in one of the books the pets read in Cole's story.
  • Cyber Green: Well, teal, but close enough. During "Backing Up", the memories have a teal filter to them, and the ground is a teal grid, with a green-to-blue gradient evaporating pixel formation on the horizon.
  • Melancholy Musical Number: After the Tillerman believe they'll permanently lose all their precious family photos and moments in their hard drive, Owen sings "Backing Up", where he sings how he regrets taking his precious memories for granted.
  • "Shaggy Dog" Story: Molly and Cole argue over which cable package to get; Molly wants package A, which has an art house movie channel, while Cole wants package B that has the Animal Universe channel. Their stories to jog Elwood's memory are blatant attempts to promote their choice. When the cable installer arrives, however, she explains that the promotion for those packages has expired, and they'd have to pay full price; Owen and Paige just opts out of cable altogether and asks for just fixing the connection.
  • Advertisement:
  • Special Guest: "A Song to Sing" is written by Cory Chisel.
  • Whole-Plot Reference:

Tropes that applies to Cole's story

  • Bait-and-Switch: During "A Song to Sing", when it seems like the pets will encounter some trouble, good things end up happening instead. When they're in the scary forest full of scary tree, the trees are homes to birds; when they encounter a scary bear, the bear shares its porridge with them; when they're being chased by a buffalo, they're later seen taking a nap with it; and when they're in the middle of a thunderstorm, it's just a light show entertainment for them and it doesn't even rain.
  • Cultural Translation: When Dog Cole suggest they go back to New York, Dog Elwood mentions it's 1,800 miles. The other foreign dubs converts the distances from miles to kilometers, specifically 2,900 or 3,000 km, depending on the dub.
  • The Homeward Journey: Patty (Paige) and Orville (Owen) leave their three pets (a bulldog (Cole), a cat (Molly), and a golden retriever (Elwood)) at a caretaker ranch in Montana while they're on their honeymoon. When the pets learn that the caretaker is away and won't be back for while, the pets travel together to reunite with their owners back in New York because they forgot about them.
  • Travel Montage: "A Song to Sing", a "Setting Off" Song, has the animals sing while they travel from Montana to New York while they do different activities and meet other animals.

Tropes that applies to Molly's story

  • All Part of the Show: After Elevator transform into a giant bird and spins Hannah around in the air, the audience stands up and applauds the performers because they think it's part of the show.
  • Creepy Ballet: Molly portrays the ballet in her story as psychological disturbing in order to scare Elwood into remembering the password. It features a jumpscare of Hannah with demonic eyes scaring Elevator, Barbara Wealthywrinkle appearing in front of Elevator to wish him luck and suddenly laugh manically when it's revealed she Dead All Along, and Elevator's mind unraveling and transforming into a giant swam and eating Hannah.
  • Dance-Off: Elevator and Hannah audition to play the Bad Swan and Ogre decides who gets the role by doing a dance duel.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: After Hannah trips Elevator before he goes on stage, he transforms into a giant bird and eats Hannah alive.
  • Gainax Ending: Molly intentionally ends her story like this to scare Elwood into remembering the hard drive password. Elevator transforms into a giant swan monster and eats Hannah alive during the performance and the audience thinks it's part of the show. After that, Molly has the story fade to black and we don't know what happens afterwards.
  • Poke the Poodle: During "Bad Bad Bird", Elevator reveals some bad things he did to show how bad he is: not saying hello to a dog when it walked up to him, but he did pet it a little, and leaving the lights on at his work, but only because he forgets sometimes.

♫ Backing up through the years
I see all the times that I went
Back and forth between it all
I wish I had been present
Back then when it was clear
I only want to save a semblance
Of remembrance in me ♫
"Backing Up (End Credits)"


Video Example(s):


Backing Up

Owen sings how he regrets taking his precious family moments for granted.

How well does it match the trope?

Example of:

Main / MelancholyMusicalNumber

Media sources: