Ghosts 2×04 “The Tree” delivers the laughs and the love in equal measure, and we wouldn’t expect anything less. The series is continuing its winning formula of showing this incredible ensemble cast in all its glory, while also zooming in on each ghost individually. We know we love these spirits. It makes it even easier to love them when we get to know them on a deeper level. These ghosts lived colorful lives, and it’s always a joy to be let into the glorious chaos they caused.
Sasappis’ Time to Shine
Román Zaragoza has always carried so much of the comedy on this show. His deadpan delivery alone is capable of leaving the most cynical viewer in stitches. If there’s any ghost that has reason to be this deeply cynical, it’s Sasappis. He’s watched the violent destruction of his people and has had to spend his afterlife surrounded by colonizers who easily dismiss so many of his concerns, even if it’s in jest. It’s important that Ghosts give this character his proper due. And Ghosts 2×04 “The Tree” is a step in the right direction.
What this episode does is showcase is that in spite of his justified cynicism, Sasappis is a hopeless romantic. Watching flashbacks of him shooting his shot with Shiki (Crystle Lightning) is hilarious, and incredibly endearing. This episode is also effective in making viewers feel for Sasappis in such a deep way. It’s a testament to the strength of this character that he’s seen so much devastating loss and yet can still see beauty in the world and people around him. Through Sasappis’ eyes, we see the tree as more than simply a tree. It’s a symbol of Sasappis’ legacy and a tangible reminder of the mark he left on the world. His strength as a storyteller has been obvious since this character was introduced. And leaning into this part of his character lets us see past the dry wit, and see someone who wants to tell his own story on his own terms.
Bob is also the perfect complement to Sasappis’ story. His character is a direct rebuke to the over-spiritualization and mythologizing that plague Indigenous representation in media. Bob is the definition of just some guy, and we love him. He doesn’t leave before dropping some necessary truths. Land Acknowledgements are solely for colonizers. Rather than simply hearing and speaking the words, we would all do well to listen to what is actually being said.
Save the Tree!
Full disclosure, this episode unlocked an incredibly specific and bizarre childhood memory for this writer. It involved Sarah Harman and several people tied to trees in a major Canadian city. Anyone who’s ever been to a protest involving someone being tried to a tree knows that there is a very specific type of person who you will find there. Jay (Utkarsh Ambudkar) is the perfect symbol to illustrate who these people are. There’s never a sense that these protesters are being made fun of. Rather, Jay showcases their hopeful attitude, if not entirely effective.
In classic Ghosts fashion, what begins as a funny joke about the origin of a tree turns into a surprisingly poignant meditation on environmentalism and the legacy we leave. Ghosts 2×04 “The Tree” makes us all think about our own impact on the environment, as well as the necessity of listening to the Indigenous People who have been caring for this land since time immemorial. The tree is a touching tribute to Sasappis’ and Shiki’s relationship. Its legacy is destined to continue in the aptly-named Friend Zone.
Karen Powers for Good
If Sam (Rose McIver) wasn’t so damn delightful, she’d be at high risk for being the worst kind of Karen. Lucky for us, she’s among the sweetest people alive, and easy to cheer for. This episode in particular is a relatable one. The good intentions of white people almost always lead to more damage and chaos. That’s clear enough here. And yet, Sam’s willingness to learn is aspirational. She’s willing to accept the fact that her facts weren’t complete. Rather than double down, or cause a fuss, she *gasp* takes the feedback and moves on.
There is a lesson for white women everywhere here. Shutting up and listening is an essential skill that’s seemingly in short supply these days. However, Rose is an excellent illustration of how easy this can be. Not that white women need to be praised for doing the absolute bare minimum. However, when the bar’s been on the floor for so long, why dig under it? Impressive that we can start these conversations when talking about a sitcom involving ghostly hijinks.
I’ll be the first to admit, I have never been 100% on board with the Thor (Devon Chandler Long) and Flower (Sheila Carrasco) romance. However, if there was ever an episode to convince me, Ghosts 2×04 “The Tree” is the one. It hasn’t exactly been a secret that these two are being set up as endgame. As individuals, these characters have proven themselves many times over. Together, they might be something special.
Thor’s boundless enthusiasm to save the planet (mostly the fish) is laudable. We love to see an aggressively environmentally-conscious King. This is perfectly countered with Flower’s poignant reminder that people can’t be shamed into caring about social issues like the environment. Flower’s point of view is never presented as naively hoping that doing drugs and loving everybody will solve the world’s problems. Rather, her audacious hope in the face of massive odds makes everything seem just a little bit brighter. That tiny bit of hope can move mountains.
Ghosts shows no signs of slowing as the second season gets well underway. And this episode manages to make an important point about the necessity of the environmental justice movement, while never mocking people who care. Essentially, there is never a sense that the series is taking itself too seriously. Letting this phenomenal ensemble simply play off of each other is the best choice they could possibly make. These ghosts had rich lives, and there’s plenty for their living friends to still discover. And as we prepare to hit prime spooky season, this is the show everyone needs to be watching.
Other Spooky Thoughts:
- Isaac’s continued obsession with Hamilton remains incredibly relatable.
- Pete and Jay manage to be the best of friends, in spite of one not being able to see the other.
- Alberta has a fantastic eye for quality, and we all need such a discerning friend.
- Those neighbors. I feel like we need to see more of them.
- Hetty’s continued sexual awakening may be one of this show’s strongest storylines yet. Not only does she deserve it, but we also deserve to go on this journey with her.
- Trevor teaching himself the intricacies of nail polish to impress women. My heart.
Ghosts airs Thursdays at 8:30/7:30c on CBS.