The rapper and philanthropist lorded over the strongest episode of the still-young season, which started with a lousy, Trump-themed cold open, then quickly redeemed itself with a song that name-checked Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel and my beloved California Dreams. The episode front-loaded its best material (the stretch from “E-Sports Reporter” to “Spooky Song” was mighty impressive), then got reallll weird (but in a good way!) following an above-average Weekend Update.
BEST: E-SPORTS REPORTER
Here, Chance reprised his role as Lazlo Holmes. This time around, the misplaced Knicks reporter was sent to cover a “League of Legends” tournament and was truly befuddled by the sight of 20,000 people screaming as if they’d just seen The Beatles. “I guess this is what white and Asian kids have been doing while black kids were inventing hip hop,” he remarked.
BEST: TASTY TOASTER TARTS
This commercial parody had the same demented energy as one of my all-time favorite digital shorts, “The Tizzle Wizzle Show,” which featured James Franco as the host of a children’s program from hell. Here, it was strongly implied that Chance’s Jason murdered his own parents just to get his hands on some delectable snacks.
BEST: SPOOKY SONG
It was no “Haunted Elevator,” but this Halloween sketch, which revealed that Chance’s ghost died due to an electrical fetish, is bound to appear in those SNL Halloween specials for years to come. His delivery of the line “We can skip me, Happy Halloween!” earned the biggest laugh of the night.
HONORABLE MENTION: JUDGE BARRY
Chance earned a few chuckles as the adjudicator who doles out judgments based on first impressions, but it was surprise guest/Game of Thrones alum Jason Momoa who stole the show as a live-in nurse who beds old ladies and steals their jewelry. (On a technical level, I have to ask: Was there no way to have the cue cards to the left of the stage, so Chance didn’t have to look in the opposite direction of the defendants?)
WORST: LOVE AT FIRST SIGHT
It’s really more of a “best-worst.” Chance and Cecily Strong’s not-so-high flying act was saved by their inability to hold it together as they crashed into everything on sight. It also featured Beck Bennett breaking towards the end, which almost never happens.
WORST: TRUMP RALLY
SNL‘s most pointed political commentary of the fall came midway through the cold open, when Pete Davidson appeared as a recently freed member of ISIS and thanked Alec Baldwin’s Trump for “bringing jobs back.” Overall, though, the “Albacore”-set rally was short on laughs, even with an assist from series alumni Fred Armisen (as the president of Turkey) and Darrell Hammond (as Bill Clinton).
What were your favorite sketches this week? And what missed the mark? Watch all of the highlights (and lowlights) above, then grade the episode in our poll.