Sessions retired this past Wednesday at President Trump’s request. Many believe Trump was angry because Sessions recused himself from “investigations related to the 2016 presidential campaign,” led by special counsel Robert S. Mueller III.
In keeping with this season’s trend, the sketch didn’t feature an elaborate amount of guest stars — save for one. (We’ll get to that.) Instead, the sketch was mostly a showcase for SNL’s top impersonations of the political elite.
It begins with Aidy Bryant’s Sarah Sanders walking into the office of Sessions. He — cartoonishly portrayed by Kate McKinnon — is hiding inside of a desk at the time. (“I was just hiding out and hoping to give the new Attorney General a real scare,” (s)he says.)
“This is Matthew G. Whitaker’s office now, Jeff,” SNL’s Sanders informs him.
“Yeah, I know,” McKinnon’s Sessions replies. “I don’t understand how Mr. Trump could replace me with Matt Whitaker. He’s just a shady businessman with no experience who’s blindly loyal to Donald Trump. Okay, hearing it out loud, that makes sense.”
The show then trots out its various political characters, but not before the show’s version of Sessions takes a few moments to reflect.
“Sure did have some good times here during my almost 16 months as the Attorney General,” SNL’s Sessions says before picking up a Bible. “My trusted Bible. I justified a lot of bad things with this book.”
Later, the fake Sessions picks up a copy of Bob Woodward’s newest book “Fear” and says, “In chapter 26, the president calls me ‘mentally retarded.’”
Cue SNL’s political impersonators.
First up is Beck Bennett’s take on Mike Pence, though he barely has any lines.
“I’m sorry this is happening,” he tells McKinnon’s Sessions.
“That’s all right,” (s)he replies. “I just don’t understand what I did wrong, you know? I put kids in cages. I said no to gays. What more did y’all want?”
“I’m sorry, I heard the words ‘gays’ and ‘cages’ and I went somewhere crazy,” Bennet’s Pence replies. “And my Apple watch says I’m having a heart attack.”
Next up is Eric and Donald Trump Jr. (Alex Moffat and Mikey Day) visiting Sessions.
“Dad just wanted us to make sure there were no hard feelings and to let you know how much he appreciates your service,” the show’s Trump Jr. says.
“And then he mimed rolling dice,” Moffat’s Eric added, pantomiming dice rolling — which also looks like male masturbation.
“No he didn’t!” the fake Eric yells. “What Eric meant to say is you should have stopped this Mueller investigation a long time ago. I mean, there’s even a chance they’re’ going to come after me and Eric.”
Amusing as the beginning of the sketch is, though, it’s all merely setup for the one-two punch at the end.
First, SNL’s Sessions sits for a moment with a photo of Trump, saying,“After all we’ve been though, I would have at least thought you’d say goodbye.”
Then he starts earnestly singing Adele’s heartbreak anthem “Someone Like You” while images from former sketches with McKinnon’s Sessions and Alec Baldwin’s Trump pop up in the background.
Then SNL brings back Robert De Niro as Mueller.
“I just came to say thanks with all your help with the investigation,” he says, later adding, “I have something for you Jeff. You know in Harry Potter, when an elf gets a piece of clothing, it sets him free? This is for you.”
He then hands Sessions “a piece of toilet paper from the bottom of Mr. Trump’s shoe.”
Finally, they hug and belt out Adele’s anthem together.
After being criticized for using too many guest stars last year, SNL’s choice to bring back De Niro is interesting. It doesn’t necessarily signal that the show is going back to its guest-heavy cold opens — but it certainly raises the question. Last year, everyone from Ben Stiller to Stormy Daniels appeared in the show’s cold opens. Is that happening again? Only time will tell.