Cold Opening – The Lawrence Welk Show
I will usually make note – if not outright criticize – a recurring sketch when we know exactly where it is going, but I will often concede that there may be audience members who are seeing this sketch for the first time and will find it perfectly amusing, having no idea about the repetition. But the Lawrence Welk Show sketches are so popular by now that I think most viewers knew what was coming. Luckily, Jon Hamm was fully committed to his unusual character, and Wiig went even further than she usually does, getting a little too close for comfort with Hamm and that statue fountain. And it actually ended with Dooneese hooking up with the male singer, so that was different. B

Mick Jagger’s Monologue
It looks like Mick Jagger. Let’s not kick him to the curb. Simply put, Mick seemed to just be himself for the monologue.  His answers to those FAQ’s weren’t hilarious, but they felt like a fun conversation. It’s nice to know that Mick’s cognitive faculties are still intact, as that has not always been clear during his performances the last few years. B+

Secret Word
So, Mick was a gay Charles Bronson? If so, I like it – it wasn’t a highly specific parody of one particular celebrity. However, while Mick played the part well, it mostly boiled down to older, English, slightly predatory gay man. As for Wiig as Mindy, she was different just enough to get a pass. The canal-anal confusion provided at least one hearty guffaw. B-

You know, Fred actually kind of vaguely looks like Mick Jagger. (As a side note, I now think his Queen Elizabeth impression may in part be based on Jagger.) That was a good impression, but a purposefully broad one, so I can imagine why someone with standards of subtlety would have been more demanding. I thought they were going to have a succession of increasingly worse and worse Jagger impersonators, but I suppose you couldn’t have gotten much worse after Bobby’s. Mick did a good job playing against type as the stage fright-stricken Kevin. And the “Moves Like Jagger” joke was a perfect cultural commentary. A-

Digital Short – Lazy Sunday 2
This has to be watched at least twice to be judged properly (at least for me). By hewing closely to the style and subject matter of the first one, there was no way it would live up to it. It has remained after all these years the best digital short the Lonely Island have ever done, and the fact that they have not touched it again until now has only built up its mystique. But when considering the sequel as its own thing, hey, Samberg and Parnell’s rhymes are still as fresh as ever, and their callbacks to lines from the original were clever in an appropriately sequel-riffic way (e.g., “like McAdams loves Channing”). That last line sure made it sound like it was the last digital short ever, and that was a hell of a way to go out. A-

Politics Nation
Kenan’s malapropisms as Sharpton were a little complicated, and it was fun attempting to unpack them. B-

Mick Jagger and Arcade Fire perform “The Last Time”
Arcae Fire must be big Rolling Stones fans. Honestly, they complemeted present-day Mick perfectly. Based on the song choice, I thought this was going to be a tribute to departing cast members. Perhaps it was, not just specifically. B+

Weekend Update
-The Jokes: I liked the joke where Seth said a lot of numbers. And the one about Mitt Romney and human hand gestures. I still don’t get the punchline about the masturbating janitor. C+
-The Segments: -Stefon: I worried a bit during this Stefon segment that Hader and Mulaney may be running out of ideas, but then they pulled out a non sequitur like “written and directed by James L. Brooks” and a surprising reference like Wario Batali. With Mick hosting, the Ke$ha and Ron Wood mentions were timely. B+

So You Think You Can Dance at an Outdoor Music Festival
For the entirety of this sketch, I was wondering why Bill was playing Dave Matthews when I could have sworn Andy had already played him a couple of times. Eventually, I was reminded that what I was thinking of was Andy as Jack Johnson as the host of The Mellow Show (which also featured Bill as Dave Matthews as a guest). Anyway, the dancing was kind of funny, but the highlight here was Mick as Steven Tyler, an impression I’m sure a lot of people have wanted to see for a while, and Mick brought the satisfaction. B-

Mick Jagger and Foo Fighters perform “19th Nervous Breakdown”/”It’s Only Rock ‘n’ Roll”
The Foo Fighters play kind of loud. I think Mick was having trouble singing (his own songs) over them. Mick’s voice isn’t what it once was, although he was always a better frontman than vocalist. B

The Californians
The first rendition of this sketch tickled me, thanks to its mix of SoCal voices (always a winner in my ears) and an odd, Monty Python-esque obsession with the highway system. This time around, both of those elements were still there (with the accents even more purposefully awful – with Andy’s practically vowel-less pronunciation of “Nuh wa” a highlight), but they didn’t seem to be the point. There weren’t jokes so much as an overarching creation of this bizarre soap operatic world in which these people were interacting with each other in a way that didn’t appear recognizably human in any way. B

Mick Jagger and Jeff Beck perform “Tea Party”
The lyrics were quite simplistic – hardly thought out well, but that strikes me as all right for a quick blues ditty. And who’s going to complain when the performance is more or less a showcase for one of the greatest guitarists of all time? B+

She’s a Rainbow
Kristin got what she deserved. I don’t think any other departing castmember has actually cried during a sendoff before. I almost teared up a bit as well. B+

This was an unusal show, and it was always going to be an unusual show, what with it likely being the last show for a few veteran cast members and the musical guest having three performances and three different bands for each performance. Add to that an R&B sextet harmonizing the introduction for one of the performances, the host taking on his own persona over the course of the night, and a sequel to the greatest digital short of all time, and something would have to give. (Indeed, something did give: check out these two excellent web exclusives that should not have been cut from the live show: Jay Pharaoh as Stephen A. Smith and another Kings of Catchphrase Comedy Tour commercial.) I usually like it when SNL mixes things up, but all this mixing up was all a bit too unwieldy for a season finale and possible end of an era. But I was happy to have Lazy Sunday 2, that karaoke sketch, a trio of solid music performances, and a fine sendoff for Kristen Wiig. And Mick was undoubtedly a good selection as host.