SNL: Rihanna, Louis C.K., Leslie Jones (CREDIT: YouTube Screenshot)

This review was originally posted on Starpulse in May 2015.

In recent “SNL” history, the season finale has been reserved for familiar faces. Year 40 was no different, with Louis C.K. hosting for the third time in as many seasons and Rihanna making her fifth appearance as musical guest. Finales often have a celebratory air, with an overabundance of cameos, or an ode to the upcoming summer, or a farewell to departing talent, but there was not much of that this time. Instead, this was a fairly standard Season 40 episode, with a focus on original material that was best when it got weird. Unfortunately, it did not go weird often enough, and what resulted was a show that did not succeed too much as either a finale or as any old episode, especially disappointing considering the talent involved.

It’s Summer (BEST OF THE NIGHT) – The musical monologue is well-known to all, but a lesser-known, but just as durable tradition, is the musical season-ending cold opening. The former often indicates malaise, while the latter is usually a fun bit of form-breaking. This edition took it a step further, with another “SNL” standby – the Clintons – crashing the party. A long-term “SNL” narrative is taking shape here with the Democratic frontrunner leading up to the 2016 election, and it is simultaneously consistent and variegated. B+