Well, here it is. It's back. The Hills swooped overhead last night—two episodes worth!—like some dark angel of the sparkly rapture. It's good to know your enemy, so let's analyze after the jump.

Episode I: The Poseidi Adventure

Fittingly, as this is her last season and the producers have been shifting the focus away from her for some time now, the first scene of the first episode of the last season, didn't begin with our spackled heroine LC. No, it started with Heidi and her fiance's sister, Spencerina, sitting in some blue cafe and, like in so much great drama, discussing a birthday party. It was Lauren's big bday bash and a surprise party was afoot. Heidi's face, also a foot, balled up and looked very concerned. Spencerina, the little monkey holding a pennant that reads "Airtime!" parading around inside her parlor-like skull, batted her eyelashes and purred "What if I invited you?" Because, of course, this being LC's final dream ballet, she'll need to get some closure on that anecdote and figure shit out with Heidi. So Heidi nodded in her taffyish way and the cameras flew off to another location.

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Audrina and Lo, who are apparently friends again, said they would buy the cake themselves and so there they were, in a cake shop, waiting. No one really knows what they were talking about. It mostly came out of their mouths as a tinkly series of music box sounds, little ballerinas twirling on their tongues, while the city rushes by them; people on their way to places, things happening, happened, and about to happen. I think, because I took a semester of TwinklyMuisicBoxese, that they were talking more about the birthday party. Would Heidi show up, they wondered as the producers tased them with cattle prods. And would Lauren like being stuck on a yacht for the whole night, what with her entirely rational fear of mermaids (after the incident...) and her propensity to collect barnacles when standing still for too long by the seaside. Ah well, it was too late now. So they picked up their penis cake and set off for the marina.

Heidi was all dressed up in her gold spangly dress and silly tall shoes and Spencerina glowered at her with that thousand yard stare of resentment and need—I hate you, but I need you, you make me eternally sad, but I think there's something inside of you that I can dig out, like a ruby or a buried key, that will solve the problem of my life—and then beautiful brother Spencer walked in. He'd shaved since last we saw him, which was good. He had been looking a bit like that scary tree-man from TLC (you know the one...) But he was still petulant and the worst actor of the bunch, trying to seem completely unaware of the fact that Heidi and Spencerina were, in fact, going to his sworn enemy's big birthday bonanza. But when he saw Heidi firmly affixing her WaterWings and Spencerina putting on the floatie thing that's an inner tube but also a monster head, he knew they'd be near water. "Don't let her get wet, Spency," he warned. You wouldn't like her when she's wet.

So the party. Lauren, looking ghastly and consumptiony in too-dark lipstick and washed out pancake makeup, sat in her limousine discussing the merits of various champagne-bottle-opening strategies. These are the conversations that define our lives, everyone. So get over it, America. And then the limo arrived at the marina and Lauren was blindfolded and they lead her to her Viking funeral pyre. She would be pushed to sea and then Lo would launch a flaming arrow and the whole of it would be set ablaze. "Goodbye Lauren!" they would yell from the docks, bravely waving as tears streamed down their faces. "Goodbye forever old friend!" Then the whole fiery pyre-boat would tilt precariously to one side and catch another yacht in the marina on fire and then another and then another until the whole damn place is burning like the Reckoning in Monte Carlo, and Lo would shrug her shoulders and Audrina wheeze quietly and Spencerina would whisper "I guess we didn't do that right..."

Or, you know, they all go on the boat and Brody the idiot yells "Surprise!!!!" before Lauren's even got her damn blindfold off so basically the party is ruined, but oh well. Later Brody just face-plants in her birthday cake so he can get a bite. Brodes, have you ever been to a birthday party before? This is not how it's done. Lauren hugs and chugs, the other girls teeter strangely, and then Spencerina and Heidi show up. Heidi is carrying an enormous Chanel bag and I thought it would be funny if that was the present. Nothing inside but packing peanuts and a little card and Heidi beams when she hands it over and the world gets a little prettier but also a little sadder.

Lauren was shocked! simply shocked! that Heidi would crash her big TV show party, but in the end she got drunk and weepy and Heidi got weepy too. Why? Because there was a whole text messaging debacle wherein Spencer had a "boys night out" with one other lame ass guy at some rando bar where an MTV plant named Stacie was pretending to be a bartender and pretending to not know who Captain Fleshbeard is. So she flirted with him and he flirted back and meanwhile Spencerina's ex, Cameron or something, watched from a booth in the corner and sent a furtive phone missive to his beloved of old telling her that chicanery was occurring at the bar. Spencer found out and decided to clobber Cameron, who got a few good hits right in the Jack Johnson and then both boys ran away squealing, their pail coming tumbling after.

So Heidi couldn't believe—shocked! she was shocked!—that Spencer had swung his sweaty ham fist into the bowl of oatmeal that is Cameron's face and so she wept, and Lauren wept, and their salty tears became the ocean and the boat sank around them and Lo floated by face down, dead as cranberries, and Heidi and Lauren saluted her and sang "For those in peril on the seaaa..." and somewhere, far off in the distance, there were fireworks and then Lauren and Heidi, having fought it for so very, very long shared a tender kiss, their faces illuminated by the distant explosions of color and light and noise, like their hearts opening to new arrivals. "We're airplane terminals, Heidi," Lauren whispered. "We're zeppelin ports."

Or, you know, they cried and hugged but nothing was resolved and the party ended and so did the episode.

Episode II: Bananas!

Episode two was all about Heidi and Spencer, because they are, I guess, going to be the new leads of the Lauren-less show, when it will be called The Buttes and it will just be a lot of angry staring.

Spencerina—OK, just this once, Stephanie—got in an awesome fight with Spencer, which you can watch to the left.

Heidi went to talk to the horrible Stacie, who pretended like she was innocent and that she didn't know Spencer had a girlfriend and that what a jerk Spencer was, you know? Heidi nodded gravely and went to go whine to Spencer, who whined back at her and before they knew it they were covered in bologna and applesauce and maraschino cherry juice, because they'd been having a food fight, so Heidi decided that she needed to go back to Crested Butte, where her be-makeup'd mom lives in sad, snowy obscurity. "Fine then, go!" bellowed Spencer as he lobbed one last carton of Dunkaroos at her. Splat! it went as it hit Heidi in the back of the head.

Up in the snowy recesses of Colorado, Heidi's mom did her best to read from her lines and say comforting things. But mostly she seemed as stiff as always, too aware of her angle to the camera, too clearly horrified but strangely delighted by this blocky, stretched-out thing her daughter had become. What wicked secrets does she hold?, Ma Heidi wondered. What nutrients can I extract for my own benefit? They talked about feelings and about weddings and about snow and about the nature of drama—was it mirror held up to life, or was it window to something faraway and strange, some dissonant imagining that will never quite match up to the real thing, and is therefore both horribly necessary and completely useless? Then they went to dinner!

At dinner Heidi's stepdad acted even more awkward than her realmom and then the evening teetered sideways and set a whole marina of embarrassment on fire because some exboyfriend of Heidi's named Colbyjackcheese galoompfed over and Heidi knew it was a setup, but she didn't know if it was her parents' doing or the producers', and then you saw a flash of cold recognition dart across her worried face and you knew that she'd suddenly realized she didn't even know the difference between the two anymore. Anyway, Colbyjack smiled dumbly and said he was dating a girl (I pictured a small pine tree, wearing a dress, riding a snowmobile at dawn) but wasn't engaged, so Ma Heidi's mouth curled around its lipliner and she said "Well then, there's still hope!"

Back in Sunburn Valley, Spencer decided that he needed to get some bro-questions out of the bro-way. So he called up Brody and they met at some vegan restaurant and talked about feelings and Brody sort of agreed with Spencer but also seemed to not really care one way or another. Spencer also went to talk to Stacie again, who gleamed and glistened terribly when she said mean things about Heidi, and lordy lou, what's gonna happen?

The episode ended somewhere, I don't really remember. I do remember that Lauren said it was funny that the only people Spencer and Heidi had to call were the two people they'd dicked over the most. That actually made sense. Good observation, LC.

So here we are, plummeting back down into this hole. The rabbit who dug it long gone, probably buried somewhere in his little waistcoat, lying in some unremarkable grave. And we're left to ponder what will be left of the show once our tanned anchor snaps the line and disappears. We'll have Lo, but all of her pointy cruelty will be rendered neutral when she doesn't have Lauren's relative niceness to play off. So too will Spencer and Heidi struggle for want of a backboard. Their dumb stupid tennis balls (and Dunkaroos and Gushers and huge, heaping handfuls of spaghetti) will just lob over the fence and sit there, unanswered. And we'll be asked to watch.

And, of course, there's Audrina. There she was in the background last night, like something strange and ugly and frail that's been stolen from the world—a fawn embryo, drifting in space. There've been some reports that she might be leaving too, so we won't have to face a season like the last one where it was mostly about her moonlit features screwing up into various facial poses, ranging between chimpunk-who's-just-lost-its-job to koala-bear-cub-who's-just-learned-the-concept-of-kidnapping. Neither are terribly interesting. Though I think, in some strange way, I'd miss them if they left.

Same to you Lauren! But, alas, you're already a ghost. Which means, in part at least, I don't believe in you.

Poof!