Larry David is back after the successful season premiere. Larry, a quirky person to begin with, wasn’t in a lucky position after last week’s Curb Your Enthusiasm. How is he handling his stress?

CURB YOUR ENTHUSIASM SEASON 9, EPISODE 2 RECAP

This week’s episode continues the predicament Larry found himself in during the last episode, with our bald lead concerned over the Ayatollah’s fatwa on his life. He’s currently in the Grand Marina hotel, with Jeff (Jeff Garlin) and Leon (J. B. Smoove) visiting him. They both encourage him to return to his home. Jeff assures Larry that the FBI promises his safety whereas Leon doesn’t want Larry to move since it’d inconvenience him.

Larry, still donning his wig, glasses and mustache, leaves the hotel, offering fashion advice to a hooker named Paula (Bianca Kajlich) on his way to the lobby. Shortly after checking out, Larry – under the pseudonym Buck Dancer – ignites the ire of the hotel employee (Jim Rash) by neglecting to use a tong to take his complimentary cookie. Larry also insists that no baker baked these treats, they’re Pepperidge Farm cookies. Larry later returns to the hotel to pick up a pair of pajamas he forgot, though he gets himself banned from the establishment when he challenges the cleanliness the reuse of a tong that had been on the ground. “You might as well put the floor on the table!”

Larry and Leon are shown to have returned to Larry’s domain. As they’re enforcing the place, his old friend Marty Funkhouser (Bob Einstein) visits unannounced. He brought his promising young nephew Kenny, who inadvertently breaks his pitching arm after a spat with Larry while the two were simultaneously attempting to open a pickle jar. Larry shouts, “Everybody wants to be a pickle hero!” Shortly thereafter, Ted Danson stops by to ask Larry if it’d be okay if he dated Larry’s ex, Cheryl (Cheryl Hines). Larry initially refuses, but relents after Ted’s ex, Mary (Mary Steenburgen), declines Larry’s advances over the phone noting how he’s not her type.

After an awkward fling with Curb‘s fondly remembered Shara (Anne Bedian) was prematurely broken up by Larry’s new body guard, Swat (Dean Sharpe), Larry sets up a video appointment with the Iranian consul. Afterwards, Marty tells Larry of how poorly his nephew is coping with his injury, inspiring Larry to enlist Paula’s help. Larry sneaks into the hotel as Leon distracts people with the tightly sealed pickle jar and successfully recruits Paula, though he’s forcefully evicted after giving away his presence when he reacts to seeing Ted and Cheryl together. As Larry drives away, he humorously sees Mary walking together with a balding man who shares Larry’s fashion sense.

By the series’ standard, Larry’s escapades coalesce together as the episode draws near its ending. Larry’s video conference with the Iranian administrator (David Diann) is going favorably, particularly because the man is a dedicated Seinfeld fan. Meanwhile, Larry’s bodyguard overhears the sexual activities between Funkhouser’s nephew and Paula and, again thinking his boss is getting attacked, barges through the door, ending their private moments. The Iranian official sees the three of them running amuck in the background and promptly ends his conference with a hysterical Larry.

Overall, it was another solid episode of Curb Your Enthusiasm. While it didn’t provide constant laughs, it did set up an interesting dynamic between Larry, Ted and Cheryl for future episodes to explore. That said, the usual Curb flair still permeated “The Pickle Gambit,” particularly regarding Larry’s tong fixation.