A lot's happened since the end of May, when we last saw Alec Baldwin in the White House. Hurricane Maria ravaged Puerto Rico; NFL players began kneeling during the National Anthem; Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price resigned over a private plane scandal; North Korea upped its saber-rattling; and the president moved to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals policy.
Saturday Night Live 's Season 43 premiere had the unruly job of addressing all or most of these things. And with an impressively tight cold open, it did.
Baldwin's Trump returned from Bedminster to applause and cheers alongside Sarah Huckabee Sanders (Aidy Bryant), his new favorite mouthpiece. "Thank you, Sarah," Baldwin said. "I had to come back. Sometimes when your president you have to make sacrifices, so I skipped the back nine." He was... not very helpful. SNL went on to underline how chaotic Trump has been, running through recent headlines and poking fun at his backward response to Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz (Melissa Villaseñor) of San Juan.
The true highlight of the sketch, however, was the return of Kate McKinnon's grinning Jeff Sessions, a cross between an evil ventriloquist dummy and a kooky Keebler elf who's taken up residence in a grandfather clock outside the Oval Office.
"Oh, no sir, please don't tweet on me, please I cannot be tweeted on again," McKinnon begged, regarding a couple disagreements. The exchange called to mind South Park's recent Tweek episode, in which Trump's Twitter habits were painted as a distraction and, more seriously, a potential threat to national security.
It was a strong return for NBC's sketch comedy show, which won big at this year's Emmys, with McKinnon, Baldwin, Dave Chappelle, and Melissa McCarthy, among others, taking home statuettes.