After a much-needed Thanksgiving break, Saturday Night Live returned last night with host Ryan Gosling. This was his first time in the hot seat at Studio 8H, which made for a very weird episode that teetered on the brink of collapse, but remained funny throughout—because SNL is at its strongest these days when it lets things get loose and strange.

Gosling seemed very nervous during the Monologue, in which he was given some backup from fellow Canadians Mike Meyers and Bonhomme de neige. Canadian accent jokes aside, the combination musical/guest star-heavy monologue was not a great start to the episode (which wasn't helped by the pretty terrible, oddly short Trump-themed Cold Open), but Gosling's stiffness was completely gone by the time the first sketch of the night appeared and it became clear the theme of the evening would be: how many times will Ryan Gosling break, and how many cast members will succumb to his giggle fits?

Close Encounter was one of the two best sketches of the night, and all credit goes to Kate McKinnon, who finds new ways every week to remind us that she is a bright burning star who will soon be too big for SNL (and rightfully so!). McKinnon's chain-smoking UFO abductee didn't just kill Gosling and the room—even Aidy Bryant and Bobby Moynihan, who almost never break, couldn't control their laughter at McKinnon's performance.

The other season highlight in the episode was Santa Baby, a pre-taped segment that seemed to be a riff on the Honey Bunny scene from Pulp Fiction, just with a Christmas-bent. Gosling channelled some of his trademark brooding intensity (see: Drive, The Place Beyond The Pines, Half-Nelson) playing off of Vanessa Bayer in this weird, off-putting, hilarious bit. Let's hope Quentin Tarantino takes note of this one and writes him a part in some future film (or TV series).

The other highlights were Birthday Party (which gave Bryant another chance to steal the spotlight as an over-sexed teen, one of her favorite characters to play), the Settl ad (Tindr for women who have given up standards! Leslie Jones gets the best deadpan looks here), and Nespresso (a George Clooney/Danny DeVito commercial is such a specific, random thing to parody).

Despite Gosling's considerable dancing skills, the post-Weekend Update sketches were not quite as successful. The Wiz was more noteworthy for the current cast's ability to parody it (something that couldn't have happened even five years ago) than anything in it; Hometown Interview seemed like a good premise brought down by a weak "villain" (although Kyle Mooney certainly turns the character into some sort of over-the-top parody of...something); and Santa and the Elves is a repeat of a Louis C.K. sketch that wasn't very funny then, and isn't very funny now.

Weekend Update was hit-and-miss as usual: Cecily Strong brought a new character, Glamour writer Jill Davenport, who just wants to flirt with Colin Jost (to the point that I thought this was leading to a Leslie Jones/Jill Davenport showdown). The character, who seemed like an oversized parody of those depressing cinematic depictions of air-headed female reporters, didn't quite work, though it was in line with Strong's breakout character, The Girl You Wish You Hadn't Started a Conversation With at a Party (not everyone appreciated the caricature). Second-hand news reporter Anthony Crispino also stopped by, with Gosling playing his pal Angelo, and seeing as how Crispino is one of my personal favorite recurring characters (and one of Moynihan's best), this was a delight.

Click through for all the regular sketches, plus music from Leon Bridges. There are two more episodes left this year, with Chris Hemsworth returning next week (hopefully he'll bring back Captain Chicken) and the glorious return of Tina Fey and Amy Poehler (with Bruce Springsteen!) on December 19th.