Open up or seal yourself up?
Let’s start with Edgar because there’s less to talk about and it’s essentially what I’ve been saying for the past few weeks. Everyone’s still treating him like shit, he’s clearly fallen off the wagon. It’s somewhat pleasant to see that Gretchen asked him about the appointment, but incredibly frustrating that she didn’t probe further because from that small cutaway to him post phone call with car booze indicates there’s more to this. Obvious answer would be that he didn’t go, but we didn’t spend that much time with him this week so I expect there’s a lot we didn’t see that will end up being relevant next episode.
Moving on to Lindsay, I wasn’t as down on the Paul-skewering as some critics and commenters on other sites have been, but I’m pleased that we got a B-plot that didn’t hinge on that event. There was the callback which shows how Lindsay isn’t necessarily evolving as a character into someone completely new [Let’s stick a pin in this and come back to it once we’ve talked about Jimmy and Gretch]. I don’t think it was needed though, the ending to her plot when she makes a pass at the single father is enough to show she hasn’t become Mother of the Year since we saw her last week. Talking about the larger B-plot, I’d be okay if the rest of Lindsay’s season arc was her and Paul vs. Becca (and Vernon) on the road to becoming parents. That’s primarily because I could happily watch Vernon try to form his own side to avoid the conflict, but it also provides a dynamic that we can’t see when compared to Gretchen and Jimmy (who knows where the season will end, but I don’t see them having a kid for a long time).
We’ll deal with Gretchen and Jimmy at the same time because of how intrinsically connected they were this week. First of all: therapy check-in – nice to see that Gretch is actively making the choice to see a therapist, even if it is for self-centered reasons. One could argue it’s so they both have a good time on the cruise, but I’d have to ask if you’d been watching the same show as me. Still, I was surprised at how committed she was to it. Also the variety of the excursions helped in preventing the plot from getting repetitive. Going to a cemetery feels like the obvious one out of the three, but getting it out of the way early meant that the show could subvert any expectations the audience had. If it was the final stop on the tour, then it wouldn’t be unexpected for Jimmy to break down, but smash cutting to the mausoleum sex showed how this wasn’t going to be an easy nut to crack. This part also shows how You’re the Worst is the ‘comedy-in-theory’ that’s dedicated to keeping that comedy as an essential part of the formula. The pottery painting gave way to more humour when it came to Greg’s kid (and also felt similar to the small child in Atlanta this week. Kids swearing isn’t funny by itself, but making him the person with power and someone who swears is funny.), but also that conversation that the dad and Jimmy shared. This season is letting the core four move away from each other and talk to others, thus providing a contrast between how the four deal with problems together compared to how they converse and work through issues with others. This conversation in particular shows how the mask slips for Jimmy when he’s not around Gretch. He’s very reluctant to get close with her, he already held off on saying ‘I love you’ for as long as possible and now he doesn’t want to necessarily talk about what’s bothering him. Which brings us to the pub. Aya Cash and Chris Geere both get fantastic stuff to work with here and they play off each other ridiculously well. So much so that it reminding me of Tracy and Jack’s therapy session in 30 Rock. While the big catharsis may have just been trapped wind, Jimmy clearly has deeper seated issues than his father being dead and this may end up being the thread to tug in order to work through that stuff. Back at the house, there’s even more subversion with how Jimmy wasn’t crying, but as the end of the episode shows, the drawer has been opened, stuff is going to get out.
So now let’s go back to the pin. The characters are still growing in ways, they can’t just become someone new overnight without the show losing what makes it stand apart from everything else on TV. However, the way this season has been slowly adding in elements of the grander scheme – death of Ronnie, Edgar’s issues and Gretchen’s therapy, the show hasn’t delved deep enough to make it seem like significant progress is being made. The show has also avoided using a structure like S2 and has doubled down on the more negative qualities of the characters, for example, how Jimmy treats Edgar. As a result, I wouldn’t say the show is stagnating by any stretch of the imagination, more so I want it to finally dive into what it’s set up and tackle some new ground before it gets too repetitive. Lindsay’s maternal instinct flaring up is one way of finding new ground, now lets deal with PTSD and the issues that Jimmy has.
Things I couldn’t work out how to fit into the main recap
- The lighting at the start was a nice touch by filling the room with a more neutral and dull blue, while Jimmy had the sun shining on him.
- There are some similarities to Gretchen’s arc from last season in here. The fact that Jimmy says he ‘feels nothing’, acting as if he’s okay, his robot analogy is very apt for someone like me – I’ve never grieved over the death of a family member in spite of knowing it’s what I should be doing.
- Jimmy’s trickery dickery at the start of the episode is a pretty good heckle.
- Can someone please send a copy of this season to streaming networks to show them how to do seasons of shows. It’s more serialised than the show has been in the past, that’s evident from the cliffhangers which are setting up for the following week, but each episode has it’s own purpose and theme. This isn’t a x hour movie, this is a 13 episode season, which thus far has flowed incredibly well.