Fire Jerk With Them.
I didn’t really make that many notes from this episode, so maybe this will finally be the week where I write a short recap (on the one week where I’ve got time to do a longer one).
So Paul and Vernon. Road trip. To pick up a crib for Vernon’s baby. And the car breaks down, so they’re stuck in the woods. Normally the episodes which take the spotlight off the core four characters collectively are more experimental (I’m thinking LCD Soundsystem and Twenty-Two which feature the core four, but put the focus on Gretchen and Edgar respectively), but this feels more so like a standard sitcom dynamic.
And that’s partly down to how Paul and Vernon are polar opposites personality wise making them an effective Odd Couple. Of course they do have some similarities – both are dealing with their families getting bigger (or so they think, Paul doesn’t know that Lindsay told Gretch she’s getting an abortion) and both are unhappy to some degree with the circumstances they’re in. But while Paul is doing everything he can to keep his family together (like trying to rush home to be there when Raul arrives), Vernon is looking for an out.
The duo have normally had a hilarious dynamic when used in small doses, but this extended period of time allows them to connect on a more emotional level and get to the heart of their problems as they bond over the course of the episode. While Vernon’s vision of them living together is a little strange, and maybe a little full-on, you can tell there’s a kindred spirit connection between the two. Which makes Vernon’s consideration of leaving for San Diego near the end of the episode a little tough to watch.
This could have very easily been an episode that wore out it’s welcome very early on. Especially if it turned out that Vernon and Paul couldn’t sustain an episode by themselves, but luckily Stephen Falk layers it with theme (family appears to be the season’s overarching one) and gives it that traditional You’re the Worst dark spin. As a result, this episode avoids feeling out of place within the grander structure of the season and sets the stage for the final third.