Pamela, the heartbreaker who left Louie to make a go of it with her son’s deadbeat dad in the season-two finale, is back to kick Louie in the ass — literally.
There have been quite a few “ones that got away” for Louie, but Pamela has loomed the largest. She’s the most powerful, the most abrasive, and the most unsure she even likes him, let alone loves him (which he seems to simultaneously relate to and rally against). He’s silent from the moment he locks eyes with her, but they end up going out for coffee, and even then she only halfway concedes that she’d “pursue something, a girl/guy kissing thing,” said through crinkled-up facial expressions, like she’s trying to convince herself of the idea even as she says it. She admits that she’s been thinking about him, but then a minute later she’s laughing at how dumbstruck he is, taking a picture to commemorate the occasion of his speechlessness. The first thing he says is “I’m with someone now,” which is laughable to Pamela, who says, “No, you’re not! No one wants to be with you, Louie!” He’s trying to set a boundary as proof that he’s moved on, but isn’t he just constantly negotiating that line, with Pamela and every woman? They ended the meeting with no firm plans to even be in contact, but maybe she’ll come back when Amia goes back to Hungary.
And she is going back to Hungary; she’s only in New York to help Ivanka move back. At first, Louie thinks she’s going back because of her son, because he assumes he knows what she’s saying and doesn’t let Ivanka finish translating. In a rare moment of rage, he goes to his apartment and smashes his piano with a baseball bat, only to have both women show up and explain the real deal — that Amia still has a month in New York and she’d love to spend it with him. He softens after that, but he’s so impatient, so eager about his relationships, so willing to get down on one knee for a stranger. I can’t tell if we’re supposed to find him charming or desperate, or if we even have to choose.
A pretty amazing thing happens in this episode. When Jane comes home with Louie after a tense meeting with the principal about the skirt-pulling incident, they run into Amia in the hallway. When Jane says hello to Amia in Hungarian and Amia sees Jane’s violin case, she runs in to get her own, and they end up playing a song together, right there in the hallway. They don’t just play a song; they harmonize, and play off of each other beautifully. Jane and Amia are perfectly in sync, and Louie is left standing there, dumbfounded, on the outside looking in with every woman in his life. When they are done spinning circles around him, he reacts with an open-handed clap and a loud “Yay!” that emphasizes his awkwardness.
When he sees Dr. Bigelow in the building later, he starts talking to him about Amia because the doc “gave him good philosophical advice” the last time they were together. It wasn’t so much philosophical advice as it was a misanthropic shove-off, but Louie is conflicted and grasping at straws here. Bigelow’s big philosophical advice is “no one cares!” because the world is full of enough misery, and there are people born without bones that are basically “sacks of organs.” Shit is tough everywhere, basically, and Louie’s inability to reconcile this relationship seems to be a problem he’s manifesting. Bigelow is like a more skeptical Pamela, if that’s possible, trying to get Louie to a place where he doesn’t need anyone by reminding him of how utterly unimportant he is in the grand scheme of things. The elevator arc ended on a weirdly optimistic note, using a three-legged dog as a metaphor for hope, a way for Louie to stop living in his head so much, but I doubt it will stick.
Moments of Brilliance
- “What, are you trying to spell, July?” Robbie and Louie’s brief scene was pretty funny and brotherly, starting with a fight and ending with a fart app.
- “I get it — everybody’s got a kid. Stay.” He was so desperate in this moment.
- When the principal asked Louie and Janet to come up with a constructive plan for Jane, they both just hopped on their phones and ignored each other.
- This exchange:
“Look at this dog.”
“What’s its name?”
“Doesn’t have a name. How many legs does it have?”
“The answer is it has plenty of legs.”
Doctor Bigelow comes through with some philosophical advice after all.