Is Jimmy going to try to fix Gretchen? Gretchen, who quite clearly expressed that not only could she not be fixed but that it was not Jimmy’s job to attempt said fixing, that clinical depression doesn’t work that way?
He shouldn’t. So of course he does.
Even though what Jimmy is going for here is in direct opposition to what Gretchen told him to do, and even though it demonstrates an almost impressive lack of understanding about the nature of mental illness — you’d think he would’ve gotten his Google on since last we saw him, but maybe he was too busy with NCIS and internet porn — I still found his efforts endearing. His plan: to trick Gretchen into participating in a Halloween-themed Sunday Funday entirely of Jimmy’s own devising by pretending the whole thing is Edgar’s idea. By the end of the day (Jimmy assumes), Gretchen will be all better!
Look, this is woefully misinformed. Jimmy literally says, “No way can she be sad after a day like this.” As a wise woman once said, Jimmy, Band-Aids don’t fix bullet holes. But I still am charmed by Jimmy’s thoughtfulness. (“I’ve tailored the activities to Gretchen’s perverted and morbid taste.”) I mean, there’s so much elaborate subterfuge here! Elaborate subterfuge, in addition to being the name of my band, is my favorite kind of subterfuge!
It starts out innocently enough: Everyone sings their “Sunday Funday” song in spooky voices, and even Gretchen gets into it, and it is very cute. Next stop: costume shop.
Jimmy dresses as Heathstead, this character from a (fictional, unless I’m way off-base here) British TV show, Buckle Your Shoes. No one knows who he is. He plunks down $1,400 for a Daenerys Targaryen getup for Gretchen. Lindsay goes full sexy sailor. Edgar is the Situation from the Jersey Shore. (Out of respect for my homeland, I feel obligated to remind you all that the real Situation is from Staten Island and only visited New Jersey. He’s not one of ours.)
Lindsay runs into Paul, who is — my God, Paul is Stephen Hawking. Paul is pretending to have cerebral palsy. For Halloween. PAUL. Paul. Paul! I don’t even know what else to say, and I’ve run out of variations on ways to type his name. Just before wheeling away from Lindsay down the sidewalk, he gets it into Lindsay’s head that she’s a quitter. And maybe she is a quitter, but you know what, Paul? It is really tough to get through the second season of House of Cards. And I would know; I’m a professional.
Lindsay’s not the only one with personal troubles; Edgar, we discover, has not had sex in three years. How close has he gotten with Dorothy? “Over the bra!” He’s scared to tell Dorothy because it would also mean opening up about his PTSD. “It’s about the jizz in my brain and the jizz in my heart.” (It is honestly very sweet when he says this. Only Edgar.)
Gretchen starts to sense something’s off about the day’s plans when the next stop is a Hollywood Murder Tour, but Edgar comes up with a decent cover story: “I love murder! I love it so much, I became a soldier. You can murder anyone you want.”
The gang meets up with Dorothy — dressed as Steven Spielberg, speaking only in annoying puns on the titles of his movies — to go to this extreme horror haunted-house thing. And I know it might be the obvious choice. but I have to go with it: The Grand Finale is the worst.
For us watching the show, it’s the best. And Lindsay meets a really nice guy who helps her learn how to turn the power back on in her house! But can you imagine being inside that labyrinthine hellscape? It is completely bonkers, batshit, gory, gruesome, off-the-walls, and it never seems to end. Jimmy’s head gets locked in a cage, and then someone shoves a mouse in there with him, and Lindsay is screaming, and she’s in her underwear and she’s covered in blood (fake, I think! I hope!) like some kind of nightmare Final Girl, and just as I am thinking, This place must be a land mine of PTSD triggers for Edgar, Edgar loses his cool with one of the horror actors and beats him to a pulp.
This brutality, however, leads him to come clean to Dorothy, about the PTSD and the three-year dry spell. And she is really great about it, which almost makes me forget about how she was definitely taking notes during last week’s episode and is going to reveal all of these kids’ most intimate issues in a series of mortifying, avocado-filled Vines.
At the end, Jimmy can’t not take credit for what he thinks is a brilliant idea. Gretchen, as you all surely anticipated, is furious. “I’m mad at you because you think you can fix me. You can’t fix me, Jimmy. I don’t need to be fixed.”
She later recants because she has an idea that is even worse than Jimmy’s idea of trying to cure her lifelong chemical imbalance with one day of nifty, holiday-appropriate activities: She’s going to pretend that Jimmy’s Spooky Sunday Funday worked its magic, and that she’s all better now. She says, in what I think we can agree is a not particularly convincing tone of voice, “I guess all I needed was a fun day doing things I liked!” and joins Jimmy for a drink. Do we think Jimmy and hot-hippie-Nina who owns the bar are going to get together once Jimmy snaps over his inability to cope with the unfixable Gretchen? I hope not.
But, hey, at least Edgar and Dorothy had sex, and Lindsay got her power turned back on. Two triumphs at a time.
The worst: Extreme Horror. There is no exiting. There is no safe word. There are no rules. ACKNOWLEDGE.
Runners-up: A doctor costume for ladies (“psh, fake”), being the saddest girl at the rave, TUPAL, Baby Spice’s emergency surgery, those hipsters in the haunted house who are like, “This whole thing is derivative, it’s homage,” the fact that Jimmy was definitely meeting Nina for a drink right after his fight with Gretchen, also the fact that Jimmy is for sure going to lose his $1,000 security deposit on Gretchen’s costume because it got destroyed in the Grand Finale.
A few good things: Siri actually giving Lindsay the number she needed to turn her power back on; chunking (there’s a really great TED Talk about it).