I want to start with what I liked about this finale: In a season that has been totally all over the place, dropping threads and ignoring massive character developments for reasons unclear, this brought our crew back to a place that I recognized. We got some of the best of You’re the Worst: poignant but believable moments with our deeply damaged on-again-off-again lovers, some gorgeous visuals, a great and weird fight scene. Plus, we finally get a payoff for some long-simmering issues, like Vernon’s dangerous exhaustion. Does it redeem the season? Alas, I don’t think so — and some of what this finale does so well highlights what’s been lacking in the episodes that came before it.
Vernon has this waking fantasy-turned-nightmare while he’s operating on someone, so when he comes to, he’s basically cutting into this poor patient like their abs are a well-done steak and he flees the hospital covered in blood. It’s like a very sad outtake from American Psycho, and it’s more than a little alarming that no one in our pack of narcissists ever wonders about the well-being of the patient left in a pool of their own blood on the operating table and only expresses concern for Vernon’s inevitable legal costs, but oh well!
Jimmy pulls up in front of Boone’s place in his charred car. “Whoa, who burned your hot rod?” Gretchen asks before jumping in alongside him. I really enjoyed their bittersweet joyride, and it made me sad that the episode and the season ended up with them back where they ended last season — engaged and doomed — because it seemed like they’d really earned whatever they were going to do next without each other. Gretchen tells Jimmy all these true things he never wanted to face. They get to be romantic in a refreshing, no-stakes way because everything is going to end anyway. Except that it doesn’t.
Seeing the whole gang together in Jimmy’s car made me realize how rare these scenes were this season — all this chemistry we never got to see in action. (I loved watching Lindsay yell into Becca’s voicemail as if it were an answering machine while Gretchen shouted at her, “NOT HOW VOICEMAIL WORKS.”) Lindsay takes credit for Jimmy and Gretchen’s reunion, which at this juncture isn’t even a thing, and proudly tells Gretchen that she “grouched” Boone. Gretchen says this is the worst thing Lindsay has ever done to her, although she doesn’t really seem all that pissed about it later when she uses this intel as ammunition against Boone.
A little side plot for Edgar, who gets confirmation that his awful friend Max is awful and ditched him because his war stories were too sad. “I have PTSD from your war stories,” he explains. “I have PTSD from war,” Edgar points out, but Max admits he just can’t handle anything that difficult. I am … not convinced that any of this had a point. What was Edgar’s life about all season? I mean, I’m glad Edgar has decided “it’s time to be my own main dude,” but it feels like it would have been more interesting for Max to actually be a decent friend to Edgar in a way Jimmy and the rest of the gang never are. At least we got that dog in the drone?
As long as we’re talking about the supporting cast, Becca’s idea of being a “helper” is convincing Paul, who desperately wants a child and I guess wasn’t really a psychotic men’s rights activist this whole time, to use her as a surrogate, since Becca hasn’t been happy since she was pregnant and she and Vernon are going to need the money since Vernon has been practicing medicine without insurance. Sure, let’s keep all these toxic people tied to each other through the bond of co-parenting for the rest of their lives! What could go wrong?
Gretchen isn’t ready to go back to Boone’s yet. There’s this quiet reversal of how Jimmy abandoned Gretchen last time around: She goes to the car to get a flannel so he can’t split again, but in doing so, she sees all his stuff packed up in the trunk and finds out that he’s planning to leave. So she tells him she’s moving in with Boone, and he tells her good-bye. My favorite exchange of the episode: “If it’s possible one day, I’d still like to know you, Gretchen,” he says. And she just gives him this look and goes, “You know that’s never gonna happen.”
IT IS PERFECT. So I’m kind of annoyed that they go full backsies on this farewell by the end of the episode. What can I say? I’m Boone agnostic, but solidly Team Olivia.
At Boone’s, Gretchen walks into one of those cozy couple scenes that you know makes her want to spontaneously combust. Everyone is drinking wine around the kitchen. She and Whitney hilariously pretend to not quite remember each other; no one actually remembers Neil, Whitney’s husband. Just as Gretchen starts to look like maybe she doesn’t feel trapped, maybe she could make this work, Jimmy bursts in.
He punches Neil in the face, mistaking him for Boone. (Upon realizing his mistake: “What, is this the single mom that you finger-bombed?”) Then he makes his heartfelt plea to Gretchen: “I know this man represents acceptance and security and nights binging prestige drama, but I couldn’t live one more day” if he didn’t fight for her. For Gretchen, who has been waiting to be fought for this whole time.
Gretchen shouts at these men, who are all but engaged in mortal combat over her, that she is unlovable. “And you fell for me? Joke’s on you!” Which leads Jimmy to finally scream the thing that we have known this whole time but Gretchen did not: His decision to leave “has literally nothing to do with you.” She also tells off Boone for only asking her to move in with him because Lindsay told him not to. She says she chooses herself.
Which would be an ending I could live with — it’s all very Buffy series finale — but instead, she runs out into the street and jumps in Jimmy’s car. That’s it?! “You fought for me,” she says. “And besides, you looked so sad when I left that now I realize I have the power to destroy you, and why would I give that up?” Oof. Poor Olivia. Who’s going to help her with that poster now?
Wait, did Gretchen have the engagement ring in her pocket this whole time? She pulls it out and slides it on her finger. Jimmy looks at her in abject horror. But when she suggests October for a wedding date, he agrees.
The worst: It’s a tough one, but I’m still going to go with Lindsay. This is her idea of helping people? All of her efforts are very, very bad! She should stay out of all these decisions and work on herself. Remember when she was starting to get good at her job?
Runners up: Edgar’s experience on set (“Some crew guy kept telling me rape jokes!”), Max the douche bro, getting closure only to tear it all up for someone who probably doesn’t deserve it, Boone’s anger issues, all the abbreviations Becca and Vernon use, PTSD (the real kind, not the fake kind Max has), falling asleep while performing surgery, not seeing more of Sam and the guys.
A few good things: Gretchen’s face when Lindsay says, “I help people now,” Olivia, the way Whitney looks at Gretchen when she’s walking out the door.