‘Tell Me You Love Me’: I’ll Have What She’s Not Having

And without even an old copy of Time to read.Photo: Courtesy of HBO

Strap yourselves in, kids! It’s an extra-specially scary episode of Tell Me You Love Me, just in time for Halloween (sort of)! Dave and Katie face their worst fear: a night alone together! Palek faces down a frightening demon: Carolyn with PMS! And Jamie is spooked by the Return of the Bearded Dead — in this case, the vampiric-looking Hugo, who lurches out from the dark to claim he wants to be her boyfriend once again.

Naturally, because Jamie has a rare skin condition that forces her to shed her clothes at least once every eight hours, she and Hugo engage in tearful, mopey sex — and then she runs off to her current sort-of boyfriend, Creepy LongLocks to tell him all about it. Rather than finally, mercifully, appropriately kicking her to the curb, Dr. Ollie Agenous inexplicably decides that Jamie deserves yet another chance. She is, after all, in her own words — and as she tells us repeatedly — “fucked up.”

Meanwhile, Dave and Katie are experiencing a thaw. By swearing off having sex (or, more specifically, swearing off trying unsuccessfully to have sex), they actually start opening up. Katie admits to Dave that she used to occasionally fake her orgasms. Dave is flabbergasted. Given how open they are with each other, and how awesome their sex life so obviously is, why wouldn’t he assume each scream and yelp was genuine? (Too bad they didn’t have this conversation in a diner, When Harry Met Sally style, so an elderly woman could say to the waitress, “I’ll have what she’s not having.”)

But this tentative move toward intimacy makes May Foster look like a genius — which is ironic, given that this is the first episode in which she starts to get kind of annoying. To wit: While “helping” Jamie and Hugo, she chimes in with such fortune-cookie-ready koans as “We ask a lot of love” and “It’s hard when someone you love that much walks out the door.” Recently, she’s seemed less like a therapist than Yoda with a coin slot. “Hard love is. Hurt pain does. Insert another three hundred dollars you will.”

And Carolyn proves to be even more unpleasant than usual while she’s suffering from PMS. She snipes at Palek, “I think I hate what you do for a living.” Then he slinks back to the suit store to flirt with that perky sales clerk. Oh, and by the way: Carolyn’s pregnant. Finally. Which would have been a lot more joyous if it had happened before her husband told her he never wants to have kids.

Also, we finally learn Palek’s last name: Stenton. Palek Stenton. Is this a clue? An anagram, perhaps? Pant Skeleton? Ankle Pet Snot? Or how about “Latent Spoken”? Maybe there’s hope for some communication between them after all. —Adam Sternbergh

‘Tell Me You Love Me’: I’ll Have What She’s Not Having