In “100 Cows,” Alex, Laura, and Valerie learn to be generous, but for all the wrong reasons. The episode begins with Alex trying to choose the perfect wedding gift for his ex-girlfriend, Sarah. While poking around her registry site, he calls Leon to ask how many cows he should buy to make a big statement, but Leon is sick and, for once, wants to be left alone. Alex instead asks a customer-service representative for help, but even the professionals cannot handle his latest obsession. He’s soon stuck alone, left to his own devices.
On the way to work, Jennifer encourages Valerie to go out with Harry from game night. Jack also asked for her number, but he apparently isn’t “housebroken.” Valerie isn’t sure what this really means, but catches on when she finds Jack waiting in her office. The appointment ends up being part-therapy-session, part-date, but Valerie still doesn’t hold back. She informs Jack that he has a fear of intimacy and abandonment, so naturally, he offers to buy her dinner. Leia witnesses this all go down, and despite her new juice cleanse, she’s thrilled.
At school, Laura is worried that her relationship with Aubrey has changed. Aubrey brings her coffee at school and insists that she and Laura will put together a care package for Spencer, as if they’re already a couple. Laura tries to set boundaries by criticizing the care-package idea, only to find out Spencer isn’t in rehab — he has cancer. “Did you not pick up on that?” Aubrey asks, forcing Laura to confront her newfound self-involvement.
Back at home, Valerie tells Alex that she has a date “one night this week,” but Alex warns her that without an actual day picked out, it isn’t for real. Valerie is instantly deflated by Alex’s dating rules, but by now, she knows that they hold some truth. This hard advice is cut short by a mysterious phone call from Drew, who insists on stopping by the next day to talk.
At work, Jordan thanks Alex for the cow. This is the moment Alex has been waiting for: He reminds Jordan that it was actually 100 cows, but Jordan walks away unfazed. This only makes Alex want to go even bigger, so he calls Leon to brainstorm, but Leon is still sick and therefore useless to him. Alex quickly moves on to Falen (he finally remembered her name!) and she suggests that he buy furniture from Sarah’s store. He proceeds to buy eight chairs, hoping this will make a difference, but only receives a form letter. Falen attempts to comfort him, and for the first time in history, “I like chairs,” works as a successful pickup line.
Laura and Aubrey also have trouble deciding on a gift, but there’s a bigger issue between them: Laura feels uncomfortable spending too much time with Aubrey. She calms down when Aubrey invites her to a USC party hosted by a guy who studies poli sci, even though it “might as well be ceramics.” Laura is relieved and agrees to go to the party, but of course only because it’s what Spencer would want. When Drew comes over the next day and suggests that Laura stole his bikes, Laura deploys Spencer’s cancer once again, this time to avoid any responsibility.
Over dinner, Laura and Alex convince Valerie to make other plans while waiting for her date, and she reluctantly texts Harry. They go out for dinner, but she is bored from the beginning. In an attempt to make things interesting, they begin to share small truths: Harry parked two blocks away so the valet wouldn’t scratch his car, and Valerie hates the wine. This works well enough to get through dinner, and they end up sleeping together. But while in bed, Valerie receives a text from Jack asking her to get food, and she quickly responds before Harry returns. She cuddles with him while thinking about her upcoming date with Jack, and finally understands the power of double booking. This may work for now, but Valerie isn’t Alex. She won’t know what to do when it all goes wrong.
Alex discovers a relationship-disclosure form at his desk, and immediately calls Leon for help, assuring him he wouldn’t be calling if it “weren’t a matter of life and death.” Meanwhile, Leon is still on his deathbed. He nevertheless goes to Alex’s house to look over the contract, but reminds him that he isn’t a lawyer. Of course, this still hasn’t even registered with Alex, and he asks, “What do you do again?” The scene is reminiscent of how Laura didn’t even realize her classmate had cancer, but it also makes you wonder how Leon and Alex’s relationship has lasted this long. Leon already mentioned that he has other friends, so why does he keep coming back when Alex only uses him for selfish intentions?
At the USC party, the group plays a drinking game when Max wants to get Laura and Aubrey to kiss. Aubrey creates a diversion by questioning society’s “cultural fetish with lesbianism.” Unsurprisingly, no one wants to unpack this idea. They just continue the game, which leads to Max and Daveed kissing. Aubrey and Laura sneak off into a separate room, where Aubrey reveals that their gift for Spencer includes some skimpy photos. (Aubrey: “He can see porn anywhere. I encourage imagination.”) They snap more photos together, and when Aubrey eventually kisses Laura, she doesn’t stop her.
The episode closes out as Sarah shows up at Alex’s house in a fury. “First you give me cows, then you buy $10,000 worth of chairs from my store,” she yells, as if recounting some kind of modern, expensive plague. When she adds that he slept with Jordan’s assistant, however, her anger fades to reveal lingering pain and jealousy. That moment is all Alex needs to realize that his plan has worked. And it’s a safe bet that livestock and furniture are just the beginning.