There is a very big reason why we should have known this finale would not end well: Gretchen was way too happy from the get-go.
Yes, she is downright gleeful about being the muse for Jimmy’s book. It is Gretchen, and Gretchen alone, who sparked the creative genius within Jimmy that allowed him to pen such stunning lines as “Simon repeatedly plunged into Kitty” to the tune of “the cicadas desperate, deafening, doomed song.” She is too happy when Jimmy told her about a gruesome murder right near their house (Gretchen’s ecstatic response: “This could’ve been me!”) to even notice the signs that the whole thing was staged. And she is definitely too happy — God, it is crushing, how happy she looks — when it dawns on her that Jimmy brought her to that glittering lookout to propose, and that she wants to marry him, too.
Jimmy gives this warning, teasing out the themes of his book: “Family is portrayed as a safe harbor, but nay, it is often the very Charybdis that yanks us to the fathoms … But not me! I am post-family. You are looking, finally, at a truly free man.” A guy who defines “truly free” as an utterly family-less existence is probably not the marrying type. But we’ll save that devastation for the end.
All is not well with any of our couples in this season finale. Edgar takes relationship advice from Lindsay, of all people, who tells him to be a martyr; it is immediately clear that Lindsay doesn’t know what a martyr is, but this does not stop Edgar from listening to her. After a brief stop at Doug’s office, where he hedges on the job front because he’s afraid it will wreck things with Dorothy (… red flag) — and incidentally encourages a sexually curious assistant to quit his job — Edgar goes to Dorothy’s astonishingly depressing apartment. He decides to word-vomit all this information about his life really fast. It’s not his finest moment.
Man, do I feel for Dorothy here. This has been a long time coming. (I wonder: Were we ever supposed to think she was talented or funny? Or was her lousy improv class supposed to tip us off from the start that she would never make it in Hollywood?) She says Edgar pities her. Does he? I’m not sure, but she’s going back to Jacksonville, which Edgar thinks is in Texas. Welp, it’s in Florida. “Oh, God,” he says. “That’s way worse.”
“Not everybody gets their dream,” Dorothy explains, which is like a wrecking ball to the gut, but wow do I appreciate her self-awareness and maturity. “Thank you for being a wonderful boyfriend. I’m sorry. I failed.”
In other failure news, Lindsay and Paul’s divorce proceedings are under way. Why doesn’t Lindsay have a lawyer? She’s seen enough movies to know about sliding pieces of paper across the table, but not enough to know you need legal representation in this situation? Again, I know she’s stupid, but seriously? She is so financially illiterate it aches. “How much are apartments? Like, two hundo?” Oh, Lindsay. Paul offers $2,000 a month in spousal support, cheering that this amount — which Lindsay accepts without negotiation — is “really, really bad. I’m cucking you now!” Like that villain Michael Caine told us about in the Batman movies, Paul just wants to watch the world burn. Like an actual infant, Lindsay doesn’t understand how to deposit checks into a bank. Paul trashes her for being an idiot, and she wisely counters that she was smart enough to convince him to watch her screw other men.
When Becca and Vernon show up, baby in tow, Paul tells Vernon he’s ready to run to Mexico. Not so fast, buddy! First of all, there’s going to be a wall there real soon. But more important, Vernon loves his baby too much to bail. “Plus, I can’t leave her with Bec! She will JonBenét her for sure.” In a rare moment of sisterly solidarity, Becca is a jerk to Paul for Lindsay’s sake. Or maybe just because she’s an asshole who never liked Paul? You decide!
Sidebar: Is Killian still orphaned? Homeless? He just looks like a sad little railroad scamp. His clothes have holes in them. He is so hungry. I would watch a web series about his misadventures.
Anyway, Becca tells Lindsay to enjoy her precious freedom, and Lindsay looks pretty amped to be her own woman. At the end of the episode, when she moves into Dorothy’s empty, cockroach-infested studio, she’s got an “I’m living the dream” glow twinkling in her eyes.
But Gretchen and Jimmy. Oh, Gretchen and Jimmy. Everything is going so well! Jimmy has this duffel in his car for their disguises — the return of the mustache! — and they bond over a totally gross conversation about which children on a playground are hot. “Check out that midriff! That ass, like it was carved out of marble.” (I’ll admit I did love Gretchen’s heckles when a teacher came to shoo them away: “Who becomes a third-grade teacher, anyway?”) Also, it’s pretty disconcerting that she thinks you can tell whether a kid has good or bad parents by looking at his clothes.
Anyway, Gretchen chases down Justina, who it turns out to be diabetic and also let Gretchen find her on purpose! I love this twist. Gretchen probably thinks she is the protagonist in every story; it’s never occurred to her that Justina would tell her friends about Gretchen, the psycho-stalker patient. Justina is moving to Iowa with her shitty boyfriend. Don’t forget to Skype, Justina! She is proud of Gretchen for doing the work and growing, they hug, and Gretchen calls Justina a bitch in the nicest way. See what I mean about the happiness? THIS IS A TRAP.
And with that, Gretchen and Jimmy arrive at the murder site, where he has painted a bunch of frowny faces with Xs for eyes in what is supposed to be blood. “The world is absolutely lousy with people,” Jimmy says. “And I hate them all. I hate everyone but you.”
(This is when I started breathing into a paper bag because REMEMBER THE LAST TIME JIMMY PROPOSED. It did not go well. Becca turned him down after he quoted As You Like It, Charlotte Brontë, and The Notebook.)
Jimmy reveals that he planned this fake murder for Gretchen (sweet, I guess!) and thanks her for going to therapy for him (not really what happened!) and brags about how he does not need therapy of any kind (totally inaccurate!). “Gretchen, extraordinary, confounding Gretchen … together, we transcend the mundanity down there.” She starts to say yes before he even gets to ask the question, and then he really asks, and she really says yes. My notes are just “holyshitholyshitohnoholyshit.”
“You made a murder for me!” Gretchen is overjoyed, and this is where things really start to fall apart. She repeats the line that Lindsay has been forcing all season: “We’re a family.”
Jimmy looks horrified. He said he was going to grab a sweatshirt to use as a blanket for we-just-got-engaged sex, but my stomach sank to my toes as soon as he turned to walk away because … yup, he just got behind the wheel and drove off. He left Grethen up there alone. Like 30 seconds after asking her to marry him. He’s just gone. Split screen. End of season.
What now?! Leave your predictions, hopes, and fears in the comments.
The worst: Driving away from someone immediately after proposing to them.
Runners-up: Having to level with yourself re: the probability that you cannot make it as an actress, moving to Jacksonville, not bringing a lawyer to your divorce settlement, ugly babies, sexually objectifying children, breakups.
A few good things: Breakfast sushi, that one cute picture of Becca and Vernon’s kid, having your own apartment even if it’s a shitty one, hearing your therapist say, “I’m proud of you.”