Are we watching The Good Place? Because … [spoiler alert for The Good Place] … it feels like Jimmy and Gretchen keep having the same conversations over and over again, and some L.A. architect is rebooting them.
Did we not just do the thing wherein Jimmy thought Gretchen was totally cool and fine and not mad at him anymore until — TWIST! — she gave him a gorgeous look of murder and he realized he was doomed? Wasn’t that two episodes ago? Even though the circumstances are slightly altered here — Gretchen really does suggest a truce over their professional lives and Jimmy really does intend to keep it — we end up in the same exact place: Gretchen pretends to be all sweet and reconciled with her groom-to-be-slash-ex, only to turn on him as the episode concludes, vengeance gleaming in her eyes.
I am here for Gretchen’s wrath. It just feels like it’s taking an awfully long time for this season to gain momentum. Am I alone here?
Jimmy, having embraced his status as an author of erotica, is deigning to be interviewed by People magazine. Everyone has a job to do. For instance, Edgar is supposed to tell the reporter that Jimmy “selflessly saved [him] from a life living in a trash can, like that green fellow from the puppet slum.” Gretchen is supposed to stay downstairs, out of sight. But of course, Jimmy can’t tell Gretchen what to do as she will then do exactly the opposite thing.
Complicating matters is that the interview is not for print, but for some streaming thing that requires Jimmy to be interviewed at home. (He should know about this! It was in Candice’s email, but Jimmy never reads past the subject line.) It’s a big opportunity, as Candice reminds him. People won’t touch unknown authors “unless they just escaped from a kidnapper’s sex dungeon.” I am very impressed by the apparently enormous budget People has for this shoot: They can CGI Edgar into a floor lamp and create a sunset “in post,” even though, as Jimmy points out, the window faces east and it’s morning.
Speaking of a sex dungeon: Gretchen is locked in her room watching pornography fully clothed. She’s nailing blankets over the windows. Then she chucks the box spring through the window. Generally, she is being all kinds of unhinged and strange. What’s her play here? I mean, before she even knows there’s an interview to ruin, what exactly is she going for? Gretchen is aimless, and the entire episode feels aimless as a result.
Jimmy, through Edgar, learns he has an edge on Gretchen: He can expose her for being a fraud. Again, it is astonishing that Jimmy still doesn’t realize that anyone who finds out what he did to Gretchen will sympathize with her, excuse her post-breakup bat-shit behavior, and turn their hatred on him. Especially considering Sam and the guys are Gretchen’s friends — they barely know Jimmy at all.
So after calling Gretchen out on what was, in hindsight, her obvious lie — “There are no stray dogs in Berlin!” — the guys learn the truth, and what do you know? They’re Team Gretchen forever.
Gretchen then decides to burst in on Jimmy’s interview and cosplay as his fiancée, which People somehow falls for (SERIOUSLY, HOW), and just when Jimmy convinces Candice that she can market him as someone who deserves love and found it, Gretchen’s married fling from Ty’s party shows up, ready for round … two? I feel like they’ve hooked up again and we’re just supposed to assume it went down offscreen. Gretchen, for what feels like the umpteenth time, tells Jimmy she’s going to destroy him. “Mushroom cloud, bitch!”
Honestly, Gretchen may have wrecked Jimmy’s interview, but he was doing a pretty good job of being awful all by himself. “Armed with a notebook and a piece of lead, I would hide under the covers, using language to express my forbidden desires.” Shudder. And not in a sexy Width of a Peach way.
The worst: Still Jimmy.
Runners-up: Edgar describing women in a way that makes me want to vomit (“My Tinder date was a strawberry-blonde with respectable Cs”), that one time Edgar was in charge in Iraq (“It did NOT go well. That was the last time we did Secret Santa”), the way Jimmy says “mangoes and papayas,” how Gretchen now does this thing where she calls everyone “puppy” in a super-condescending tone of voice.
A few good things: “It turns out Zachary is 45 years old! The other day he was freestyling about how the Challenger explosion really messed him up and then the truth came out.”