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This season of You’re the Worst has been a hot mess, and while I wish I could tell you the gang pulled it together this week, but I must do my sacred duty as a recapper and inform you that no such miracle occurred. I guess you could say Gretchen is making progress — though it’s questionable how well she’s doing and what she wants — but for the most part, we’ve been watching these guys spin their wheels, treat each other like trash, go on aimless misadventures that didn’t advance any larger arc, and, in the case of Edgar especially, behave in totally out-of-character ways with zero consistency.
Remember when Edgar was learning to be a smarmy pickup artist? Or how he was hooking up with Lindsay and they had real-enough feelings for each other for it maybe to have meant something more? He sure doesn’t anymore! Wasn’t Lindsay starting to really be good at her job? Didn’t Lindsay have a job? This season has introduced so many different threads and then discarded them for no apparent reason, with nothing substantial to take their place.
The “Dad-Not-Dad” of the episode’s title is the medium-serious fling, Lou, that Lindsay and Becca’s mom, Faye, had for three of their formative years. They insist on a group viewing of the home videos in which mom is too, uh, preoccupied to pay any attention to her children. But Faye is unimpressed. After reminiscing about the killer sexual chemistry she and Lou had — “he could make me come just by whispering in my ear” — she leaves the girls to deal with their problems on their own. Her advice: Split a Klonopin. Anyway, she’s a jerk, but what did Becca and Lindsay expect? These dumb-dumbs assume Lou left because of them — keep in mind we are dealing with two grown-ass women who should know, obviously, Lou and their mom broke up for adult reasons, like maybe because their mom was a nightmare — and decide to track him down to confirm or bust this crackpot theory.
The two sudden besties hightail it over to Lou’s. He has a lemon grove; that’s basically his entire personality. He loved them, loved their mom, but was forbidden from staying in touch with the girls once he and Faye broke up. After going to all this trouble to find Lou (though he was remarkably easy to find) and reconnect, and after seeing that he remembered all these touching details about their lives, Lindsay and Becca split real quick so they can … I don’t know, yell at their mom? It makes no sense. But they’re all, “See ya later, La Bamba dad.”
Later comes sooner than they expected: Lou, inspired by Lindsay and Becca’s visit, somehow beat them to Faye’s place. They really reconnected, if you know what I mean. (They had sex.) Lou inspires Becca to be a better mom and Lindsay to use her gifts, whatever they are, to help people, whoever they may be. Like the rest of this mini-arc, it all feels abrupt, false, and flimsy. Becca has already given up on her daughter’s future, so, there’s that.
Meanwhile, Katherine lingers at Jimmy’s house just long enough for Jimmy, spurned by Gretchen yet again, to invite himself to her brunch. (By the way, he doesn’t regret sleeping with her because “on principle, I don’t regret things,” which explains quite a bit.) What follows is essentially the exact same thing that happened to Jimmy last week, just with an audience: He assumed he was above Katherine, but naturally he is beneath her, and upon realizing this, he is desperate to be accepted by what he once thought he was too good to consider. This time, he finds out Katherine’s friends are all as brilliant as he thinks he is, with cool jobs, sophisticated interests, and plans he wants to crash. He behaves, as Katherine later tells him, like a “rube” among her friends and is officially uninvited forever.
The only redeeming quality of Jimmy’s misadventure, which is otherwise just an emotional rerun, is that he gets some of the best lines of the night. I particularly enjoyed how he resigned himself to small talk — “same question, politely directed back at you” — and his modest appraisal of his own schedule: “If I’m being honest, I basically do nothing most of the time.”
That’s going to be a problem because guess who isn’t really taking Jimmy’s calls anymore? Our girl Gretchen is getting serious with Boone. Never mind that he has an anger management problem that seems … troubling … or that he’s the kind of petty shithead who lies to score a seven dollar refund. Gretchen wants in, and in means lunch with Whitney. (I really liked, “Hi, you can’t be here!” “Gretchen can be ANYWHERE.”)
I also liked the research Whitney did on Gretchen, from “you post to Urban Dictionary a lot” to the revelation that Gretchen has a 14-year-old avatar she uses to catch pedophiles and cyberbully Elle Fanning. Lunch escalates, as meals with Gretchen are wont to do, into a sloshfest. At first I thought Whitney roofied her to get her into some compromising position, capture it on film, and use it to break up Boone and Gretchen. But it turns out Gretchen just blacked out in an effort to keep up with Whitney, a.k.a. Ms. “I used to be fun, I SWEAR, LOOK HOW FUN I AM.” When Gretchen finally comes to, she is, as she later puts it, knuckle-deep in Whitney (who, for what it’s worth, is having the time of her life). As they say: Boomtown.
At the end of the episode, Boone is basking on a pool float and Gretchen is still with him. She doesn’t “need to talk” to Jimmy anymore. Boone is psyched that Whitney has given Gretchen the green light. And Gretchen, of course, has given the real dirt on her friendly lunch to herself.
The worst: Yet another anti-climactic episode in a disappointing season.
Runners-up: Blacking out and having sex with your boyfriend’s ex-wife (a questionable consent scenario at best), Lindsay and Becca’s whole deal, Edgar’s “friend” Max, Jimmy’s inability to learn from anything he ever does, yelling “boomtown” when you climax, Faye’s parenting.
A few good things: Jimmy’s rule about people who say “we need to talk” instead of just talking, Lindsay’s pun about “depreciating” Edgar’s new car, Lou’s dreams for his lemons (just waiting for La Croix to call!).