I know You isn’t exactly trying to medal in the Plausibility Olympics. That said, I find it extremely unlikely that Joe ever deigned to watch When Harry Met Sally …, let alone that he would admit to having committed one of its iconic lines to memory. Still, here he is quoting the Nora Ephron maxim on why men and women can’t be friends: The sex gets in the way. In Joe’s case I would say the reason men and women can’t be friends is because Joe is a serial killer who fixates on the opposite sex with a sort of Ahab-and-the-whale intensity, but that’s just one woman’s take!
Obviously Joe and Love’s whole deal is very flirtatious and not at all platonic — she bakes him sexually suggestive pastries; he devours them with orgasmic glee — but Joe thinks he’s “protecting” Love by making us all endure this absurd charade that we know will end with them having sex. It takes the entire episode to get to this inevitable outcome and I’m sorry to report that much of the ensuing hour involves a plot I’m having a very hard time getting excited about: Henderson’s alleged predation of underage girls and Joe’s status as Ellie’s savior from said scumbag. I’m just not really into Me Too stories as the plot device of the minute, as if this actually seismic and deeply meaningful and still-unfurling social movement is just a trend whose 15 minutes will be up any minute now. Is You, an intentionally over-the-top show, really the best vehicle for a plot about something this fraught and nuanced? Hit me with your thoughts in the comments.
Joe decides that he needs to win over Forty as a means of getting closer to Love, even though he is ostensibly trying not to get closer to Love. I sometimes wonder if people who write shows like this have siblings of their own or have ever met any adult siblings. Grown-up siblings don’t say shit like, “What are your intentions with my sister?” Adults don’t need permission from other adults to do whatever they want to do with other consenting adults! Siblings who are that involved in each other’s romantic and sexual lives are super-weird. (That said, I like that Love and Forty refer to being honest with each other as “twinsparency.”)
The deal with Forty is: He made a Sundance smash seven years (read: an eternity) ago called The Third Twin (Did the third twin die??? PLEASE tell me there’s more going on here to justify the time we’re spending with this person!), and then started abusing substances, and now he is supposed to be sober but he is struggling with that effort. Formerly a friend of Henderson’s, Forty has found himself on the outs, reportedly due to some humiliating behavior that he doesn’t remember — and I am wondering, was Forty at the Delilah party? Or some similar event? In an attempt to get back in, he’s going to “scout talent” at an improv show, and Joe is along for the ride. To bond with Forty, Joe is white lying that he, too, is “in recovery” from an addiction he has chosen not to name.
The improv show (by a group called “Trigger Warning,” ooof) ends with a surprise set from, you guessed it: Henderson. Joe asks Forty if Hendy is a “good guy.” Christ, a guy like Forty is never going to know that someone like Hendy is a scumbag, and even if he had his suspicions, he’d never say so! It is the total inaction of scumbag-adjacent guys like Forty that enables sex creeps the world over.
Forty is denied entry to the afterparty but, what do you know, Ellie the balcony sprite gets in. She is worried that Joe is following her and I do not blame her; soon we will learn that Joe put spyware on the new phone he bought her. He insists he was just at the show. “Why?” she asks. “You’re not funny.” I love her.
Ellie is ignoring Delilah’s warnings about Hendy because Delilah says everyone is a perv. She and Delilah wind up in a screaming match, and Delilah later swings by Joe’s place to yell at him, too. I think it’s important to note here that Delilah’s hair looks fantastic, even under duress. Her plan is “to do the same thing Ronan Farrow does, except faster and with a personal agenda.” Wait, what? Does this girl know literally anything about Ronan Farrow? Because he’s talked about how his investigations aren’t not inspired by what his sister went through. And can someone please send her a copy of Catch and Kill so she can understand why exactly these investigations don’t just happen speedy-quick?
Because Joe and Love had a tiff at work — her friends told her to stop being so desperate, and Joe had grown entitled to his little locker treats — Joe decides to make it up to her with a grand romantic gesture, which of course Love interprets as exactly what it is (a grand romantic gesture), so she goes to kiss him again. And then he’s all, “I did not mean for this grand romantic gesture to be romantic! Where did you ever get THAT idea?” Love, correctly, asks if Joe is a sociopath and storms out.
In the alley we hear the sweet sounds of a balcony sprite vomiting, like someone who was drugged at a party with Hendy earlier that night. How is she already coherent enough to have this conversation? No matter: Joe, the white knight, is also convinced that he can do what investigative reporters train their entire careers to do. I love all these amateurs who think these Me Too stories just up and break themselves. Will, who I must say is really making the best of a bad situation — he and Joe play hangman with ketchup on the plexiglass prison walls — says he’d need a laptop with Wi-Fi to “hack a celebrity,” as Joe requests. This does not go over well.
Joe finds Henderson’s place and realizes, duh, the walls are high. He needs to get in with an invitation, so it’s time to befriend someone on the outer edges of Hendy’s inner circle. Joe braves the improv scene yet again, probably just because the writers had so many perfect names for these teams (Wolf Jizz! I am dead.). Joe scores the door code to Hendy’s place, which is DICKS, because of course it is. Instead of slipping into this house party unnoticed, Joe bumps into Forty, who mooches off his new best bud to get inside so he can pitch some non-idea.
Forty runs into Tina (Lindsay from You’re the Worst, hi!!) who rejects his request for a meeting to his face by telling him that he is talentless and has no work ethic. “I love you,” she adds. She is perfect. Forty gets smashed and Henderson helps his old friend save face by pretending to be tired and shutting the party down early. Joe is amazed that Hendy, who he thought was a Bad Guy, would help his friend in this way, thus making him, perhaps … a Good Guy?!? It’s almost like men who abuse women are sometimes nice to other men? And this is part of why they get away with abusing women??? Such information will break fragile Joe’s brain.
Joe brings Forty home and Love comes over. Forty, hilariously, wails, “Do I have to live in a shit-box like this to be a real artist? Where even are we?” Love has to make nice to Joe because Forty is crashing at the apartment. Love continues to ignore the five alarm fire that is every single thing Joe has said to her about himself and his past, and they have sex while her twin brother sleeps it off on the couch in the next room. Like, very quiet sex. As in she literally gags him with a tie so he won’t make noise and also she chokes him without talking to him about it first which is … not ideal! Joe is blown away; I am concerned that no one in this entire show has a grasp on the basics of consent.
Based on the data Joe swiped off Hendy’s computer at the party, Will reports that Hendy is clean. Because all men who assault women have a folder on their desktop called “rape diaries” where they track exactly what they did and when they did it and to whom. Joe shrugs it off. “Well, I did my job!” Yes, just like Ronan Farrow would do.
Ellie apologizes to Joe for “puking in such close proximity to you” before giving him a copy of The Big Sleep. L.A. teens, man. Joe promises a hardcover book in exchange. “I’m already bored,” is her reply.
Joe learns from Forty that Henderson has a “secret toy room” in his place behind hidden speakeasy doors. This EXTREMELY on-the-nose nook is “a whimsical little creepy dungeon,” Forty says. Just in case you didn’t get it, he adds: “Imagine if you collected kids’ stuff, yet also were low-key a bit of a fucking sadist in the sack.” Gee, whatever could be going on in there?