You all know that I have been waiting, yearning, BEGGING for this show to be as completely insane as I trust, in its deranged heart of hearts, it is destined to be. And you also know that I’ve been hoping all season that maybe Love did a homicide of her own to make her more of a soul mate than Joe even realizes. Well, as far as we know, she did not off her husband — though it’s quite the red herring for him to be dead of natural causes! — but she DOES end this episode by taking a busted bottle and slashing Candace’s jugular. Which, not for nothing, is the same cause of death for our dearly departed Delilah. Dun dun dunnnn! Everyone on this show is either a psycho killer, a victim/victim-in-waiting, or a minor who the series cannot bear to see killed but whose life will definitely be fucked up forever due to their proximity to assorted creeps, liars, and manslaughterers. And I am here for it.
That said, still not on board with these gratuitous sepia-toned flashbacks to Joe’s childhood (which would’ve taken place in … what, the late 1990s? Why is everything in the color palette of the Oregon Trail?). We get it: His dad was abusive. His mom was a victim of said abuse, who put her son in an impossible situation. Aside from the predictable conclusion to that sad family drama — Joe shot and killed his father to save his mother, the first in a pattern of “theoretically justified killings in the name of protecting a woman he loves” — we learn exactly no new information from this episode’s trip down haunted memory lane, so it’s not clear why we have to, like, loiter there while all the action is building in the present.
But let’s back up to the beginning of the episode: Joe can’t believe Delilah is dead. Yes, he’s done a bunch of murders before. Sure, he imprisoned her in the human aquarium for 16 hours with these time-release handcuffs, and also he has no memory of what he got into last night while he was tripping on an especially high dose of LSD. But there’s got to be an explanation for this, one that exonerates Joe and makes him worthy of Love. He decides he must figure out who Delilah’s killer is, even if the killer is Joe.
I have to admit that, at the top of this episode, I was annoyed with what felt like dawdling: Why are we going to waste all this time in the penultimate episode of the season waiting for Joe to uncover the inevitable? Who ELSE knows about the storage unit and could have accessed it and upon doing so, would’ve wanted Delilah dead? A shortlist, based on what we know now: the real Will (who we are to believe is in Manila), maybe Candace? Given our intel, the shortlist is … short. And Joe quickly rules out Will. I find all the Will stuff to be sort of ridiculous, even for You. I’m really supposed to believe he’d want to give Joe his actual contact information and stay in touch in this manner? But I guess the key takeaway there is: It wasn’t Will, and sometimes when you think you’re being catfished, there really is a beautiful woman on the other end of the line who is going to marry you once you wire her a bunch of money. Romance!
It takes a while, but Joe pieces together his night. During that while, Ellie starts to suss out that something is up. Delilah is MIA and not returning her texts. Joe alerts Officer Fincher that Delilah was getting death threats from crazy Hendy fans who didn’t take her #MeToo essay in the spirit in which it was intended and then he heads out to play detective. Love babysits Ellie, teaching her how to chop vegetables carefully — ahhh her hand on the giant knife! Look how comfortable Love is with sharp objects! TOO comfortable if you ask me — and letting Ellie vent about how her dad, the parent who really understood her, died, leaving her and Delilah functionally alone. Just to really hammer home that Ellie is alone in this world, and stumbling into the path of not one but two narcissistic murderers was a bad break on top of a lifetime of bad breaks for this balcony sprite.
Joe hits up Forty’s place and Dottie answers the door. She knows he knows the family secret and claims that, in turn, Joe’s secrets are safe with her. Does she know any of his secrets, though? I doubt it. Forty pops in to rhapsodize about the effects of mind-altering drugs — “We touched God. Like, tickled his balls touched” — and snuggle a little too close with his mom. I am just DYING for the real story of the Quinn family to be some incest nightmare. Is that why Dottie is so hard on Love, because she’s bitter that the siblings are closer than mother and son? Did MOM kill the au pair because she was jealous of the bond she was building with her son?! Is that why she floats through her life now in a haze of pharmaceuticals and Moon Juice? A recapper can hope!
Forty tells Joe that it was Joe’s idea to see Delilah, and it was that quest that inspired Forty to booty call Candace, with whom he’s still in touch. Igor the driver took them to that “random corner downtown” where the storage unit is. Joe would love to pursue this further, but he gets a 911 call from Love. (Not a real 911 call, which I wish at least three people in this episode would make at the obvious critical junctures.) Ellie is “convinced” something happened to Delilah, because Ellie’s no dummy. Joe returns to the apartment to hug the panic out of Ellie’s body. Joe confirms, yet again, his status as a sociopath, and Love watches this touching scene from across the room and, I assume, gets pregnant just from seeing Joe tend to this heartsick child.
Left alone, Candace comes by to call Forty a “genius” for his new and improved Beck script. It turns out Candace told Forty the truth about Joe, but he still doesn’t believe her. She spells it out for him: “Hector” from Beck’s book is Joe, and Dr. Nicky is innocent. “Don’t come crying to me when he kills your sister,” she says, which is a strong mic drop. Still not convinced our girl survives the season, but, as one of my favorite professors used to say about writing that didn’t quite land, I like the try.
Joe muses over what’s best for Ellie, short of having never gotten involved in her precious life in the first place. He thinks using Delilah’s phone to trick her into thinking her sister is still alive is the compassionate thing to do (see above re: sociopath) and then he and Love will run away and raise Ellie as their own. But when he goes to unlock Delilah’s phone with her face, he drops it and the screen shatters, making it unusable. So he’s just sitting in there, murmuring sweet nothings to her corpse, when … Candace shows up.
Candace spotted the storage unit in a video Forty sent her the night before. I wrote in my notes, “I swear to God, if she goes there alone, I will crawl through the screen and murder her myself.” So she shows up with nothing on her but pepper spray, because everybody in this show has a death wish. She successfully maces Joe temporarily blind, snags his phone, and locks him in with Delilah’s body. “CALL THE POLICE. CANDACE,” I wail helplessly at my television, as she texts Love to come meet her here and see Joe for herself. Given Love’s allegiances here, what are the odds she would believe Candace’s story versus think Candace killed Delilah and framed Joe? That she built this prison with the hush money the Quinns gave her? I know law enforcement failed Candace before, but is now really the time for grudge-holding?
Joe sits back and visualizes a super-cut of all his past homicides. Love arrives and demands Candace set Joe free. A lot of the rest of my notes are just, “This girl is a MORON just CALL the POLICE or DROP A PIN or LIVESTREAM THIS to your fuckin’ TIKTOK even Hansel and Gretel knew to leave bread crumbs and all they were doing was going on a LEISURELY STROLL THROUGH THEIR NEIGHBORHOOD WOODS how is it that this bitch got BURIED ALIVE and doesn’t think to take more precautions on this SUICIDE MISSION,” etc.
So Joe confesses and explains that he was only doing these murders “to be good enough for you, Love.” He says that he must have killed Delilah because Delilah figured out that he killed Henderson. Love storms out crying. Joe wonders: “If I’d walked into a different bookstore, one not run by a Soviet prison guard,” would he be a better man? Also, Joe has stashed a spare key inside the prison, because of course he did. Why he didn’t use it before is … unclear. But he decides it’s time to take responsibility for himself, so he tosses the key outside. Lots of really interesting choices being made here by people who are trying to give me an aneurysm.
Candace follows Love out. Love returns this act of concern by STABBING Candace in the throat so she can die as the Lord intended: in a pool of her own blood in the saddest storage facility in Los Angeles. Then Love comes back to Joe, who is feeling even more insane than usual. “Where’s Candace?” he asks. Love, in the very chill lexicon of a mob boss, assures him: “I took care of it.”