Joe is so proud of his wife for managing to hear upsetting information from a near stranger and respond with blunt-force trauma that only renders this man temporarily unconscious and not 100 percent dead. Progress, baby! Of course, there is no way Gil will make it out of this situation alive because once you’ve entered the plexiglass prison, there’s only one exit (death). The question is, How will this Padre Linda meet his maker? (Also, I know the original Will Bettelheim lived to keep his mouth shut, but he was already basically living on the lam and had no legitimacy with which to report to the police that Joe was dangerous.)
But Joe and Love twist themselves into knots about the right thing to do, now that they’ve already done about 10 million wrong things. They kill people, but they don’t want to be “the kind of people who kill people.”
Joe attempts to negotiate with Gil — Hey, let’s keep this assault-and-kidnapping situation between us friends, you know? Gil responds by launching into his anti-vaxxer rant and how Henry’s immunity is really “beneficial,” so didn’t he do the kid a favor? Gil has failed to grasp the danger he is in. Joe can tell Gil won’t let bygones be bygones, so he and Love must go out into the world and find some damning secret they can hold against fair Gil to keep him quiet. Unfortunately for Joe and Love, Gil is a saint. The one “bad” thing he has done (more on that in a minute) is something he didn’t even do and wasn’t aware of until Love and Joe revealed it to him. Boring! Sorry, but that’s boring. It would be way more interesting if they found credible dirt on Gil and released him, only to have to constantly worry if not-so-saintly Gil could turn on them at any moment. (At least that’s this recapper’s opinion! Please share your takes in the comments; I am v curious to hear your thoughts.)
But I’m getting ahead of myself. Concerned citizen Sherry is hosting a community search for Natalie — the Search Party alum is throwing a search party! — which means all the neighbors will be prowling through the woods where Natalie was buried and exhumed. Love overhears Theo shouting at his stepdad that he doesn’t want to go because everything and everyone is FAKE, and Sherry thinks Matthew is the killer anyway. But Love convinces Theo that the optics-wise thing to do is go and promises to go with him. Do you think that little hole in the fence is going to be a problem for Joe and Love moving forward? It seems like they wouldn’t linger on it so much if it weren’t going to pay off later.
In other burgeoning-relationship news, Marienne caught Joe stealing a $2,500 book, and for some reason she has concluded that he must have grown up in a mansion where he used rare books as coasters. Again, WE know Joe is a scumbag, but Marienne has no reason to believe Joe grew up wealthy or any better off than she did; she knows nothing about him except that he has a baby and likes books! So this enemies-to-lovers thing isn’t working for me. Ground their dislike in something real! I mean, there’s plenty not to like about the guy. Anyway, Joe has to return the books, so Ellie will rely on her own resources this month. I wonder if the long game is for Ellie to come back and kill Joe? This would naturally present the “she has become the thing she hated” problem, but her life is already pretty fucked.
It dawns on Gil that he is dealing with real-deal sociopaths, but even then, he cannot offer up anything to save himself. Personally, it would make sense if Gil figured out that Joe and Love must have killed Natalie. I mean, what are the odds that the Quinn-Goldbergs just got to town and all of a sudden Natalie is dead and the bakery is the last place she was seen alive? Plus Gil experiences their violence and human aquarium firsthand?! And upon that realization, Joe and Love decide they have no recourse but to off this guy. Instead, we get some convoluted non-plot laced with red herrings as Gil fails to understand the severity of his situation. (He declines a croissant because he can’t exercise it off?? GIL.) There is also a lot of Gil saying that all you can do as a parent is keep your kids healthy and safe, and I write in all caps in my notes, “GIL, YOU DID NOT VACCINATE YOUR FUCKING KIDS.”
Love tells Joe that, well, they gave it a LOT of thought (24 hours) and have no choice but to do a homicide: “We didn’t want to do this. We did this to protect our family.” Ooookay, buddy. I do find it hilarious how quickly Love “I’m NOT impulsive?!” Quinn fast-tracks to, “Welp, guess we better murder this schmuck.” Joe snarls at Love that she will NOT make him kill ANYONE. Oh, Joe. The season is still so young.
Love announces that her mom is taking Henry tomorrow, and I write in my notes, “Did she not JUST scream at her mom to get the hell out of her life forever??” But I guess we’re just letting that go! Glamma gives Love the number for their family PI, whom Love will deploy to look into Gil, much to Joe’s frustration. (Also, it’s weird that the police haven’t gotten a search warrant for the bakery, right?) Later, Love tells Joe she is scared he’ll hate her forever “if we don’t deal with it [the man we are holding hostage] the right way [without murdering him],” and I’m like, Well, yeah, if you keep committing homicides probably that will affect how your husband sees you!! Just briefly setting aside the part in which Joe has also done his share of homicides. It’s a real pots-and-kettles situation over there, where all the pots are corpses.
Love taunts Gil with the intel from the PI, which is sort of an Operation Varsity Blues thing that also involves Gil’s son assaulting multiple women. (It’s all very You to have sexual violence against women we never meet be used as a plot device for male characters we spend a lot of time with … not a fan!) Gil doesn’t even know the extent of the scamming and cover-up, and this revelation about his son devastates him. Before Joe and Love can tell Gil to leave town, they return to the box to find Gil hanged himself. Love assures Joe, “Hey, this is not our fault. HE did this.” Oh, man. Is Love even more batshit than Joe? And was she always this crazy, or did Joe bring out the crazy in her?
Love realizes she needs to go to the search party while Joe takes care of Gil. Then she has a PLAN, which Joe executes while she and Theo traipse through the woods, and she sneakily plants the murder weapon — which now has Gil’s fingerprints on it — in the dirt. Her idea: Frame Gil for Natalie’s murder by making it seem like they had an affair, Gil killed Natalie, and then committed suicide at home because he couldn’t take the guilt (and explain it all in a comically overwritten suicide note typed up by Joe). Two bodies, one story. It’s a perfect closed loop. TOO perfect, you might say. But at least for as long as this episode lasts, it gets the job done.
At the search party, Theo explodes on Sherry after he overhears her describing Matthew as “an unfeeling robot.” Love intervenes to stay on Sherry’s good side, pretending to make sure she’s okay. She briefly loses Theo’s friendship but, of course, wins it back because she is the only person in this godforsaken town who gets him. What’s weird is that Theo asks if “terrible family tragedy makes people more fuckable,” and Love says, “In my experience, yes.” But she was already with Joe and pregnant when Forty was killed — and Forty’s death is the “terrible family tragedy” she has been through that Theo knows about. So how would she know that she was “more fuckable”? More fuckable to WHOM? Her husband, who, as she has complained, barely even looks at her since their son was born?
It wouldn’t matter, except a show like You needs stuff like this to make sense so it can get away with all the delicious, bonkers, off-the-rails plot twists. If these fundamental interactions make someone really paying attention go, Wait … what?, then none of the crazier parts of the show will fly.
Theo kisses Love. She smacks his hand away and tells him not to do that. So we know he’s going to do that again. I wonder when!
The detectives put together all the pieces Joe and Love left for them. Theo packs his car up to head back to school. Joe takes over Gil’s reading spot at the library. Marienne toys with her necklace while she talks to Joe and recommends the extremely on the nose David Copperfield as his next read. Joe knows he canNOT let himself think about how she is flirting with him. And we all know how good Joe is at stopping himself from thinking about a woman.