You’re The Worst: “You Knew it Was a Snake” / “No Longer Just Us” Season 3 Finale Review

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You’re the Worst‘s third season culminates in a satisfying, yet completely heartbreaking two-part finale.

The third season of You’re the Worst took a while to get off the ground, but looking back at is as a whole, I see that it was making an important point about people’s ability to grow and change. I still maintain that the series could’ve found better uses for Paul, Lindsay, and Edgar during some of the earlier episodes, but, their repetitive behavior further reinforces the idea that change doesn’t happen overnight, even if you’re fully aware that a change needs to be made. Real growth takes a lot of work, and can sometimes be a constant uphill battle.

For this reason, the two-parter of “You Knew it Was a Snake” and “No Longer Just Us” serves as a perfect ending. After weeks of watching these characters try and fail to win said uphill battle, most of them finally get to the top. The first half functions as another excellent bottle episode, with each of the series main couples spending the half-hour having arguments that have been bubbling to the surface all season. The second part is more action-based, with everyone trying to regroup and move forward.

Lindsay and Paul have, in my humble opinion, the most satisfying end to their narrative arc. Neither of these people have been good to each other, and what’s so great about their ending is that no one ends up looking like an outright villain. Things start out with Paul tearing into Lindsay for getting an abortion without tell him, which was, admittedly, a really shitty thing for her to do. When the discussion opens up to their marriage in general, though, Lindsay gets a chance to confront Paul as well, telling him he used his niceness as a guise to try to change her into someone she’s not. The title of the first episode comes from Lindsay telling Paul that he knew what she was when he met her, and it certainly wasn’t a perky housewife who likes bird-watching and cooking pre-portioned meals.

Things get even more heated in “No Longer Just Us” when the two start to go through their divorce proceedings. Though there are some truly funny moments—Lindsay trying to show Paul how negotiations work by drawing a cat on a scrap of paper and sliding it across the table made me laugh out loud—the majority of the meeting sees Paul becoming vindictive as he’s finally in a place of power. Though I’ll admit that his anger at Lindsay is more than deserved, some of his berating was downright cruel.

Still, what’s so gratifying about this plotline is the inherent theme that neither one of them is truly bad; they just weren’t meant to be together. To that end, Lindsay does end up broke and moving into Dorothy’s crappy apartment (more on that in a little), but she’s finally free and so she’s happy. Paul gets to walk away with his money and finally be in control of his life, but he still doesn’t get the family he so desperately wants. Divorces are never a clean-cut affair, and I loved the way this episode highlighted how bittersweet the whole thing was. Cheers to you, Lindsay and Paul. You were a hot mess from the beginning and now you’re on to bigger and better things.

Though Edgar got his due in the truly stellar “Twenty-Two,” his strained relationship with Dorothy—due to his sudden comedy success—has felt a little tacked on. That being said, their narrative in both “You Knew it Was a Snake” and “No Longer Just Us” is incredibly poignant and a highly realistic depiction of what it’s like to see your dream die.

The argument the two have in “Snake” starts out over Dorothy’s casual comment about Edgar getting his comedy writing gig because he’s an underrepresented minority. It’s a terrible thing to say, but it’s clear that Dorothy was lashing out because of her own jealousy and insecurity about the future of her career. Soon enough, Edgar is shouting back about how she only likes him when he’s unsuccessful, to which she tearfully admits that it has more to do with the fact that she herself is unsuccessful, and she doesn’t ever think she’s going to make it.

There are so many depictions of struggling artists on TV who, after toiling away for a long time and working odd, thankless jobs, finally make it big. You’re The Worst has presented a rarer-seen and ultimately harder-to-swallow reality. “Not everybody gets their dream” Dorothy says as she eventually packs her bags to move back home. It’s gut-wrenching, partly because of Collette Wolfe’s outstanding performance in these two episode, and partly because you know this is something that happens in New York and LA every day.

I’ve saved the best for last because, boy, is it a doozy. Jimmy and Gretchen spend “Snake” picking up where they left off after Shitstain’s wedding, with Gretchen taking back what she said and Jimmy unable to. What’s interesting here is that their argument initially seems superficial compared to the other couples’ spats that are happening around them. The two imagine what their lives would be like if they were with other people, and then shout about the illogicality of their respective fantasies. At one point, they even realize how ridiculous they’re being and stop their fighting to listen in the other couples’ arguments.

But, of course, their fight isn’t really about that, it’s about the fact that there isn’t enough room in their relationship for both of them to be going through some serious emotional baggage. Gretchen can’t deal with her depression if she also has to help Jimmy cope with his dead father, and vise versa. The fact that they both agree on this, however, is a positive sign. They don’t function well as a couple when they’re experiencing their own trauma’s simultaneously, but that’s because they both need the other person for help. It’s this fact that makes Jimmy realize that Gretchen has been the inspiration for his erotic novel this whole time, and he’s promptly able to finish it by the beginning of “No Longer Just Us”

This is, unfortunately, where things take a dark turn. The final half hour proves that, although true growth can be achieved through perseverance and dedication, it isn’t so easy for everyone. Jimmy and Gretchen head to go on a murder tour—something which, obviously, deeply excites Gretchen—and along the way they run into Justina, who has purposefully checked in on Foursquare in the hopes that Gretchen would stalk her. Justina tells Gretchen she’s moving with her boyfriend to Iowa, but wants to congratulate her for all the hard work she’s done in overcoming her demons. It’s a nice moment, especially since Gretchen was initially so averse to therapy.

Then comes the kicker. The murder tour ends up being a ruse that Jimmy set up so he could propose to Gretchen. He gives an epic, overly verbose speech and she tearfully accepts. Then she makes a comment about how they’re no longer just themselves anymore, they’re a family. Seeing has how Jimmy had finally moved past his father and declared himself “post-family,” this strikes a nerve. As he goes back to the car to get a blanket for him and Gretchen to lie on, he thinks for a moment and then hops in and drives off.

It’s a shocking moment, and one that I’m sure will be divisive amongst fans of the show. It certainly makes Jimmy out to be a real asshole, especially with the final shot of Gretchen’s heartbroken face seeing his car drive away. Yes, it’s painful, but I think it works. Gretchen’s arc this season has been one of change. It took a while, but she’s finally growing up and she’s more than ready to take the next step forward. Jimmy, meanwhile, seemed to opt for a much speedier process when getting over his father’s death. He’s said he’s over it several times, but each one has really just been him burying his feelings down deeper and deeper. All it took was Gretchen uttering the word “family” for him to snap.

You’re the Worst has ended each of its seasons on a note of uncertainty, with this being the starkest so far. I’m not sure what’s going to happen next year, but I am more than along for the ride. Stephen Falk and Co. have once again proven just how powerful this show can be in its aching authenticity. In short, You’re the Worst is still the very best.

Grades:

“You Knew it Was a Snake”: A-
“No Longer Just Us”: A

You’re the Worst Season 3 Grade: A-

Some Other Notes:

  • That’s all for now, folks! A round of applause to You’re the Worst on another fantastic season. Yes, the show got off to a bumpy start, preferring to forgo plot and character development for one-liners, but it more than made up for it with its later episodes. Beginning with “Twenty-Two” and heading into this week’s finale, the series was on a hot streak and proved once again why it’s several steps above the competition. I have absolute faith that next season will be just as incredible.
  • A second round of applause for all of the amazing performances this season. Aya Cash and Chris Geere are still wholly engrossing leads. Kether Donohue is a terrific scene-stealer, and Desmin Borges and the aforementioned Collette Wolfe have been truly exceptional this season. Also Todd Robert Anderson as Vernon will never not be funny.
  • Shout out to the hilarious sight gag in “No Longer Just Us” in which Jimmy and Gretchen go through an elaborate routine to avoid a DUI check point. It involves changing outfits, fake mustaches, and setting their booze on fire in a trashcan. It’s done wordlessly and is executed flawlessly and it’s amazing.
  • “Name one family that’s just a bunch of cells!” “Osmosis Jones!”

 

By Mike Papirmeister

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