Spoilers. Like, clearly spoilers.
Dude, Stephen Falk knows his way around a break up. Last night’s two-episode premiere caught us up on what Jimmy and Gretchen have been doing in the three months since Jimmy abandoned Gretchen on a hillside after his proposal (hiding out in a seniors trailer park community and living in Lindsay’s studio apartment occasionally doing crack respectively). And given the bias I’ve already shown regarding who is to blame for this break up, it should surprise no one that I am firmly on Team Gretchen, crack and all.
Her episode is by far the more enjoyable one to watch. It’s got Lindsay! And Edgar! And both of them behaving like grown-ups! Lindsay even got a job! Even if she’s not completely clear on the concept of “communal fridge”! Oh, and also, as a minor development: Lindsay and Edgar finally boned down. Which I am minimizing not because I believe it’s unimportant, but because the show itself seems to be taking this in another direction. They aren’t in love, and this doesn’t appear to be anything more than a solid physical connection yet. Maybe that’s misdirection on the show’s part, maybe not. Honestly, if we can convince them to continue their impressions of Jimmy and Gretchen, I don’t care.
Most importantly, Gretchen’s episode also has Gretchen. Gretchen in full borderline breakdown magnificence. Gretchen. Crushes. It. Quick aside, I had a boyfriend in college who ghosted me over the summer. When I got back to school, I found out that not only had he ghosted me, but also another woman, with whom we both worked, for a third non-work related lady. And the three of us (me, girlfriend #2 and our ex-boyfriend) all had to continue working together. This happened because I used to date very stupid men. But there was a brief window between learning that I/we had been cheated on and before the working with the ex actually started. Gretchen sobbing “But if I go outside, I might see him and then I’ll die” is the epitome of those four days.
God bless her, it’s all just right there at the surface. Too stiff of a breeze will rip open whatever little stability she has on her situation. And I’m genuinely concerned about where she got all that crack from. What kind of a drug dealer actually window delivers? I’m sure I should be a little angry with her for nearly sabotaging Lindsay’s career and neglecting her own, but I can’t. Girl, Jack FM doesn’t care, and neither do I. It has been one week.
I say all of this about my love for Gretchen and her episode knowing full well an unfortunate truth: it wasn’t the better episode. Fucking Jimmy’s was. That prick. His plot and emotional response to everything are significantly smaller than Gretchen’s, but somehow contain a novella’s worth of story. The basic plot is “young guy running from his past meets old guy who’s successfully run from his past.” But it’s not just that.
Jimmy’s problem always has been, and always will be, that’s he’s a Writer. Not a writer as in one who makes their living through the printed word (most of whom are lovely people except for Seth), but a capital “W” Writer. When his father mistreated him, it was because Jimmy was too smart for his plebeian family. When Becca refused his proposal, it was because she couldn’t see how special and talented he was. And, I’m suspecting, when Gretchen did accept his proposal, he had to run away because she just didn’t understand how tortured and different he is. Because he’s a Writer. Or it’s because he’s a fucking asshole.
That second point was made by Jimmy’s neighbor and only friend (sort of) Burt. For all of his blustering about freedom and privacy and independence, it turned out Burt was alone not because that’s how he believes people should live nor because he was too good for the people around him. He was alone because he’s a dick who’s only had one (boy?)friend his entire life, and that guy died. So before Jimmy can go full-on Burt, he heads back to L.A., and tries to reconnect with Gretchen. The literal minute she finally decides to get over him.
Because always remember, beautiful episode or not, Jimmy is the fucking worst.