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Casual episode 5 recap: Tommy Dewey talks Bicycle Thieves

And how our three characters are growing up and moving on

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Dale Robinette​

Every week the cast and crew of Hulu’s dark comedy Casual will be taking EW behind the scenes: For each episode, one member will be recapping and sharing their thoughts on what went down in addition to walking us through the ins-and-outs of the show. This week, the show’s creator, Zander Lehmann, takes us through episode 5, “Bicycle Thieves”…

Episode 5 is one of my favorites of the season. Our director Iain MacDonald was so in synch with director of photography John Guleserian and every shot feels intentional and purposeful. The episode has an almost ethereal quality to it. It’s impressionistic, from beautiful, tightly framed shots of Valerie in the OBGYN office, to the expansive darkness that surrounds Laura and Aubrey on the cliffside. When I watch this episode I can’t help but feel for the characters, working so hard to find their place in the world, and performed so beautifully by our cast…

What’s in a dream? For Alex, it’s a war, and step one is building an army. Strength in numbers. The assistants are all named Alexis, physical, female extensions of his self. Plus Valerie and Laura? He’s got backup. Next it’s validation. He must be so productive here. He isn’t, but it’s comforting to hear that from Valerie, the person he trusts the most. Protection. Validation. Armor against the intruder: Sarah Finn, sitting behind his desk, mortgaging his space, the space inside his brain. Alex won’t stand for it. He’s ready to fight. But before he can, a tooth falls from his mouth. His body is breaking, his armor cracking. He looks down and suddenly he’s naked, exposed, the office empty. His army has abandoned him. He must fight this fight alone.

What’s in a word? Three. It slipped out of Valerie’s ex husband’s mouth when he mentioned expanding his family. Now she can’t get it out of her head. Three. Her OBGYN assumes she’s done having children. Single and almost forty? There are surgeries one can have to make life easier. Three. Her in vitro fertilization consultant tells her to pick a sperm donor. There’s no time to find someone for herself. Three. The old Valerie might have done it. Nobody to talk to. Nobody to trust? There’s comfort in familiarity. But not this Valerie. This Valerie has Leia. And Jennifer. And Laura. She has friends and confidants to help her through. And now she knows, a word is just a word. Three.

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What’s in a kiss? For Laura, a kiss is an appetizer. A precursor. The thing before the sex. It’s expected, accepted, then tossed away with clothing. It doesn’t mean anything. But what happens when she’s upset? When she can’t hold her emotions inside and they leak from her eyes down her cheeks? Now all bets are off. Now she’s standing at the edge of a cliff, making a sacrifice to Cupid with a girl who’s been there for her when she needed it most. What’s in a kiss? She doesn’t know. But she’s curious to find out.