'Intimacy sans intercourse is not in her wheelhouse'

By Tara Lynne Barr
Updated June 30, 2016 at 12:00 PM EDT
Credit: Greg Lewis/Hulu
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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, actress Tara Lynne Barr, who plays Laura, takes us through episode 6, “100 Cows”…

Here we are, folks, the sortakinda halfway point of season 2: episode 206. Please excuse me while I weep tears of wine and waffle batter. By now, Alex, Valerie and Laura have, largely, confronted the blows dealt toward the end of last season. They’ve licked their wounds and each others’ (super gross visual, I apologize) and have ventured out into the big bad world in search of friends and fulfillment outside the comfy dysfunction of their home. They know what they want. But getting it is not so simple. I’ll admit it’s painful watching our little codependent, neurotic, emotionally stunted trio flail, but writer Molly Smith Metzler, director Iain MacDonald and the rest of our crazy-talented team manage to find beauty and hilarity in the struggle.

After killing it at game night, Valerie discovers she’s attracted a few admirers. My guess is it was her flawless rendition of NWA’s “Straight Outta Compton” that sealed the deal (props to the brilliant Michaela Watkins). There’s the sweet, earnest, easy-going Harry (Ben Bass) with whom Valerie meets for dinner/damn good sex. And then there’s Jack (Kyle Bornheimer) who, in a move that takes tremendous balls, shows up at Valerie’s office for an impromptu therapy session, recounting the colorful story of his near-death experience that led to his current state of ‘you-only-live-once’ enlightenment. He’s brash, impulsive, sexy as hell — Harry’s literal opposite. And, in true Casual form, Valerie is feelin’ the vapors for the free-wheeling, emotionally unavailable one. What could possibly go wrong? (Spoiler: lots.)

Alex is still reeling from the return of his estranged ex, Sarah Finn (Britt Lower), and has learned that the circumstances surrounding her manic exit from his life were not as one-sided as he thought. It went a little something like this: Alex cheated, Sarah found out (thanks to Charles, Alex’s dad). Happy normal family stuff! Instead of moving on, Alex attempts to reconcile with the lovely and engaged-to-his-new-business-partner, Sarah, by buying 100 guilt-cows off their wedding registry. He even goes so far as to purchase $10,000 worth of hideous (and sincerely uncomfortable) chairs from Sarah’s mid-mod home store—Alex is nothing if not thorough. But these are just things. And things won’t buy Sarah Finn’s forgiveness, let alone her love. It isn’t until Alex starts seeing (er, humping) Jordan’s assistant, Fallon (Britt Robertson), that Sarah’s jealousy rears its head. I could watch the moment we finally see Sarah start to crack on a loop forever. Britt Lower sells it like a champ and Tommy Dewey clocks her weakness with a devilish “IT WORKED.”

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Meanwhile, Laura has found a friend and intellectual equal in Aubrey (Dylan Gelula) who, all at once, fascinates her, intimidates her and turns her on. Together, they get high, throw bikes off a cliff and make out… you know, bonding. But of course, Laura is her uncle’s niece and intimacy sans intercourse is not exactly in her wheelhouse. So she chooses to avoid the “boundaries” conversation altogether and tags along with Aubrey to a USC party. The beer is crappy, the house smells like stale weed, the people aren’t quite Laura’s crowd, but she’s there with her new friend and there’s something exhilarating about it. Buzzing on cheap beer, the girls wind up having sex, neither considering the consequences it will have on the budding friendship.

Alex, Laura and Valerie’s relationships with one another seem to have reached a (dare I say it?) healthy place. But this ain’t no disco. It’s Casual. And the speed bumps they’ll face on the metaphorical road to happiness have more to do with each other than any of them are yet aware.


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