Ugh, so many feelings
Best Supporting Actress: Amanda Peet, Togetherness
Credit: John P. Johnson

This was quite an episode, was it not? Man. Written and directed by Jay and Mark Duplass, it sure packed an awful lot in.

Let’s begin with the news that, I’m sorry to say, the Dune puppet show is still happening. Actually, I’m not sorry because every time these guys talk about Dune, I get the sense that someone — maybe even someone whose last name rhymes with Puplass — must be a real Dunehead. I’m sure there’s an actual name for a Dune devotee but I refuse to do that Google search. I won’t do it, I say! Dune dudes are a real specific flavor of man-of-a-certain-age, right? I dig it.

Anyway, how can you not be into the Dune puppet show when it involves Brett wearing a full body Spanx suit and playing a didgeridoo while Alex crawls around with a giant alien papier-mache mask. The landlord comes in to be like, Uh, this is not okay and then gets further incensed when he sees that Brett is using the building’s electricity to charge his car. If I had to choose just one leitmotif for Togetherness, btw, it would have to be Brett’s electric car. As the landlord leaves, he says, “This is why pretty girl left.” And the guys are like, Hey wait….where is Christy?! Turns out she up and moved out. When? Who can say — certainly not Alex who has to open drawers to figure this fact out. She left a note that guesses at this truth, and yet I’m sure even Christy would be appalled to know how close she came to nailing it exactly. Christy, I’ll miss you more than I can say.

Tina is in a fancy store, buying pretty lingerie and reveling in having a cute baby on her hip. She beams at the other women in line who smile at her. But then there’s a telltale sound that means something is rotten in Denmark. And by Denmark I mean Frankie’s diaper. Tina panics and these ladies are all, changing room upstairs, honey. This poop situation is real bad. Like rethink your child-rearing plans bad. It’s all up on Tina’s arm as she squishes Frank into his car carrier, and her solution is to go to Larry’s, put the whole kid and carrier in the shower, and hose them down. She then tosses the carrier (which, I must admit, stressed me out more than it should have as I wondered who was going to pay for a new one. Maybe Larry?).

Michelle thanks Brett for watching the kids and starts nervously over-explaining her plans. He’s says it’s cool. But she’s like, Listen, I feel like I should let you know that David is not a part of the charter school thing anymore. He shuts this down real quick. And hard. Michelle — in a move I totally understand — keeps explaining she thought it’d be better if that every time she said she was going to work, he didn’t have to wonder if she’s really with David. And then we get another peek into the very real and rather scary rage in Brett that is apparently bubbling close to the surface. He even tells Michelle to, “shut the f— up,” and this is not how we’re used to him talking to her. He goes pretty graphic, too, telling her how it just makes him think about some other man giving her pleasure in a hotel room, and all of this is awful because I actually feel equally bad for them both here.

Michelle leaves and cries in her car and — rather awesomely — talks aloud to an imaginary Brett. Yes, Michelle. I get it. I get it all! But perfect-seeming Anna shows up, and Michelle tries to cover but can’t. “I’m having a meltdown,” she tells her new friend. Anna is essentially says, “Hell no, you’re kicking ass!” And Michelle tells her how her husband hates her; her kids are mad she’s gone all the time; there’s a contractor who has been pushing her around and totally taking advantage of her. Anna hands her a lipstick to put on and pot lollipops and is all, Let’s do this. Can’t put my finger on why this Anna chick gives me anxiety, but she does.

We see them next trailing the aforementioned contractor, sucking on their pot pops like a couple of slightly scary mean girls as the contractor yammers on and on about how much more awful and expensive and elaborate this job is going to be. Anna is like, listeeeeeen. And then she gives him the what for and pushes Michelle to fire him. The guy is like, Peace out, crazies, and stomps off.

Michelle quickly starts to freak out, but Anna says she knows someone who owes her. Of course. I sort of get the feeling that Anna is the type of woman who’s never had to go up to the bar to get their own drink in her entire life. (What is that like, I wonder?)

Next: A familiar face from season 1 reappears…

Alex is at work wearing a totally bananas bondage suit. There’s an odd hush on set and he wonders why. Even Big C, Broducer, is power whispering (though he hilarious tells Alex the reason is because everyone is really excited to work with Alex). But no, it’s clearly getting weird because of the guest director, who Alex immediately recognizes as Dudley, the guy who fired Brett last season. And I recognize the actor as Joshua Leonard, whom I have had a crush on for nearly two decades, but that is neither here nor there. Dudley is crying. And then he disappears in the middle of one of Alex’s takes (which has him saying amazing lines such as, “I’m not a monster; I simply have a sleep disorder.”) Alex finds Dudley in Alex’s trailer, manic, looking for drugs. They call each other bro and homeboy a million times, and then Dudley crumples, admitting he knows he’s a jerk and how he’s alienated everybody. He starts to cry big gulping sobs, the kind where the sound is delayed. (God I love Josh Leonard. Time to watch Humpday again, everyone!)

He asks Alex if he’ll help him back on set, and Alex, an essentially generous person at his core, agrees. Dudley gets into Alex’s car and see his copy of Dune on the front seat. He reaches into his bag and pulls out the exact same copy. Oh god, they’re multiplying!!!! This means they go out on a dude date which involves a food truck. (What will Brett say!)

Brett, meanwhile, is Uber driving some insane women around who get in a straight-up fist fight. He has to pull the car over to pull them off each other (thank you, Togetherness, for this not being a slappy “girl” fight, but instead a real bruiser of a brawl). Brett ends up getting hit in the face, though. Great day he’s having. Brett has what looks like a giant scratch/bruise on his forehead.

Tina is home with baby Frankie who is now fecal free and sleeping sweetly. She hears Larry come home and, hilariously in a panic, considers hiding the baby with her handbag. There’s no hiding the kid, though, especially cause he wakes up and starts to cry. Tina starts nervously chattering about how she just stopped in for a second, but Larry just leaves. But wait! He returns with Cheerios and charms Frankie. They sit on the couch together and you can just see Tina’s ovaries start to explode into Fourth of July fireworks.

Brett’s next customer is a very cute girl, and they start to banter (from which this episode gets its title). His electric car (see?) dies in her driveway. Here comes what might be the funniest thing this show has ever done, which is having Brett turn around and go, “This is the part where I murder you.” Hahahah. Oh man, this bit killed over on the Vilkomerson sofa, let me tell you. Anyway, she laughs and admits she laughed a little too hard because she’d had some wine, and then she offers to let him come in and charge his car from her place. Is that what we’re calling it these days? Also, I hate to be the person who complains about fiction, but never in my life have I had a guy who even resembles someone half as cute and funny as Brett be my Uber driver. But, moving on.

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Meanwhile Tina is all revved up for Larry and comes in hot and starts taking off her pants. He reaches over for a condom and she’s all, The hell? I’m on the pill. He hesitates. And she loses it as she realizes he doesn’t trust her not to get secretly knocked up. Amanda Peet is absolutely incredible in this scene, as is Peter Gallagher, by the way. This scenes careens from rage to deep sadness as Larry, gently, forces Tina to admit to herself that she might want children. And then he forces her to hear that he really, really doesn’t. Larry is sweet and supportive and sees that this is breaking her heart, and he tells her he’s sorry he’s not the man who can do this with her — you can tell he means it. Tina drives around dark L.A. and ends up outside Alex’s apartment. She calls him but then hangs up when he answers. (Doesn’t Alex have her number programmed in his new phone?) Poor Tina.

Mark Duplass is in this girl’s apartment, and they drink a beer. She is very cute (and played by Emily Althaus who you might remember from Orange Is the New Black), and I am feeling rather territorial on Michelle’s behalf. Because these two have great chemistry as they joke about paper towels and eat and listen to music and dance and seem to be having the greatest date in the history of accidental dates, basically. Also, please don’t start inviting Uber drivers into your house hoping for this because it’s just never going to happen for any of us.

Brett’s car is fully charged (again, not a euphemism), and you can tell he’s a little freaked out. This woman (no fool) tells him he can stay and slinks off to the bedroom to leave him to decide. He’s torn but then our last looks is to see him head toward her bedroom. Aughhghghghgh. Hurry up, next week.

Episode Recaps

The Duplass brothers take their talents to HBO, where their sitcom explores the lives of four adults under one roof. Think of it as Girls for the middle-aged.
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