Two weeks ago, when Gretchen was first seen sneaking out of bed in the middle of the night, I suspected that it might have something to do with her peculiar sadness. That was all but explicitly confirmed in “Side Bitch,” a funny but all-too-quick episode.
Before we get to Jimmy and Gretchen, let’s digest Lindsay and Edgar’s side plots. Lindsay’s been spiraling downward ever since Paul left, unable to fully come to terms with the fact that her marriage is over and not knowing exactly how to proceed from there. She hits yet another low in this episode — though is anything lower than the turkey baster and popsicle incident? — when she realizes that she doesn’t know how to live alone. Lindsay is someone who is used to being take care of, someone who can be a little childish and dependent. She’s fun and she’s smart (about certain things) but she’s still someone who loves to be coddled, someone who doesn’t understands the basics of existing as a real life adult human.
The power in her apartment is out, there is no oil in her car, and the shower has no hot water because Lindsay simply can’t comprehend that she has to pay for these things. When her car strands her, she decides to try that whole “independent” thing and get home on her own. She tries walking, then she tries riding a bike, but eventually gets lost and is defeated once again, resulting in her seeking solace on Becca’s couch — and a safe full of prescription pills that cause her to hallucinate. It’s funny and sad, but impressive how well the writers turned Lindsay from a side romantic-comedy best friend to an individual with her own carefully plotted storyline.
Edgar is sort of in the opposite direction: His life is actually looking up! Smitten with Dorothy, his improv teacher, he actually works up the courage to ask her out and, after a slight moment when she thinks he’s just doing a bit, she agrees. Their date goes well, with Edgar encouraging her to speak up against the obnoxious dudes in her troupe who regularly sexually harass her and think showing her their balls is the peak of comedy. There is a really truthful moment when she says, almost defeatedly, “There’s no such thing as sexual harassment in comedy.” But she does speak up toward the end.
That brings us to Jimmy and Gretchen. Last episode, he saw Gretchen sneak out and, as we all assumed, he doesn’t want to ask her about this straight up. He prefers to go the sneaky route — he predictably assumes that she’s cheating on him with, as Lindsay puts it, a “side bitch” — and looks through her secret phone. There is only one number in there (naturally without a name attached) and Jimmy texts it as Gretchen and plans a meet-up at a new bar opening, bringing Gretchen along.
First, they run into Gretchen’s ex Ty and Jimmy flips out, but it becomes obvious they aren’t sneaking around. Then he discovers the source of the number: Gretchen’s client Sam. But they aren’t sneaking around either and Jimmy is back to square one. So when Gretchen leaves again, he dons a fake mustache and follows her. The result? She drives to a secluded location where she sobs alone in a car. The phone is simply so she can play Snake (why else would she have an old school phone?). Jimmy confronts her and she casually admits that she’s just there to cry by herself. But instead of Jimmy asking her what’s wrong (well, besides asking if it’s related to him), he selfishly triumphs in the fact that she’s not cheating, nor is she mad at him, and basically shrugs the whole thing off while smiling and walking back to his car, leaving Gretchen crying alone again.
It’s such an abrupt ending with no real resolution, making us itch in anticipation for next week. We have no idea why she’s crying or what’s wrong with her — is she unhappy in the relationship or just unhappy in general? Signs point that she’s just unhappy, and it has nothing to do with Jimmy, and she’s not sure how to manage it besides a few late-night secret crying sessions.