Given that their relationship is the premise of the show, Jimmy and Gretchen were never going to break up; if they ever do, it’ll happen much further down the road than the second season. What makes You’re the Worst such an incredible show is how it’s able to get its audience to invest in Jimmy and Gretchen’s issues as a couple despite this. On paper, the action of “Other Things You Could Be Doing” is predictable. In practice, it’s one of the most earned and moving emotional payoffs I’ve seen on television.
All three of the episode’s subplots, in fact, see characters make surprisingly mature decisions—though in Lindsay’s case, it may be too little, too late. Edgar not only has the realization, long in the making, that Jimmy’s never going to not see him as a freeloader; he actually does something about it, choosing to move into Dorothy’s dream apartment as an equal partner instead of staying at Jimmy’s as the live-in help. Edgar’s coming into his own has been one of the more undersung elements of You’re the Worst‘s second season, in which the show has built out its supporting characters as well as complicated its central relationship. Going into the third season (which is happening!), Edgar’s now in a position to function independently—though his Jimmy-less graduation show indicates the improv humor has sadly come to an end.
Lindsay, meanwhile, is inspired by her near-death experience last week to atone for her sins, starting with her awful sister. (Hilarious Becca details of the week: she tried to decorate her nursery with dolphin decals but it looked like a scene from The Cove; she’s revealing the baby’s sex at a party, because Becca’s only life skill is milking her pregnancy for all the attention she can; she’s an anti-vaxxer, because of course she is.) Next, and more difficult, are Paul and Amy, whose blissful frisbee-throwing she interrupts to drop off her divorce papers. If only Lindsay had come to her post-divorce senses after she turkey basted herself with microwaved semen.
Pregnancy may be the last-minute surprise of “Other Things You Could Be Doing,” but its emotional climax is the heart-to-heart between Jimmy and Gretchen, in which snide, know-it-all Jimmy finally admits he just doesn’t understand something and Gretchen finally lays out what’s happening to her in terms that make sense to him. This only happens, of course, after a bad case of Skiing Feet kills the mood and gives Jimmy a few hours to reconsider whether he really wants a romantic mountain tryst with the bartender.
Once he reemerges into the cold light of early morning—a nice reminder that Jimmy’s still deep into writer’s block and the functional alcoholism that comes with it—he finds Gretchen nearly catatonic, having fled Lindsay’s apology tour. She’s hit what looks like rock bottom, too numb and exhausted to sit up or even speak; she’s reduced to texting her boyfriend from across the room, compressing this entire hysterical gut punch of a season into a single gag. Jimmy, too, hits rock bottom—rattling off every “just get over it” cliché in the book—before finally doing something constructive and calling in reinforcements.
Sam, Vernon, Rob, and Killian (remember him?!) aren’t much help, but they do motivate Gretchen to explain herself one last time:
I’m scraped out. I’m that car we sent to Mars, flipped upside down so the sun can’t reach my solar panels. I’ve always been able to flip myself back over eventually, but I ran out of times. This is how I am now, and it’s not okay with you. Nor should it be.
It’s this speech, yet another candidate for the Aya Cash Emmy reel, that finally gets through to Jimmy, who opts to stay and put in the work—making a pillow fort now, figuring out how to be supportive to a loved one with a mental illness later—rather than pursuing the fantasy of an uncomplicated hookup.
You’re the Worst is too smart a show to end the depression storyline here; as Gretchen herself has said, Jimmy can’t fix her, either by trying to cheer her up or accepting that depression is outside of his control. But it’s given its two leads a breakthrough, overcoming their growing hopelessness (Gretchen) and natural self-absorption (Jimmy) just enough to connect in spite of themselves. It’s gorgeous, it’s real, and it hints at an equally stellar finale next week.