Welcome back to my weekly review and recap of “Please Like Me.” To catch up on previous coverage, click here.
Some quick thoughts on tonight’s delightfully light episode of Please Like Me.
The episode begins with Arnold, Tom and Josh taking drugs, with Tom gamely playing the third wheel to Josh and Arnold’s non-stop making out. Soon, the three aren’t content to simply stay indoors and they go out to a club, where Josh and Arnold continue to make out while Tom dances alone.
It’s really quite a great episode for Thomas Ward in terms of his physical comedy.
Once the clubs becomes too stifling, they decide that running is the best option, picking up lone figure Ella (Emily Barclay) and they all race along the beach and it’s a scene full of youthful elation, all stupid and cheerful on their collective highs, before Tom falls face first on the pier and badly injures his arm, resulting in an ambulance needing to be called.
The ride in the ambulance is one of my favorite scenes of the episode, because it shows how much fun this group can be when they meet like minded people, who make the same kind of jokes. The chemistry between the four (Ella included) is natural, with a comfortable rapport that suggests no subject is off topic. They’re all coming down from their drug aided high, but all still genuinely enjoying one another’s company, even as the hours of the night wane a way.
Of course, once they’re in the hospital reality begins to sink in. Tom’s arm is injured, Ella is a stranger, and Josh needs to deal with both coming down and dealing with the knowledge that his dad and Mae are getting a divorce. Everything looks a little more romantic under the starry night sky than the ugly florescent of the hospital waiting room.
I want to make sure I talk about one of my favorite moments of the night, which is when Josh receives a call from Mae, about how she and Alan are getting a divorce. This, I think, more than any other scene so far this season, shows how big of a change Josh has been through. He doesn’t get annoyed, he doesn’t try to joke himself out of a serious conversation. Instead, he listens, he’s compassionate, and seemingly truly affected by the news as he slides against the hospital hall wall. He and Mae have an understated but sweet relationship throughout the series, and it’s moments like this where you see the growth between the two, and his in particular. I said two episode’s ago that Josh was currently the most well adjusted of his group so far this year, and even after a night of recreational drug taking, he still seems the most relatively together.
To make the call more comic, they make sure to juxtapose the discussion with Alan and Tom (bonding) about the same thing, pointing out how ludicrous it is that Alan called Josh’s friend, rather than his son himself.
For all the episode’s air of fun, and the opening scenes of the friends high on drugs and life is certainly the most stress free we’ve seen them all in a while, the ending packs a few emotional punches in there, right before it ends. There’s Ella’s breakup with her boyfriend, who we’ve never met, and yet Ella is so instantly likable, and her emotional turmoils are so relateable, that it registers nonetheless. The second is slight, but potentially troublesome later down the line, when Josh and Arnold have different responses to whether or not they’re exclusive or not.
The biggest though, for the second time this season, comes from Alan. Poor, hapless, Alan who is just trying to be a good dad and a good partner and seemingly continuing to trip up. His blowout at the four of them as he picks them up at the hospital that night, and particularly his anger at Tom, the injured party, is surprisingly touching, as it’s clearly his moment of catharsis where he let’s loose all the frustration he’s been feeling about the Mae situation. Is it totally warranted? No. But it’s needed, and Josh, Tom and co. seem to understand this.
Yet another solid and touching episode of Please Like Me. I continue to be surprised by how much happens in a given episode, and it makes me all the more excited to catch up with the gang the following week.