Welcome back to my weekly review and recap of “Please Like Me.” To catch up on previous coverage, click here.
There are episodes of Please Like Me where the show’s opening is largely arbitrary, a fun way that introduces the audience to the overall tone of the show as Josh dances, cooks or sometimes both, sometimes accompanied by his friends or family, sometimes just with John. However, there have been moments where the intro sets the tone for the episode itself, such as “Scroggin”, and such as this week. This week begins as Josh is finally venturing to see Ben at the hospital and, surprisingly to both us and them, he’s brought with him his dad and Mae. He won’t admit why but Mae figures it out, realizing he needed some sort of emotional support, due to how terrible he is at emotions.
He’s about to run out, refusing to face something that is tough, before Alan snaps to it and forces him back in the elevator to go see Ben. Then song cues and there is no movement, no laughter, just Josh stuck between his parents as they lead him to something difficult, camera focusing in on Josh’s unusually somber face.
There’s two real focuses of the episode after that:
The Gang Get Stuck:
The portion of the episode that shows Claire, Tom, Josh, Ella and Arnold stuck in that elevator contraption is some of the best writing the show has done this year. It pokes at all of the unresolved issues they have with one another, big or small, and shine a light on it. By this time Arnold already knows about Ben, and he’s the one who set the rules so he can’t be mad, but he get’s more and more aggravated the more he starts to believe that Josh cares about him.
Ella learns that Tom and Claire kissed and spends the entire time convincing everyone including himself that he doesn’t care about Claire anymore and that the kiss was just a mistake due to boredom and wine. There’s no place to go and everyone hears the argument but Ella and Tom make amends with Ella forgiving Tom, yet again, for lying to her. This is following a rare moment of camaraderie between Claire and Ella after Tom forces the fact that Claire got an abortion, when Ella told Tom it was none of his business.
And alas, I never truly expected Josh to just pick Ben, but I had kind of been hopeful, but this episode seals the deal on Arnold and Josh as a couple after Arnold get’s worked up into a panic attack after Josh admits to caring a little about Ben and whether he lives or dies, and that Ben didn’t just have sex with him and go, but that he stayed the night too. Josh has to do everything in his power to convince Arnold that he’s the guy for him, talking him down from his attack by telling them that they are a beautiful coincidence, because out of all the people in the world, they found each other and love one another.
Sure, Josh has odd feelings for Ben, but he also thinks Ben is weird, and his follow up with him at the hospital was out of kindness, not because he thought Ben could be the one.
Again, didn’t actually expect them to get together, but their interactions once again prove how interesting of a dynamic they would have had. It’s also oddly sweet and sad that he’d put Josh on his emergency contacts, even if it puts Josh on edge for the entire day. He’s waiting to get a call that could potentially tell him that Ben’s died in surgery, something he grapples with which is seen when he literally cocoons himself in his bed, not even able to face Arnold when he tells him the truth.
And then the end happens and like all of Please Like Me endings, it’s the perfect encapsulation of what makes this show work. This week, all the friends are gathered, Tom actually showing he’s empathetic (with Josh at least), makin ribs for all of them to share, when Josh get’s the call.
Ben’s fine, even if for a second you think Josh has lied due to how it’s shot, and life can move on, messy hands and all.