8:21pm PT by Lesley Goldberg
'You're the Worst': Inside the Surprising Season 3 Finale
[Warning: This story contains spoilers from the two-part season three finale of FXX's You're the Worst.]
FXX's You're the Worst closed out its third season Wednesday with back-to-back episodes that delivered on the lyrics to the Stephen Falk comedy's theme song.
In a season that has focused largely on family, Jimmy (Chris Geere) and Gretchen (Aya Cash) came close to breaking up in the first episode, only to get engaged in the final moments of the season. Their engagement, however, may be short-lived as Jimmy opts to get back into his car and drive away rather than return to the romantic hilltop where he proposed. Jimmy leaves Gretchen after she pointed out that they fit: "You lost your dad, but you gained me; we're a family," she tells him. As he drives away, dedicated Worsties are left to realize that Jimmy has delivered on the lyrics to Slothtrust's "7:30 A.M.," the show's theme song that opens with the lyrics: "I'm gonna leave you anyway."
"I don't really see it as a cliffhanger," Falk told The Hollywood Reporter during a set visit for the season finale. "That’s not how we approached it. The first season ended with them deciding prematurely to move in together, which is a relationship rite of passage. The second rite is saying 'I love you,' which Jimmy and Gretchen did at the end of the second season. Third would be getting married. But I do think a step often for couples is things get really complicated and maybe you break up for a while or you circle back — or not, we don’t know. But this has always been a show that’s been very realistic about the complications and the difficulty of having a relationship, and so we didn’t do this for any tactical purpose. We did this because it seemed like a really interesting and very human place to take them. We’ll figure out in season four how that act affects them. It could be what you think, or it could be something else."
The proposal comes after a season that featured Gretchen going to therapy for her clinical depression and the death of Jimmy's father, which affected the character more than he let on. It led Jimmy to re-examine everything in his life, including Gretchen and whether she was the right person for him. As he says in the finale, Gretchen doesn't fit the mold of the romantic partner he envisioned for himself. Worse: Jimmy was unwilling to take back his comments that he couldn't see having children with Gretchen, who retracts her fears that he won't be successful.
"When Jimmy proposes up on the ridge and she says, 'We’re family now,' that is what causes him to get in his car and drive away and leave her up there," Falk says. "It’s basically saying, 'You just got over your family, and now I’m that for you,' and that’s a poison word for him. It’s a very scary thing. He doesn’t want her to become that to him. He loves her enough to do it, but he doesn’t in the moment make the connection between 'Oh, I’m now taking this person who I love and want to spend time with and want to be there every morning when I wake up' into the realm of, 'Now we are going to be this institution called family with all its complications and psychological implications,' and it really has this end-of-life meaning. That is not what he’s signing up for, but he’s saying that. He’s not really emotionally mature, but I think it’s understandable. He’s a bit of a romantic. He’s done this before, and he hasn’t quite thought it through. I think it’s in earnest, he means it, but he doesn’t make that connection."
For their part, Geere and Cash find a larger meaning from Jimmy and Gretchen's complex relationship and don't think the proposal will change much of anything for the pair.
"They are perfect for each other, but they’re so in their own way that they’re the ones creating those problems," Geere says. "You’re the Worst proves that love actually can be really simple, and it’s us that complicates it. Gretchen mentions the fact that now that they’re engaged and they're family and the whole season is about family, and Jimmy has realized that he's post-family and that it isn't as important as he once thought it was, or that they're conditioned into thinking it is. Sometimes, family is the worst thing in the world. So for Gretchen to say she is now Jimmy's family puts complete fear into him, and he runs off."
Adds Cash: "When they’re honest about things, it’s never as threatening as when they’re trying to be something they’re not. As in all relationships, sometimes the things you think you need to hide are what bring you closest."
The surprising end of the season also reflects a bolder swing for You're the Worst, which up until this point had wrapped up its first two cycles without so much as a cliffhanger.
"It gave me a lot of faith, because I think our seasons have wrapped up nicely the last two seasons and this season sort of really explodes everything. And season four can be a really exciting, new take on You’re the Worst," Cash says.
As for Lindsay (Kether Donohue), meanwhile, she finds inspiration from sister Becca (Janet Varney) and brother-in-law Vernon (Todd Robert Anderson). Lindsay puts everything out in the open and tells Paul (Allan McLeod) that he knew who she was when they got married and that she's not one of his projects. As he divorces her — "Lawyer up, bitch!" — Lindsay accepts what she believes is a good settlement (only $2,000 a month is nothing, as she soon learns). Lindsay turns to Becca and asks to move in with her and Vernon, and Becca, with her newborn daughter and miserable marriage, reveals that she's jealous of Lindsay's freedom. That inspires Lindsay to take advantage of that freedom for herself and start over. She then takes over Dorothy's (Collette Wolf) apartment (more on that later), and despite having no money, no relationship and living in a poor neighborhood, she's finally happy.
"It's symbolic of stripping away all of the external bullshit and superficial things that she was masking because she wasn't living for herself," Donohue says. "She didn't know who she really was. And, ironically, now, without the 'security' of Paul financially and emotionally, the safety net has been ripped from her. But now she actually has a chance to authentically be herself. I feel like her journey has just started. She had the bravery to do what was right for her and not attach her identity to superficial things in life. In a way, it's funny, because Lindsay has a disdain for poor people, but then in the end, she says, 'Even though I'm broke and alone and living in a poor apartment, I'm happy.' It's a really beautiful and inspiring ending."
Edgar (Desmin Borges), meanwhile, has his own experience of family when he tries a little too hard to hold on to his professionally struggling girlfriend Dorothy. After getting a job writing comedy (for Doug Benson!), Edgar doesn't want to throw his success in Dorothy's face. He ultimately learns (from Lindsay, no less!) that he needs to stand up for himself and put himself first. That prompts Edgar to tell Dorothy about his success, only it's too late and she's decided instead to move back home to Florida. Edgar eventually confesses that Dorothy was bumming him out and holding him back, and he couldn't do that and put himself first at the same time.
"It's the first time that Edgar has stood on his own since he was probably 18 years old, right before he decided to go into the military," Borges says. "Ever since then, he’s always had somebody telling him what to do, where to go, holding his hand, what to wear, encouraging him, discouraging him…and for the first time, it’s just like, 'F— everyone else, I know how to do this and this is the right path for me and I’m going to go for it. And if I fail, I fail.'"
While Borges says he was surprised to see Dorothy go — the couple was supposed to break up last season, but Falk loved their chemistry so much that he changed course — the actor says this is the beginning of a new Edgar.
"The big takeaway is the insecurity that Edgar has felt throughout the years is probably more self-made than it is an actual reality," he says. "Even though he has this band of misfits that he hangs out with and that he loves, at the same time, he has to have a really good understanding that they’re not going to be there for him in the way he necessarily needs them to be there for him. At this point, he’s really the only person he can rely on. Even at the end, Dorothy, whom he thought was the one person he could rely on, jumps ship. I think from this point forward, we’re going to see a very self-realized, confident Edgar, maybe dipping toward climbing the ranks of 'Who’s the Worst?' You see in that last scene when Edgar says, 'Part of me wanted her to go'; how horrible is that?!"
What did you think of the You're the Worst season finale? Sound off in the comments section below.