Photo: HBO

I feel like the season finale of Crashing will be divisive with viewers, because it definitely veered away from the comedy aspect of Pete’s journey and back toward the personal life aspect—and I actually prefer that. I’d rather watch his personal struggles that are then framed or explored via his stand-up, rather than the other way around. But I’m sure some viewers feel the exact opposite and were therefore left a little empty by “The Baptism.”

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For me, though, this was a fairly strong episode. Good, but not great.

What I liked about it was getting a glimpse into Pete’s life totally removed from comedy. He and Jess apparently belong to one of those protestant denominations that baptizes adults in big pools—my mom grew up in a church like that. And it is at one of these said baptism events that Pete runs into Jess, who decided to attend to support a… friend? Someone she kind of hates? Really Jess is just feeling a little lost and lonely after her relationship with Leif went south.

Honestly, I feel like maybe Jess was hoping to see Pete, because while I don’t think she is at all interested in getting back together with him romantically, the “Parents” episode showed us what good friends they can be and she needs a friend right now.

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Unfortunately, it’s hard to talk to a friend about your troubles when your troubles all stem from cheating on said friend—especially when your paramour shows up begging for you to take him back, which causes said friend to also throw his hat back in the ring.

Just as an aside, I don’t think Pete really wants to get back together with Jess. He’s actually out there trying to pursue his dream, but the siren song of comfort and familiarity are hard to resist when your life is so scary and unknown. But we all know a Jess-Pete romantic reunion would be a total disaster.

It’s interesting, though, because Jess is really the one who gets her closure and new beginning this episode. I’m not sure I completely buy that Jess is somehow now going to be a born-again, church-going evangelist, but her “I choose Jesus” moment is still definitely one of deciding to get her life back on track, which is nice for her, though it doesn’t really feel like a proper season finale for Pete.

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He ends up crashing at a motel with Leif, which is hilarious and kind of fitting for Pete’s journey this season—he’s in a “one step forward, two steps back, two steps forward, one step to the side” kind of journey right now and him ending up sharing a bed with his ex-wife’s lover seems about right.

So Pete has sort of come full circle, but at the same time, it also feels a little incomplete, like there should be one more episode or something. Like we should see him starting off on his new journey? But that wouldn’t really be in keeping with the tone of the show, so that’s why I’m mostly OK with this finale.

I’m definitely curious where they take Season 2. Holmes told me in a pre-show interview that he sees Pete’s couch-hopping New York journey lasting at the most two seasons, before Pete takes off for Los Angeles, which is kind of a natural progression for a lot of comedians. What do you guys think? Can the show do another eight episodes of the same basic formula? Does it hinge on which comedians they get to act as Pete’s series of halfway houses?

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Or would that maybe work for half a season and then he takes off for L.A. about halfway through Season 2? I think that’s what I would prefer.

Stray observations

  • You’ll notice I didn’t really dig into the Artie Lange stuff. I’ll be honest, at first I was excited to see him pop up again, but by episode’s end, I kind of wish he hadn’t. While Natalie Morales is a gem and any glimpse of her is always welcome, I wasn’t digging the Artie/Stephanie stuff at the baptism. It didn’t really go anywhere or have much to say, so I could have done without it.
  • “Spank it, ya Jim Gaffigan rip-off!”
    I loved when the stripper gave Pete the what-for during his lapdance. Listen, pal—you don’t get to decide what is and isn’t degrading for that woman, so don’t project your problem with nudity and/or sex onto her.
  • It’s kind of amazing that the church gossip hotline turned Pete into a panhandling arsonist.
  • Leif: “I’m really excited about our friendship, man.”
    Pete: “We’re not friends. We’re broke, together.”
    Leif: “That’s how it starts. Would you be uncomfortable if I put on some adult fare?”
    While it seems like Jess’ storyline has definitely come to an end, I’ll confess that Leif hanging around for an episode or two in Season 2 would be totally welcome. He’s a crack-up and I really enjoy Leif and Pete together.

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