Aya Cash as Gretchen
Photo: Byron Cohen (FXX)
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There are two lies at play in “Four Goddamn More Days,” a big one and an even bigger one. The first is that Gretchen was fired immediately after the listening party incident and has subsequently been hiding it from Jimmy for two weeks. The second is that Gretchen isn’t at all excited about getting married, or, at the very least, is too emotionally overwhelmed to help plan it at all. Jimmy tries to get her to participate in any of the decisions, even relatively small ones like choosing the song that will soundtrack her walk down the aisle, but she pretends to be slammed at work to avoid the issue. She hasn’t even picked out a dress yet and there are only four goddamn days until the wedding. The ship might not be sinking, but there are major leaks that need to be fixed before it’s too late.

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If you go by this week’s flash-forward, however, then it might already be too late. I haven’t discussed the season’s cold opens in these reviews much because there’s not too much say beyond speculating whether they represent scenes of what will transpire or of what might transpire. I suppose there’s no reason to doubt their validity, but it wouldn’t be past Stephen Falk and company to showcase an alternate timeline of events. Maybe Jimmy and Gretchen continue down the road and they’re on and they end up apart. Maybe they take a left turn at the last minute and the whole end plays out differently. But this week’s cold open, with Gretchen breaking her sobriety and telling a handsome stranger (Zach Tinker) about the time she almost got married, might have convinced me that they represent Jimmy and Gretchen’s real future. It certainly doesn’t help that it precedes an episode that inspires no confidence in their relationship’s sustainability.

Written by Philippe Iujvidin and directed by Jordan Vogt-Roberts, “Four Goddamn More Days” argues that Jimmy and Gretchen might not be able to withstand the same crisis twice. Before Jimmy abandoned Gretchen to go live in a motor home near Barstow, the couple almost fell apart under the burden of Gretchen’s depression. Gretchen’s behavior in this episode mirrors her depressive spiral back in season two, except this time she’s masking those feelings with meds instead of letting them take over. We open with Gretchen snorting a fistful of Edgar’s prescription pills before she leaves to hang out by the L.A. River all day. She goofs off and pretends to work (she even has a desk!) while Lindsay provides her with confidential Caliber paperwork to keep the ruse going. After all, Gretchen just needs to keep it together until the wedding and then she’ll tell Jimmy everything. “Divorce is so much paperwork,” Gretchen tells Lindsay. “He’ll never get around to that shit.”

For the most part, Jimmy has been either oblivious or in denial about Gretchen’s mental state, but her indifference to their imminent nuptials finally raises the shortest of red flags in his mind. Still, he makes excuses for her behavior even when Edgar tries to point out the obvious, but the whole situation takes a backseat to Jimmy’s own minor depression once he learns that the studio has hired Diablo Cody to re-write his script. When Gretchen gets home, she’s too focused on Wheel of Fortune to do anything more than listlessly pat Jimmy while he wallows on the couch. The pills are working all too well. The noise of her fiancé, their faltering engagement, and their respective job losses have all been drowned out.

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The next morning, Gretchen finds all of Edgar’s pills missing, provoking an addict’s panic that’s all too familiar at this point. But it’s Jimmy’s reenergized mood that unintentionally makes everything worse. He sings, dances, and then says the worst thing you can say to a person who suffers from clinical depression: “Sorry for being such a bummer yesterday. It was really quite selfish of me to burden you with my sadness like that.” Vogt-Roberts captures Cash’s blink-and-you’ll-miss-it stung response to that last bit covered up by an insincere, “No worries,” but the damage has been done. Jimmy likely does genuinely empathize with Gretchen’s depression, but his attempt to treat the past like it’s dead and buried instead of a living history blinds him to the truth. Their dark days aren’t behind them. They might have just begun.

Thank God for Edgar and Lindsay, who both confront Gretchen in their own ways. Lindsay threatens her relationship with Yvette by bringing up Gretchen’s firing to her at all and makes it even worse when she puts on a “lesbian minstrel show” to demonstrate her commitment. Sure, Lindsay’s more confused than gay, but her feelings for Yvette were genuine. In the end, she loses the relationship and gets fired, both because she stole documents for Gretchen and threatened to stab Yvette. For all her loyalty to Gretchen and vulnerability with Yvette, Lindsay ends up back at square one, and yet she still musters up the knowhow to tell Gretchen that she’s got to abandon her scheme. She screwed up at work. She deserved to get fired. Now, she’s got to tell Jimmy the truth.

As much as Lindsay does her part, it’s Edgar who saves the day once again. He follows Gretchen to Griffith Park and confronts her about the pills and her firing. Cash and Borges haven’t really had many scenes together over the course of the series, yet it doesn’t matter because their face-off plays off of their history together. Edgar has been there while Gretchen has suffered and vice versa. So it still stings when she lashes out at him (“You’re just you. Like, who the fuck are you even?”), but it stings even harder when she breaks down and begs Edgar not to tell Jimmy she’s been fired. More than any other cast member, Cash has been asked to go to emotional hell and back as Gretchen, and while it’s worked in certain contexts better than others, it’s still pretty heartbreaking to hear her lament how she always fails no matter how hard she tries. She’s been lying to Jimmy because she didn’t want to tank yet another thing in her life.

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“Four Goddamn More Days” ultimately tries to cover too much ground: it’s a shame that Lindsay’s relationship with Yvette gets folded into Jimmy and Gretchen’s drama, especially after their sincere hook-up last week, and it’s a bit too contrived that Jimmy’s screenplay falls apart just when Gretchen loses her job even after you correct for when-it-rains-it-pours timing. While it feels a bit compressed on the whole, it’s also the series’ antepenultimate episode, which means it has to do the necessary macro-season plot work and ramp up the tension in time for the finale. It doesn’t ruin You’re The Worst’s stellar back-half run, which is the best the series has been since the second season, but it suffers in comparison to the previous two episodes.

Yet, most of my issues fell by the wayside during the final scene: Gretchen comes home to find Jimmy, armed with champagne, in a house lit by candles, with soft R&B playing in the background, ready to show off her wedding dress. Vogt-Roberts shoots the scene in a swirling one take, neatly capturing Gretchen’s emotional state and the scene’s swoon-worthy romance. Gretchen confesses everything to Jimmy, who says all the right things and provides a chest for her to rest her head, but his final expression gives the game away. It’s not quite fear, and it’s not quite sadness. Instead, it’s a nervous resignation that the ship has veered way off course. Their wedding might be amazing. Their future could be anything but.

Stray observations

  • Shortlist of songs for Gretchen’s walk down the aisle: 1.“Tubthumping” by Chumbawamba; 2. “Juicy” by Biggie; 3. “Poison” by Bell Biv Devoe (“As Shakespeare said, ‘Never trust a big butt and a smile.’”); 4. “Freak on a Leash” by Korn; 5. “Marry Me” by Train (“Oh, nix that one. I don’t want to ruin my mascara crying too hard.”); 6. “Sweet Child of Mine” by Guns N’ Roses; 7. “Relax” by Frankie Goes to Hollywood (Gretchen does know it’s about butt sex); 8. “Like a Virgin” by Madonna; 9. “Two Become One” by Spice Girls (“Aw.”); 10. “Sabotage” by Beastie Boys; 11. “Waterfalls” by TLC (“Too sad. AIDS. Change it to ‘No Scrubs.’”); 12. “Pop That Pussy” by 2 Live Crew; 13. “Girls Just Want to Have Lunch” by Weird Al; 14. “Maneater” by Hall & Oates; 15. “Cherry Pie” by Warrant
  • Vernon’s Lesbian Checklist/Lindsay’s Answers: 1. “When was your last hike?” (Never); 2. “Which Costco do you guys belong to together?” (None); 3. “Have you seen Fun Home?” (Huh?); 4. “How many flannels do you own?” (Uhhh); 5. “Which Subaru have you test driven?” (Zero); 6. “How much did you donate to NPR last year?” (What’s NPR?); 7. “What’s your favorite Tegan and Sara album?” (Who?); 8. “Has she made you a chili?” (WE HAVEN’T MADE A CHILI!)
  • This week’s great cut-to joke: Lindsay tells Gretchen that she’s going to march into Yvette’s office and “chew her ass out for you.” Cut to…Lindsay doing just that.
  • Speaking of Vernon, we learn some new information about the goofball. Apparently, he was raised by two mothers after his birth parents separated. It turned out to be a stealth blessing because his birth mom was “super gay.” It’s why he’s so mad fuckin’ sensitive.
  • The big news this week is that Killian makes an appearance before the series wraps. His dad sobered up and found religion for him. Now he lives above a GameStop on Sunset with four other children. He’s also really into Jack Reacher, which he just saw on cable. Give it up for Shane Francis Smith, everybody!
  • It is maybe too on point that Jimmy thinks Chuck Palahniuk is “a great author.”
  • Apparently, Lindsay had a brief fling with Dave Navarro of Jane’s Addiction fame.
  • “Remind the D.A. that while Lil Reba claims in every interview to be moving bricks, she’s nine years old. Then leak to the source that Reba is ‘hard as shit and has been flippin’ packs since she was six.’”
  • You’re The Worst closes with another great song this week: “Mist of a Dream” by Birdlegs and Pauline, an early-’60s R&B duo from Rockford, Illinois. Listen to it in full below.

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