Welcome to The A.V. Club’s Love binge-watch. From Friday, February 19 through Sunday, February 21, A.V. Club contributor Shelby Fero will be watching and reviewing every episode of Netflix’s new romantic comedy. You can watch and comment along with her here, or chime in on the individual episode reviews. For those watching the show at a more moderate pace, reviews by Molly Eichel will run daily starting Monday, February 22.

Everyone’s dealing with the aftermath in the wake of last night’s party. At an AA meeting, Mickey doesn’t admit to drinking at Shaun’s the night before, but hey! She’s at AA! Mickey’s still lying, but in incrementally smaller amounts. And when an old sponsor and/or simply a fellow member (it’s unclear to me) gives Mickey her number and a platitude, she accepts both. Sitting in her car, as Gillian Jacobs allows the stress of Mickey’s choices to finally show on her face, she resets a sobriety calendar app–deleting a year’s worth of false progress.

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For their part, Gus and Bertie gamely go on the date they tacitly agreed to the night before. Neither one willingly admits that they don’t really want be where they are, because they’re “nice!” Super, super, definitely nice. Keeping in the series’s fashion, the pair’s disastrous date plays out in real time, to tremendous comedic effect. All credit due to Claudia O’Doherty and Paul Rust, as each tries to first “out nice” the other’s character, then “out tank” each other, after Bertie accidentally sends a “thanks but no thanks!” text to Gus instead of Mickey. Love overflows with brilliant guest performances–this time it’s Will Sasso as a hard-to-parse-out waiter: Does he like Gus and Bertie? Does he think they’re annoying? Is he going to spit in Gus’s food for sending back Bertie’s bloody steak?

Mickey’s “meanwhile...” plotline ties back into Gus’s in a couple ways. Manically flitting about her house, drinking green juice and trying to masturbate, she tries to distract herself from picking up a drink. Partially due to the shitshow that was her night before, her sudden interest in self-care can be largely attributed to the feelings she hasn’t yet admitted for Gus. It’s not necessarily “wrong” to change yourself for somebody: Improving your own life as a means to accommodate someone else’s signals growth. We often try to make ourselves a little bit better, even if we won’t admit to ourselves why yet. And, although she doesn’t purposefully insert herself into Bertie and Gus’s date, she naturally becomes involved as Gus and Bertie report back to her on the other’s status. The three clearly work well as a friendly unit, even if Gus does end up literally choking at dinner.

But there’s nothing like a date with the wrong person to clarify who the right one is. Standing up to Mickey later that night, Gus asks her, point blank, “what the fuck?” To which Mickey responds with a surprise kiss. Love continues to set a deliberate path for these two–one comprised of small gestures and statements that build upon each other to lay the groundwork of real love.

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Grade: A

Random Thoughts:

  • Always refreshing/comforting to hear women talk about sex realistically, without the overtone of “Oh, can you even believe we’re talking about sex?”
  • Ian Roberts shines as the Loud Restaurant Douche
  • I like Paul Rust, man. And Gus’s slow reveal of his dickishness honestly makes him more likeable and human as a character.
  • It was here, within the context clues of the episode, that I learned a “Seabreeze” is a girly drink.
  • Yes! People do vomit a lot after receiving the Heimlich Maneuver, just like you’ll probably break a couple ribs while performing CPR. Actually, drowning people puke a lot after receiving CPR too. The point is, TV did not accurately prepare my for the gritty details of Lifeguard Certification.
  • “Like 9/11.” Bertie is the best person in the world and I hope it is she who finds love! There! I said it!
  • There’s lots of love, even if Gus and Mickey aren’t together yet. Mickey and her neighbor, Gus and Bertie sharing froyo: Romantic love isn’t the end all be all of personal happiness.

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