May 21, 2014

TV Recap: Louie - "Elevator: Part 3"

Left to right: Eszter Balint, Louis C.K., and Hadley Delany
Welcome to the return of TV Recap on the FX comedy series Louie. After over a year off, Louis C.K. returns to TV with one of the most innovative, funny, and disturbing shows on TV. Join me as I chronicle season four's highs and lows and see just where he winds up next. His irreverent take is sure to keep you laughing and with back-to-back episodes, double your pleasure on a weekly basis with recaps every Tuesday and Wednesday unless specified. So join the fun, watch some of the most innovative TV out there and bring your own thoughts into the discussion.



If there is one benefit to the series taking on a two-episode-a-week format, it is that it allows the story of this series "Elevator" to become more fully fleshed out quicker. We understand what is going on and just as the romance between Louis C.K. and Amia (Eszter Balint) develops, we get to spend more time indulging in this strange, beautiful world. Long gone is the elevator that brought everyone together. Now it is replaced with a romance that is so strange that it involves a baseball bat to a piano. Yep, Louie hasn't lost its touch.
The episode opens with C.K. sitting in his apartment with Robert Kelly. C.K. is trying to use his computer, but is having trouble. Kelly tries to solve the problem, but C.K. is more disturbed by his very small towel, which he put on after getting out of the shower. There's clearly some tension and C.K. decides to buy some groceries to get over this little tiff. During his time there, he runs into Pamela (Pamela Adlon), who has been travelling around Europe. The two meet up for some food and share some stories before C.K. reveals that he needs to get going. He resists Pamela's urges and she in return playfully insults him.
Left to right: C.K. and Pamela Adlon
Feeling amorous towards Amia, he decides to ask her out for dinner. With Evanka (Ellen Burstyn) serving as the language buffer, she reveals Amia's plans. She is actually moving back to her homeland of Hungary in a month because of her family. No matter how much C.K. begs, she says that she's sticking to it. Frustrated, he goes to his apartment and destroys a piano with a baseball bat. This is when Evanka shares that C.K. misinterpreted the words. At this point, they agree to going out for dinner, but C.K. now understands the circumstances and won't be able to date her.
After an anticlimactic conversation between C.K. and Janet (Susan Kelechi-Wilson) about their decisions to discipline Jane (Hadley Delany), C.K. ends up taking Jane home. Nothing is really solved. However, running into Amia in the hallway, Jane and Amia begin playing violins together and C.K. is really impressed, as it is the calmest that Jane has been in awhile. The two head back to the apartment afterwards, have dinner. The last that Jane is seen, she is being dropped off at school.
At some point, C.K. runs into Dr. Bigelow (Charles Grodin) in the foyer and decides to talk to him about whether he should date Amia. Below turns the conversation into a dissection of diseases and how one should feel lucky to be healthy. He has a three legged dog, which he claims has enough legs to survive. In closing, he doesn't care if C.K. dates Amia or not. The episode ends with Kelly and C.K. laughing at a video on his computer.


Rating: 4 out of 5


And so the ball is rolling. We know that there is a time limit to C.K. and Amia's romance. One month to be precise. What is he going to do? In reality, this feels doomed to be the same exact plot as "Daddy's Girlfriend" from last season where the most precious love ends up having a fatal demise. In this circumstance, it would be a little redundant to do the same thing. However, moving away to Hungary is tragic enough to put everything in motion. After all, it gets C.K. so mad that he crushes a piano with a baseball bat. That is powerful enough imagery as to why this is a big deal.
The plots also begin to intersect. Besides the most obvious level involving Jane and Amia playing violins together, there is the bigger picture. C.K. and Janet aren't exactly agreeing on a single thing. When the have to speak about Jane, they turn to their phones, refusing to talk to each other. Even if they are separated, it does seem like there's increasing tension that is likely causing Jane's problems. It isn't entirely known just yet, but there's something notable when the parental figures don't connect even on a basic communication level. 
Which is why Amia feels like she is going to be a surrogate of sorts. C.K. will pursue Amia more aggressively because of how she deals with Jane. In fact, from the "Elevator" series alone, it appears that Amia is the most positive influence on Jane. She is the only whom she hasn't gotten into an argument over. Of course, the language barrier is a big, obvious reason, but there is also not enough there to stop her from just being shy and ignoring Amia. Along with the speech by Dr. Bigelow at the end, there's a feeling that things will turn into "Seize the day" from here on out.
Most of all, it feels like this is going to turn into a selfish battle between C.K. and Jane. Where C.K. will be pursuing Amia for her personality, Jane will see her more as a mother figure. The language barrier is likely to come into play later on in the story. However, I predict that things will get tragic more for Jane than C.K. largely because of the role model figure. Jane will be an improved individual yet have to deal with Amia's departure. This may just cause her to return to her delusional state of rebellion.
As for the episode, it is another solid series of moments that feel like they're building towards something bigger. I am not entirely sure what, but some moments feel like they exist solely for exposition. We have set up conflict nicely and have a beautiful moment of dual violins playing against each other that reflects the artisan that the show can carry. However, compared to "Part 2," the moments here aren't nearly as memorable. Pamela stops by in what should have been a triumphant moment. Instead, C.K. goes for the hopeless love that he can't obtain. Another telling moment, but again, "Elevator" episodes are hard to decipher individually. They're really good, but there's a progression there that feels slight week-to-week.

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