Welcome back to my weekly review and recap of “Please Like Me.” To catch up on previous coverage, click here.
First, to preface my review, I’m dumb and didn’t realize that the show was airing the last two on one night, so, to keep face, here’s my week late review of the finale, and I’m sorry.
But what a great show right?
There’s a lot to unpack from the fantastic, and emotional season three finale, but here are some general thoughts about the episode.
You know that you’ve got a talented group of actors and compelling characters that 90% of the episode can take place at the dinner table, with the sole focus be on the discussion taking place. It’s all in the little details too, how we, before Josh notes it later, that Rose once again seems off, how Claire and Alan awkwardly flirt for a second, or how Arnold grows increasingly uncomfortable. These are tics we can identify or moments we can laugh at because of how fleshed out the characters are. We know what would make one person annoyed without it having to spelled out for us, and we know just how irritable Arnold would likely get in this situation without Keegan Joyce have to play the discomfort bigger than he did. This setting also manages to highlight just how low many of these characters are. If we hadn’t already seen Hannah hitting herself at the start of the episode, we wouldn’t have been surprised to learn based on her interactions and Claire is only starting to pick herself up after her unceremonious welcome home a few episodes ago. Josh covers for Arnold when he drops the grave, and tries to cover for others misguided jokes about Tom still liking Claire by talking Ella down. Which makes his upcoming spiral so quietly upsetting.
This group all being stuck in one place also brings to light just how dysfunctional they are, and how they shouldn’t all be allowed to get together like this again. These characters may be some of the most understanding on television, but they’re frighteningly frank, believing the honesty is the best bet to a fault. Most of them say just about anything that comes to mind, and if someone is annoyed, laughs if off and moves to the next victim. Possibly, as a result in growing up in a house where sarcasm and humor was a must have to survive, I don’t see the problem with how they operate. However, to outsiders of this dysfunction, such as Arnold is in this scenario, it can be infuriating. When Arnold admits that he’s the one who spilled the gravy, and the entire table starts poking fun, saying it’s because of him being a vegetarian, or Tom saying that even Josh can’t back him up on this one, he snaps. He, in a moment of angry panic, spits water into Tom’s dinner, and storms off.
They broke Arnold.
Which leads us to a wonderful breakdown by Josh. This entire season it’s been remarked on just how together Josh is, especially compared to those around him, and here, finally, he reaches his limit, when Arnold’s outburst leads him to leaving their Christmas dinner to go home to his family, and, in a sense, calling it quits on the relationship. This, coupled with the frequent mentions of Ben (who I’m still rooting for), just furthers how little investment I have in Arnold and Josh as a pairing, but I’ll be interested to see how they’re dynamic develops (or if it develops) in whatever comes next.
Josh goes back inside, tries to back out of talking about it, and is pushed too far after the table makes fun of how many desserts he’s prepared. He lashes out, calling Rose out on the fact that she’s gone off her meds, again, and it means he’ll have to take care of her, again. He tells Claire that she complains about her life but does nothing to prove it, says Ella probably should have left, and that Alan can’t talk about his feelings so just fixes things. He can’t make fun of Hannah and Mae, well, Mae is fine. Mae is normal.
We all like Mae.
Josh takes a dessert, walks across the street mopes, and that’s how season three ends, with Josh once again in a place that seems like an in-between, night quite as happy as he’d like to be, but getting there. At this point I’m so invested in Josh’s happiness that every roadblock matters, but this wouldn’t be the show we love if it ended with everything wrapped up perfectly. Josh has made plenty of strides this year in maturing and learning from what happens around him, but he still has a ways to go.
Episode Grade: 9/10
Season Grade: 9.5/10
Now let’s all collectively cross our fingers for a season four.