You’re the Worst Season 4 Premieres with Its Characters in Surprisingly Different Places

Photo Credit: Prashant Gupta/FX Networks.

You’re the Worst Season 4 Premiere Plot Summary:

Three months after proposing and then disappearing, Jimmy (Chris Geere) lives a secluded, technology-free life in a senior trailer park. Back in LA, Lindsay (Kether Donohue) and Edgar (Desmin Borges) are thriving in their new jobs while Gretchen (Aya Cash) flails in a post-Jimmy funk. 

Last season, You’re the Worst left us on a huge cliffhanger, Jimmy driving off into the night immediately after proposing. It’s exactly the sort of big step forward and then bigger step back we’ve come to expect from our dysfunctional protagonists. Now that Season 4 has finally begun, we get to see how they’re dealing with (or, more accurately, not dealing with) the fallout in an hour-long, split premiere. The first half shows us where Jimmy ran off to and what he’s been doing, while the second heads back to LA to check in with the rest of the cast. It’s a good idea that allows the show to lean more heavily into different strengths for each half, and though the result feels somewhat uneven, it remains characteristically excellent.

We join Jimmy in the middle of a mundane existence performing odd jobs for a senior trailer park, living without any technology besides a digital clock and the old TV he watches ’80s shows with his neighbor on. It’s the kind of rustic existence Jimmy would find romantic, and it’s a testament to his growth that he actually seems to be doing well in this environment. But it remains the case that it’s simply another way for him to hide from the things that terrify him. To drive the point home, Jimmy is paired up with his cantankerous neighbor Burt (Raymond J. Barry), an at times too-on-the-nose reflection of the lonely, delusional existence Jimmy could end up leading if he continues to push away everyone he cares about. That Jimmy, late in this half, can so clearly identify Burt’s issues and yet fail to see how they line up with his own (until Burt lays them out with some harsh words and a mean jab) is a great example of Jimmy’s insight and yet inability to use it for any amount of self-reflection.

Without any of its main characters besides Jimmy, and Jimmy himself fairly taciturn, the show does not have a chance to show off its lightning-paced dialogue or acerbic wit in this half. It instead focuses more on the dramatic, with humor coming from low-key irony and the centering of obscure ’80s sitcoms as a key plot point. They take full advantage of this rare departure from LA as well, capturing the sweeping vistas and empty roads of Jimmy’s little hideout. In fact, whether it’s the slow motion walk of Jimmy and Burt as they head off to retrieve Burt’s stolen car keys or the slow zoom out as Jimmy realizes the magnitude of his abandonment at the end, this whole episode shows off the series’ visual flair.

Gretchen’s half of the premiere is a little more conventional. Jimmy’s abandonment has put her in a spiral, refusing to leave Lindsay’s apartment and smoking some crack offered by a man who came up to their window. Gretchen’s manic behavior is a strong contrast to Jimmy’s reserved seclusion, and the laughs that were a little thin on the ground in the first half come fast and loose in the second. We also get perhaps our first look ever at a Lindsay who is actually doing well.

Read Chris Diggins’ column on why You’re the Worst is one of the best and most honest shows on television today.

The fashion job she was offered towards the end of last season has proven a surprisingly good fit, and she’s finally settling into a reasonably adult life. The total reversal of Gretchen and Lindsay’s relationship is fascinating, as Edgar and Lindsay’s late realization that they’re “the serious ones now” highlights, but it’s heartbreaking to see how hard the situation is on Gretchen. We’ve seen her in a serious funk before, but the frenetic denial of the situation she engages in now is scary in its intensity. The sheer force with which she sings “One Week” in order to avoid discussing her break-up with Lindsay is as hilarious as it is deeply sad.

But considering the singular focus Jimmy got in the first half hour, relegating the other three main characters to an equal block of time makes it feel like they get a bit of short shrift. Edgar in particular only gets a scene or two showing how things have gone for him since Jimmy’s disappearance. His growth from last season is strong enough to carry him through, but it still feels a bit odd that we see so little of how this affected Jimmy’s best friend. And the late breaking development of Edgar and Lindsay’s new casual relationship, while certainly grounded enough to be believable, could probably have used a bit more time.

Still, there’s no denying that You’re the Worst has kept up its biting wit and keen insight from previous seasons. And the drama of whether or not Jimmy and Gretchen will get back together, usually a foregone conclusion in romances, seems genuinely uncertain. One could imagine a world where the two stay apart and go on as the better, more complete people their relationship has left them, but it’s equally easy to envision them reconciling. Only time and more episodes, episodes that will almost certainly be worth the investment, can tell.

Rating: 8 out of 10

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Chris Diggins is a staff writer and incorrigible layabout for The Pop Break. He usually reviews TV and movies, although he sometimes writes ludicrously long pieces of critical analysis and badgers the editors to publish it. He cannot be stopped.