Throughout the series’ run, Louie has explored the theme of fatherhood several times through his experiences raising Lily and Jane, and while he’s shown time and again that he’s a great dad, we’ve gotten very few peeks into Louie’s personal life outside of his kids and his romantic relationships.
He had a brother in Season 1, but he’s not around anymore. Then there was his crazy mother, who he vowed to be the exact opposite of when it came to raising his kids. Louie’s upbringing was far from ideal, as we could probably piece together, but we never do find out why he hasn’t seen his dad in two years, or why it literally makes him sick just thinking about it.
We don’t even really need to know why. Louie had it rough, sure, and even though (as the arguing GPS told him) it’s not like his father touched him or anything, the fact that his actions have had a lasting effect on Louie’s life is all we need to know. He has no intentions of seeing him any time soon, but a meeting with his very persuasive and upper-crusty uncle (played by Oscar-winner F. Murray Abraham) convinces him into going up to Boston to visit his old man.
Louie feels like a child in the presence of his uncle, who not only tells him what to do but forces him into the lunch meeting in the first place and even orders his food for him. It’s possible that this emasculating feeling his uncle gives him is very similar to the way his dad makes him feel. The episode brings up the idea over and over again that Louie actually has a choice in this matter through a series of random characters. First it’s the doctor, who suggests that Louie will start feeling better once he makes a decision whether or not to see his dad. Then the lady at the rental car dealer tells him to do it or don’t (“be a man, you’re 44.”). Louie starts imagining that the GPS is talking directly at him, and finally a very Bostonian altercation with a stranger ended by him telling Louie to “stop being a queer,” and just make up your mind already.
Louie finally reaches his father’s doorstep, and after wavering for an entire episode on whether or not this was the right thing to do, he finally makes a decision: he runs away. He runs faster than he has ever ran before, like his entire past is gaining on him with every step. He steals a motorcycle and drives it to the marina, then drives a boat way out to the middle of nowhere. The quick-paced music dies out and gives way to a much more serene and calm scene, where Louie can relax and laugh and know that, even if he still hasn’t talked to his father, he did something for himself and it feels good. But then after that initial sense of relief, Louie realizes that despite the small progress he made internally today, he’s still very alone.
With plenty of laughs and great guest stars, surreal and absurd situations, and that heartbreaking last shot of Louie alone on the water, this episode pretty much had everything I’ve come to expect out of Louie.
- I got the biggest laugh in the opening scene, where Lily is beautifully playing the violin before she is reprimanded by her dad, “It’s not time to do that right now!”
- On the other hand, the gag at the electronics store didn’t land as well for me, though it did set up that Louie is (in this case, literally) a pushover.
- Abraham using his middle finger as a dick in a strange metaphor for family was pretty genius. “THIS is for life!”
- Nice callback from Season 2 with the poker scene, this time with Sarah Silverman joining regulars Nick DiPalo and Jim Norton. Some good banter as always, highlighted by Norton’s stick figure porn drawings he carries around with him.
- I know I mentioned it already, but the sight of Louie throwing up at the card game and again on the rental car was pretty gross and awesome.
- I love that Louie reverted back to his old Boston accent in the fight with the local.