It’s no secret that Louis C.K. is a fan of the distinct two-part episode structure (tonight’s episode marks the 14th time in less than three seasons there’s been a slash in the episode title). He does this to varying levels of success — I’ve discussed my theories in two-parters “Telling Jokes/Set Up,” “Barney/Never,” and “Ikea/Piano Lesson” this season — but it’s mostly an effective tool C.K. uses to highlight an overarching theme. In this case, it’s Louie desperately trying to find something he’s looking for.
Sometimes the symbolism on Louie is far from subtle, and you don’t need to make too far of a leap to connect the dots between Louie literally trying to find the people in this episode to figuratively trying to find things of deeper and more emotional meaning as he meanders about his mid-40s. (Though the symbolism here isn’t nearly as obvious as it was on , say, every episode in Season 5 of Mad Men, but that’s a discussion for another day.) But more times than not C.K. hammers home these themes with an irreplaceable endearing quality that few shows can duplicate.
The episode opens with a vignette with a rare occurrence for any Louie episode: a call-back character. In this case it’s Parker Posey’s crazy, unique girl from the bookshop in the Daddy’s Girlfriend episodes, who’s name we finally learn is Liz (not Tape Recorder). The offbeat night the two spent together really left an impact on Louie, and after she starts showing up in his dreams, he tries to seek her out. Turns out she no longer works at the book store, but with the help of very hipster-looking Chloe Sevigny, he tries to track her down despite not even knowing her last name.
It’s clear that Sevigny’s character is bored with her life at the book store and is an old-fashioned romantic. At first it seems like she just gets off on the thrill of being a low-rate P.I., snooping into other people’s personal lives and insisting Louie how “he has too” follow up on all these things about Liz, regardless of how uncomfortable he becomes. Of course, Louie’s naturally uncomfortable nature reaches an all-time high when Sevigny’s character literally gets off on her speech to at the coffee shop.
Where Part I is clearly on the more surreal side of C.K.’s projects, the “Lilly Changes” half of this slash episode hits much closer to home, showing Louie in dad mode (always my favorite Louie stories). We’ve always seen Lilly as a very intelligent and on-the-ball 10-year old, but for the first time we (briefly) see Lilly outside of her life with daddy when some of her classmates start teasing her for being a “nerd.” Louie tries to get her to open up to him, but Lilly isn’t having any of it. Louie has been proven to be a great dad, but sometimes he’s a little out of touch with his daughters (like when he tries to cheer her up by taking them on the Merry-Go-Round in Central Park, something Lilly has clearly out-grown).
Apparently when Louie is stressed, he takes his laptop in the bathroom and smokes a cigarette, and when he comes out, Jane greets him with the news that Lilly went out. Jane doesn’t seem too bothered by this, but obviously, Louie freaks out. His daughters are the only two things left in his life that he loves, and being a dad is one of the few things he’s any good at, so screwing something like this up is up there with the worst things he could ever do.
He doesn’t want to leave the house incase Lilly decides to come back, and he’s so scared to face his ex-wife with this news that he’d rather call the police to try and settle the matter than call her to see if she ran off to her mom’s house. But just when it looks like a full-on investigation for the missing girl could be underway, Lilly emerges from the closet with her robe and headphones on. Turns out she was just trying to take off some steam, 10-year old style (though seriously, who reads with headphones on?).
As usual, plenty of Louie’s insecurities are brought out in this episode, and while it wasn’t nearly as laugh-out-loud funny or emotionally poignant as many episodes this season, it was a fine filler installment leading up to the final four episodes of the season.
– “I’ve had a lot of trouble sleeping, as we all should.”
– “Life isn’t that long. 80-some years, buy some shit, use it, it breaks, try to fuck somebody, hope your shit’s don’t hurt too badly.
– Classy dad move of the week: Louie giving Lilly the double middle finger when she’s not looking.
– Jane’s classmate (7 years old) is teaching her Slovenian, and she thinks it’ll be helpful to use some of it when looking for Lilly.
– You don’t need a seatbelt in a taxi. They are magic and nobody dies.
– Sorry for the lateness of this post. Most of the time I like to have them up an hour or two after the episode airs but sometimes exceptions need to be made (next week’s episode may also be a day late).
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What is your favorite Louie daddy moment? Share in the comments!