‘Louie’ Season Finale Review: “New Year’s Eve”
Time to show them why you got those Emmys, Louis C.K. ‘Louie’’s epic third season comes to a close, but can the series reach the high of “The Late Show” trilogy? ‘Louie’ season 3 suffers through “New Year’s Eve” in its thirteenth, and final episode of the year, as Louie celebrates Christmas with his daughters, but finds his New Year’s loneliness and an invitation from his sister (Amy Poehler) taking him to strange new places.
Last week’s ‘Louie’ episode “Late Show Part 3” saw Louie ultimately losing his shot at David Letterman’s job, but triumphing in that he put forth a real effort and didn’t let anyone, including Jerry Seinfeld break him. So how does “New Year’s Eve” conclude the season??
Read on for your in-depth recap of everything you need to know about ‘Louie’ season 3 finale, “New Year’s Eve!”
We open on our hero Louie, seemingly alone as he sits on the couch draped by a blanket, and buried in a coffee mug. One quick turn reveals that in fact Louie isn’t alone, but watching his girls tear through their Christmas presents beside the tree! As they unwrap, he remembers hastily wrapping the gifts he night before, and the crowded toy store it took to get Jane the stuffed blue monkey she wanted so desperately.
Similarly, when Lilly opens and expresses love for the doll Louie bought her, he flashes back to the night before, when he opened it to discover its eyes rattling around in its head. Louie tries everything to put the eyes back into place, from chopsticks to removing the hair to sawing off the top of her cranium, finally retrieving 3, not 2 eyes. Painstakingly sewing the rest of the doll back together, Louie manages to superglue the eyes in place, but realizes they’re stuck to the couch. When ripping it off only seems to make the damage worse, Louie cries, before painstakingly cleaning and re-coloring the doll (though peeing on it in frustration), and making every effort to appease his daughter.
Jane opens her next gift, a children’s book about a Chinese family of ducks called “The Story About Ping” and asks Louie to read it do her. As they read the story of the ducks by the Yangtze River, Jane remarks that it seems beautiful in China, to which Louie agrees. A knock at the door brings Louie’s ex-wife Janet and her new husband Patrick, there to pick up the girls. After answering that “The Late Show” didn’t pan out for him, Louie asks Janet to make sure the girls send him pictures and messages from their trip overseas
After seeing the seemingly happy family off down the elevator, Louie immediately trashes the leftover wrapping paper, and strips the ornaments from the tree, blithely shoving the tree itself out the living room window and drawing the shades. He awakens sometime later to the sound of a phone call from his sister Debbie (Amy Poehler!), who realizes he’s “all alone” on Christmas. Disliking the thought of her brother alone, Debbie reveals that her husband bought Louie a ticket to Mexico to go with her family to visit their grandmother, and would much prefer Louie come than spend New Year’s by himself, though the comedian politely declines.
Drifting off to sleep, Louie dreams of a future Jane and a future Lilly meeting for lunch , where fill-in-the-blank talk of their own futures shifts to how depressing their lonely father is, and how his being so alone in life likely messed up their lives as well. Louie snaps awake in his squalor, as the news exaggeratedly babbles about New Years’ suicides, before the comedian makes a snap decision. Showering, packing and grabbing his passport, Louie heads out to grab the next bus
And who should she see on that bus across the aisle, but Liz (Parker Posey)! Liz lights up at the sight of him, and rushes over, only to immediately start bleeding out the nose and convulsing. Shortly after, Louie rides with Liz to the hospital, where a doctor reveals that whatever cancer she had in her youth has come back aggressively. Liz calls out for Louie, pleading that she isn’t ready to die, and offering up a simple “bye” as she slips off, the doctors unable to revive her. Her death called at exactly 11:59 p.m., Louie wanders outside the hospital room to find doctors and patients alike joyously counting down to the new year. While everyone embraces in celebration, Louie grabs his coat and wanders out.
Louie arrives at the airport, still with the sound of New Years’ in his head, and lays down to take a nap on one of the benches. Waking up on the floor the next morning, Louie visits a flight board and looks at the available departures to Mexico, but instead the flights to Beijing, China catch his eye! Uh-oh…
Walking around China, Louie tries in vain to get directions to the Yangtze River, but no one understands him. Even as a Chinese man mirrors his hand gestures and turns it into a form of meditative martial art, Louie doesn’t seem to know what he’s doing. Wandering around further, Louie finds a man driving a pickup full of caged ducks, who seemingly agrees to take him to the river.
When the finally arrive at the spot, the man takes Louie to a pitiful creek before wishing him well, and departing. Disappointed, Louie wanders further around the area, before finding a small home overlooking a gorgeous view. An elderly woman invites him into a gathering of others, who treat him with great hospitality and serve him a meal as they celebrate. The group try to teach him a few Chinese phrases, bursting into uproarious laughter along with him. The camera pans out over the beautiful Chinese Landscape, as “Auld Lang Syne” continues once more…
As hard as it may have been to top ‘Louie’s epic “Late Show’ trilogy, the Emmy-winning comedian may have succeeded in “New Year’s Eve”s heart-breaking depression. It creates a wonderful study of dissonance in its flight between happiness, and the sinister machinations waiting behind every moment. For every blissful child unwrapping a Christmas present, there’s a father who spent a manic night before trying to make it perfect, and for every seemingly serendipitous encounter, tragedy may strike at any moment. In the end, we ought to leave our beds, our apartments, our countries, any small measure of venturing into the unknown that takes us to new weird, and wonderful places. For any one half-hour of TV to say all that with so relatively little, the Emmys practically win themselves.
Did you get your fill of awkward ‘Louie’ laughs? What did you think about the finale? Let us know in the comments and check back next season for all-new ‘Louie’ episode recaps of season 4 on FX!