‘Louie’ Season Finale Review: “Pamela Part 2 / Pamela Part 3″
FX's ‘Louie’ season 4 brings the dramedy to a temporary close with dual finale installments "Pamela Part 2" and "Pamela Part 3," the first of which sees Louie and Pamela exploring their feelings on a date, while the second finds the two coming to grips with their differing ideas on relationships.
Last week’s ‘Louie’ event “In the Woods" saw Louie's discovery of his daughter smoking pot leading him to reflect on his own experiences as a boy, getting into trouble with his mother, school, and a local dealer (Jeremy Renner). So, how do "Pamela Part 2” and "Pamela Part 3" conclude the cycle of amiable misery?
Read on for your in-depth recap of everything you need to know about ‘Louie’ season 4, episodes 13 and 14, season finale "Pamela Part 2" and "Pamela Part 3"!
Emerging from the subway, Louie calls Pamela to ask her on a real date, and though she attempts to deflect the notion at first, Louie finally wins her over with his assurance that he wants only to go out and have a nice evening with her. Afterward, Louie rehearses conversation as he grooms himself, while Pamela seems similarly edgy about trying on a dress from a shop.
The two visit a modern art exhibit, poking fun at the surreal nature of the different pieces, including a bizarre button that loudly profanes a racial slur when Louie touches it. After passing an exhibit full of naked men and seemingly dead bodies, Louie and Pamela depart the gallery for dinner. At the restaurant, Louie retrieves a bag from the hostess and tells Pamela their orders will be to go.
Despite Pamela’s reservations, Louie leads the two into Central Park at night, setting up a blanket at a specific spot and briefly enjoying dinner before Louie asks Pamela to lie on her back and train her eyes toward the stars. After a moment of adjustment, Pamela sees a shooting star, to which Louie clarifies that they’re seeing a meteor shower that occurs every 17 years, a moment he planned in advance. Assuring him it was a good move, Pamela and Louie share their first real kiss, before returning to look at the celestial sights above.
Returning to Louie’s apartment, Pamela first excuses herself to the bathroom, then quietly makes an attempt to leave, before Louie cuts her off once again. Seeing her discomfort, Louie frustratedly invites Pamela to leave, lamenting that her genuine interest in him always ends up precluded by her discomfort, though Pamela attempts to counter the awkwardness by offering to show Louie her underwear. Rather than show him directly however, Pamela first turns around and texts a photo, urging Louie to do the same, until the peep show escalates into Louie following her to the bedroom.
The following morning, Louie is awakened by a doorbell ring from Janet and Patrick dropping off the kids, Louie having forgotten that they’d switched custody for the day. Louie returns to his bedroom to find Lily and Jane already enamored of Pamela, who jokes with the girls that Louie couldn’t be her boyfriend, given his unsightly body shape. Pamela invites the girls to breakfast, after which Louie grinningly prepares to face the day.
"Pamela Part 3"
Louie returns to his building to find movers seemingly carting away many of his own possessions, before encountering Pamela and the girls upstairs laughing about giving away Louie’s “ugly” furniture. After taking a few moments to shake off the shock and anger, Louie accepts the need to redo his living room, and proposes to return the girls to their mother with Pamela in tow. Awhile later, Pamela accompanies Louie to meet Janet and Patrick at their home, quickly commenting on the awkwardness of the situation.
Louie and Pamela return to his apartment with Pamela questioning how white girls like Lily and Jane were born to Louie and a black woman, to which Louie claims that Janet’s mother was white. Pamela brushes off the idea to get intimate with Louie on his barren floors, as we see the couple shopping through an expensive furniture store later. Afterward, Louie takes Pamela to the Comedy Cellar to see his act for the first time, growing nervous that she doesn’t immediately chuckle at his material.
After the set, Louie and Pamela hang out with the other comedians, during which Marc Maron reveals to the group that his own TV show had recently been picked up. Louie weakly feigns congratulation, for which Maron points out that they used to be much closer, and Louie’s absence as a true friend in recent years has genuinely hurt him. Shortly thereafter, Louie and Pamela leave the club with Louie lamenting that Marc was right, though Pamela points out that Louie is merely insecure with his own success, and could easily get his own TV show if he earnestly worked for it.
Returning to Pamela’s apartment, Louie bars Pamela’s attempts to drink in order to say that he loves her, though her inability to return the words quickly gets under his skin. Louie expresses his concern that Pamela can’t return any of the normal couple sentiments that he wants, to which Pamela freely admits that she finds normal feelings disgusting, leading Louie to a swift exit. Leaving the building however, Louie gets a call from Pamela to come immediately back upstairs, which he obliges.
Entering the apartment, Louie finds Pamela in a candlelit bath like the one she’d invited him to years earlier, as she invites him to join her. Louie strips down, reluctantly removing his shirt at her behest, before joining her in the tub and overflowing water on the candles by his volume. Laughing it off, she and Louie share stories of their first kisses, before Pamela admits that she doesn’t feel comfortable saying certain words or expressing the same feelings that Louie does. Pamela asks if the intimate moment they’re currently sharing is enough, to which Louie gives her a warm smile.
Well, it was probably too much to hope that ‘Louie’ might have addressed the more troubling aspects of the first “Pamela” installment, particularly after last week’s 90-minute flashback diversion “In the Woods” largely wiped the slate clean for whatever the finale might have brought our way. To our knowledge, neither Louis C.K. nor Pamela Adlon made any significant comments on the more forceful aspects of the characters’ last interactions, though we suppose the latter two installments of the trilogy largely served to establish that the two have their own unique manner of relating to one another, and however confused the dynamic may seem from the outside, it clearly works for them as individuals.
We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again, the very nature of ‘Louie’ makes it difficult to invest in ongoing continuity, as however close Louie and Pamela became by tonight’s finale, we’ve certainly seen larger developments tossed aside by the following week. This season alone, we never heard word one about why Louie’s relationship with the weight-championing Vanessa fell apart, or if Louie’s litigious difficulties with premiere “Model” Yvonne Strahovski ever carried over, even as Pamela has remained a far more steady constant throughout the series at large. Pamela’s nods to Janet and the kids’ racial incongruity is a nice touch, though even if ‘Louie’ season 5 (which may or may not come in 2015) picked up with Pamela and Louie still together, it’s tough to say if ‘Louie’ could explore the same grounds with a committed (and serialized) relationship.
All that said, both latter installments of the “Pamela” series are especially cathartic and sweet, as we see a series-long culmination of two characters who have seen one another at various bests and worsts. In particular, it’s a joy to see so many vulnerabilities exposed on either side of the relationship, as Pamela admits her own difficulty relating to more common relationship conventions, while Louis C.K. himself gets to display a nice bit of physical vulnerability over insecurities with his body. Whatever the real relationship between the two comedians (and our less integral perversions have enjoyed some of the media speculation), there’s a wonderful bit of camaraderie between the pair, as we see that either pushes the other outside a certain comfort zone the less confident among us can readily appreciate.
More than the physical, “Pamela” as an hour lends itself to an idea we’ve seen ‘Louie’ flirt with all season, surrendering a certain comfort zone that even the literal manifest of which only phases him for mere moments; one doesn’t achieve wish fulfillment like the long-awaited bath with Pamela without surrendering at least a few prior hangups in pursuit of true intimacy.
Apart from all the think-piece worthy moments to read into, between the art gallery trip and an overall sense of optimism for Louie’s future relationship with Pam, we’re still left with our own audience insecurities as to whether or not we should buy into a sense of continuity from an hour that however brave, still maintains a certain surreal edge. In particular, the brief interjection with Marc Maron seems a bit random for an otherwise strong focus, but still proves interesting from a meta-standpoint of the real Louis C.K.’s comedy relationships.
All in all, “Pamela Part 2” and “Pamela Part 3” prove an exceptionally sweet, and strong finish for the long-awaited fourth season, morality questions notwithstanding, though we’d hope Louis C.K. himself could understand flinching at the thought of Louie and Pamela together on a future basis.
Well, what say you? Did you get your fill of awkward ‘Louie’ laughs? Did tonight's finale hold up to the season at large? Let us know in the comments, stay tuned for more on the finale and check back next year for more all-new ‘Louie’ episode recaps of season 5 on FX! Fingers crossed!