“We Can Do Better Than This” is an apt title for this episode, in which practically everyone clumsily tries to be better: better at work, better at feminism, better at an improv hobby, better at life. The results are, well, not spectacular and ultimately we’re left with some questions.
The three big stories in the episode are Jimmy getting a new writing gig, Gretchen and Lindsay attempting to talk about more important things than men, and Edgar cozying up to his new improv teacher. My favorite — probably predictably — is Jimmy’s, who falls into the business of writing television novelizations by agreeing to write one for a procedural that he unabashedly, hilariously loves: NCIS: Los Angeles. It’s a funny juxtaposition between the oft-made fun of series and Jimmy’s general pretentious Brit nature, but it’s made even funnier by howmuch he loves it, and how obsessive he gets about the job. He gleefully watches episodes and thumbs through the gigantic show bible, then he loses his mind a bit making a crazy wall inspired by the show, nearly stumbling over his words as he explains the book’s plot to a kid.
Underneath the jokes is Jimmy’s desire to be a writer. He already is one (a book with a good review!) but he’s been stalling since last being published, unable to formulate a good enough idea for a follow-up or just unable to decide what exactly he wants to do. But he needs money, so he needs a job, even if it’s not exactly writing the next great American novel. But his enthusiasm wanes as the episode goes on and he realizes that this is harder than it should be. It should be easy for him because he fancies himself into a great writer. He tries to prove this to himself by going to Edgar’s improv shows with a list of prewritten heckles but then finds himself strangely immersed in the scene (a complete 180 from when he told Edgar that listening to him describe improvised scenes was even worse than listening to someone describe their dreams) and impressed by the improvers, later chatting with them.
Edgar is also at that improv after party, having gone to the show to support his improv teacher Dorothy, the only girl in the troupe, and whom Edgar has a little crush on. She doesn’t seem super interested at first until he mentions that he is a war veteran. They end talking and drinking for a while and are beginning to really hit it off. So much so, that Edgar doesn’t notice when his phone is buzzing with a drunk text from Lindsay, nor does he notice when Tall Nathan responds with, “new phone, who dis?”
Lindsay and Gretchen, upon realizing that they only really talk about the various men in their lives, decide to meet up the next day with a list of topics that aren’t men (after ruining the poor yogurt joint’s employee’s day). “This is feminism, right?” Lindsay questions. Gretchen easily brings up their respective mothers; Lindsay — in a new, tamer, more professional outfit — goes quickly for the hard stuff: ISIS. She’s a total downer — but the commentary on how easy it is to get swayed by the internet (Lindsay has two dueling opinions on basically everything, just blindly quoting hot takes she’s read) is pretty ace — and Gretchen wants her friend back to normal. A picture of Paul’s new girlfriend working as a ASL translator for Beyonce jolts Lindsay back to her usual self, drowning in wine on her couch.
The end of the episode brings about two important moments. Jimmy, who was caught earlier jerking off to his own erotic stories that he wrote as a child, comes to the decision that he wants to write an actually-great literary erotic novel — Gretchen, who also got sucked into the book, thinks this is a great idea. But after that, when they fall asleep, Gretchen once again sneaks out just as she did at the end of last week’s episode — except this time, Jimmy sees her. Where is she going? And will Jimmy actually confront her, or will this linger around creating tension for a few episode?