This season of You’re The Worst has been fascinating in the ways that it has been smartly—and cleverly—exploring the effects clinical depression has not only on one person, but within an adult relationship. It’s also been pretty devastating, and “A Rapidly Mutating Virus” is no exception.
As we’ve been seeing in recent weeks, Gretchen has all sorts of coping mechanisms that she uses when her depression hits. She hasn’t been searching for a way to cheer herself up exactly but instead searching for a way to feel something—anything—because lately she’s just been wandering around feeling nothing. She’s tried drinking excessively, asking Jimmy to slap her a bit during sex, and now we see her crushing up and snorting Adderall like a college kid during finals week. She completely bails on Jimmy with no real explanation, just ups and leaves to crash at Lindsay’s (and only tells Edgar her plans).
A radio spot with Sam debuting his new song (“New Phone, Who Dis?” with Lindsay singing the hook) quickly goes array when the song is met with harsh criticisms by radio callers. Gretchen tries to defend Sam, not knowing that the mic was cut off, but fails anyway. It’s becoming clear that her depression is beginning to leak into all aspects of her life. First, it was Jimmy and now it’s her job. She didn’t even help Sam least week, sending Lindsay in her stead, and now she’s not able to spin a bad song into something better, resulting in Sam being frustrated and angry with her. She’s ruining her work and self-sabotaging herself but Gretchen can’t seem to care. Well, it’s not that she doesn’t care—it’s that she literally cannot get her brain to force herself to feel anything about what’s going on in her life. She tries the Adderall, it doesn’t work, just like the booze didn’t. She steps her game up and starts snorting coke, to see if maybe that will jumpstart some feeling.
Meanwhile, other relationships are getting rocky as well. Lindsay’s realizing that her life has mostly consisted of dick after dick and then divorce and then more dick, and that she needs to figure her stuff out. Becca and Vernon are barely paying attention to her; she’s wrapped up in the baby and hating Lindsay while he is caught up in a strange Internet relationship where basically someone makes all of his monetary decisions for him. Edgar and Dorothy have a milestone in which they attend a party together and Edgar, worrying that he won’t fit in Dorothy’s comedy buddies, gets too high and makes an ass of himself. This is easily solved, though, when Dorothy reassures him that she likes Edgar because he’s not like those comedy bros.
It’s in stark contrast to Gretchen and Jimmy who don’t have such a clean-cut conflict and resolution. When he goes to find out what’s up with her, she basically destroys him by saying that she doesn’t feel anything: about dogs, about nachos, about him, about their relationship. It’s heartbreaking, especially because you know that that’s not entirely true—she loves him, she just can’t feel that love right now. This all culminates in a coked-up Gretchen eventually pulling out a gun and pointing it at a woman who is attacking her friend and clients. It’s terrifying and jarring (though not wholly surprising; we saw her calmly take the gun when Edgar wouldn’t put it away) but to Gretchen, it’s just … what she does. She has no feeling about this action one way or the other. She was, as she tells Lindsay later, just bored.
This lack of feeling, unsurprisingly, doesn’t exactly bode well for a relationship, which leaves the episode on yet another cliffhanger: Jimmy making out with his friend at the bar,