You’re The Worst has always blurred the line between comedy and drama. Between Gretchen’s (Aya Cash) clinical depression and Lindsay’s (Kether Donohue) downward spiral, the FXX sitcom has never been afraid to tackle painfully real subjects that don’t necessarily elicit big laughs. That’s not to say that the show isn’t funny. The hilarious partying sequence in episode three proved that the show is at its funniest when the characters are reveling in their bad behavior. (Poor Paul and his leaking wound.) But it also isn’t afraid to show that that behavior is usually just a mask to keep them from revealing the true hurt that lies just below the surface. We’ve already reached the midpoint in season three, and You’re The Worst makes it clear that last season’s depression storyline wasn’t just a fluke. Fans should expect a heaping dose of pain with their comedy.
While many thought that the pain threshold was met with last season’s “A Rapidly Mutating Virus,” but it turns out that “Twenty-Two” is here to take that title. A deeper look into Edgar’s (Desmin Borges) PTSD has been a longtime coming. Edgar has long been the show’s whipping boy, taking Jimmy’s (Chris Geere) derision without complaint due to his willingness to provide the homeless Edgar with free room and board. The constant stream of verbal abuses, however, have often left the question of whether it was all worth it in the back of viewers’ minds since episode one. And with an episode told exclusively from Edgar’s perspective, Jimmy and Gretchen’s offhand meanness feels over-the-line. Just because Edgar lives rent free doesn’t mean that Gretchen and Jimmy should have sex in the back of his car as he drives them all over town or pick up Jimmy’s insane supply of British “writing snacks.”
Back in season one, Jimmy performed a rare act of kindness by helping Edgar get sleeping pills from the VA in order to combat the night terrors and paranoia that have plagued him since his time in Afghanistan. In the premiere of this season, we saw Edgar flush his medication because it was leaving him numb and affecting his relationship, sexual and otherwise, with Dorothy (Collette Wolf). Since then, Edgar’s become increasingly frazzled, unable to combat the PTSD on his own but also unwilling to live his life in a drug-induced stupor. Trying to heal the wounds left by life in the military with drugs, alcohol, and sex didn’t work, sending Edgar on yet another quest to the VA in an attempt for the government he served to help heal him after the fact.
It’s one thing to read the percentages of those who have served in the military that are also dealing with PTSD or to participate in the 22 Pushup Challenge for veteran suicide awareness. But much like the clinical depression of last season, it’s important for these issues to be portrayed in such a public forum. These are stories that don’t often get told because they make people uncomfortable, but that makes them all the more important. When Edgar is turned away from a possibly life-saving alternative treatment by the VA because he stopped taking his pills, we get a glimpse of a desperate man who is actively trying to get better.
That’s part of why this is so tragic in the context of the show: These are all broken people, but most of them are unwilling to seek the help that they so clearly need. Gretchen is half-heartedly attempting therapy, Jimmy is completely ignoring any blowback from the death of his father, and Lindsay is trying to will herself into loving her husband and future child to little avail. But Edgar is trying to get help and can’t, making his situation especially heartbreaking.
Thank god the episode ends on a somewhat high note. After drunkenly wandering around a reservoir and avoiding a suspicious man born out of his paranoia late into the night, Edgar meets a tow truck driver and veteran, who offers Edgar the advice that he has to take care of himself, no matter what it is that brings him peace. While there’s a look of joy on Edgar’s face as he’s towed home while listening to his brother’s beloved tapes in his beat-up car, it’s hard to shake the feeling that it’s going to get worse for Edgar before it gets better. Dorothy is supportive to a point, begging him to seek help for her sake, because she loves him and needs him to get better. One thing is clear, though: If he wants to heal, he has to leave Jimmy’s house. As much as we love these characters and their self-destruction is part of the appeal for the show, it’s clear that Edgar is going to drown if he doesn’t cut that tie.