Love S2E9 Recap, aka The One Where Mickey and Gus Play House

Love S2E9 Recap, aka The One Where Mickey and Gus Play House

0 comments 📅03 April 2017, 14:06

Love Season 2 Episode 9 “Housesitting”

“She’s like a puzzle, and I love puzzles.” -Gus


Netflix original series Love is not afraid to give you feels (or stomp all over said feels).  Following an emotional previous episode where Mickey’s (Gillian Jacobs) dad visits her and conjures up all kinds of childhood angst and bad memories, Gus (Paul Rust) and Mickey housesit (and petsit) for one of Gus’s wealthy friends.  How do we know it’s a fancy house?

  1. There is an elevator.
  2. There are numerous antiques (and custom artwork).
  3. There is a large, custom old-fashioned fridge like none you’ve ever seen before.
  4. The wife of Gus’s friend, Linda, has “like, a million pairs of shoes.”  Interestingly, we hear Linda’s name mentioned several times throughout the episode, but never her husband’s name.  This feels like a Judd Apatow-ism.

During their housesitting weekend, Gus and Mickey have planned a TV viewing party get-together to watch the episode of Witchita (yep, that’s the correct spelling) that Gus helped write during season 1.  More than anything else, Mickey’s ultimate idea of over-the-top indulgence? Being able to have sex outside without any neighbors seeing them.  So naturally, that’s the first thing they do after she gets a tour of the house.  Later, while they are walking Gordon and Peanut (the dogs they’re petsitting), Mickey lights up a cigarette, prompting disapproving looks and comments from Gus.

Gus: “It’s kind of weird seeing you smoke out here, you know?”  Clearly it’s only okay to smoke in non-fancy neighborhoods.

Mickey then asks Gus point blank “Do you hate that I smoke?”

“Why? Do you want me to hate it?

“Do I want you to hate it?”

“Like, if it’d help you to quit, knowing that I hated it or something.  I mean, are you trying to quit, or is that not…”

Mickey says that because she’s active in SLAA and AA, smoking is the only thing she has left, and that’s why she’s been smoking more.  Gus says that he gets it, but… spoilers – he doesn’t.

That night, while wearing Linda’s silk pajamas, Mickey peruses the couple’s photo albums and tells Gus she feels like she knows them on a deeper level.  They then have a conversation about her dream, which is to live in a house like the one they’re staying in.  She asks him if that’s lame, and he reassures her that it’s okay to have dreams like that, but asks how she plans to earn enough money to afford a 5- to 7-million dollar house.  Mickey doesn’t want to earn it, she’d rather marry a rich old guy and inherit his wealth when he dies (she seems quite serious when she tells him this).  Gus asks Mickey if she thinks that’s kind of anti-feminist, and she doesn’t see it that way: she just wants a “relaxed life.”  Gus then probably wishes he could qualify his earlier statement about dreams, because this trophy wife thing is not quite the kind of dream he was referring to…

Happier times. (Courtesy of Netflix)

The following evening, Gus and Mickey’s friends and coworkers come over to watch Witchita.  Mickey and Gus each have mirroring conversations with a friend:

  • Mickey vents to her friend Syd about Gus, telling her that she feels like a fixer-upper and he gets off on having something to either be proud of or disappointed in, depending on her behavior.
  • Gus talks to one of his coworkers, who warns him that he’s taking things too seriously with Mickey, and she’s complicated.  “That’s what I like about her, you know? She’s like a puzzle, and I like puzzles.”

Everyone gathers around the TV to watch the craptastic show Gus helped write.  The crowd cheers when his name appears onscreen with a “story by” credit.  Not 60 seconds into the episode, Andy Dick (yes, THE Andy Dick) shows up because he needs to talk to Mickey about AA stuff (in the canon of the show, they are friends).  Gus is disappointed that she’ll miss part of the episode to talk to him, but accepts it.

Andy and Mickey discuss his inability to go to auditions sober, and Mickey vents (again) about how much Gus is obsessed with her sobriety and how off-putting that is for her.  Meanwhile, everyone in the group is VERY unimpressed by Witchita.  There is a lot of yawning and people checking their phones.  There’s also a lot of Gus checking to see if Mickey is coming back downstairs, but she doesn’t.  The viewing party suddenly disintegrates very quickly – apparently one of the dogs ate chocolate and got sick, prompting someone to spill their drink on the floor; Gus gets up to check on the dogs and everyone else immediately gets up to leave, not having any more of what Witchita has to offer.

Seemingly long after everyone has left, Gus is cleaning the kitchen when Mickey walks Andy to the door.  Mickey and Gus then proceed to have The Fight that defines this episode – the quasi-argument about smoking was just a warm-up.

  • Mickey obliviously asks if everyone left when she can clearly see that there’s no one there but Gus.  This prompts him to tell her how long she was gone talking to Andy.  Gus is in ULTRA bitter mode by this point.
  • Mickey asks Gus why he’s cleaning and suggests that he just do it the next day, but he wants to get it over with now.  He sneers and tells her that he has respect for other people’s things (insinuating that she doesn’t, which is fairly accurate if you’ve watched the rest of the show).  Mickey is disgusted by Gus’s need to clean and asks him if this is “what he’s actually like,” and if this is the person he’d be if they lived together.  He then tells her she should apologize.
  • Gus is hurt that Mickey missed the episode, and more hurt that she doesn’t agree with him that it was a big deal.  She feels that talking to her friend about AA stuff was much more important than supporting him.
  • Mickey asks Gus to stop monitoring her.  She’s suffocating.  Gus hurls Mickey’s “dream” back at her with particular acerbity:

“Why don’t you go find some rich old guy, and you can be his kept woman, and he can fucking ignore you, which is what you want.  You don’t want anybody caring about you, you don’t want anybody looking out for you.  You want to be treated like dirt and ignored, ’cause that’s what you’re familiar with.  And then somebody comes along and treats you kindly, and you don’t know how to fucking process it!”

  • Defensive, Mickey accuses Gus of hiding her cigarettes and tells him to “monitor this” as she dramatically smashes a crystal bowl on the floor, leaving the room and ending the fight.

The thing about this fight that fascinates me is that it’s a case where 1) neither person is seeing the other person’s perspective AT ALL, and 2) both of them are in the wrong.  Gus can’t understand how important it is for Mickey to be able to have to space to work on herself and her sobriety (and that she can’t give up everything all at once, so she continues to smoke) and Mickey doesn’t understand how important this one episode of TV was to Gus, and why he feels like he needs to tell her things like “I’m proud of you” while she bristles and doesn’t want to hear his encouraging words because they’re not helping her.

As Gus eats cereal the next morning, Mickey comes to tell him she’s leaving.  They both say they’re sorry, but it falls very flat – it’s much too short of a conversation to follow such a complicated fight.  Mickey says she’s sorry about breaking the $2000 crystal bowl (Gus checked the prices online), and suggests they pretend like it didn’t happen.  Apparently, that’s Gus’s philosophy about life (and together, the philosophy of how these two characters interact with each other).  The Eels’ “Love of the Loveless” appropriately plays as the credits roll – coincidentally, this song was similarly used in an episode of The O.C. where two of the main characters were caught in a series of relationship misunderstandings.

The morning after. (Courtesy of Netflix)


Overall rating: 4.5/5

This episode nearly perfectly captures the progression of a relationship going sour as the two protagonists continue to not address their frustrations and disappointments until they come pouring out in a fight that reveals how little they really understand and accept each other.  I don’t feel that either Mickey or Gus emerged from the fight victorious – both were very much wrong in different ways.  Many times romantic dramedies tend to portray one person as being most responsible for a fight/downturn of a relationship, but real life is a lot more nuanced than that, and I appreciate that Love is not afraid to show that both parties were very shitty to each other… and that’s just how it is between the two of them.  After finishing season 2, this episode really stood out to me as the strongest, but the entire season is bingeworthy.

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