Traveling is not fun. Can we all just admit that? Whether it’s flying, driving, or taking the train, traveling is generally an unpleasant experience. Running from gate to gate, sitting in cramped spaces with complete strangers, constantly dealing with the less than passionate approach to life travelers and employees alike seem to have. As Louie states to his overzealous driver in Cincinnati in the first part of Louie‘s season finale, the road is an adventure… for some; for others, its an arduous test of their patience and humanity, something Louie more than effectively portrays in “The Road, Part 1.”
There’s really nothing going on in “The Road”; it’s simply a series of conversations and moments that frustrate Louie, small moments set against the backdrop of a big airport terminal (and for a few seconds, a painful moment while trying to sleep on the plane). Regardless of whether the people he’s interacting with are helping him or not, Louie couldn’t be less enthused to interact with another human being, especially after arriving in Cincinnati to a talkative driver and a motel reservation that Doug was afraid to tell him about (bringing back one of my favorite recurring characters, if only for a brief moment). There aren’t a ton of jokes, or really even important conversations. Save for Louie’s monologue about hating to travel, the biggest event of “The Road” is when a vagrant outside Louie’s motel finds the friend he was looking for (who Louie said was dead, out of annoyance), a story that occurs entirely outside Louie’s apartment.
“The Road” is really a look at how isolated Louie makes himself when he goes on the road for work, at times feeling like a plea to the audience to kindly f*** off when he’s traveling across America, because he’s not doing it out of pleasure, or fan service. After all, it’s still a job, and a job can be tedious and full of small frustrations, just like the rest of life, and the first half of Louie’s season finale is really only concerned with making that point. There are small observations here and there – like Louie not knowing what to call the lost girl at the terminal, or his lost luggage being destroyed in a safe nuclear underground facility while he waits in the distance – but for the most part, this is one of Louie‘s lowest-key episodes, only engineering anything overtly humorous when he takes to the stage and pontificates about how we, as humans, even bother wearing clothing when we’re all such big fans of sex.
However, this is Louie, and the “Part 1” in the title of the episode definitely suggests towards something unifying the moments of this episode with whatever happens when Louie, sporting a new suitcase, arrives in Charlotte for his next gig. Cincinnati’s lack of dramatic propulsion leads me to believe there’s something larger in store next week – and if there isn’t, if it’s just a mundane day in the life of Louie again, I’m okay with that, too. After all, it’s the little touches that make Louie so beautiful: the close-up of Doug’s face inside a limo; the poor driver crying after he details all the comedians he’s hung out and made friends with, only to see Louie reject him; and the little girl who is running away from the man trying to help her, a noble gesture by Louie lost between cultures and languages (and ending with Louie basically throwing up his hands and saying “who knows where this little girl went, for f***’s sake”). Regardless of its lack of dramatic thrust, the opening chapter of “The Road” still makes for an intriguing watch, if only to try and suss out the important threads next week’s season finale may touch on.
[Photo via FX]