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Louie “In the Woods Part 1″/ “In the Woods Part 2” Review (4×11/4×12)

10 Jun

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Oftentimes, Louie takes you on an emotional journey, sliding you headfirst into some of the richest storytelling and acting on television. This is truly a show that makes full use of the artistic potential of the medium, and “In the Woods” is a beautiful and moving exploration of Louie’s past.

It’s an episode about concealed emotions, about how teenagers deal with feelings that inevitably arise from new changes in their lives. They’re older, but the reality is that they’re still kids. Lily and young Louie are both stumbling their way through rocky periods after their parents’ divorces, and they’re unable to properly express what they’re truly feeling; instead, it’s pot as a form of convincing themselves that they don’t care, that they’ll move on and that divorce doesn’t have to be a huge deal.

Yet, glossing over the problem just delays the inevitable, drawing you deeper and deeper into the muck. For young Louie, that involves telling his dad off, stealing ten scales, and doing a hell of a lot of pot, and it threatens to sever what relationships he still has: he and his mom, once with such a good rapport, are now about to snap. And snap his mom–played beautifully by Amy Landecker–does, screaming at him until he runs out of the house and she breaks down at the kitchen table.

Of course, the key aspect to this situation is that she’s ultimately there for Louie–unlike, say, his dad–taking him back and going to rehab with him. She’s far from a perfect parent, but if you’re there, if you at least make an effort, your kid will be better off for it. Instead of telling Janet about Lily smoking pot, Louie decides to go the route of support rather than of criticism, and he makes sure to let his daughter know that he loves her. The final shot of the episode is powerful: Louie’s undoubtedly worried about the future for his daughter and about his decision, but so much else is still expressed through that hug.

For, Louie’s learned from his experiences, from that year of smoking pot and the impact it had on his life. Much of this episode is about two paths, summed up brilliantly by the scene in which Louie gets pulled away to smoke a joint as he’s about to ask someone to dance; now, the question becomes: Who knows? Who knows what could’ve happened if he had gone down that other path? He’s certainly intelligent and, to Hoffman, a bright spot in a sea of disappointment, but he ruins a year of his life. Hoffman’s a father figure to him, but unfortunately, so is Jeremy Renner’s Jeff Davis.

At the end of it all, it’s actually Davis who wakes him up to the gravity of the situation. He’s committed a huge crime, and he’s getting into some real “man shit” now. He can’t go back, and well, he plays it out to the end; this episode isn’t as much about facing legal consequences as it is facing emotional consequences, as Louie doesn’t receive any official punishment for his actions. Instead, he confesses to Hoffman that he stole the scales, and the silence that follows is devastating. Here’s a great teacher and an even greater guy, and he truly believed in Louie; all that’s left now, though, is disappointment.

At least Louie can learn from that disappointment..

GRADE: A

OTHER THOUGHTS:

-Perfect casting here, and lots of overlap with some previous episodes. For example, Landecker was in “God”.

-Devin Druid really holds his own as young Louie here. Brilliant performance by him.

-Skipp Sudduth is the MVP of these episodes, in my opinion. The scene in which he defends Louie to the principal is probably the saddest one of the entire 90 minutes, and he nails it. He’s also impeccable in the final scene in the kitchen: his face says it all.

-Honestly, this episode isn’t as out of the blue as it may seem at first. We’ve seen these divorce issues building up throughout the season, and Louie even finds room to continue to take shots at the public school system.

-Can we get a spinoff about Jeff Davis and his cat? Jeremy Renner has lots of chemistry with that animal, I tell you.

-This really feels like a film. Once again, kudos, Louis CK. What a gem this is.

-RIP, Philip Seymour Hoffman. Your death still hurts, and I would’ve loved to see you as Mr. Hoffman; that role was made for you.

-Two part finale next week. This season went by too fast.

Photo credit: FX, Louie

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2 Responses to “Louie “In the Woods Part 1″/ “In the Woods Part 2” Review (4×11/4×12)”

  1. Mel June 10, 2014 at 4:01 pm #

    Season went by fast because they ran two a week. Louie was already amazing but it has become one of the best shows on TV. Louis CK is a fine director and a phenomenal writer. I want to see him do movies next.

  2. Rich June 12, 2014 at 2:56 pm #

    I’m also a father of two girls, so for me this episode really hits close to home. Oh the anguish of seeing you’re little girl lose her innocence! Louie shows tremendous maturity as a parent by not giving in to his natural instinct to scold her over her pot use. Instead, he reflects on the many mistakes he made during his own awkward middle school years, and realizes that the one thing he truly learned from those times is that yelling doesn’t help, and in fact only makes things worse. The only things that helped him were the few times when the adults in his life actually stood up for him (his science teacher) or eventually came around to get him help (his mother). These are the moments he clung to and welcomed with open arms. Similarly, upon deciding to simply tell his daughter that he’s there for her, she stands up and clutches her Daddy strongly…and doesn’t let go…By simply being there, without judgement, is what keeps our kids close to us.

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