This week was a big one for television, with Sunday’s Emmy ceremony causing all the stir one would expect. But amidst all the hot takes, long (and I mean LONG) speeches, and a rainbow of velvet suits, those of us with ~taste~ were sitting tight, knowing that in a year’s time The Other Two will be eligible for the applause and recognition it so rightly deserves.
Until then, we’re nearing the end of our latest season. So let’s refresh on our penultimate pair of episodes before this week’s finale airs.
Episode 7: “Chase Becomes Co-Owner of the Nets”
There are few things better than a really long-standing bit. The episode titles of The Other Two are one such bit — they highlight the travails of Chase and Pat, which have, over time, become less and less relevant to the plot of the show. The show’s seventh episode has possibly the greatest of such titles: “Chase Becomes Co-Owner of the Nets.” This comes from exactly one (1) line in the episode, and could not be less pertinent to anything that happens afterwards. It’s yet another example of how every single detail of this series is crafted for a laugh.
So, what actually does happen in this episode?
Well, for starters, Pat opens the episode doing Vogue’s “73 Questions” video series, which I personally found to be a hysterical concept. During the course of her answers, we discover that Cary has booked his first major film role! And his co-stars are Patricia Arquette and Beanie Feldstein! It’s all finally happening for Cary.
The movie is called Night Nurse, and Cary is playing a nurse on the hospital night shift, leading to only one natural conclusion:
To prepare for this first step towards stardom, Cary shadows actual nurses at an actual hospital. He takes this extremely seriously, asking the tough questions like, “You would do this the same at night, right?” (“this” being taking a patient’s blood pressure). While running lines in the staff break room — and in full costume — a doctor suddenly runs in demanding Cary’s help on a code blue. Fortunately for Cary and his complete lack of a medical degree, this is yet another performer preparing for a role. Yes, this hospital is apparently full of studious actors preparing for minimal screen time in medical dramas.
Sadly, Cary’s preparation is soon revealed to be for nothing. He gets a call from his agent informing him that Patricia Arquette (or “Patty,” as Cary has prematurely come to know her without ever meeting her), has dropped out of the project and the funding has been pulled. His first indie feature film is no more.
The news is so shocking, Cary pulls a full Tony Soprano and passes out right there in the hospital lobby. He wakes up in a hospital bed and soon has a new roommate: his fellow actor-in-preparation, whose lines were cut when Angela Bassett decided she could do the entire scene of dialogue herself, looking into a mirror. I mean… she’s not wrong.
While this is clearly a huge bummer for Cary, it does give his friend Curtis the opportunity to live out his ultimate fantasy acting role: “a patient’s wife who’s told that she can’t go in there, but god damn it, that is her husband and no one is stopping her.” And play that role he does, complete with fur coat and some coaching of the actual nurse on staff who was happily going to let him through. Edie Falco is shaking.
After Curtis’s EGOT-worthy performance (he didn’t sing but just give him a Grammy anyway), the two jump on the ferry. I need a quick aside here to emphasize the fact that Cary has been on Staten Island this ENTIRE TIME. No wonder things went wrong.
Anyway, on the boat ride, Cary is throwing everything he’s got into bemoaning the sad state of his life — as Curtis gets visibly upset listening. Finally, he can no longer take it. Curtis stops Cary’s complaining to point out that, while he loves Cary and is genuinely excited for his successes in life, it’s been extremely hard to hear him complain when Curtis would love even a fraction of the career progress Cary has made. It’s a brutally honest moment between the two friends, and has some echoes of Cary’s first time losing himself while chasing fame, with his teacher love interest in the first season. Growth is messy and nonlinear, and seeing Cary fall into familiar traps makes The Other Two all the more real and interesting.
Unfortunately, in all the chaos of the day no one informs Pat that Night Nurse is no longer happening — and she makes a sweet Instagram post about it. A post whose notifications wake Cary up in a horror movie-esque scene, causing him to exclaim, “Oh, my god. Everyone’s gonna think the movie is still happening.” Sometimes, saying the implied joke out loud is the funniest option.
Brooke’s day has been perhaps even more harrowing than her brother’s. After “73 Questions,” she’s headed to a panel that Shuli is on, about women in business. When she arrives, though, she’s informed that she, too, is on the panel. Truly the stuff of nightmares.
It’s even more of a nightmare for Brooke, who — despite having once had business cards made with the title “Strong, Powerful Businesswoman” on them — has historically not really loved women! She’s mentioned this in passing in a few episodes over the course of the series, but it comes out fully as she struggles through the panel.
At first I read her panel performance as a commentary on white feminism — particularly in one instance where she claims to have attended “all the marches,” and then has to pass when the moderator asks her to name one specifically. But Brooke’s isn’t even a performative or exclusionary feminism. She actually seems to have no desire to perform it at all, save for the fact that she is facing an auditorium full of women expecting her to comment on feminist issues. And she feels ill-equipped to discuss issues that affect all women, equally.
Seeing Brooke struggle to embody the very public persona of what I think many people picture when they think of an outspoken female leader was actually pretty refreshing. As someone who both firmly believes in equal rights for all and feels a bit disconnected from the imagery of girl power and sisterhood that have become common expressions of modern feminism, Brooke’s dilemma certainly resonated with me.
Luckily, Brooke puts my feelings into the perfect words. One by one, young women in the audience step up to accuse Brooke of being anti-woman, for reasons such as forgetting their name after meeting them in the bathroom one time and unfollowing them on Instagram for posting too many concert videos on their stories. What ensues is a deeply hilarious academic debate from the accomplished panel of successful women about which of these actions should be considered anti-woman (and how long an Instagram story should be). The verdict? We can think some women are annoying without that making us anti-feminist! Or, as Brooke so eloquently puts it, “Women can suck!” — while also earning equal pay and control over their own bodies!
After the panel, Shuli pulls Brooke aside to compliment her on her panel performance. Brooke is obviously shaken up by the whole ordeal, and is surprised by the comment. Even with a reminder of her earlier business cards, Brooke insists she’s been lying about being a Strong, Powerful Businesswoman this whole time so that people would believe in her — to which Shuli responds, “Congratulations, the lie’s become real.” It may seem like a cheeky “fake it until you make it” throwaway, but in the moment it actually comes across as incredibly supportive, and we can tell the comment means a lot to Brooke.
And when Brooke goes outside to apologize to the girls she has unintentionally wronged, she can suddenly see their respect for her just as she is — a respect that is well-deserved.
Episode 8: “Pat Gets an Offer to Host ‘Tic Tac Toe’”
Sometimes our favorite comedy show has to briefly become our favorite horror show. This episode is that.
So it turns out that having your mom mistakenly post that you’re in a nonexistent film can be quite a career boost. Everyone takes Pat’s Instagram at complete face value, and so Cary is getting bouquets of flowers from every gay guy in Hollywood to congratulate him for his upcoming role in Night Nurse. Despite having the opportunity to hook up with Antoni from Queer Eye literally SITTING in his inbox, he somehow makes the decision to go on a date with Dean Brennan (Michael Campayno) — a rising star in Hollywood who is heavily rumored to be queer, but refuses to comment on his sexuality.
Brooke, meanwhile, is off to escort Chase to his latest gig: a voice acting role in Disney’s latest uncanny valley live-action CGI remake of Bambi. Also starring Drake as Bambi and Cardi B as Bambi’s mom. Please… pause and let that casting sit with you for a moment.
Joining them at the recording session is pro athlete Damian Davis (Stephen Cofield), who is one of Lance’s sports idols and also extremely sexy. He’s pretty much immediately into Brooke, and after he invites her over for a drink she excitedly calls her ex-boyfriend to let him know (meeting his current girlfriend, Leah, in the process). Lance and Leah demand constant updates on the situation, and Brooke is happy to oblige.
Back to Cary. He and Dean go on their date, and are promptly ambushed by paparazzi who want to know if the pair are romantically involved. Dean continues to artfully avoid the question — yet makes sure to strategically touch Cary’s hair to see what kind of product he uses, or check his shirt collar to get the brand of his button-down (“Oh. Mossimo.”). The cameras conveniently eat it up.
If by now you’re yelling “queerbaiting!” — you are correct! Shuli appears in the bathroom to break the hard truth to Cary: Dean is only pretending to maybe be gay to drum up publicity for his upcoming George Michael biopic. She hands Cary a mysterious address where he’ll find all the proof he needs of Dean’s orientation.
Things are going a *lot* better for Brooke, who is currently at Damian’s house being heavily flirted with. A woman of her word, she constantly takes bathroom breaks to call Lance and Leah with updates on how things are going, and they are shrieking. As much as I thought I was team Brooke + Lance 4ever, I actually am in love with the friendship blossoming between these three.
Sufficiently suspicious after Dean ends their date with not so much as a kiss, Cary visits the address Shuli gave him. Inside the apartment, he finds Jordana Brewster. Yes, of Fast & Furious fame. She has a harrowing tale to share, in between dropping hints that she went to the Yale School of Drama. Jordana and Dean dated for two weeks, but things went sour after he won a Teen Choice Award in 2010. He realized that to win an Oscar he couldn’t be so obviously straight, and so he scrubbed all traces of the pair.
Jordana Brewster’s performance in this scene is nothing short of iconic. She is deadly serious about her unceremonious dumping, and gives a bone-chilling line read of one of the series’ greatest pieces of dialogue:
“We met shooting a Scooby-Doo/Flintstones live-action crossover film called ‘Scooby-Doo 4: Yabba Dabba Dooby.’”
Seriously… all praise Jordana and whoever came up with that title.
Armed with photo evidence of Dean in cargo shorts, Cary confronts him: “You’re never gonna ride my ass hard, are you?”
Unfortunately, Dean is determined to go to any lengths necessary to win an Oscar. In this case, that means giving a full Christian Bale in American Psycho-esque monologue about how enigmatic he is thanks to his gay-baiting. And then forcing Cary to attend the Equality Gala with him (in a sparkly harness). But not before slipping in the truly deranged comment that his playing the first openly gay superhero would be a huge win not only for him, but for “you guys” too.
At the gala, Cary tries in vain to alert the hosts to Dean’s scheme. Unfortunately, they’re all perfectly aware and care not one bit. Just as he’s using the gay community to win acting prestige, the Equality hosts are using him to attract bigger talent to their gala.
So now we know: Everyone finds a way to reap benefits from something they can convince themselves is, in some way, good for greater representation. And as a result, we get Jared Leto.
While Cary is living this nightmare, Brooke has found herself in her own sticky situation. After signing a post-hookup NDA for Damian, she proceeds to loudly warn Lance, Leah, and Streeter not to spill the beans — while riding in three separate Lyfts.
After receiving repeated calls from Damian’s lawyer informing her of her breach, her mind goes where any reasonable person’s would: that Lance’s apartment is bugged. She and Streeter run over to inspect, and upon finding nothing, it is determined that someone is wearing a wire. So that’s how we end up with Lance, Leah, Brooke, and Streeter naked in the bathroom (and all wireless).
Brooke is finally made to realize that Lyft drivers are, in fact, people who can hear your phone calls — and is also made to realize how expensive it is to break an NDA. Time for Pat to take on another hosting job (and finally, the episode title arrives!).
Our episode ends at a wintry Bethesda Fountain, because this show is nothing if not Always Referencing (this time, Angels in America). Cary finally tells Dean off for the harm his gay-baiting has caused (again… Cary did NOT sleep with Antoni because of this). Dean, master of the gaslight that he is, turns it back on Cary, asking if his straightness was the reason Cary was attracted to him in the first place. It clearly has an impact on Cary.
With two episodes left, I’m hoping for Cary to finally have the opportunity to let himself let loose. But the prospect of an overworked Pat meltdown still looms, so I’m not sure just how loose the Dubeks can be. See you back here for our last recap of the season!