The overarching theme in these three episodes is Louie’s relationships with the women in his life–from his daughters and ex-wife to his past flame, Pamela, and a new Hungarian love interest, Amia.
His youngest daughter, Jane, is going through a phase where she keeps acting out; running out of a subway car and insisting that her whole life was a dream (which was really disturbing) and then getting so frustrated at school she rips a teacher’s skirt off and makes her cry. Jane says the teachers are stupid and they only teach from the books because they don’t know anything and won’t answer any “real” questions, like “Why isn’t God on the news?” (Why, indeed?)
Louie and his ex-wife argue about placing the girls in private school. Louie says public school will teach them about “real life” while private school will turn them into “Hitler Youth.” His wife thinks Louie is just bitter because he can’t afford to send them to private school, while she can.
In the end, Jane apologizes to the teacher, who accepts it (because she has to) and still seems very upset (wouldn’t you be?)Jane seems to be staying in public school for now, if only because her parents aren’t communicating very well about what to do with her. To be honest, Jane seems like a really smart, creative girl who is just frustrated by a normal school curriculum. I think Louie understands this and that’s why he tells her he’s never “really mad” at her, but it’s his job to try and make her “easy” for other people to be around. Parenthood: Decoded!
Pamela makes a surprise return! She sneaks up on Louie while he’s trying to pick out chocolate and literally gives him a kick in the ass, then calls him an “asshole.” I missed her. Louie is speechless, as she tells him Europe didn’t work out after all, but that she thought about him. And if he now wants to pursue something romantic, she’s ready to go down that road with him.
It’s a dick move because the whole time you get the sense that Louie is her last choice, which isn’t lost on him as he stares at her, unbelievably angry, and tells her he has something else going on. She scoffs that “no one” would want to be with him. Now, I took that as old Pamela-Louie humor, but if she was serious: damn. Either way, Louie is obviously still mad at her (or maybe really over her? I don’t know yet) as he insists he’s involved with someone else and leaves. Pamela seems sad that she missed her chance, but I’m thinking it’s more because she feels alone rather than any real romantic feelings for Louie.
Now, where the elevator comes into the whole thing: Ellen Burstyn! She plays Evanka, a former Hungarian vaudevillian who gets stuck in an elevator and cajoles Louie to go into her apartment and get her medication for her. Louie meets Amia, Evanka’s niece, who doesn’t speak English and is only in the US for a month, and whom he seems to be falling for after spending one day with her in the city.
I won’t lie, at first I was kind of annoyed (He has amazing rapport with Vanessa but she has to strong arm him for a date, yet a day struggling to communicate with Amia and he’s in love?) But after seeing her meet Jane and perform an impromptu violin duet with her … well, now I’m kind of Team Amia. I know. I’m so easy, right?
Louie tries to get Dr. Bigelow’s opinion on whether he should continue dating Amia. The doctor’s advice (after “Who cares? There’s people who are born with no faces!”) is to simply pick a choice and stick with it. We still have three more installments of “Elevator” so I guess we’ll see Louie and Amia’s relationship run its course, because she’s not staying in the US just for him. Amia’s entire reason for being in the states is to help Evanka move back to Hungary, where her son awaits her return.
The question: Is Louie simply seizing the day, or setting himself up for more misery?