This is the second part of Louie’s six-part “Elevator” miniseries, or whatever you want to call it, and it’s actually really great. It does everything you could hope for out of one part of a multipart piece of television: it expands on the stuff that happened in the first part, makes you interested to see what will happen in the next part, and even works satisfyingly as a standalone episode.
The core plot is about Louie initiating a courtship with Amia, the niece of the woman who was trapped in the elevator in the first part. He goes shopping, picking out a bunch of stuff to put together a really nice gift basket for her (which is a crazy amount of effort; doesn’t everybody just buy those things already assembled?); he goes to the old woman’s apartment, finds Amia isn’t there, but spends some time bonding with the old woman anyway; and then he runs into Amia later as she’s leaving the apartment building and they go on an impromptu date.
The events that go on here are super-simplistic, but Louie often exists (when it isn’t being surreal that is) on a plane of very normal human existence. As I’ve said before, episodes can feel like indie movies as they’re regularly based around life’s quiet and small, yet important experiences. So this is an episode of quiet, charming moments.
It opens with a scene once again showcasing Louis C.K.’s obvious appreciation of the luxury of food in Western society with loads of close-ups of the fancy stuff he buys at the supermarket and the work done by the employees there that makes all this extravagance possible. It’s also sweet to watch Louie bond with the old woman (Ellen Burstyn, continuing to be awesome at acting as usual), hearing about how she entertained Hungarian troops when she was younger, giving them the connection of both being entertainers.
Finally, his date with Amia is goddamned adorable as he does his best to have fun with her despite a language barrier (she barely speaks a word of English). When he sort of tries holding her hand but then doesn’t is great. And it’s particularly endearing the way he takes her to Russ and Daughters, as Liz (Parker Posey) did him in the previous season. I found this hugely relatable as I know I’ve only got a few core places in NYC in my arsenal that I take everyone from out of town to with the hope they’ll enjoy them as much as I do.
There’s another plot going on about how Louie’s daughter Jane is fed up with school and is acting out as a result. This plotline decently explains away my complaint about Jane’s story in “Elevator Part 1” as it makes clear that wasn’t an isolated incident, but rather the first sign of a growing problem with Jane that will evidently serve as a B-plot for this six-part thingy. It’s a good conflict; Jane’s complaints about school (everyone’s stupid, the teachers don’t know anything and just repeat what’s in the book) are totally justified and difficult to dismiss outright, yet she still has to go to school. I didn’t find Jane mucking about in the subway last episode to be of much interest, but I like this plotline about Louie and his ex-wife having to deal with the fallout of their kid reaching a significant existential/societal epiphany.
There aren’t often overt jokes in Louie anymore (not counting the scenes of his stand-up), but Jane’s storyline still had bits that made me laugh. I love one of Jane’s examples of the real questions the teachers won’t answer: “Why isn’t God on the news?” And Louie freaking out when talking to his ex-wife, recognizing he’s just spouting emotionally-driven bullshit but unable to stop, is brilliant.
“Elevator Part 2” was great! It’s a solid little episode on its own and provides a good bit of development of two delightful storylines that I’m now definitely invested in.