Louie: Elevator Part 6 review

Louie closes the elevator doors on Amia in a satisfying miniseries end.

I worried, with the impending doom of Hurricane Jasmine Forsyth foreshadowed in parts 4 and 5 of “Elevator,” that something ridiculous, surreal, and outlandish might take place in the final part of this miniseries, thus denying us a proper, satisfying conclusion to Louie’s relationship with Amia. Well, Jasmine Forsyth did hit and it was surreal and a bit ridiculous, but Amia still got a deserving sendoff. And it was one of the series’ best ever moments.

What we didn’t get, unfortunately, was any real conclusion to Louie’s daughter Jane’s school troubles, which seemed to fall away as this miniseries went on. It’s become evident that the six parts of “Elevator” were really about Amia. Other characters from earlier in the series’ life, like Pamela and Dr. Bigelow (Charles Grodin) appeared during “Elevator” and the episode following this one continues more or less right where “Elevator Part 6” leaves off. What I’m getting at is that “Elevator” obviously doesn’t exist in a vacuum. It’s a part of the timeline of Louie, the events of which were affected by what came before it and which will affect future episodes. The only element confined to this six-parter (at least so far) appears to be Amia herself, so Jane’s school situation may be revisited after all.

Regardless, I liked the idea of the trouble with Jane working as a parallel—and occasionally intersecting—plotline with the Amia story. So that it petered out to make way for the hurricane is still a bit disappointing. Furthermore, there were scenes indicating how well Amia got along with Louie’s kids. Louie’s ex-wife even outright stated in “Part 4” that it was unfair how Amia’s leaving was going to make the kids sad. But the kids and Amia don’t even share a scene here. True, they had very few scenes together before this, but the times we did see Amia and Louie’s kids interact initiated a tiny narrative and it’s too bad that narrative didn’t get at least one scene to provide a conclusion.

But any problems I can think of with “Elevator Part 6” fall away almost entirely because I can’t deny how much the conclusion of Amia and Louie’s relationship made me feel things. The opening, with Louie and Amia standing in a foggy park is gorgeously shot and another reminder of Louis C.K.’s background in film. Louie and Amia’s continued futile attempts to communicate to each other are tragic and it’s refreshing when Louie does the obvious thing and tries to get Amia’s aunt Ivanka to translate.

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The hurricane is a strange inclusion that derails everything for a while. It feels like a non sequitur interrupting the story we actually care about, but it does serve two functions. One, it makes for that tried and true narrative technique in which the emotional crescendo (Amia and Louie screaming their heads off) is reached at the same time as a far more tangible one (Kaboom! Kablammo! Nature’s gonna kill us all suddenly!). Second, Louie quickly realizes he has to go rescue his kids, demonstrating how, yeah, Amia’s great and all, but Louie’s first priority is his children, which parallels nicely with the final scene in which Amia reminds us that her first priority is her son.

Jasmine Forsyth is still my least favorite aspect of the episode though. I found some of its weird inane moments (the guy in the rain who doesn’t own a dog but is searching for one and the screaming man running down the street in his underwear) just a bit too silly. But other bits (Louie deciding to pocket a banana before venturing out into the storm and the Hertz Rent-a-Car that is miraculously unaffected and unaware of the hurricane) were quite funny. Furthermore, some of the shots did a fantastic job of actually making the show resemble a natural disaster movie and it’s hugely impressive and ambitious for an awfully low-budget show like Louie to pull something like this off.

It all really comes down to the final scene, however, which goes out with a five-minute long, uninterrupted shot of Louie and Amia on either side of a Hungarian waiter who has been kind enough to translate Amia’s goodbye letter. It’s one of the best moments the show has ever produced and has wonderfully realistic touches like the waiter asking Amia for clarification on a word she’s written that he’s not sure of or when he explains that a word in Hungarian that there isn’t quite an English equivalent to translates to something like a “peaceful happiness.”

Basically, even if I had misgivings about “Elevator Part 6.” The end of the episode made me well up in a way Louie hasn’t done since Pamela took off for Paris back in Season 2. It was sweet, sad, charming, and even has a funny line from Louie in the middle of it all:

“I’m gonna miss you so much. But I wouldn’t trade it. I wouldn’t trade it for anything. Except maybe a situation where I know what you’re saying and I can talk to you and we live in the same place.” 

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5 out of 5