Louie Review: “So Did The Fat Lady/Elevator Pt. 1” (Season 4, Episodes 3&4)

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Elevator Pt. 1 initially deals with a rather serious issue as well — leaving a child stranded at a New York City subway station. Louie‘s eponymous character has been established and developed throughout three seasons. The audience has been exposed to his dreams, fantasies, and emotions. The writer/director succeeds in having us believe that we’ve known Louie for a while now, and we’re able to relate to him in some way or another. The supporting characters, however, are not even remotely as fleshed out as Louie. Lilly and Jane, his daughters, have come a long way since the first season, but the show rarely features them in a central role, although the latter is depicted as having a more complex relationship with her father than the former — a situation which ultimately reaches a boiling point in the aforementioned episode.

The first scene shows Jane allegedly awakening from a nightmare. Louie comforts her, and doesn’t think much of it the next day, as he’s got a lot on his plate — riding the subway in New York City while taking care of two pre-adolescent girls is far from a cakewalk, thus he carefully reminds his children on how to proceed in case something goes awry at the station. Jane believes she hasn’t woken up from her dream, and subsequently jumps out of the subway seconds before it takes off.

Louie’s desperation gradually grows. He needs to run and catch the next train in order to get back to her daughter in time. Parents all over the world have faced this situation before–I know I must have pulled a similar stunt on my dad once or twice–and the outcome solely depends on the agility of their reaction. As soon as he finds Jane waiting for him and Lilly, claiming it’s all part of her dream, he breaks down and goes ballistic on her, mainly due to his own frustration and fear.

The second half of the episode sees Louie waiting for the elevator at his building, only to find out it’s stuck, with an elderly lady (played by the magnificent Ellen Burstyn) trapped inside. She begs him to retrieve medication from her apartment, which he reluctantly agrees to do. After getting the pills, Louie finds a young woman sleeping on the couch, who he later discovers is the lady’s niece. This segment, while bizarre in nature and mildly amusing, fails to play out as effectively as the first one. The stakes are not nearly as high and Burstyn spends limited time onscreen. Then again, it’s meant to be part of a much larger storyline that will unfold over the next few episodes.

I’ve been watching Louie for a while, and it’s never let me down. As a matter of fact, it rarely neglects to impress me greatly due to its creator’s creative capabilities and a shocking knack for the perfect balance between comedy and drama. Tonight’s episodes are no different, as C.K. has delivered another outstanding comedic outing that will no doubt have his fans clamouring for more.