Coming off its worst season, it was up to You’re the Worst to re-right the ship and bring it in for a solid landing in its fifth and final year. I’m happy to say they did that, with minimal ups and downs, for the most part, as Jimmy and Gretchen’s unconventional romance came to a sensible (for them) non-conclusion in the series finale.
After getting engaged in the fourth season finale, Jimmy and Gretchen spent most of the fifth season planning a wedding, an action which doesn’t make much sense for either of them as we’ve come to know them over the years. They make fun of the very idea of marriage, and most of all weddings, concocting elaborate lies of their “fairy tale romance” to the wedding planner in the season premiere, which plays out as a fantasy spoof of a 90’s rom-com, a genre that the show itself was created to subvert the tropes of.
So inevitably, Gretchen begins to fall apart as she always does, being promoted at work just so that she can sabotage herself, stealing Edgar’s various meds and attempting to see if Jimmy will abandon her the more she spirals, as is her greatest fear. Jimmy doesn’t do it, remaining committed to Gretchen through his own cheating slip with the wedding florist, and committed to overlooking and ignoring the increasing warning signs of her deterioration and self-destruction. The show was always about whether two supremely screwed up people can actually find happiness with another person, but I couldn’t help but think Jimmy is a lot more stable than Gretchen, who probably has one moment of clarity this entire season, when she dresses down Edgar for warning Jimmy against marrying her the night before the wedding.
Edgar is right of course, as his pathetic puppy-dog loyalty to Jimmy finally reaches a breaking point when he makes the fateful decision to do that, leading Jimmy and Gretchen to finally reach a resolution about marriage and their relationship as a whole in the final episode. It wouldn’t have made sense for them to walk happily down the aisle, but breaking them up for good also seems the wrong way to go in a series finale for a show that still worked as a romantic comedy, even if was about subverting its tropes and mocking their happy endings. So they heed Edgar’s advice, somewhat, and don’t go through with the ceremony, instead choosing to stay together, unmarried, for as long as they can happily remain so (though I have questions about the montage that shows them having a kid in the future, as a baby is a much bigger commitment than marriage, and with Gretchen’s mental illness, that seems bound to end in bigger tragedy, especially if they want their relationship to remain about each other).
In supporting character news, Edgar finally breaks apart from Jimmy, even though he must kill their friendship to do so (bittersweet, but the two are reconciled in the flash forward reveals, which originally teased a Gretchen-Jimmy break up only to fake you out- nicely done), and Lindsay winds up maturing just enough to realize she was better off with Paul all along (I could have told her that much back in the first season). The season isn’t quite as funny as past ones have been, but what you miss in laughs is made up for in poignancy. Stephan Falk brings it back around in a way that mostly makes sense for all the characters (Paul, Vernon and Becca included, though I don’t think an entire mid-season episode revolving around them was necessary), and gives you the unconventional semi-happy ending that stays in line with the nature of Jimmy and Gretchen’s relationship as we observed it. It’s as satisfying as you could have wanted it.