Cougar Town, Ep 4.08: ‘You and I Will Meet Again’ addresses with the elephant in the room

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Cougar Town, "You And I Will Meet Again"

Cougar Town Season 4, Episode 8 ‘You and I Will Meet Again’
Directed by John Putch
Written by Peter Saji
Airs Tuesday nights at 10pm ET on TBS

Cougar Town‘s played around with Laurie and Travis becoming a couple for awhile now – and quietly, they’ve turned a typical comedic story line into a layered relationship between two people drawn to each other, despite living two completely different lives. This dynamic comes to a head in ‘You and I Will Meet Again’, as Travis comes face to face with the news that Wade is moving in with Laurie.

We often see examples of Jules holding Travis back in some fashion (particularly in the first two seasons) – and after sneaking in his room to cuddle with him and getting caught by his roommates (again), Jules questions whether she is as good of a mother as she thinks she is. And she realizes that she might be right, after ignoring Bobby’s advice to be honest with him about Laurie and Wade. Her coddling leads to Travis finding out in the most awkward of ways, and for once, it brings out a humility we don’t normally see from her. She admits that Bobby might be a better father than she gave him credit for, an admission that’s hard to make for her – but one her and Travis both know is true.

It connects beautifully with Bobby’s side story, dishing out some insightful parenting advice to Andy about believing in your children. Although there usually isn’t a ton of weight given to his scenes (which are also normally the source of the show’s goofier throwaway jokes), his arc in the last season’s worth of episodes has been quite a rewarding thing to watch. Andy’s well-established fear of Stan works beautifully as a framing device for Bobby’s maturity in ‘You and I Will Meet Again’, a man whose spent a lot of hard time lately reflecting on his life on his boat parked near the ocean.

Of course, there are the usual lot of great running gags: the sunglasses, Naked Day, and Tom’s short-lived role as the group cheerleader (“you’re the worst mom!”). But it closes on a very somber note, as Laurie stands in front of Travis’s house and tries to convince herself that she’s making the right decision. In too many comedies, this moment would come across as contrived – but Cougar Town’s quietly built up our investment in these two over time – and like the scene in the beginning where she tells Jules why she never tried to go for it, her confusion at the end of the episode is a touching moment for a character that normally doesn’t externalize her deeper feelings very often. Laurie’s a supremely confident person, and seeing her question one of her own decisions is a predictable, but well-executed move at the end of ‘You and I Will Meet Again.’

Earlier in the season, I was a little worried the move to cable had brought back a lesser form of Cougar Town – but the flawless executions and introspective natures of the last two episodes have fully restored my faith in this slightly-raunchier but still emotionally resonant comedy. A strong episode anchored by one of the more surprisingly well-developed dynamics on television, ‘You and I Will Meet Again’ doesn’t resolve the Laurie/Travis arc, but hits the pause button in a hilarious and eloquent episode.

 

Other thoughts/observations:

– since Grayson’s been married before, doesn’t he already know about post-marriage sex life? If there’s anything off in this episode, it’s that, but it gives Ellie another chance to be nice (more growth!), which is still a pleasant surprise.

– Truth, Justice, and The American Way. What’s the next body part to get named?

– “It’s going to be all wholes, all day… wait, did I say something funny there?”

– Don’t be mad Ellie – Grayson was just trying to be respectful.

 

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