Louie 5×07 ‘On the Road: Part 1’: The thrill of adventure

Louie 5x07

Many of us spent the majority of our earlier years in only a couple different locations.  Even those that are relocated across the country or those that change school districts year after year don’t see a whole lot of the world.  So when we look at the world, we look at possibility, the idea of being capable of more or being able to experience more.  Traveling to new places is exciting because we feel like we’ve experienced more life, like our existence means more than it did otherwise.  But what happens with those who spend so much time traveling, with those who have been all over the country and have been to so many places, being on the road doesn’t feel like an adventure.  It becomes monotony, daily life, a routine that we abide by to stay alive and make money but also one that enslaves us.

Obviously, this isn’t entirely true, as it’s all a matter of perspective.  We can think we’ve been everywhere and still have so many more things to see, people to see.  We can never live every experience there is to live, but it’s easy to fall into a routine of self-loathing because we want to feel like there is something out there, even though we’re too cowardly to step outside of ourselves to find it.  Because our cages are all created by our own minds, ways to keep us comfortable and keep us from facing truths about the world and about ourselves that we don’t want to face.

Louie 5x07-1

Source: FX

And I think this is what “On the Road: Part 1” has in mind when it pits Louie’s existential cynicism against the events we see on the screen.  The quintessential scene from the episode is easily when Louie snaps at his driver, telling him that the road isn’t an adventure to him anymore, that he doesn’t want to meet people and doesn’t feel the excitement that he once did.  This sentiment is echoed when Louie gets a knock at his motel room and completely dismisses the man outside, or when his driver wants to hang out with him and all Louie does is roll his eyes.  When bad things happen to him (he ends up in a motel room, his carry-on is detonated by the bomb squad, he almost misses his flight), it’s easy to just grumble at them and fall into a self-loathing spiral, where we hate ourselves and the world and everybody around us.  Anger is an easy way to distance us from a world that we feel to be unfair or unpleasant, and Louie uses it whenever the world gives him reason to believe that it is those things.

Louie 5x07-3

Source: FX

But the episode clearly pulls in the opposite direction as well, with Louie really going on an adventure while on the road.  He ends up on the transit train at the airport and tries to help a lost kid find her mother, which makes him lose his carry-on, which results in him trying to find it, to no avail.  It’s all out of the norm, so much going wrong that it breaks whatever routine he’s in.  It makes everything an adventure, an experience to live, even if it’s still operating within the way he has to live his life on the road.  And even if he doesn’t care to meet new people, he’s meeting a lot of them, from the driver that takes him to his show to the airport worker that helps him try to find his bag.  But the reality is that he does care to meet people and he does care to experience the unpredictability of the road.  He just needs a change in perspective.

Louie 5x07-2

Source: FX

More than that, there’s a short clip of Louie doing stand up, talking about nudity and sex in a way that are both blunt and hilarious, but accompanying that are shots of the driver laughing at his jokes.  “On the Road: Part 1” reminds us of what Louie is and what he does while he’s on the road.  He’s a comedian.  His job is to make other people laugh, to give them an hour of relief from their daily lives.  Sure, it’s show business, but it’s also a service that he provides to his fans.  But it’s easy to lose sight of that purpose when it becomes routine, when it’s just another thing that you have to do.  And that’s the prevailing tension in this two-part season finale.  Can Louie remember just why he goes on the road, why he performs comedy for groups of people?

Of course, there’s no way to properly analyze this entire two-part episode until we see it in its entirety, but “On the Road: Part 1” looks to pit Louie against himself.  Season 5 has had Louie evolve into a person who is attempting to experience life in a new way, but that also means fighting back against some past behaviors that have harmed him greatly in the past.  And it speaks to the way that our lives operate; we’re constantly at war with ourselves, trying to push towards doing new things but constrained by infinitely complex barriers that we put in our own way.

And it goes to show that our lives are sets of wins and losses, as we sometimes push through the barrier and sometimes find it pushing us back.

So what did you think of the first part of the finale?  What do you think will happen in the finale?  Let me know in the comments!

Michael St. Charles

is just a Michigan State University grad who loves a good story. If he’s not off teaching the young ones how to solve quadratic functions or to write an expository essay, he’s watching old-school HBO shows, indie horror movies, or he’s playing Resident Evil 4.

Both comments and pings are currently closed.

Comments are closed.