‘Louie’ Open Thread: Primal Fear

This episode contains spoilers through

The opening sequences was just such a beautiful escalation. Louis, out trick-or-treating with his kids, succumbs to the urge to be a more fun parent than his ex-wife, and lets his daughters keep going even after the sun goes down. But it turns out that they might not actually want what they get next: some grow-up, drunken-jerks scare them. And then something really awful happens: two men in genuinely frightening makeup, who don’t seem to have an appropriate sense of shame or boundaries, start following their little party down the street. Then, they go around a corner to jump out and scare them, and start taunting Louis when he asks them to back down. “What are you gonna do daddy?” one of them mocks him. “He doesn’t want to show it but he’s scared inside.”

Of course he’s frightened: his daughters may not be able to fathom it, but there’s a whole other level of terror you can’t imagine until you’ve protected someone since they were an infant and they’re getting to the age when you can’t protect them as effectively any more. And part of what frightens you is what you’d do to continue protecting them, including tossing a big piece of metal through a plate glass window to get the cops coming and scare off the guys you couldn’t actually fight yourself. When you’re a kid, the worst things in the world are outside you, but as you grow up, they’re inside yourself.

The second half of the episode is about the inverse of that emotion—what happens if your dream comes true, or seems to, and you’re not up to it? When an executive shows up and promises to change Louis’ life, she does the best and worst thing that can happen to any creative person: tells him she’s sure he must have a bunch of movie ideas, declares “Let’s make all of them,” and then her face falls as he launches into what’s clearly a half-assed and really depressing pitch. One of the things about being a grown-up is that while you might be prepared for the worst things that can happen, you’re not necessarily prepared for the best because you’ve stopped believing that they can come to pass at all.