Not everyone is capable of being “healthy” in their approach to dealing with relationships, most certainly not women with any sort of daddy issues (generally stemming from the Electra complex and/or never getting the approval she desires from her father). Basically, women who have had any sort of interaction at all with a man probably aren’t too “in fine feather” with regard to trusting them. That being said, the second season of Love addresses the trope of why women can’t seem to fall whole-heartedly for a guy who is “decent” toward them (this tends to mean not cheating on or beating them in ways both physical and emotional).
When last we left Mickey (Gillian Jacobs) and Gus (Paul Rust) in season one, they were coming off of a rocky start that found Mickey engaging in the erratic and aberrant behavior that prompted her to cause a scene on the set of the show he worked on, Wichita, as a studio teacher for typically diva-rific child star, Arya (Iris Apatow, engaging in a bit of good old-fashioned Hollywood nepotism with her last name and corresponding father, Judd, being a producer). After explaining the situation to him–chiefly, that she’s a sex and love addict–Mickey suggests that she doesn’t see anyone, least of all Gus, for a year, so that she can fully devote herself to the Sex and Love Addicts Anonymous program (and Alcoholics Anonymous, to boot!). But the fates, or rather, the basic rules of dramatic screenwriting, have different ideas for them in the first episode of season two, “On Lockdown,” in which the two can genuinely not seem to separate from one another due to conspiring circumstances that conclude with a helicopter manhunt involving a sequestering of all present on the Springwood Apartments’ premises, where Gus and Mickey just so happen to be.
Often more like horror movie than romance or comedy (much in the same way Blue Valentine was, except without even attempting humor), Love waffles between those moments in a relationship where everything is perfect and beautiful in its well-oiled intimacy to the tense valleys where everything the other person does annoys the shit out of you. In the former’s case, episode five, “A Day,” finds Mickey turning to her sponsor from SLAA, Jorie (Sandrine Holt), for advice on whether or not she should give in to her desire to spend the whole day with Gus, or if it violates “the rules” of recovery. Jorie sanctions the hangout, which turns into the most solidifying instance of why Gus and Mickey choose to remain together in the face of all the obstacles that bombard them later in the season. The most overt hurdle turning out to be a necessary twenty-four day separation for Gus to accompany Arya on a film shoot for a requisitely cheesy action movie called Liberty Down. And this in the wake of a particularly epic fight involving Mickey’s decimation of a cut-glass bowl in the mansion Gus is housesitting at. Her furor and his mild-manneredness are a constant source of anxiety for the viewer, biting her nails during most every scene to see how the next bickering match will play out.
The other consistent wellspring of drama throughout the season (and series) is Mickey’s inability to have faith in Gus’ goodness or intentions. Though he treats her well, she can’t help but see and hear everything he does as condescending, with especial regard to how he appears to be “monitoring” her recovery by tracking the number of meetings she goes to each week. Thus, when he flies to Atlanta for the shoot, it’s only inevitable that she would fall prey to the option of her ex, Dustin (Rich Sommer, as vexing in this role as Mad Men), who appeals to her with the news that their once shared canine, Buster, is about to die.
For a show as technically “slow” (and slow-paced) as Love, it’s incredible to note how much anticipation and apprehension crops up while watching, as though perpetually waiting for the other shoe to drop–just as most women are in their foresight of all relationships ending. If not literally at least in the deadening of all the sparks that can fly in the initial phases.
In short, “Love” by Lana Del Rey is not a track to punctuate this season’s narrative. Because, no, it is most definitely not enough to be young and in love when you have this many neuroses and issues with trust pertaining to those you let into your vag and your heart.