Spoilers ahead for You're the Worst Season 5, Episode 8. When Becca and Vernon decide to get away from Lindsay's depressing apartment for the weekend, Vernon hits rock bottom. Paul invites the couple on a weekend getaway at a house that looks straight out of Melancholia, where he and the rest of the Pasadena Astronomy Society plan to watch a lunar eclipse. And although the Feb. 27 bottle episode is filled with twists you never saw coming, it's also totally in line with You're The Worst's no holds barred universe — one in which, apparently, having a threesome can signify character growth.
When Vernon and Becca arrive at the estate, it's clear that there's some tension brewing. For one thing, they've been conning Paul with a surrogacy scam — throwing his ejaculate out the window instead of inseminating Becca, as per their agreement. And after Paul eventually realizes they're swindling him, the couple gets into a fight. Becca tells Vernon that she only married him to make Jimmy jealous — except he couldn't even do that right because he's become "a giant, worthless zero" ever since his medical license got suspended. This one cuts deep — as deep as that artery Vernon knicked during surgery — and his self-esteem takes a turn for the worse when he can't beat a little girl in a simple game of Operation.
As a result, Vernon decides to take his own life by throwing a rock, which is tied to his foot, into the lake. However, he changes his mind at the last minute, and Paul rushes to save his former brother-in-law from drowning. The scene isn't played for laughs — You're the Worst has been alluding to Vernon's struggles both at work and home for a while now. But that Gretchen and Jimmy aren't in this episode (save for the diner scene at the very end) allows Vernon's depression to come to the forefront for perhaps the first time.
After all, his career has ended (unless he can get that outpatient Korean food truck concept up-and-running), his marriage is a sham, and he's sleeping on his sister-in-law's couch. Things could be better.
Enter the aforementioned threesome, which happens slowly and then all at once, to paraphrase John Green. Vernon allows Paul and his wife to have sex while he watches. What's more, all three of them are super into it (like, orgasming simultaneously into it). Not since "The Seventh Layer" have we seen Vernon and Paul engage in something so...primal. And it shows how close they've become, since something so intimate demands a large amount of trust.
While You're the Worst has always shed light on unconventional relationships (remember F*ck Week from a mere three episodes ago, or Lindsay and Paul's brief foray into cuckolding?), this is a whole new level. However, it's also clear that no one in this series understands boundaries (except perhaps Edgar), as is evidenced with Lindsay and Paul's on-again, off-again relationship, Jimmy and Gretchen's inability to stop stepping out on each other, and Becca's weirdly sexual relationship with her gay best friend. In a way, this sex scene is all par for the course; crossing each and every line in sight is how these characters learn, after all.
Plot-wise, this also introduces the very real possibility that Vernon and Becca will either open their marriage, form a throuple with Paul, or else break up entirely. But whether or not their sexual experimentation ends up fixing Vernon and Becca's marriage or exacerbating their problems isn't really the point. This episode is about Vernon realizing he matters, and that he wants to be alive and work to put his life back together, even if his efforts are ultimately futile, and even if the first step involves having an impromptu threesome with his wife and onetime brother-in-law.
At the very beginning of the episode, Leonard Gilmartin, an astronomer along for the trip, says, "What better captures both the pathetic insignificance of humanity and our own tragic nobility than to fall in love with the ghost of something we had no chance of ever knowing in the first place?" This feels prophetic of many storylines on this show: Paul's unrequited love for Lindsay, Gretchen and Jimmy's seemingly doomed relationship, and perhaps even Vernon's career. It's this cyclical, Sisyphean struggle that all of the characters on You're the Worst keep engaging in to improve themselves, their relationships, and their careers only to fail over and over again. This is, as Leonard says, the nature of humanity — and who is more stunningly, unashamedly human than the characters on You're The Worst?
If you or someone you know is experiencing suicidal thoughts, call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800-273-8255 or text HOME to the Crisis Text Line at 741741. You can also reach out to the Trans Lifeline at 877-565-8860 or the Trevor Lifeline at 1-866-488-7386, or to your local suicide crisis center.