Does Love know just how badly Gus screws up in this episode? We’ll discuss the details of what he does in “Marty Dobbs” in a few paragraphs, but even if his heart is in the right place … man, he dun goofed. That Mickey forgives him so easily is indicative of just how much she needs the men in her life to stick around. Let’s get to it.
Gus wakes up to find Mickey is already awake and clanging around in the kitchen. She seems manic, cleaning and emptying the fridge of Bertie’s half-finished yogurts before her dad, Marty, comes to town. Mickey invites Gus to come with her, but Gus is nervous — meeting a dad is a big deal. Mickey talks him into it, and Gus asks Bertie if she thinks it’s too soon. Bertie seems unsure, but Gus goes anyway.
Gus asks Mickey about her dad, who used to be a dentist but lost his license. Now he’s a “consultant,” and they haven’t seen each other in two or three years. Mickey assures Gus that they’re not estranged or anything, and Gus tells her that he gives good dad. (He would say that.)
Long after Marty was supposed to land, he still hasn’t shown up. Gus and Mickey (in a gorgeous burgundy sweater dress that only she can pull off) wait for him and when he eventually arrives, Gus gives him an awkward hug. Marty Dobbs isn’t immediately impressed with Gus and his overeagerness.
At a Himalayan restaurant, Marty complains about his flight and about the dog who sat next to him. While Gus dutifully agrees with his grumpy old-man opinions, Marty disparages Mickey and the fact that she named her cat Grandpa. He seems proud of her new job, but can’t even be 100 percent positive about that. Mickey brags about Gus, and Marty seems to approve.
Marty hits on the young waitress before ordering too much for all three of them. Gus asks what brings him to town and he tells them that he’s only in Los Angeles because Southwest doesn’t fly New Jersey to San Francisco. He’s meeting with an investor in Palo Alto about his new app — “like Uber, but better.”
Gus jokingly asks Marty for stories about Mickey as a kid, and Marty tells Gus about Mickey getting busted doing whip-its at age 11 and running out of the car in the middle of the night. The discomfort Gus feels about Mickey’s history is clear, as is Mickey’s discomfort about her dad bringing up old things as opposed to focusing on her current accomplishments.
When Marty excuses himself to the bathroom, Mickey says, “Fuck him.” She tells Gus why she ran out of the car: She was mad that he made her wait in the lobby of his office while he did a shady business deal, and then he yelled at her to “get out.” So she did it. He left her there. And Mickey isn’t over it. Gus tries to make an excuse for Marty’s behavior and Mickey gets mad at him. She says, “All I ever wanted — ” but is cut off when Marty comes back.
Mickey is disappointed when Marty announces that he’s leaving early and won’t be staying with her. She at least wants him to see her place, but he convinces her to just stay around the airport area. Mickey’s immediate backing down is unlike her, but it makes sense. Her dad has a history of leaving, so she wants to make staying as easy on him as possible.
Marty suggests they go get a drink and celebrate. Gus suggests they go to a donut place or a museum instead, but Marty insists on a bar. He hits on a woman at the bar while Mickey and Gus get a table. Mickey doesn’t want to drink during the day because her dad’s an alcoholic, too. She doesn’t want to leave, though, because she doesn’t want to piss her father off. Gus reassures her that whatever she wants to do, he’s there for her. Marty brings Mickey a drink and she reluctantly cheers. She goes outside to smoke, leaving Marty and Gus alone to talk. Gus suggests he ask her how she’s doing. Gus tells Marty that Mickey is sober — GUS WHY ARE YOU DOING THIS? — and Marty doesn’t seem supportive.
Carol, the woman Marty was hitting on in the bar, bums a smoke off Mickey. She’s from New Jersey, too, two towns away from Marty. She’s sitting at the bar, waiting for the happy hour to start, already drunk. Carol tells Mickey that she’s got a good dad, but the moment is ruined by Carol’s nipple popping out of her dress.
Marty sends Gus to the jukebox when Mickey gets back, then Marty tells Mickey that he knows she’s in AA. Marty asks why she’d do that to herself again. Marty insists to her that it’s bullshit. AA, he says, was started by a bunch of “Evangelical fuck-ups.” Gus once again tries to defend Mickey, but Marty gets angry. Mickey tells him to stay out of it, before changing the subject and asking Marty about his app. Marty’s app is the “R-Car” — like Uber, but you can reserve your car in advance (which Uber now can do, FYI). Mickey says this is dumb because there are always Ubers around. Marty says he has to get going, and Mickey encourages him to leave.
Outside the bar, Gus watches father and daughter smoke in unison. The taxi pulls up, then Mickey and Marty exchange terse claims of “I love you” before he heads to the airport.
On their way home, Mickey gets mad at Gus for telling Marty that she’s sober. She didn’t want Gus’s help; she wanted him to act as a buffer. She’s frustrated that things with her dad will never be different, and because of Gus, she couldn’t even have a decent day with her dad. She pulls the car over and they both get out. Gus defends his position, but Mickey wonders (correctly) why Gus wanted her dad’s approval more than he wanted to stick up for her. Gus apologizes for his behavior and Mickey apologizes, too. It’s not about Gus, she says. It’s about her shitty dad. Mickey offers to drive Gus home to give him a break from her, but he says he doesn’t want a break.
They hold each other on the side of the road before going to the beach to watch planes take off.
It’s a bit heavy-handed: the difference between what happens when Gus and Marty, two men decades apart, both faced with the choice of abandoning Mickey on the side of the road. The moment itself is nice, even if I didn’t want Mickey to forgive Gus quite so easily. What he did was inexcusable, and I’m still not over the fact that he didn’t give her space in the first place when she asked for it. As an episode, however, “Marty Dobbs” is tense, cohesive, and furthers our understanding of who Mickey is, even as it foreshadows the dark patterns that might consume her if she doesn’t hold fast on her recovery.
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