Everyone on You’re the Worst is pretty bad; it’s right there in the title. Over five seasons they lie, they cheat, they steal, they ruin people’s lives, they sleep around, they stab each other, guns are drawn, surgeries go wrong, boozy pregnancies are the norm, day drinking and drug use is off the charts, and they kill at least one mouse.
But there is one saving grace:
Edgar Quintero (Desmin Borges). A veteran who took part in some very dubious military actions (“I didn’t know it was a school”) and now has PTSD and a history of substance abuse, he’s also sweet, caring, surprisingly devoted to his abusive friend Jimmy (Chris Geere) and a remarkably good cook.
In a show about horrible people, he’s always been the beating heart of the group, the one character with something close to a moral compass. Which is why it was so heartbreaking – and so seemingly out of character – when he took a hard turn towards the dark side in the show’s fourth year.
In a season where the other main characters are adrift, Edgar seems to be the one doing well. His hobby of making comedy videos has turned into a full-time writing job on a sketch show, and he’s teamed up with fellow sketch writer Max (Johnny Pemberton) to get the professional and personal support Jimmy can’t be bothered with.
Then in episode 9 (“Worldstar”), the guy who delivers the pair’s food during a writing session turns out to be Ricky (Jeff Bowser), a veteran Edgar served with. Edgar pretends not to recognise him, then sneaks out to apologise after Ricky leaves, explaining that he hasn’t told his writing partner about his past. Ricky isn’t impressed even before he’s called back in by Max because the chimichurri sauce is missing.
Ricky’s contempt for Edgar is obvious. He bluntly violates Edgar’s trust and tells Max that his co-writer is a veteran ashamed of his past. But for once, Edgar doesn’t just take it. He coolly explains to Ricky that, as money for him now is no object, he’ll give him $50 and a five star rating – if he personally smears the sauce on Edgar’s steak for him. Which he does.
Even in a show rife with bad behaviour, this level of cruelty felt especially inexcusable; for critics and fans alike, it was a step too far. It also seemed strangely out of character coming from a formerly gentle and thoughtful guy. Yes, Ricky had been a jerk. But what possible reason could Edgar have had for being so demeaning?
It wasn’t until the second last episode of the series that we’d find out.
It’s the day before Jimmy and Gretchen (Aya Cash) are to be married, and Edgar takes his best friend out to celebrate. They smash stuff, play curling, go to a fancy private club and bond like never before. Then Edgar drops the hammer: he doesn’t think Jimmy should marry Gretchen. He’s checked it out, Jimmy can get half his deposit back, and he’s ready to play getaway driver so long as they leave now.
Heartfelt or not – and there’s definitely a question mark over whether these two should get married – it’s an amazingly cruel thing to say to anyone the day before their wedding. Unsurprisingly, Jimmy totally rejects it. Edgar’s no longer best man, he’s no longer invited to the wedding, and Jimmy never wants to see him again. Edgar sticks to his guns. When the wedding goes ahead, he drives out of everyone’s life without looking back.
Which, we see in a flash-forward, is exactly what he needed to do to get on with his life. Sticking with Jimmy after years of being treated like dirt was killing him; he had to break free if he was ever going to be anything more than just a sidekick. But how to escape from a toxic relationship? We’d already seen how back in season four – by an act of cruelty so brazen Jimmy would never want to see him again.
You’re The Worst has received a lot of praise for the way it dealt with big issues like Gretchen’s mental illness and Edgar’s PTSD. But it has a pretty sharp eye for the less obvious ways people with issues act too. The show’s finale made it clear that Edgar hadn’t suddenly become a jerk in season four. He was a people pleaser with a messed up past who just didn’t have the personal skills to get out of a bad situation with any kind of grace.
Entangled in an abusive relationship, he was standing up for himself the best way he knew how. Edgar, we never should have doubted you.
All five seasons of You’re The Worst are now streaming and ready to binge at SBS On Demand. Let’s start you off with season 1 episode 1:
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