Dave (Season 3), Episodes 3 & 4: Both the seasons of DAVE have dealt with Dave Burd, AKA Li’l Dicky, trying to hit the big time, by sheer luck, through a modicum of talent or howsoever privilege he has as a result of his skin color. The perspective of the show has always been to criticize Dave and his neuroses and his assumptions about culture, along with his relationship issues causing fractures within a gifted ensemble. This is precisely the reason why the following two episodes work as a piece because they are surprisingly lighter on the criticism and cutting Dave some slack. In short, Dave is winning these rounds, which is a nice refreshing change of pace.
Dave (Season 3), Episode 3 Recap:
Episode 3: Hearsay
This episode could primarily be called the GaTa episode rather than the Dave episode. The Rick Ross and later Usher appearances were bamboozling to a certain extent, but again, these cameo appearances don’t come at the cost of the story being told here. Also fascinating is DAVE’s direct acknowledgment of FX’s other meta-narrative show, Atlanta, at least in this episode, by having the narrative be set in the city itself.
The more profound exploration of GaTa begins in the first frame itself, with GaTa bragging to his childhood buddy Stretch about the chance to connect with rapper Rick Ross that night. For GaTa, it would be an opportunity to be part of a collaboration. To finally legitimize the beat that had been crafted by Benny Blanco five years ago for Ross, and for that, GaTa had been saving up until now.
For Dave, it is the continuation of his search for a wider audience and a chance to prove to the black community that he isn’t encroaching on their space. But as usual with Dave, his insecurity gets the better of him when he sees his tweet quoted by “Killer Mike,” which sounded like a dismissal: “I don’t know about this man.” A regular gag that occurs throughout this episode and contributes to Dave’s increasing anxiety is everyone he talks to about Killer Mike informing him how socially and politically sound he is and how his intelligence warrants Dave not getting into an argument with him.
At the strip club, while GaTa and Stretch try to get into Ross’ vicinity, much less his good graces, by GaTa disguising Stretch as his “hype man,” Ross and Dave get into a discussion regarding Dave’s attempts to ingratiate himself into the rap community. With Dave’s uncomfortable dialogues to explain himself only worsening the situation, Ross finally invites him to the Black Dalliance Brunch happening the next day. In this exclusive in-person event, Dave would have a chance to rub shoulders with the creme de la creme of the black community.
He also gifts his “R”-shaped gold chain to Dave, who, in a callback to Atlanta again, gets robbed along with GaTa outside a liquor store. The robbery sequence is especially hilarious, from Dave choking on a hot dog, concerning GaTa as well as the robbers, to Dave begging the robbers to take everything except his driving license because of how difficult it is to navigate the DMV, to which the robber agrees and gives the license back. The DMV’s bureaucratic problem is legitimate.
But now, with the Ross necklace missing, the robbers have posted a reel of them posing with the necklace on social media and tagged Rick Ross, forcing Ross to call Dave and, in not so many words, threaten to ruin Dave’s reputation. Dave could only suggest asking for official help. But this is GaTa’s home turf, and Dave again proves his central focus on GaTa for this episode by handing the steering wheel to him. We see GaTa utilizing his street smarts and his connections to figure out the identity of those robbers by recognizing the fur jacket one of the robbers was wearing and visiting the local dealer who sold it to them.
Calling the robbers, GaTa negotiates a deal to have Ross feature in a beat by the robbers, the same beat that GaTa had been holding on to for himself. In return, the robbers would return Ross’ chain. But once they reach the house, GaTa changes tactics and tries to attract them to join an original feature by Li’L Dicky. The episode also never loses an opportunity to bring Dave down a peg, especially when the robbers had to take Dave seriously as a rapper only after seeing the “numbers” on his video.
GaTa also makes a killer argument (pun not intended) that Dave’s lyrics could be construed as parody, which puts them on the safer side of the court than much more hardcore lyrics about the streets, which could be taken as evidence of criminal activity. This leads to Dave and GaTa having a great, fun recording session with a healthy dose of marijuana to smooth things over. Things turn meta, particularly when Dave ropes in the robbers to take part in a skit where Dave has been robbed.
The episode and so far this season have dealt with the positive effects of friendship and characters’ willingness to open up to others, be it Elz in the tour bus opening up to Mike and Emma about his reluctance to borrow money from them for a haircut as he is broke. That leads to Mike finally calling for a barber the next day and giving Elz a haircut, satisfying his neurotic tic of a black man having to have a different haircut every day.
The positive effects of burgeoning friendship also apply to Dave, whose reluctant open-mindedness allows him to embrace these people, whom he had been prepared to call the police on just the previous night (for extremely valid reasons, but circumstances change). Thus, at the party, while he almost managed to make a fool of himself to Usher (whose appearance again hit me with a surreal mix of bamboozle and nostalgia), it wasn’t cringe-worthy and uncomfortable.
His interaction with Killer Mike, on the other hand, went in the opposite direction from what Dave’s neurotic and overthinking brain had already made a mountain out of a molehill. It turns out that Killer Mike’s quote tweet was a legitimate moment of not knowing who Dave was instead of a sarcastic jab. The one mistake that Dave makes, because it’s Dave, is mishearing the amount of money Mike suggests he donate to a black bank for charity.
Thus he has to agree to donate 50,000 dollars, coincidentally the same amount of money he and GaTa spent the whole night and the next morning trying to avoid paying the robbers and getting Ross’ chain back. This is the one time the episode feels like a streak of morality lesson working underneath its sharp bite—that of both letting Dave off the hook while simultaneously punishing him for his obsession with ingratiation.
But the GaTa “plot,” because at no point could the writing ever be blamed for putting GaTa’s perspective as a subplot, finally reaches a head. GaTa realizes that his childhood friend Stretch is responsible for the robbery. Consequently, the entire mishap throughout the episode, having hired the robbers to snatch the gold chain by a stickup. But GaTa’s perspective is very much ingrained within Atlanta’s own culture, so while he can understand Stretch’s motivation, he doesn’t hesitate to break the friendship.
But as the successive conversations with Dave prove, it still jars GaTa. There is a healthy dose of self-awareness within him about his battles to reckon with his newfound fame, his familial relationships, and as a result, the city itself. And as he points out, Dave doesn’t have to deal with that. But, in perhaps one of the closest moments of character progression we have seen, Dave agrees to become the “hype man” for GaTa this time around.
As they go to Ross to give back his chain, Dave reveals to Ross that none of it would have been possible without GaTa’s ingenuity and connections and convinces Ross that GaTa is “cool to work with.” It turns out that Dave as the “hype man,” wasn’t entirely needed, as GaTa again called back to a moment in the past where he had helped out Ross unwittingly. That anecdote finally pushed GaTa into his dream big league.
The episode finally ends with Dave enjoying the party with the creme-de-la-creme in the Black Dalliance, perhaps as an acknowledgment by the makers as well as one of those rare moments by the creators of DAVE to cut his character some slack from the deserving criticism the show is always ready to throw at him. Instead, for a rare moment, we see Dave enjoying a victory, and we, too, have fun at the ridiculous but joyous moment of it all.
Dave (Season 3), Episode 4 Recap:
Episode 4: Wisconsin
This episode, as the immediate next chapter in this saga of Dave’s life, feels very much like they are continuing the winning streak of Dave’s life, at least in terms of relationships. It is pretty antithetical to him trying to find true love and urging himself to settle down while on tour, a process that is completely dependent on being on the road. It also helps you meet a whole horde of people, or as popular vernacular would call it, “fish in the sea,” but then again, Dave’s neuroticism works in tandem with his commitment to not being surrounded by groupies.
As Episode 4 shows, Dave’s first proper love finally enters the frame in the form of Robyn (Chloe Bennett). Robyn is a photographer assigned to shoot Dave for a magazine before the show in Wisconsin. The shoot gets delayed, and a squabble erupts between Mike and Robyn, which ultimately gets reconciled by Dave.
The show DAVE has always made the viewers stand in rapt attention, waiting for Dave to screw something up. But for the most part, the flirtation between Robyn and Dave goes rather smoothly, reminding you of the flirtatious moments Dave shared in “Texas” without the revelation or twist so when we see Dave showing her his “scroguard,” which she wears and jokes with Dave without any judgment.
There is a sense that a bit of a reverent perspective is still there. But it doesn’t get in the way of the easygoing chemistry both Robyn and Dave share. No wonder Dave, before going on stage, is so busy texting and, when asked by Mike, says, “I am locked in.” And before going out on the stage, he goes towards Robyn, kisses her, and then runs out, even screaming, “Wisconsin, I am in love.” Love is in the air.
And even when they get back to Robyn’s loft, the joy in the frivolity feels heartening, almost like Dave’s weird, honest persona can unfurl the most with her as they dance, gyrate, and even talk about their shared joys during school days. And even while they are having sex, it is almost like an exploration of asking for comfort and having fun doing the act.
But as with Dave, it always comes with one of the weirder anecdotes: that he can fall asleep comfortably when he imagines himself running in the cold winter and hiding in a friend’s warm attic in Nazi Germany. Pretty specific imagination, one might add, but what stands out is Robyn’s acceptance of the weirdness.
However, what turns the tide (or maybe it doesn’t) is when Dave says that once he is out of Wisconsin, single guys will descend on Robyn like flies, and she might find someone happier. That hits a nerve with her because she kicks him out, albeit with much more subtlety. But of course, the kicker is Dave stating, “I have your number,” which is finally the shoe dropping, albeit softly. At the end of the day, even if this relationship seems to go without a hitch, the big issue here would be distance, but as Ally states at the end of the episode to Dave, “Don’t give up on her.”
Yes, Ally is back, and as we soon learn, Ally is back because she is here to reconnect with an old college flame, Roy Winters, on account of issues stemming between her and her partner Jim. Ally wants to hit Roy up because he is recovering from a divorce and not looking for something “serious,” so it would be perfect for Ally as a rebound.
Similar to Dave and Robyn, Ally and Roy’s date begins smoothly, albeit with a bit more awkwardness. But as the night progresses and she also gets a message from Jim saying that “he is lonely,” it is slowly starting to dawn on her that Roy’s affection for her works very well as a form of validation, but it doesn’t fill the hole of romantic affection in her heart because, as Roy says “he isn’t looking for anything serious.”
While they start to have sex, Ally is impressed by Roy’s muscular body and how he lifts her to give her pleasure, even if her head finally hits the fan (literally). But as they are about to do the deed and Roy brings out a condom, Ally stops him. She confesses she isn’t a one-night-stand girl and hasn’t even slept on any first dates.
Roy’s reaction comes off as typical “nice guy-but-dickish” behavior, where he is put off because she raised expectations. That reaction screams selfishness, not showing empathy for someone who thought she had wanted to do it but is now faced with a dilemma. Instead, that reaction only strengthened her decision not to go through with it.
Dave (Season 3), Episode 4 Ending, Explained:
The final scene between Ally and Dave at the pool, with both of them recounting their respective days, is poignant and heartfelt. Ally hits on the heart of the episode itself when she urges Dave to “forgive people” and stop looking at normal flaws in people as “red flags.” Dave, in return, with another surprising character progression, confesses that he is glad that she did not take him back last season because he is convinced he would have wrecked up the relationship again. They would not have this easygoing friendship where honesty is the true currency between them.
It is interesting if the show is teasing a reconciliation between the two of them. Still, it is more appreciable that, like in real life, choices and circumstances could determine how someone ultimately ends up with their lot in life, and thus all the doors to all the stables are open if one chooses to look. The final moment is striking when Ally chooses to fully dip in the pool, calling back to how she describes her face as looking like a “polish baby” when she is fully dipped. It could simply be her searching for a moment of solitude amidst the depths of the pool.