Dave (Season 3 Finale), Episodes 9 & 10: As Dave ambles towards the season’s endgame, the actual conflict of the season comes into sharper focus, and it is kind of the same brandy in a newer bottle. Dave had been on a journey to find his true love, but as the show progresses, we realize that his vision of what his “true” love would be is so artificial.
It is almost like one of those plastic sex dolls he loves so much because it adds a “new dimension to masturbation.” Dave Burd never takes time to understand that people can have flaws, and his privilege is so tantamount that he believes everyone else should be perfect for catching him when he falls.
Dave (Season 3 Finale), Episodes 9 & 10 Recap:
Episode 9 – Dream Girl
The opening of this episode wouldn’t be out of place in a serial killer movie or even a prestige documentary, as the camera follows the manufacturer putting the finishing touches on his $7000 sex doll, which Dave Burd has bought. Another notable thing is the intercutting of scenes from Emma’s documentary, with the intercutting occurring at opportune moments both to enhance and undercut Burd’s statements recorded in the documentary compared to Dave’s current actions.
Case in point: Dave admonishes GaTa by reminding him that “women aren’t objects” before the scene cuts to him receiving his sex doll with a look of genuine awe and glee. Even his “girlfriend,” Robyn, is curious about the sex doll and in awe at the “artistry,” but she is also definitely weirded out because who wouldn’t be? On top of that, Dave is experiencing panic attacks because of Rachel McAdams’ text asking to meet him.
This episode’s title also refers to Dave’s latest crush, Rachel McAdams, and the subject of his new song, where he wants to be “Mr. McAdams.” Far be it for me to comment on whether the song is cringy or isn’t. Still, Dave’s definition of a “dream girl” is someone who is already staying with him, thinking about moving to Los Angeles, someone who immediately understands and forgives him about the “death scam” and now is even supportive of the “sex doll.”
The girl next door is already in Dave’s arms, and the guy instead chooses to dream about meeting Rachel McAdams at a restaurant, making her listen to his song, and finally asking her to be in a sex scene with him. It is especially telling that Robyn’s entry into his dream feels like an unpleasant intrusion, producing surrealism in trying to break through the “cringe” dream structure. No wonder Dave tried to convince Emma to cut Robyn out of the documentary. Robyn’s perfection for Dave is becoming all too real, and he is unable to acknowledge that.
This episode is kind of a sequel to “Harrison Ave,” the second episode of Season 3, as well as a continuation of the legitimacy of Emma’s documentary, which had been questioned in Episode 8 because we realize that Emma wanted to make a documentary that wouldn’t hold back regarding Dave. At the “friends and family” screening, we see Elz, Mike, and Emma as the talking heads, describing with vivid and unflinching candor Dave’s neuroses and striving for perfection, which always ran the risk of alienating him from his friends.
It is telling that Mike and Elz have a literal bonding moment during the discussion of their common method of murdering Dave. But again, both Mike and Elz acknowledge that Dave’s talent as an artist and their decades-long friendship is what pulls them together, however much their relationship might get frayed.
But the perspective to which the show entirely narrows itself is Dave’s inclination towards perfectionism, which almost borders on an unbearable degree. That could be attributed to a singular form of white privilege that Dave had enjoyed throughout his life, which is why, irrespective of his talent, his valuation as an artist contributes to his massive ego. His perfectionism is a byproduct of that massive ego.
And Emma’s subtle rebuttal to how Dave had been completely over her shoulder like a helicopter parent, having a say in every single little thing in her documentary, is almost perfectly in line with Emma’s character. It is a response to Dave’s proclamation of “I trust you” in Emma when in reality, he doesn’t really trust her to craft a compelling documentary. It severely irritates him when he realizes that dismissing his input and highlighting Dave’s neuroses in the documentary helped the work be regarded more favorably.
Thus, the gratification of Emma completely standing up to Dave and refusing him to his face, declining any more notes, is worth the journey through these seasons. But also in “Harisson Ave.” and even in the third episode of season 3 (The Storm), Dave was shown as a well-meaning figure, but his views towards women were insidious. While he isn’t as misogynistic as GaTa, he has the quintessential “nice guy” problem of searching for validation when the woman won’t acknowledge his niceties but will bring up his flaws and deep-seated issues, which are necessary to be brought up in this context.
While this writer isn’t a fan of Robyn and Dave’s chemistry, it would be hard-pressed to disagree with Robyn’s comments about Dave. Because Dave’s perspective and vision about true love are so incandescent and ideal, Robyn feels she won’t be able to live up to that ideal. The tragedy is that she was the “perfect” girlfriend that Dave wanted. Still, Dave couldn’t appreciate that, bring himself to breathe, think, or even contemplate that possibility—that maybe true love could also mean embracing the flaws.
His striving for perfection is based on the foundation that everyone around him needs to be perfect and at his beck and call, able to take his flaws and live with them, and while Elz, Mike, and GaTa had been more than happy to pick up the slack because Dave had been positively reciprocating throughout the season, that dam was bound to break and crumble. And crumble it did. Dave shows signs of being an entitled man-child, which contributes to the insidious overt misogyny in sharp contrast to GaTa’s covert one.
In the final moments, after Robyn leaves, Dave has sex with his sex doll, the only one left to satisfy his urges, and even then, we see him struggling with it. However, even though we see him evolve throughout the season, he can’t help but push people due to his neuroses, views toward women, and controlling attitude toward every aspect of his life.
Perhaps that’s why the sex doll is his only avenue for obtaining sexual pleasure—it is the only object completely under his control. But as he gets a text message from Rachel McAdams asking to meet, we see Dave getting a chance to finally meet his dream girl, but the true question is: is he capable enough of even getting happiness out of this meeting as well? Will he bypass his ego long enough to get out of his way?
Episode 10 – Looking for Love
It is this writer’s fault for not expecting DAVE to completely lean toward absurdist humor in the final episode of this season. So far, most of these episodes have been humorous but also border on contemplation and the forward and backsliding movement that has characterized Dave’s emotional arc throughout this season, which ultimately concludes in a hilariously blistering fashion.
It is also interesting how much this episode mirrors the Season 3 opener, “Texas,” in the opening section. Both of these episodes opened with Li’l Dicky or Dave within a music video and then straddled reality. In the first case, it was the absurdity of reality shown through a music video lens, while in this episode, the contemplative, emotionally poignant discussion Dave has with Rachel McAdams feels real and a sharp continuation from last week’s episode, but that ultimately breaks because we see Dave shooting the music video of “Mr. McAdams” with not just Rachel McAdams but also Brad Pitt.
Yes, if you thought that the cameo game had stopped here, you are sorely mistaken. However, as Dave states amusingly, it is better to use Pitt sparingly than overuse him, but the episode does the exact opposite. Clocking in at 47 minutes, this is the longest episode of the show DAVE, and it finally chooses to delve into a horror episode like Episode 3 (The Storm).
The connections with the season opener continue, as we find out that Dave’s stalker is the same fan who gifted him a bust of Dave’s head, which he had unceremoniously dumped outside. But as Dave and the audience would realize, that throwaway advice of “Follow your dreams” backfires on him because Bella truly believes she is special. As she comes to Dave’s house to return his hard drive, she is convinced that after spending time with her, Dave, too, would be convinced of her uniqueness.
Dave, on the other hand, is on the edge and jittery, not just because of Bella’s manic nature but because Dave believes that Bella saw the incriminating video proving the death scam that Emma had filmed. Ironically, Bella hadn’t, but she had copied her short film onto the hard drive. And as Bella refuses to leave and instead tries to hang out with Dave, things become more complicated when Brad Pitt turns up at Dave’s house, intent on making music at his “stu.” It turns out that Brad Pitt is one of those celebrities who remember addresses, which is absurd.
However, the absurdity only worsens when we see Bella ordering sacks of cement to bond with Brad over their collective love of ceramics, which we see her applying cement over Dave’s legs and groin, or sharing a blunt while swapping stories akin to a campfire, all the while Bella conveniently forgetting that she pulled a gun on them, her social anxiety overwhelming her to the point that she had to resort to threatening them so that she could hang out.
It’s a scary situation made all the more palpable because of Dave’s stupidity and inability to handle himself. Still, Pitt brings a definite sense of calmness to the proceedings. Because he is a great actor, he does manage to come off as funny while trying to placate Bella by reminding them of the loss of privacy when one becomes a celebrity. All of it is for naught, though, as Dave’s feeble escape attempts finally make Bella angry. She puts a gun to both of their heads so that they can reveal a secret that “would get them canceled.”
While Dave reveals that he truly faked his death, Brad reveals that he tried to imitate an Asian accent, and that joke would have worked maybe two years ago. Now, though, the cringe hits harder, and not in a satirical way. Bella, surprisingly, doesn’t care and continues the weird home invasion by peeing on the floor. GaTa’s arrival only worsened the situation because he was unable to read the room, and instead, the action shifts to the studio, where Brad finally enters the small recording booth.
I think Dave, in this section, hits the peak of absurdist humor when Brad realizes that he can communicate with Dave via the headphones without Bella being aware that they are conversing. However, Dave’s hesitancy leads to one of the more hilarious moments, when Dave drops the beat resembling an 808-sounding bass track, and Brad discovers auto-tune. As he is “singing,” Brad finally manages to convince Dave, with the stakes having increased incrementally because Bella has locked Brad inside the recording booth with the help of a baseball bat.
And because this is Dave, of course, he manages to overpower Bella and take her bag, and instead of her gun, he takes the hard drive. Even in moments of duress, Dave Burd can’t get over himself, and Brad’s scream of fury, affected by the autotune, is the perfect mix of frustration and hilarity. The horror amplifies as Brad headbutts the glass, cracking it. All the while, Dave and GaTa try to hide in Dave’s huge closet while Bella hunts them with a crossbow. As Brad breaks through the glass, Bella shoots a crossbow straight through his chest.
Meanwhile, at the closet, Dave and GaTa finally find the bear mace Robyn had brought with her. As Bella enters the room with the gun in her hand, Dave manages to spray the mace at her. She loses her balance and falls inside the bathtub, which is filled with cement. Enraged, Bella begins shooting haywire, and Dave and GaTa finally drop the sex doll on top of her and manage to wrest the gun out of the wet cement stuck in Bella’s hand.
Dave (Season 3 Finale), Episodes 10 Ending, Explained:
It’s not that the horror-themed episodes aren’t welcome, but this episode comes at the cost of effectively pausing all the character arcs present. Yes, a wounded Brad does encapsulate the entire point of this whole incident for Dave as a result of Dave’s search for true love, which comes as a result of Dave not loving and forgiving himself enough. This surmises that Luke (apparently Brad’s real name, which sounds more hilarious than it has any right to be) is the reason for Dave’s endless search for validation.
As we see the police cars reach the house, the show devolves into utilizing narration and montage sequences to tie off the character arcs of the rest of the supporting cast. Each of these arcs—Mike introducing Ava to his father, Emma excitedly informing her distributor that Dave has agreed to promote the documentary again while Ally looks at her with a hint of dejection (?), Elz informing his parents that he is starting his record label, and Dave writing a letter to Robyn informing her of his realization of the true love missing in his life—required at least another episode instead of being shoehorned here.
And even GaTa’s character arc of him finally becoming the star of “NutHaus” and the whole reality show being modeled after he feels weirdly cynical for a plot about GaTa accepting his sexual addiction. But it is heartening to see GaTa gifting a house to his mother.
And then, we see Dave taking a trip to West Africa and visiting Drake. That is, again, one of those tail-end punchlines that DAVE has always been good at, but it curiously falls flat here because the presence of this tail-end joke feels off-kilter. Does this mean that Dave’s character arc has all been for naught and that he chose fame again at the cost of his personal growth? Perhaps the next season will explore that, but it does feel like this season is slowly approaching dangerous waters where the themes are spinning on their wheels.
Sure, Drake pointing out how intense Dave is coming off at meeting his “idol” is hilarious, more so because he is delivering it in his trademark deadpan manner. Still, it does make me wonder whether the writers ran out of episodes. The episode does end with Drake asking whether he should call Dave “Dave or Lil Dicky”, the dilemma that has been the thesis statement of the whole show and this season as a whole.
And that is appreciated, especially the exploration of the darker side of fandom in this episode. But that episode being the finale, did feel off because it became a bottle episode not interested in bringing the character arcs to fruition or even showing us key moments of interaction between Dave and the other characters.