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Kyle McGovern Headshot

'Louie' Recap Season 3, Episode 3: Lost In Transportation In 'Miami'

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Louie's a sweet guy, but he's a bit of a sad-sack.

Even on a beautiful beach in Miami, he's muttering obscenities under his breath as pretty, young, fit women drift past him in bikinis.

Our misshapen, misanthropic hero is in Florida to perform a few shows. He's not there to vacation; he's there to work. But vacationing seems like it would be work for Louie. He already looks exhausted in the episode's first shot, when he's sleeping on the plane.

Louie tries to enjoy himself on the beach, but the mobs of healthy and happy looking Floridians shame him back to his hotel room. Why suffer the embarrassment of revealing his freckled midsection when he can pass out on a plush full-size bed with a half-eaten burger next to him?

Before the first commercial break there's very little (if any) real dialogue. It's just a series of cuts from the plane to the cab to the hotel to the beach back to the hotel. But thanks to Louis C.K.'s performance and Susan E. Morse's editing, words aren't necessary.

The conversations among passersby that make no sense to Louie, the waves crashing and rolling back on the shore, it all creates a sense of atmosphere. Rather than fill "Miami" with dialogue, C.K. has crafted a great little mood piece. Everything feels a bit off, just stilted enough. Louie is wonderfully out of sync with the city's rhythm.

Seeing him with glasses, reading the newspaper while a gorgeous, golden bikini-clad stranger strolls by and carelessly picks a strawberry from his plate is a tiny, weird way to communicate what it's like to feel out of place. When he calls her out, saying she can't have the piece of fruit she already ate, she's confused. He's disrupting the natural order of things. It's a great button on all the other details that sell the episode.

The middle-aged guy wearing a Speedo and a neck-brace, the shirtless man standing in the hotel lobby just posing, the strawberry girl -- it all enriches and underlines C.K.'s alienation.

When Louie does decide to go for a swim, long after the beach has emptied out, a cabana boy walks off with his wallet and clothes, as if he isn't even there at all.

Louie tries to get the guy's attention, screaming and flailing in the water, but instead catches the eye of Ramon (played by Miguel Gomez), a lifeguard who thinks Louie's drowning.

Ramon "rescues" Louie, who insists he wasn't drowning but still appreciates the sentiment, and the two of them grab a drink and go out to a party. And they have a great time. Ramon shows Louie a more authentic Miami -- the city that belongs to the people who grew up there, not the city built by high-rise developers and the tourist industry -- and Louie shows Ramon a more authentic version of himself. He talks about his Mexican heritage, speaks Spanish and laughs and smiles because he's actually having fun, which may be a first for the show.

They have such a great time that Louie decides to stay in Miami a few days extra, after he's finished his shows, to just hang out with Ramon. His ex-wife assumes he must have met someone he thinks is special, and she's right. No, he hasn't met a woman, but Louie is sort of smitten with Ramon. It's intoxicating to find a new friend unexpectedly; it isn't all that dissimilar from having a crush on someone.

And Louie and Ramon do have a fling. Not in a sexual or romantic way (though it is adorable to see them run into the water together and the little splash Louie tosses at Ramon's back is amazing). But these two men share a quick, sincere connection that has an expiration date. After Louie leaves, they're out of each other's lives forever.

Their fleeting friendship resembles a fling in another way: When things get too real, somebody bails. Ramon asks Louie why he didn't take his flight back home, and though they both know the answer, neither of them wants to say it out loud.

They both stutter and stammer through the scene, each of them trying to explain that he isn't gay, but also trying to avoid seeming homophobic.

It's tough to say whether or not they reach an understanding -- they keep cutting each other off and never even say the word "gay," but they know (and we definitely know) what they're talking around. Either way, the intimacy and Louie's over-eagerness puts Ramon off. He leaves Louie alone in the bar, feelings bruised.

For at least a few days, though, Ramon did rescue Louie, because whether he's willing to admit it or not, he was drowning.