Well, well, well. It was announced last week that Crashing will not be returning for a fourth season on HBO. Very unfortunate and sad news to say the least. That makes this episode not just the season finale but the series finale. While it wasn’t written as a series finale, it surprisingly works well as one. There still feels like there’s so much more that could be told, but it made me smile seeing how it does leave off. That was comforting. So without further ado, here’s my last recap/review of Crashing.
The finale begins with Pete cleaning up around his apartment. He gathers Kat’s clothes into a box, throws out a dildo, and changes his wallpaper on his laptop. He’s cleansing and starting anew. He sees a text from Kevin aka Chicken Wing to meet him at a location.
Pete shows up and it’s a restaurant. It’s a bit random and Pete asks where the hell they are, to which Chicken Wing responds, “my favorite restaurant.” Naturally. He tells Pete he heard about the Christian tour, and makes sure he knows how many shows he just gave up. He’s all just building to the good news though…John Mulaney wants Pete to open for him in NYC. WHAT!? Pete is overwhelmed with joy and shock. Chicken Wing tells Pete he’s ready for this with his hilarious delivery, as if he’s had something to do with this success. Pete tells Chicken Wing he thought he was meeting with him to fire him, not give him such incredible news. Everyone is happy.
Pete walks around the city and calls everyone important to him to tell them about the show. He gets a video message from Ali later telling him how excited she is for him, but she’s not going to be able to make it to the show because she just broke up with her boyfriend and is all bummed out. She says she’ll be on her couch watching s----y TV shows contemplating how she’s going to die alone. But she wishes him a great show. Aw.
Pete gets suited up and heads to the show. He’s psyching himself up in his green room when he gets a knock on the door. Leif and Jessica are there to support him on his big day! Leif shares some words of wisdom that actually make sense to Pete, and he’s wondering what the heck is going on! A magical day indeed. Leif is such a great character, as is Jess, so it’s really nice to see them here for the finale.
John’s assistant shows up to Pete’s green room and tells him that John would love to say hi. Pete goes off with him and tries to chat him up a bit on the way, but he seems very uninterested in small talk and is quite serious. They head into John’s green room and he greets Pete in a slightly confused manner. Pete thanks him for having him open up the show, and John starts to ask Pete why he is saying that. His assistant informs him Pete is opening, and John says that’s not possible because he doesn’t know who Pete is and didn’t ask for him to open. His assistant and he work through this mistake and realize it was Ben Holmes that John wanted. You can see Pete is slowly realizing what’s going on and is hurting inside. Poor Pete.
John starts freaking out and is being a dick, to be quite frank. They start talking about comedians they can get last minute to open instead of Pete, right in front of him! It’s soul crushing for poor Pete, and he heads outside the room to get some air. He calls Chicken Wing and tells him to call him back because what’s happening is messed up. He’s flustered and angry on the phone. He gets off, and John asks Pete if he can speak to him for a second.
They sit down, and John apologizes for the mishap, but then implies that he wants to make sure Pete won’t talk about the situation to others as John sounds like a jerk. Pete says he obviously isn’t going to talk about this, and he heads back to his green room defeated. John’s assistant comes in a few minutes later and tells Pete he has to vacate the room but he can watch the show from backstage.
John is freaking out because nobody is available last minute for this show. He looks at Pete…and decides to let him go on for 10 minutes. He gives him a laundry list of things to not talk about on stage, and then tells him to just not be bad. Great advice, John. Great advice. Guy is a dick.
Pete goes on stage after being announced as Ben Holmes. He takes a minute to gather himself once he gets on stage, and then he starts by saying his name’s Pete. Not Ben. He starts explaining the situation that took place when he arrived that night with the mix up, and the audience is loving it. John looks mortified. He keeps going in on the situation, making a little fun of John, a lot of fun of himself, and it’s truly a great set. And he made it all up on the spot! He gets a big round of applause when he ends his set and introduces John. As he’s walking off stage and John is walking on, John stops and says “You’re not bad.” That’s probably as good a compliment as you can get from John Mulaney, and I’m sure Pete is pumped. What a triumphant moment in his journey.
He gets over to the side stage, and the other comedians all give him props and tell him it was a good set. John has what seems to be a fantastic set as well, and after the show Leif and Jess give a massive congratulations to Pete. It’s sweet to see, and they briefly meet John as well which is a hilarious little interaction. They leave, and Pete goes up to John to apologize about what he said on stage. John stops him and tells him he was funny and made the show better so relax. He asks Pete to come to the Comedy Cellar with him and the other guys. This night just keeps getting better and better for Pete!
They arrive and Pete tells John he can’t sit at the table with Estee because he doesn’t perform there. John tells him it’s fine and he’ll talk to Estee. He tells her about the Town Hall show and gets around to the fact that a comedian he’d never seen before opened for him…Pete Holmes…and he killed. Estee looks at Pete and is surprised. John explains that he was quite rude to him and feels like he owes him a favor of some sort so can he get a spot at the Cellar? Estee says Pete can go on next, only because John asked. Pete is speechless and can’t stop thanking John. Side note, our favorite supporting character Artie is sitting at the table too. Pete says he has to work on his set and sits down to which they all go nuts — Artie tells him to get out of there and that it gets worse the longer he sits. He has to earn his spot at the table. Artie tells John to be careful, because he vouched for Pete once and now Estee won’t let him vouch for anybody. “Oh my god, and most people trust you,” is John’s very sarcastic response. I chuckled.
Pete finally walks down those stairs onto the stage, and it feels like another massive milestone in his career. TWO milestones in one night!? It’s huge. Estee is watching in the audience, and while we don’t see her reaction, the audience is loving it and Pete is doing a great job.
He finishes his set and nervously walks into the other room again. Estee tells him to sit down. She says his set was good and he can call in for spots. The other comics sitting down at the moment are all very happy for Pete and Estee tells him congratulations. What a moment. Everything is finally falling into place for Pete. It’s incredible that this wasn’t written as a series finale, because it absolutely works as one. I don’t want it to be over, and there’s so much more that obviously can be explored, but talk about going out on a high note. It’s the best episode of the series without a doubt in my mind. And it’s not even over yet, we have one more amazing moment left.
Pete, John, and the guys walk outside and John invites him to come eat with them. Pete thanks him but apologizes because he has to go. They part ways and where does Pete go? He goes to meet Ali! She’s at Papaya Dog finishing up some food, and as music plays we see them talking and happy to see each other. They leave and start walking down the street, and Pete grabs her and kisses her. They look at each other and then they go back to laughing and talking and the episode cuts to black and the end credits. It truly made me smile, made me a little bit emotional, and gave me that special feeling that a really great episode of television can occasionally give to you.
It’s been so fun writing about Crashing these past couple seasons. I’m so sad that it’s over, but talk about going out on a high note. Everything we as an audience have ever wanted for Pete is finally happening. He opened for a big time comedian, he’s starting to get regular spots at the Cellar, and he seems like he’s on a path to get back together with Ali. It’s such a victorious episode for Pete, and I’m happy this is where we leave off with him on his journey. Congratulations to Pete Holmes, Judd Apatow, and everyone else involved in making this wonderful show. We’ll miss you guys.