“Crashing” Season 3: “Mulaney” Recap & Review

Story posted March 13, 2019 in Arts & Entertainment by Zach Hall.

Season three of “Crashing” aired its last episode, and according to Judd Apatow, it will be the shows last. Despite the news breaking only days before the finale, the show's last episode had a finale quality wrap-up. Pete Holmes has been through a lot over the last three seasons, especially the latest season. Through his trial and tribulations, Pete Holmes has come a long way. Thankfully, the now-series finale of “Crashing” left Pete in a good spot, making all of it worth it. As always, if you are not all caught up with “Crashing,” be warned as there will be full spoilers ahead.
Leading up to the finale, it seemed like nothing was going right for Pete. Aside from choosing comedy integrity over money by getting himself fired from “The Good Faith” tour, Pete has hit hardship after hardship in the last few episodes of the season. As the episode opens, we see Pete rid his laptop of everything Kat, signaling the true end of their relationship.

An understandably down Pete is not in the best place, until he gets invited to dinner with his manager Chicken Wing and receives some stellar news. According to him, John Mulaney asked for Pete by name to be his opener for his upcoming show. Pete, of course, accepts ecstatically. Considering Pete’s journey throughout the show, this is the biggest opportunity he has received, or so he thinks.

During the hours before the show, Pete calls nearly everyone he knows in New York, including Ali, who reveals she cannot go to the show because her and her boyfriend broke up. At the end of last episode, it seemed clear that following his disastrous breakup with Kat, Pete was moving his attention back to Ali, who he clearly still has feelings for. Pete keeps his excitement subtle upon hearing the news, opting to focus his excitement on his big break opening up for John Mulaney.

The only two people to show up and support Pete are his ex-wife Jess and her boyfriend Leif. Pete’s relationship with these two characters showcases his growth throughout the series perfectly. In the beginning, Pete is furious at both Leif and Jess. Jess for cheating on him and Leif for being the man she cheated with. As Pete began to move on with his love life and comedy career, acceptance replaced anger, and friendship replaced acceptance. At this point, Pete, Jess and Leif can be considered friends. Both Jess and Leif showing up to the show in support in the finale cement their friendship.

At this point in the episode, everything seems to be looking up for Pete - great gig, great friends and possibly a second chance with Ali - Until Pete makes his way to meet John. Upon Pete entering his dress room, John is noticeably taken aback. It turns out John did not ask for Pete Holmes, but Ben Holmes. For Pete, this is a real punch in the gut. What he thought was his big break turned out to be nothing more than a name mix-up. Pete agrees to stick around and see the show, but is not happy about it.

After being told to vacate his dressing room, Pete is stopped down the hall by John, who after calling a few comedians as replacements who cannot make it, sees Pete as his last resort. Even though this is still not a set that was meant for Pete, he agrees to open for John anyway. He only does a few minutes, but absolutely kills it. John, who was very angry at the mix-up, was pleasantly surprised. After the show is over, John invites Pete to the Comedy Cellar, the same club that denied him a spot in the first episode of the season. As a favor, John convinces the women in charge of recruiting to let Pete do a set on stage as thanks for his great performance. Once again, Pete kills it, and is finally offered the ability to call in and do sets regularly.

Throughout the entirety of the series, an opportunity like this is what Pete has been vying for. All of the terrible shifts and vacant clubs suddenly seem worth it now that Pete has the chance to further prove himself as a solid comedian in front of veterans of the business. One big goal has been achieved. Pete’s second goal is achieved when he makes a move on Ali and presumably begins to date her again. The episode ends with the two walking off hand in hand, a fitting end to the season.

It is sad to see “Crashing” come to an end, but at least Pete’s story ended at a good spot. He got the girl and he got even closer to his dream following the opportunity of a lifetime. Season Three proved to be “Crashing’s” best. Stellar writing stellar acting combined to tell a very real, visceral story of what it means to be a struggling comedian in New York, and what it feels like to finally get your big break.



Zach Hall is a senior majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email zth5043@psu.edu.