It’s funny, Allison, that you and I had such different takes on the café scene—you saw a master manipulator, pulling strings and letting April do all the dirty work for him, whereas I saw, at best, a passive-aggressive, weak-spined bumbler retreating awkwardly from confrontation. Maybe you’re right, but while I credit C.K. himself—the guy who wrote the script and directed the episode, that is—with that level of control and savvy, I don’t tend to credit onscreen Louie with it. It’s hard to suss out precise differences between creator and character when so much of their biographies and personality traits blur, but the latter seems, pretty consistently, a notch or two less formidable than the former, in the intelligence department and elsewhere.
I think we’ve rightly identified C.K.’s casting of Susan Kelechi Watson as, more than anything, evidence of his experimental impulses—a nose-thumb at (if not outright assault on) conventional narrative logic, of the kind that has already potholed the series. Some of the readers joining us in the comments section have floated potential theories to make it add up. Maybe, one reader mused, Louie has two ex-wives, and Watson’s Janet is not mother to the little mop-tops we’ve met. (Pretty sure the show flatly contradicts this and makes it clear that the kids are Janet’s.) Maybe, another postulated, the girls are adopted. (Could be …) But as David points out, it doesn’t necessarily matter. C.K. has clearly established by now that he doesn’t overly care about tying together those sorts of loose ends. That sort of concern isn’t nearly as important on this show as keeping us off-kilter. Indeed, maybe this is a head-spinning case where the actor is black, but the character isn’t!