Self-examination is never fun, but not as bad as having brutal honesty come your way from strangers.
Casual Season 3 Episode 4 followed Valerie as she went to her first storytelling class. Even with the cool, younger clothes, her classmates saw right through her. Luckily she got to dish some honesty right back after hooking up with one of them.
Elsewhere in the episode, Alex reconnected with a pregnant Emmy, and Laura gained and lost a new friend.
Whether you want to call it a midlife crisis or not, Valerie is certainly trying to explore different sides to herself. She's made a career out of helping other people with their problems, but in doing so, has neglected her own issues.
After Leia helped her pick out some new (younger) clothes, Valerie attended her first storytelling class. Things got brutal fast when the teacher had each student stand on the stage while the others gave their honest impressions of them.
Well, she looks like she's having a midlife crisis, but she's dressed like she's having a quarter-life crisis.Byron
The students' critiques of Valerie were pretty on point, but it's nothing she hasn't heard or told herself. Even though she ditched Leon, I was happy Valerie spent time with her classmates.
Despite her insecurities, Valerie is self-aware, almost to a fault. She can teach these younger men and women a thing or two about getting to know oneself.
One of the many delights of watching Casual is the depiction of people living in Los Angeles. As someone who does, I can tell you how spot on a lot of these characterizations are.
Chace Crawford is an interesting new addition. His character, Byron, looks like a lot of pretentious LA guys I've met out and about. However, appearances can be deceiving and first impressions can be wrong.
There was a lot of chemistry between Valerie and Byron. I can't tell if it's because of the actors' natural chemistry or just the smoldering looks Crawford was giving off.
Byron: What do you really think of me?
Valerie: Uh, yeah, I think we've done enough of that.
Byron: Oh, come on, just... I'm ready for it. Just lay it on me.
Valerie: Uh, you're a little entitled, not uncommon for someone of your age. Physique... you maybe confuse having style with having a sense of self, and your hair is just, um... yeah. Well, you're very pretty, and uh, you're wonderful in bed. And my car is here.
So of course they ended up back at his place and had sex. The aftermath was more important as it allowed Valerie the chance to share her honest opinion about him.
Byron didn't appear deeply offended by her words, but you could tell he was sort of thrown off by them. He seems like the type of guy who's always confident and has no trouble impressing young women.
But Valerie isn't so easily impressed. She's older and has more experience with the BS men out in the dating world tend to spew.
When she announced her car had arrived and she was leaving, Byron seemed genuinely disappointed at her departure. Maybe he's already become smitten with Valerie. Their next encounter should be interesting.
This installment was titled "The Sprout." The sprout in question was Emmy's unborn child.
Alex has felt adrift. He's jobless, girlfriendless, and no longer lives with Valerie and Laura. His neurotic and obsessive tendencies have come out in full force when he's interacting with his house guests.
I think seeing the picture of Emmy pregnant was a shock to his system. Emmy never seemed like the type to become a mom.
Emmy: I used to be happy without responsibility, the freedom to choose different partners, different nights, but I don't know, after you and I ended, it just... it wasn't the same.
Alex: I've been known to have that effect.
After Alex manipulated her via text to come over, the mood between the exes was solemn. Emmy has changed so much since they dated. She still doesn't believe in soul mates, but she has settled down her wild, carefree ways.
A major reason why Alex wanted her to come over was because he wanted to know if the baby was his. Emmy reassured Alex that he wasn't the father, but the look on Alex's face made me think he was secretly hoping he was.
Not much is going on in his life. A baby would give him purpose. That would be a temporary fix though. Alex and Emmy weren't meant to be, and a baby wouldn't change that.
Alex needs a new job or a new girlfriend soon. His intensity needs to be calmed and channeled into something. He did sign back onto Snooger, so there's hope he will find someone eventually.
Laura continues to baffle me. I don't hate her character, but I don't love her either.
She's incredibly smart and could do so much with her life if she weren't too busy slacking off and rolling her eyes. She's the type of kid who's always acted beyond her years, but still doesn't know what it means to be an adult.
Basically, she likes to think she's the smartest person in the room. But there are a lot of problems she's not addressing within herself.
She went back to work getting signatures, but she hasn't put much effort into it. She was also having a great time with her new friend, but then ruined it with her stealing from his house.
What was up with that? I don't think she knows why she stole the figure from the alter.
Laura developed a friendship and then ruined it all in a single day. That's some serious self-sabotage.
Laura: Where are you getting those lists?
Laura: That sounds violent.
Alex: That's what work is, a sublimation of our violent desires to hunt and fuck.
She needs someone to guide her. I'd like to see someone other than Alex take on a mentor role for her. Alex is fine as her uncle, but he's not someone she should be taking advice from.
So over to you! What are your predictions for Casual Season 3 Episode 5?
Sound off below, and don't forget you can watch Casual online via TV Fanatic!
Amanda Steinmetz was a staff writer for TV Fanatic. She went into retirement in June of 2027. Follow her on Twitter.