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The Other Two Cast Explains Why Two Characters Can't Succeed at the Same Time

'They keep bringing us higher so that we can fall further and splat harder'

Allison Picurro
Josh Segarra and Heléne Yorke, The Other Two

Josh Segarra and Heléne Yorke, The Other Two

Greg Endries/HBO Max

[Warning: The following contains spoilers for Season 3, Episode 4 of The Other Two, "Brooke Gets Her Hands Dirty." Read at your own risk!]

The Other Two has always been a show adept at balancing the inherent drama of its premise and characters with loopy, heightened comedy. That concept is stretched to new limits in Season 3, and nowhere does it become clearer than the fourth episode of the season, which finds three out of four members of the Dubek family all trying to make meaningful strides in their lives while continuously coming up against absurd obstacles.

"Brooke Gets Her Hands Dirty" is a study in the series' talent for keeping its characters miserable, even as their lives outwardly appear to be on an upswing: Being a good manager isn't enough for Brooke (Heléne Yorke), who feels embarrassed by her fiancé Lance's (Josh Segarra) new career as a nurse and shames herself into embarking on a ham-fisted quest to become a better person. Cary (Drew Tarver) gets his first "real" acting job on a long-running procedural, but isn't satisfied with the way it's going. Pat (Molly Shannon) yearns to spend time with her family but feels trapped by the impossible heights of her own fame.

For Tarver, reaching this point in Cary's career answered a question he'd had on his mind. "Something that surprised me, or I was wondering about, is: Was Cary a good actor? Was he going to succeed? Was he going to be bad at it? I think [showrunners] Chris [Kelly] and Sarah [Schneider] and the writers did such a great job of being like, 'Yeah, he's good. And the projects are good,'" Tarver told TV Guide. "What if he is good, and is still not happy?"

That general sense of dissatisfaction manifests in the first episode of the season, after the premiere of Cary's movie is met with crickets, and continues here as he enters into the world of network television for his one-episode arc as a lawyer on the 18th season of Emily Overruled, a show within a show. The Other Two presents the world of Emily entirely in black and white, the set filled with a crew of emptily upbeat people who are there to hit their marks and clear out at 5 P.M. sharp.


Ken Marino, The Other Two

As Cary starts his first day on Emily, Brooke begins her first day of "doing good," which at first just involves dying her hair brown and adding pronouns to her Instagram profile. A chance encounter with one of the show's greatest recurring characters, the air-headed influencer Cameron Colby (Jimmy Fowlie), leads to the pair of them developing a company with no discernible goals called The Impact Group. ("Because we'll be making an impact," Brooke explains.) Elsewhere, Pat finds a way around her fleet of bodyguards by donning several layers of a ridiculous disguise just so she can sit at a bar and read a book by herself — only to overhear a conversation between the bartender and her boyfriend Streeter (Ken Marino), who wishes for a normal relationship with her.

"I think [Pat] really truly loves [Streeter]," Shannon said. "She's struggling with how to take care of herself. Remember that her husband before Streeter was a terrible alcoholic, so she was kind of married alone. It's like her first real adult relationship."

Marino continued, "He's figured out how to work within the parameters of the Dubek world, but what comes with that is Pat's career is skyrocketing. She just has no time."

By the end of the episode, Cary has triumphantly rallied the cast of Emily Overruled, a remark from Lance about her "dumb" former career sends Brooke's confidence plummeting, and Pat, upset by Street's confession, running off in tears. It goes back to the core premise of the show: When one Dubek succeeds, two others must fall.

"This show is a lot about going up and down and losing status and gaining status," Tarver said of the push and pull between the siblings and their mother. "It's really nice to see one do okay and one fall. There are always wavelengths crossing."

"It's sort of like a passing of back and forth," Yorke added. "They keep bringing us higher so that we can fall further and splat harder."

The Other Two Watch on HBO Max