If “Labels” was Lindsay’s (Mae Whitman) chance to indulge her inner dumpster fire, Up Here 1×06 “Armor” gives Miguel (Carlos Valdes) his chance to shine. Burn? Whatever. He might be in the limelight, but Lindsay isn’t left out of the mess entirely. And that’s something I appreciate about this show. The primary characters are both an equal amount of adorable mess.
Similar to Lindsay’s struggled in the prior episode, “Armor” gives Miguel a chance to face some of his deepest insecurities to figure out who he wants to be. At least in terms of relationships. He still has a way to go to realizing that he doesn’t have to stay in investment banking if it doesn’t make him happy.
But in love, Miguel is a study in contradictions. He’s the guy who will fantasize about an entire life together with someone after a single bathroom quickie. But he’s also guarded, putting up walls to avoid getting hurt. It’s not an unreasonable contradiction. In fact, his rush to do the former arguably makes it all the more necessary to do the latter. And the on-off nature of Lindsay and Miguel’s relationship to-date would make anyone a little nervous about jumping in with both feet.
Still. There’s something endearing and a bit hopeless about watching him imagine he can be in love “halfway.” Again, this guy barely waited past the first kiss to pick out his future kids’ names. But, sure. You can totally keep your emotional distance. We all believe that. (If you do, I have some oceanfront property in Arizona to sell you.)
While Miguel struggles to figure out how to be in love without going all-in, Lindsay has problems of her own. She made some progress in the last episode, figuring out who she is and who she wants to be. But that doesn’t mean her work is done. As a person and as an author, she’s still struggling. This indecision is impacting her ability to finish her children’s book. She’s so desperate to be liked that she can’t commit to an ending. Heck, she can’t even decide if her squid should be a squirrel or her squirrel a squid, or maybe her squid-squirrel should be a hamster having an existential crisis! Who knows? What will make the kids like her?
In the end, there’s no denying that Miguel still has a way to go to figuring himself out. However, an impromptu (and, on his part, unexpected) drug trip helps him find some answers. He may want to be the kind of guy who can love halfway. He may want to be the guy who can fall in love but keep his guard up so he can’t be hurt. Only…he’s not that guy and he never will be.
Sadly for Lindsay, her drug trip in Up Here 1×06 “Armor” only seems to exacerbate her insecurities rather than finding enlightenment. Which will no doubt be the source of her next downward spiral. Probably in the next episode. With only two episodes left to the end of the season, I can’t wait to see how these two pull themselves together. Though at this point, I suspect the answer will be…they don’t.