This week on Weird Loners, we delve into Zara’s artistic process and the nerdy world of human chess. We open with Zara sketching on the front stoop (is there such a thing as a back stoop?) where Stosh shows up and starts rattling off some racially questionable compliments. Zara fires back with “A good racist morning to you, too” and we’re off and running. Stosh talks about how his life is turned upside down and nothing makes sense anymore, at which point Eric shows up dressed as a knight chess piece.
Eric is picked up by his nerdy chess friend Carl, who takes a shine to Caryn. During their live chess game, Carl tells Eric that he’s being promoted to king, and if he fixes him up with Caryn, Eric will get to be the next rook. Tired of spending life moving solely in an L position, Eric agrees to the fix-up.
Stosh’s latest scheme is to be Zara’s art manager, and he tells her that he wants to enter her piece in an art competition at the Mason hotel. First prize is 20 grand, and Stosh is looking to make some commission. Zara isn’t interested, but Stosh steals one of her paintings and runs away with it. Classy guy.
Eric begs Caryn to go out with Carl, and she reluctantly agrees, mainly because she doesn’t have anything better to do. Stosh shows up to find Zara, who is hanging upside down in one of those workout/stretch devices I don’t fully understand. He tells her that her painting is a top five finalist for the competition, and she is legit excited (mainly for the open bar, which is always cause for excitement). They hug, but since she is still upside down it creates a weird face-crotch situation.
Later that night, Eric dances alone on the chessboard to “Take These Broken Wings” and it turns into a fantasy dance montage. I’m into it. Meanwhile, Caryn is on her date with Carl, who is boring the crap out of her with a lecture on noise-cancelling headphones. Their waitress Annette seems upset, and Carl tells Caryn that she’s a pawn on the chess team.
Over at the art reception, Zara and Stosh are mingling with the artistic elite, and Stosh creates a tragic Slumdog Millionaire backstory for Zara to sway voters. Despite being born in Yonkers, Zara takes the story and runs with it, wooing her audience with a lie about being upgraded from plane wheel well to coach. Their lies work and Zara wins the competition.
Caryn comes home and complains about her terrible date to Eric. She swears she’ll never go out with Carl again, and tells Eric to leave her alone.
Stosh has used some of the prize money to make an art studio for Zara. Zara sits down to paint her hotel masterpiece, but quickly gets distracted by chicken dinners and filling the room with candles. It’s basically the same process I go through when recapping, only instead of art I make Mona Vanderwaal jokes. By the end of the day, Zara is painting her own easel and trying to submit it as an art installation. Stosh realizes that Zara paints for herself, and is completely blocked when it comes to painting under pressure.
Meanwhile, Caryn has received zero messages from Carl, and becomes convinced that he’s blowing her off. This of course makes her wildly interested in him, which leads to obsessive texting, stalker drive-bys, and a promise to sleep with him. When Eric questions why she even cares, considering their date sucked, she screams, “This is my disease!” and storms off.
It’s two hours until the deadline, and all Zara has come up with is a Technicolor easel and a sketch of the paint-me turtle from those old art school ads. She begs Stosh to cancel her commitment and, after some arguing, he calls the hotel and and tells them that Zara is dropping out. Then Stosh takes a nap and sets his alarm clock, because of course he didn’t cancel the commitment. He just took the pressure off Zara, and when he wakes up she’s finished the hotel piece.
Cary crashes the human chess game dressed as a pawn and demands to know why Carl blew her off. It turns out he was only using her to make Annette jealous, so he basically used her as a pawn—get it? The women start fighting and soon the entire chess board breaks out into a brawl. As a result, Eric is demoted to checkers.
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