Every week, Jeffrey Bloomer will have an IM conversation with a different fan of Enlightened. This week, he attempts to keep his cool about episode 2.7 with Michael Gibbons, a longtime coordinator of film festivals.
Jeff: Cogentiva is being put in the ground for real, Michael, and that's not the only thing Enlightened was out to shut down this week. Dougie's epic, pot-fueled takedown of Abaddon and life itself to the entire staff seemed to be cruel rejoinder to all of Amy's lofty ideals of self-improvement and a purer world. Do you think that was just Dougie's last stand, or do you sense his screed had broader implications?
Michael: I worry that things seem headed in that direction. One exchange between Tyler and Amy felt particularly revealing, especially since Dougie's interruption felt designed to not let us dwell on it: "Can't there be a happy ending for everyone?" Amy: "I seriously doubt it." There will be casualties and Amy is finally starting to realize it, too late.
Jeff: Yeah, the camera just lingered on Amy for a minute in that scene, and the line was both comic and ominous. Though as bright-eyed as Amy has remained during her ordeal, I think she always knew there would be causalities—she just did not suspect, as viewers increasingly have, that she would be one. Then again, she seemed genuinely taken aback when Eileen got her a meeting with Charles Szidon, and she found a person talking back to her. What did you make of their first real man-to-woman?
Michael: It's interesting to see Amy in a position that puts her desire to change the world and her desire to grow as a person at such odds. She's always had a bit of a reckless, self-destructive side, but Szidon's offer really made her survival instincts kick in; plus, engaging him in a conversation about how he can change is certainly more within Amy's comfort zone than she's been this season as a whistleblower. (Also, my favorite Amy moment of the episode was her silent toast to the waiter with the wine glass—it's one of those simple gestures that makes her endearing, especially since she had Szidon's full attention at the time.)
Jeff: In their meeting, I was struck by how remarkably self-assured Amy was. She rolled her eyes when Szidon compared himself to a king headed to the gallows, reminding him of his generous buyout should things not go his way. He, in turn, seemed to goad Amy into acknowledging that the company's problems are more complicated than they seem. He ended on a note of apocalyptic unease that mirrored some of Amy's more menacing voiceovers this season. Didn't it kind of feel like they had both met their matches?
Michael: I think you're right. Amy's been so desperate for anyone to take her seriously—Tyler just kind of goes along, Dougie only cares about petty revenge—that to be engaged in this type of sweeping, state-of-the-world conversation is exactly what she's been looking for since the series started. Szidon is working on a level that Amy has been fighting to break through to all along. As she said in an earlier episode this season, she's learning this world's language.
I also found it very curious that we didn't see how she ended the conversation with him. I've toyed with the idea that she already said yes, but didn't have the courage to tell Jeff. I also wonder if Szidon pegged Amy as a nuisance better bought off—everyone has their price, after all.
Jeff: Yes, and we have every reason to believe that Jeff's article nails Szidon for doing exactly that with Washington. That's a clever thought about her accepting the offer—my first impression was that she had left him hanging, but when I watched the episode for a second time, the cut to Jeff’s apartment felt more deliberate. This episode also left other quiet cliffhangers: Is Eileen really just that dedicated to Tyler, or is there something else going on? And was Amy's decision to tell Krista about the article as monumentally stupid as it seems?
Michael: I was pulling my hair out in the scene with Krista, but I've only really looked at Eileen as an innocent bystander in this story. I don't think Enlightened is the type of show that would try to pull off a type of elaborate backstabbing finale, but it's interesting how the women around Amy influence her choices. What about Connie?!
Jeff: I forgot about poor Connie! We should definitely file her under characters you just want to follow around for a full episode. Everyone else barely managed a sigh, but she ran out crying. You wonder what she did to end up in the basement in the first place.
And Eileen is probably clean, I agree. Who knows what Krista did, but it seems like Szidon wouldn't offer Amy a job if he knew what was coming—he would try to have her arrested for theft. Right? We will find out soon enough.
Michael: I demand a third season if only for a Connie episode. You know there's a lot going on there.
Jeff: Yes! Let's quickly chronicle the swift fall of Amy's brief romantic bliss. Amy shatters Levi’s exceedingly fragile view of the future and he quickly falls apart—no surprise there. And though none of us expected Jeff to last, it looks as if Amy did. He was playing the nice guy in that spare, sad breakup scene, but let's not forget that last week he was definitely the aggressor, and in my mind took advantage of Amy.
Michael: He's been a bit of a jerk—Amy wears her heart on her sleeve and a cunning guy like Jeff could easily tell she was falling for him. But like Amy said, it's been so long since she's been involved with anyone, and she didn't pick up on any of the warning signs. He helped bring her where she wanted to go, but he's certainly not the angel she thought he was. To be fair, no one could ever be.
Jeff: That is undoubtedly true.
Michael: I did enjoy Amy's moment of rage in the car after the breakup with Jeff for the way it recalled her breakdown at the beginning of the series. She's at the horrible moment of realization that she has let another man use her, but she was more philosophical about it and the target of her wrath was a little more justified—though admittedly it was still immature of her to drive into those poor people's cars!
Jeff: Eh, as that comically outraged L.A. driver suggested, they probably deserved it. But yes, it was impossible not to watch that scene and think that we were back to the pilot, with Amy belting her rage out at another person even when she seems to be cursing the world in general. The question becomes: Has Amy become a whole enough person to face what's coming and bring the game back onto her board? What are your hopes for the finale?
Michael: Meeting Szidon was so important for Amy to understand the man behind a figure who is a hero in some quarters and easily demonized in others. I think that beyond the inevitable political and legal fallout of the game Amy is playing, she's about to find herself loved and hated on a much larger scale than she realizes; her own motivations, which she finds so pure and justified, will be easily misinterpreted. And I hate to say it, but her ego has been such a driving factor behind what she's doing that I bet it's about to take a beating.
Jeff: Those are your hopes!? I'd hate to ask for your worries! I hear you though. We've been edging toward this moment for a long time, and the preview we got when Amy was challenged was not reassuring.
Michael: Not my hopes so much as my expectations! I want Amy to be happy, of course, but I also want the series to follow through on the threads it has set up. As a possible series finale, the next episode has a lot to live up to.
Jeff: THAT'S ALL YOU WANT, MICHAEL? I just want to keep my eyes dry next week. And for nothing bad to happen to Levi. Already a tall order.
Michael: OK, to be completely honest, all I want is for Amy to get some epic revenge on petty Janice and the rest of her condescending ex-colleagues. There, I said it! And for Helen to be proud of Amy.
Jeff: If Helen smiles in the finale, let's call it even.
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