Tuesday, January 29, 2013

HBO Enlightened “Higher Power” #13 Levi's Turn

by Catherine Giordano

HBO’s “Enlightened” Season 2, episode 3, was mostly all about Levi (played by Luke Wilson), Amy’s ex-husband.  I’m glad to see more of Levi, and take a break from Amy (played by Laura Dern.). She’s exhausting. In the January 27, 2013 episode entitled “Higher Power, it is Levi’s turn to star as his life takes a few twists and turns.

Amy went to rehab in Hawaii at a facility called “Open Air” after her nervous breakdown.  Levi has bottomed out on alcohol and drugs, and now it is his turn to have a stint at Open Air. Amy helped get him a place there at the end of last season.

Unlike Amy, who found the Open Air philosophy so moving and exciting, Levi calls it “cheesy.” He thinks everyone there, staff and “inmates” alike, are pathetic. (I say inmates, but the rehab residents actually have quite a bit of freedom. The place seems to work on the honor system—no one is locked in.)  Levi scoffs at the notion of a Higher Power—he says that “God is a beer on the beach.” He’s dismissive of the group therapy sessions, and he won’t co-operate in private sessions either.

Levi finds a few kindred spirits in Danielle and Travis. Danielle is young, blond, and sexy. Travis is just a stoner. Danielle and Travis have planned to slip out at night to check out the night life at a hotel down the beach. They persuade Levi to go with them.

Open Air is a place to focus on sobriety. The hotel is definitely not a place for sobriety. In short order, they are all drinking, and snorting, and carousing. Danielle gets Levi into a bathroom for a quickie. Then Danielle casts her net further afield and snags a lonely 50-something man who is a guest at the hotel. The man is a lonely lost soul type of person too eager for the company of these three young people, especially Danielle. All three of them go to the man’s room to continue to party.   

They all pass out in the room. In the morning, Danielle goes off with the man, her potential sugar-daddy, and Travis is too hung over to leave the bed. Levi returns to the hotel alone. The night has been a turning point for him. He’s now ready to get with the program. Danielle and Travis, however, are sure to be kicked out, if they even return to Open Air.

Levi is moved that his roommate at Open Air has covered for him, saying that Levi left for a walk on the beach in the morning and not the previous night.  Levi is touched by this kindness because he has been dismissive and insulting to his roommate. (In Levi’s defense, the roommate is a bit of a submissive overweight shlub who seems to have no interests except farting and talking about his bowl movements.) Levi apologizes to his roommate. He says, “You don’t have a problem. I have a problem. Fart all you want.” We all know that recognition that you have a problem is the first step to dealing with the problem..

Levi is also coming to realize that he loves Amy. Levi talked with Danielle about Amy, referring to her as his ex, and a do-gooder. Danielle called Amy a bitch. Levi objected, saying that Amy was not a bitch. Danielle asked if he was still in love with Amy. “Some,” he replied. (Amy, had she been asked, would most likely have said the same.)

When Amy was at Open Air, she saw a sea turtle and this turtle became a kind of totem for her. In his first letter to Amy, Levi writes that he has been looking for her turtle.  He tells all that all he has found is garbage. He writes, “Your turtle, if it ever existed, is gone.”  At the end of the episode he writes Amy another letter.  He says he goes out everyday looking for her turtle. He adds, “Even if I don’t find it, I know you did.”

In this second letter, he is recognizing his love for Amy. He tells her that during the meditation exercises everyone is asked to remember their best self.  This makes him think of Amy. “You thought I was great. Maybe you are my Higher Power.”  This is the true-love-never-dies” moment of the week.

Levi writes that he hasn’t “drunk the Kool-Aid yet”, but I’m still here.” We can see that his life is starting to turn around.

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Amy's ex, Levi, played by Luke Wilson