Monday, January 21, 2013

HBO “Enlightened”“Revenge Play” #12 Mission Creep

by Catherine Giordano

Amy Jellicoe is on a mission, but like many military missions, the original mission can get lost as reactions to “action on the ground” goes in unexpected directions. In the second episode of Season 2, entitled “Revenge Play” we see how actions and reactions can turn good intentions into evil consequences.  Hence, my title for this review, “Mission Creep.”

Amy has enlisted her friend Tyler’s help in her mission to bring Abaddon down. They both meet with a journalist, Jeff, who urges them to help him get proof of Abaddon’s pay-offs to derail a congressional investigation into their environmental crimes.

Amy will tell you that she is doing this to save the earth and punish those who despoil the environment—how very noble, but perhaps she is doing it for more personal reasons. Abaddon has treated her badly and she is out for revenge.

Amy and Tyler meet with Jeff in a jazz bar where most of the patron’s are black. The people in the bar give her dirty looks and shush her when her loud conversation interferes with their enjoyment of the music. Later Amy has a dream (or fantasy)—the bar patrons are transformed into people you might see at a meeting of the Black Panthers. Amy marches into Abaddon with them. The CEO of Abaddon is strong armed out the door by a couple of burly “Panthers” as Amy looks on and smiles with pleasure.

The dream takes an upsetting turn however, when Amy sees the people she used to work with (former friends) removed from the building in handcuffs. She is especially upset when Krista, a young pregnant woman who was her best friend, implores her for mercy.  

Later, in real life, Amy sees Krista taken away by ambulance.  Krista is hospitalized due to complications of her pregnancy. Amy feels guilty and wonders if her bad thoughts could have caused bad things to happen to Krista. Do we see delusions of grandeur here—Amy is actually powerless, but she feels that her thoughts can magically cause bad things to happen.

Her concerns do not deter her from forcing herself on Krista while Krista is confined to her hospital bed and cannot escape from Amy.  Amy begins by apologizing for past wrongs. Krista tells her it is all OK and there is no need to discuss it. Krista adds that she must not have any stress as her condition is quite delicate. Amy gushes sincerity and nods yes, and then relaunches right into her “apology” determined to say what she came to say no matter what. Is she apologizing or exactly revenge?

Tyler obtains much more exacting revenge. Omar, one of the basement crew at Abaddon, corners Amy and Andy in the break room where they are meeting to hatch strategy. He wants to know what is going on between Amy and Andy. Amy makes up a story about Andy helping her develop a website to sell needlework.

Omar buys the story, but then utters the words that result in his downfall. He says he thought Amy and Andy were having an affair, but he couldn’t believe it.  Amy is tall and beautiful, he says, and Andy is a short albino loser.

IT at Abaddon has discovered that someone has hacked emails, and they are searching all computers to find out who did it. Amy is afraid she will be discovered. Andy takes her aside and says not to worry. He sneaked in the previous night and switched Amy’s hard drive into someone else computer. Just then a ruckus breaks out. Omar is accused and reacts angrily as security escorts him out.

Amy feels great guilt, but does nothing. Andy has the same triumphant expression on his face that Amy had during her fantasy. This is the “revenge-is-sweet” moment of the week. Andy says it was a twofer. Omar was suspicious of them and might have eventually found out what they were up to. But now, Tyler has removed the threat, gotten revenge for Omar’s insult, and protected Amy by removing the incriminating hard-drive from her computer. So actually a three-fer.  

Amy began her mission to take Abaddon down, but now the mission has expanded as she and Tyler have to protect themselves from discovery. Amy also has a second mission—to regain Krista’s friendship. I think this will turn out badly for Krista.


This picture is from hbo.com