Tuesday, February 12, 2013

HBO Enlightened “The Ghost is Seen” #15 "I See You"

by Catherine Giordano


What an absolutely wonderful episode of HBO’s “Enlightened”—episode 15, “The Ghost is Seen,” airing on Sunday, February 10, 2013. I’m entitling this review “I See You” because it is all about people who live on the fringe.  They feel like they are ghosts, no one sees them, no one knows them, no one cares about them. 

This episode explores Tyler’s life. Tyler is resigned to being a “ghost.”  He has come to prefer it, actually. His voice-over monologue opens the episode and shows us that Tyler no longer even hopes to love and be loved. He says, “It’s OK to be a ghost. No love to lose. No burden to be. So little to hold you down. You are free.”

“Ghost” has a double meaning when used to describe Tyler. t a running joke in the show—Tyler has a very fair complexion; he’s white as a ghost. Maybe there is even a triple meaning. Tyler has “given up the ghost” with respect to life. Sometimes when you have given up on happiness, it is enough just not to be miserable.

Tyler switches metaphors as the voice-over continues. ”Some pearls are never found. They hide under the sand, under the ocean floor. No one knows they are there. The pearl knows.  Maybe there was a time he wanted to be found, to be seen, to be held.  I am my own secret. A secret kept by me.” Tyler is resigned to be a lonely “secret pearl.”

Dougie and Amy have hacked into the email account of Abaddonn’s CEO, Charles Szidon, but they have not been able to find anything incriminating.  They realize that there must be a secret account, and the only way to find that account is through an assistant to Szidon.

Eileen (played by Molly Shannon) is their key to unlock this account. Eileen is Szidon’s assistant and another lonely pearl who has no expectations. Tyler is sent to gain her confidence, but when he approaches Eileen, he is too shy to ask her out. 

Dougie says that he’s an expert at picking up chicks and he will woo Eileen. “Picking up woman is like shooting fish in a barrel,” he says. “Old fish.”  (Eileen is 40.) 

Then Dougie realizes that Amy is 40 too and he has just called her an old fish “Sorry,” he says offhandedly. Then he insults Andy. “Get a spray tan. You’re so white.”

Dougie  approaches Eileen in the company gym.  Eileen is not very interested in Dougie, but Dougie gets her to agree to go out for drinks with him and his friends. (His friends are Amy and Tyler.)

Eileen likes Tyler. Eileen kisses him. Tyler is stunned, but pleased. Eileen likes him because he is “sad, but nice.”  She’s thinking that he’s not the kind of guy that will hurt her.

They end up in bed together, but first Eileen has to give him a long speech about how she doesn’t expect much, but could he please not hurt her.

She and Tyler are kindred spirits. A ghost. A pearl. This is the “can-two-sad-lonely-people-make- one- happy- couple?” moment of the week.

Tyler and Shannon are both so tentative, yet so pleased to have found each other and started a relationship that they make your teeth ache. Tyler’s voiceover: “Something has changed. The ghost can float. He is flesh and blood. All those years invisible haunt him now. Why didn’t he try or care or be. The ghost is happy. He is found, he is held and seen.”

I’m quoting Tyler so extensively because the words are so poetic and so touching.  They speak to the loneliness that so many of us hold in our secret place.

Tyler is so happy with his new relationship, that he has forgotten the reason he initially approached Eileen  She was to be gateway to Szidon’s secrets. Tyler has innocently offered to download music onto Eileen’s computer--the one on her desk at work.  It’s an illegal download, and this is the portal that allows Dougie to access her hard drive. He finds the incriminating emails that he and Amy need.

Dougie and Amy don’t say this, but they could very well have said, “Szidman, I see you and soon the world shall see you for what you are, a criminal.”

Dougie is happy.  He will have his revenge on Abaddonn for their insults to him. 

Amy is happy. She immediately calls Jeff, the journalist who will write the expose. She drops the news on him like a cat offering a dead mouse to its master. Amy wants Jeff to become romantically involved with her, and this gift may cause him to finally “see” her.

Jeff is happy. He will have a great story.

Tyler is not happy. He suspects that Eileen will not be happy if she learns that he is responsible for the breach of her computer files. Amy and Dougie assure Tyler that she will never know.  But this is TV; of course, she is going to find out.

“Enlightened” is a great series that gets better and deeper and richer with every episode. You need to see it. 

Molly Shannon, as Eileen, on HBO's Enlightened.

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