Sunday, February 3, 2013

Showtime Enlightened “Follow Me” #14 A New World

by Catherine Giordano

Amy discovers social media, seeing it as if for the first time, and embraces it as an angel from heaven sent to help her with her mission to bring Abadonn down. In episode 14 (the fourth episode of season two) for HBO’s “Enlightened” (airing on February 3, 2013, new worlds are opening up to Amy so I entitled this review "A New World." I think this is the best episode of the season so far. 

Amy looks around a coffee shop.  Everyone is bent over their electronics. She observes, “You can hear the angels buzzing.”

In the next scene, Amy is all dressed up. Jeff is coming to her home to pick her up for a meeting. She has told Jeff that she needs more information from him so she will have a better idea of what information to look for the expose that Jeff is going to write for his newspaper.

Amy’s mother says that Amy has a date. Amy insists it is not a date, but when she sees Jeff she acts like it is a date. And it really looks like a date as Amy and Jeff sit in a restaurant chatting. The only reason it is not a date is that Jeff doesn’t think it is a date.  Amy is just a source.

A couple stops at their table because they have recognized Jeff. They briefly compliment him on his work for the newspaper before moving on. Amy is thrilled—a vicarious thrill—she is so close to someone that others admire. And admiration that comes from being “somebody” is what she so desperately desires.

This ambition is made plain to us when Amy visits Krista in the hospital again.  Krista will give birth in two weeks. Amy says she will give birth soon also. Not to a baby, but to something that like a child will have a life of its own. She’s dreaming of the day when Krista will see that she is important.

Social media can help make Amy important. At her meeting with Jeff at the restaurant Jeff tells her about Roberta, a woman who started a blog that started a movement. He says, “even a nobody like you can speak to power.” This sets Amy to dreaming again.  The voice-over of her thoughts: “This is the angel sent to me from the other world where things are rich and full” unlike Amy’s real world which is rather empty. She intends to follow this angel. Amy opens a twitter account, listing herself as an “aspiring agent of change.”

During their meeting, Jeff mentioned that Roberta is going to be speaking at an event being held at the home of a celebrity (Laurie David) and invites Amy to attend. Roberta’s talk inspires Amy’s fantasies. Roberta says that “millions of people are sitting at their computers, soldiers in a global army. We can defeat tyranny in a cyber-revolution. I have made a difference for good. Follow me.”  No need to ask Amy twice.

Amy speaks to Roberta afterwards, gushing her enthusiasm. When the hosts steer Roberta away to introduce her to some important people (from PETA, from Amnesty International), Amy hovers at the edge of the group. Later she wanders about the party, imagining herself on the brink of greatness. She thinks “I’m a stranger here, but I will learn it’s language, read it’s signs and I’ll be welcomed. This will be my home.”  When a waiter recognizes Amy from the neighborhood, Amy brushes him off.  It appears that she doesn’t want to be seen talking to the help. 

At the end of the event, Amy meets Jeff by chance at the valet parking.  Amy is gushing again and Jeff just nods; his mind is clearly elsewhere.  When Amy’s car arrives, he gives her a hug and a kiss on the cheek. My reading of the scene is that he is cultivating a source and being nice to a person who so clearly needs approval. Amy, however, is in seventh heaven.

Back at Abaddonn, Dougie, their boss, Dougie (played by Timm Sharp) in the basement dungeon where they work, is on to Amy and Tyler. He calls them into his office and tells him that he has proof that they are the hackers. As he heads off to inform HR, Amy desperately follows after him with a file folder of e-mails that Tyler has collected. 

The emails show the Abaddonn executives deriding Dougie, making fun of his hair, calling him a dirtbag (among other even less flattering things). The emails also reveal the plans to shut down the whole basement project, Dougie’s ‘domain” as he proudly calls it, Dougie cries out, “I thought I was someone. I thought I had some power.” Dougie will be fired along with everyone else. Dougie is enraged and agrees to join forces with Amy. His sentiments are not so different from Amy’s—he wants to be “someone.”

 [Don’t we all want to be someone? Don’t we all want to have power?  Why do I write these reviews? It makes me feel that I am someone, someone whose opinions matter to other people. And maybe someday this will lead to something.  A post will go viral. I’ll be discovered. Like Amy, I imagine myself on the brink of greatness.]  

Dougie tells Amy that he is the best hacker there is. He’s vice president of IT at Abaddonn because he knows all things computer.  Amy gushes on about how they are going to do something good by bringing Abadonn down, but Dougie is only interested in revenge for the insults.

Amy immediately calls Jeff with the good news that her boss is on board. Jeff is pleased, but he is too busy to talk to her. The piece he wrote about Roberta has been picked up by the Huffington Post, and things are “crazy.”

[Hello, Huffington Post! Here I am.]

Amy muses, “I have joined a new world. I have learned a new language. The powerful will be laid low.” She’s become an avenging angel, poised to strike a blow for “the meek like me” or as she expresses it, “unite the world in a single current of compassion and action.”

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Dougie (Timm Sharrp) in his basement domain.