Saturday, March 9, 2013

HBO Enlightened “Agent of Change” #18 Square One

by Catherine Giordano

Season 2 of HBO’s Enlightened ended with episode 18 “Agent of Change” which aired on March 3, 2013. It ends with Amy right back where she started in episode 1—friendless, jobless, and turning to her ex-husband Levi.  She is back to “Square One.”

This season finale could very well be a series finale. I hope there is a season 3. This show is one of the best on TV—unique, emotional, beautifully written and produced. The poetic voice-overs, the beautiful music, the quirky characters—everything is so well done. 

“Enlightened” is listed as a comedy on the HBO website. I wouldn’t call it a comedy; it doesn’t make me laugh, although I smile wanly as I recognize myself in the characters. Yet it is not quite a drama either, if you define drama as I do—a show where the plot is preeminent—although there are plenty of plot twists. This show defies categories. Perhaps I can best describe it as an extended character sketch or a treatise of the philosophy of life.  

On episode 18, Krista took center stage. The episode opens with Krista gazing at her newborn marveling at the miracle of life in this “beautiful upsetting world.”

Amy’s voiceover has her musing about her place in the world. “Am I the agent of change, or a creature of chaos?”  (Later the CEO of Abaddonn, after Amy’s betrayal of the company becomes known, calls her “an agent of chaos.”)

Amy muses, “Am I the fool, the goat, the witch, or am I enlightened? Maybe like all of us, she is a bit of each of them. This is what I mean about this show being unique.  What other show would ask us to think about these things?  As Amy searches for answers in her life, we the viewers, are asked to search for answers in our lives.

Tyler is feeling very guilty about his part in the upcoming exposé.  Eileen sees that he is troubled and asks him what is wrong. Tyler spills the beans, and Eileen charges off.

Eileen has warned her boss, George Szidon, CEO of Abaddonn about the exposé. Jeff phones Amy and tells her, “They know.”  Amy thinks Krista has ratted her out.

In the previous episode, Amy and Krista have finally mended their friendship. Krista is willing to accept Amy as a friend again. In recognition of this renewed friendship, Amy tells Krista about the exposé. Krista is shocked, but is much more concerned about the imminent birth of her baby than anything related to work. She promises not to say anything.

However, when Amy learns that “they know” she immediately blames Krista. She breaks into Krista’s hospital room and verbally assaults Krtista. Amy gets overwrought, reminiscent of the scene back in the beginning of Season 1 where she confront her co- married lover  and co-worker in the halls of Abaddonn and has a very public meltdown.  It’s déjà vu all over again and Amy is firmly escorted out of the hospital room.

Amy returns to Abaddonn and Tyler tells Amy that he told Eileen. Amy is in crisis mode now, grabbing all her things--especially her computer hard drive--and trying to leave the building. Amy is intercepted by security and brought upstairs.

Szidon is furious. He shouts at Amy, “You have committed a crime.”  

Amy is calm as the invective and threats wash over her like water off a duck’s back.  She says, “I tried to take a little power back.”

Szidon continues, “You are a hysteric, an agent of chaos.  I will crush you like the bug you are.”

Amy remains calm throughout Szidon’s tirade. Szidon berates her and threatens her, but he can’t break her.  She has a clam dignity when she announces that the meeting is over and she is leaving.  Here we see Amy at her best.

She’s at her best later with Jeff also when they speak on the phone afterwards.  Jeff says, “We knew this would happen.” 

Amy responds, “We did?” 

This reminds me of the last episode when Jeff is telling Amy she knew things that she did not know.  (In the prior episode he told her that she knew that their relationship was not real. She was very dignified then, too.)

Jeff asks if she wants to come over. Amy replies with a dignified, “No.” This is the “for-a-ditzy-woman-she-can-be-so-smart-so-brave” moment of the week.

Amy ends up on the steps outside Levi’s condo.  Levi sits down next to her. Their conversation revels that the bond between them is so strong.  Levi is accepting and reassuring.

“I’ve just done something crazy.”

“So what else is new?”

“I’ve got no job.”

“Great, we can hangout. Want a beer?”

“Who am I? Am I crazy?”

“No, you are just full of hope.”

They sit quietly together. In a voice over, Amy thinks, “You can wake up to your higher self… you can walk out of Hell into the light.”  That sounds like a hope-filled person to me.   

In the last scene, we see Eileen go to Tyler’s home and ring his doorbell.  Tyler opens the door, and they embrace. It is clear that she has forgiven Tyler for his role in the exposé. Tyler, at least, has stepped off “Square One.”

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Amy and Levi at the end of season 2.