Love came to my door
With a sleeping roll
And a madman’s soul
He thought for sure I’d seen him
Dancing up a river in the dark
Looking for a woman
To court and spark
I thought there couldn’t have been a more perfect song to end Enlightened’s sixth episode “All I Ever Wanted” than the one played by Joni Mitchell. Then I read the lyrics to “Court and Spark,” and now I am absolutely sure of it. In fact, each stanza speaks to a different part of this episode once Levi makes his unexpected return, and what a time to do it. Well, in a strange way, Amy’s panic attacking, heart beating tug of war comes at a time when everything is, for the first time this season, going right. No sneaking around, no complaints from Jeff saying he needs more info, no more worrying.
But of course, where do you go once you’ve found “all you’ve ever wanted?” Todd Hayne’s direction in this episode captures the feeling of that question. It starts out in a noir-like lens, focusing on the briefcase, the peephole, like the opening of a detective case. It’s also very silent until both Jeff and Amy erupt with words over each other, enthused and overcome with the potential that Tyler’s shameful computer hacking information has brought them. Amy’s apparently going to be the next Julian Asange, the wiki leaker of Abaddon.
It’s clear though that Jeff and Amy are appearing more compatible with each other. Both have rough relational pasts, former lovers who wanted different things. Jeff doesn’t want kids, Amy’s still healing her miscarriage scar. Jeff is a world traveler, seen on his push-pinned map and heard about in his tales to Helen. “Sometimes relationships make your world smaller,” he says. “Maybe if you found someone who wanted the same things as you,” Amy replies, slightly inferring that she may be speaking about herself. He’s the social justice advocate she’s always pined for and wanted to be, the scholarly well-traveled suit and tie, who talks game at soirees like in episode 4 and has all the connections. Amy has sex with him, starts a relationship, and begins growing up. This is the most grown-up I’ve seen Amy.
Yet oddly, there is still a teenage girl secrecy when it comes to Amy and her mother. Amy speaks in vague ways after her two-day stay with Jeff, indicating that her dreams may now be manifest. “Is he your boyfriend?,” Helen bluntly asks. Amy doesn’t like titles, but it’s possible she still has doubts about Jeff and his journalistic intrigue. He’s an ideal version of herself, someone who cares, and someone who has a job caring. Prompting these internal questions is a dinner date with Jeff, who when Amy calls to invite him, replies with, “I’m just a little in over my head.” He eventually comes but, for a moment, Amy sees his job possibly intruding a future together. Just like Tyler, who sees his private hacking as the match to light the fuel, both to Abaddon, but more importantly to his relationship with Eileen. Tyler’s a little heavier now, a grown-up too, burdens attached.
It seemed like he read my mind
He saw me mistrusting him
And still acting kind
He saw how I worried sometimes
I worry sometimes
Levi shows up as the wrong prom date at the door and he looks good. Clean shaven, hair-trimmed, but Amy can’t compartmentalize his current presence with Jeff’s impending arrival. “I’m fixed,” he says, and we know he is, well for now. But Amy’s preoccupation with another man invites cynicism that normally steers clear of her positive head. “Why didn’t you call?” she asks, but you can feel the emptiness in that question. What a contrast from her letters and pleas to her mother that Levi would change, that she’s been praying for him. She feels guilt when she shouldn’t, and yes, she still mistrusts him.
“All the guilty people,” he said
They’ve all seen the stain-
On their daily bread
On their christian names
I cleared myself
I sacrificed my blues
And you could complete me
I’d complete you
They walk together, two shared souls, who’ve seen their bottoms and now have emerged together into the light. Their stains are ones only visible in memory, but similar to Tyler and Eileen, these two have that shared wound, that infinite connection. “People drive by here and I see heaven…and hell,” Levi says at the ballpark. “We can flip the script together. We can save each other.” Levi can see the beauty of the world now, he sees life, he sees a future and he sees one with Amy.
“I want a new story,” Amy confesses to him. Refer back to the first season, the fourth episode, when after a camping trip, Amy reflects on her past.
“You can try to escape the story of your life, but you can’t. It happened. The baby died. The dog died. The heart broke. I knew you when you were young. I know your heart broke too. I will know you when we are both old, and maybe wise. I hope wise. I know you now – your story. Mine isn’t the one I would have chosen in the beginning, but I’ll take it. It is my story. It’s only mine. And it’s not over. There’s time. There is time. There’s so much time.”
Levi throws out all the daggers. He wants to try for another baby. He wants to restart. Everything good in Amy’s life is happening in one moment. Everything at Abaddon looks to be coming to a head, a relationship with Jeff is emerging, and Levi is healed and ready to live. She’s always been in control, but now she’s vulnerable. Can you stay positive when there is nothing negative in your life? It’s only fitting she breaks down in her room as Jeff arrives. It’s like a woman being granted a new home on Oprah. Everything in her life has built to this, and the only reaction is letting out tears.
His eyes were the color of the sand
And the sea
And the more he talked to me
The more he reached me
But I couldn’t let go of L.A.
City of the fallen angels
“Can it be? Can you make your own heaven in this life?” Levi thinks he can, but hell lurks in the same space. Mitchell’s last stanza here invokes the series’ floating motif; The beach, the sea turtle, the hope. Luke Wilson anchors this show with his presence in a way not many can. He always appears on that precipice between falling and floating, but somehow hasn’t been able to stay on flat ground.
Amy backs out of the driveway at that time of the evening when the sky gets that post-sunset blue that saturates everything in its midst. It’s the perfect feeling, the perfect time of night to see the imperfect Levi standing there, a fallen angel trying to earn back his wings.