The long flow of the Oscars last night had a very similar feel to the narrative arc of Enlightened’s seventh episode and Amy’s mental state. It all starts out so clear. I’ve got my ballot filled out, my locks for the big categories, but as time progresses, my allegiances change. Best editing usually accompanies the Best Picture winner, as do the screenplay awards, and Argo quickly emerged from the pack. My ballot looked like chicken scratch by the end of the night. Amy starts out clear of mind as well, confident and ready, as time ticks down on Jeff’s published “exposé.”
She recites her own beatitude. “Blessed are the moments in life when things are clear, when doubt shrugs away.” It seemed like she had doubt last week as she drove away with Levi on her sidewalk. The big question was whether Amy would choose “Team Jeff” or “Team Levi,” to start a new life or restart the past. But there’s no looking back she says. Maybe that’s her way of moving on because it erases her connection, or is it a sign that she thinks Jeff is right for her? The warning signs were there from the start.
Jeff questioned in the very beginning why Amy undertook this undercover project. “Did someone fuck you over?” he asked bluntly, an appropriate question from a reporter considering his responsibility and time investment in projects like these. But it appears Amy doesn’t want to ask Jeff a similar question, or questions. Does he really like Amy, or is he just enamored with a woman who has helped him write a killer article? Amy doesn’t compartmentalize these feelings because, well, that would invite ambiguity. But once those words leave her mouth to start the episode, doubt returns and blurs her path.
Intensifying this internal wrestling is Tyler, who is filled with joy when an opportunity comes to absolve his hacking. It’s still been on his mind and it’s clear Eileen has changed his whole attitude on life. What if Amy could get a job from Szidon, working her dream job, changing things from within? Her clear paved ideology hits its pothole. Is burning it all down an option when the medicine to heal and kick start the company’s immune system becomes available? Amy, once longing for a job like that, tries to shut down Tyler because she wants to remain focused, clean of conscience. It’s too late. “Can’t this have a happy ending for everyone?” That quickly becomes a pervasive question in Amy’s life.
It’s still very clear to Dougie however. He’s getting fired, as is all of Cogentiva, and he wants everyone to take a hit from his butted down joint. A nice parallel ensues between he and Levi, who both suffer rejection and act in similar fashion. Step One: Calm before the storm. Smoke a joint; drink a glass of water. Step Two: Confrontation. Dougie breaks the bad news and his angry words could be easily swapped with Levi’s. “Maybe you thought someone was looking out for you, or that someone respected you. Well life is sneaky bitch and she’ll pull the rug from underneath you. It’s a little sand castle and here comes the title wave.”
Levi did it all for Amy. He went to get healed, he started getting “extra-hydrated”, he baptized himself in Hawaiian waters. All for Amy. But like Cogentiva, which was “needed” and then not, Levi ironically feels used. Step Three: Expression. A kick of the trashcan, a swat of the water cup. When you put all of your time and effort into something and find out it meant nothing, doubting yourself, returning to old habits is a natural reaction.What does this mean for Levi?
Which is why Amy has to take a small breather in her meeting with Szidon after he proposes the $100k job. Could this whole whistleblower thing maybe go away? She begins questioning herself, her loyalty, her emotion. Szidon says he’s living in a post-apocalyptic world, the end of times, and in the backdrop of a country club its metaphor is less the physical reality, and more his mental one. “I have to choose a course and decide with confidence and accept what comes.” CEO’s are paid the big bucks not to punch numbers in their computers all day, but to make the big-time decisions like that one. It would be an easy job if there were only one path, but as Amy finds, there is always a fork eventually.
She also finds that she and Szidon have quite a similar predicament. These characters stray so far from each other some times its easy to forget how similar they all are, each one of them a mirror for the other. Amy sits there sipping wine, hearing herself through Szidon’s words and the guilt sinks in. This man is a real human being; he has doubts, preoccupations. He’s a thinking, breathing person. Amy has met with the Dragon and found that it’s fire-breathing is just a little “misunderstood.” Once the emotional connection has been established, the idealized version, good or bad, becomes endangered and you look at that someone as a subject, not an object.
Jeff’s subtle break-up becomes all the more punishing. “He’s an LA Times writer,” Amy gushed to Krista. What would be his new epithet if Amy knew what their future held? Enlightened sped up this episode, and there was little time for reflection. Blessed are the moments when you can sit in your car and think. But oftentimes, life doesn’t like waiting, it likes honking, and a decision must be made.