As much as I've been anticipating the Sunil finale all week, I've also been dreading it. All season I've been resenting how our prejudices towards Sunil, the dark skinned stranger from a complex vaguely understood country, have been exploited and manipulated. I've grown fond of this character and it seemed to me there were only two ways for him to go, homicidal or suicidal -- dangerous or pathetic. Neither of these options could do honor to Irrfan Khan's fluid and fascinating performance. As it turns out, I was right to feel manipulated, but not for the reasons I expected. The first episode of Sunil's story was the lowest-rated premiere HBO has ever had. Whatever the ratings, the finale of his story was a tour de force. ??
As Monday night's episode opens, Paul is sitting in his office with his elaborate tea set, waiting for Sunil. He leaves message after message for Sunil and then Julia, but no one is getting back to him. So we begin this week instead with Frances. What a thankless job Debra Winger has taken on as Frances, the garden-variety narcissist. To add insult to injury her disorder has become so banal and over diagnosed that last week it was officially dumped from the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. And now no one really wants to hear about the poignant deathbed resolution with her sister because we're wondering where the hell Sunil is. This is too bad. The Frances finale is actually quite a subtle and moving examination of issues most of us will be facing at some point in our lives, if we haven't already -- how simple living wills are in theory, and how difficult they often are in practice.??
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