Enlightened Recap: The Haves and Have-Nots

It was certainly sly about it, but this week eventually became the best episode of Enlightened so far. The way things were going, I wasn’t expecting we’d get a searing examination of working (or non-working) life in contemporary America, a depressing look at what we often have to do to stay above water, how normal we have to try to seem, how isolating work can be, how lonely we have to pretend we’re not. Corporate life, yes, that’s been covered here. Unfulfilling work, too. But this week went deeper than that. To put it another way, maybe Amy was on her way to being one of the one percent, but she’s now firmly in the 99 camp, and not just because she was forced to be.

Things do start off, as before, at a seeping pace, with another voice-over from Amy that moves so soothingly and metronomically that we can only assume we’re being let in on a new morning, pre-descent-into-Abaddonn meditation ritual. But this time, Amy isn’t giving us an uplifting mantra or bright-eyed plans for the future, as in the previous two weeks. Instead, she’s saying something dark and honest: Sometimes, "late at night," she begins, "visited by dread and shame, I lie in bed and think of somebody else’s life." We join Amy as she travels in her imagination through her former assistant Krista’s life. The camera plays along, showing Amy watching as Krista shares a lighthearted conversation with her husband while cooking dinner; showing Amy standing in their bedroom in her PJs while Krista and her husband have sex; Amy watching as Krista opens gifts at her baby shower, surrounded by loving family and friends; and so on. "I imagine the love that they’re getting," Amy continues, "and the relief that comes from being really known, the private pleasures they share, the friends they have, and the pressures they don’t. Their sense of importance, the satisfaction of their work … "



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