Total clarity is a rare thing in this life, especially for such a self-deluded whistleblower…
Last week, Amy found that everything she had ever dreamed of was being set in stone right before her eyes. It all seemed to come together, even with the necessary casualties falling behind her, be them Omar or Levi. Amy’s dreams are coming true and her notions of right and wrong of solidified. That is until her conflicting dreams come smashing into one another and cause her to question what it is she even wants. But is it still her decision after involving so many people in on her little secret mission? Enlightened continues to ask some big questions while presenting our conflicted and flawed protagonist to different potentially elating stories, all of which have their own wall of consequences and achievements. Doubt is the only thing keeping Amy from happiness, but when you’ve blown the whistle on something this big, making decisions regarding the best good are bound to be head twisters.
Jeff’s story is set, written, signed and delivered. All there is to do now is wait. The big moment we’ve all been waiting for is on its way, but that doesn’t mean everything is settled. Amy’s new life, full of achievements, glorious victory, and even a handsome do-gooder induces a delusion of perfection. Life is grand for Amy. And the path seems oh so clear and easy from here on out! As the stage becomes set, Amy high expectations come crumbling down around her and she’s left alone to try and pick up the pieces. Although, in a way, she has no one to blame but her own naivety. As Dougie lays back smoking a fat joint listening to old school hip-hop to commemorate his last few days in charge of Cogentiva, Tyler unveils a way that Abaddonn Industries could go on, even after Cogentiva is wiped out. Since his relationship with Eileen, Tyler has had this more confident glow about him. He isn’t miserable or ghostly anymore, but rather in tune with the world around him. Tyler’s changed and he wants Amy to join him in continuing a career at Abaddonn that could invoke the change Amy was asking for from the very beginning. The community outreach job Amy was asking for when she returned to Abaddonn can be secured now that she and Tyler have gotten tight with Eileen, Charles Szidon’s assistant. It’s a dream come true even as another dream becomes a more pertinent reality. It all seems like a joke at best, but there is just a hint of doubt…
Amy’s continued relationship with Jeff seems to be going smoothly. It’s full of grace and ideas and love, but is Amy totally deluding herself. So elated by the dream she wanted coming to fruition, Amy has latched onto her idol and it feels right, even as she leaves the man she’s known and loved for more than twenty years behind. Amy finally comes face-to-face with Levi and informs him of her new life–a life without him. What Amy’s saying now and what she’s said in the past are conflicting and frustrating as it paints a picture of Levi that cannot work, whether he’s clean or not. Amy says she wants a bigger life than what she and Levi previously could have had is Levi were sober. Deluded by this shiny new man with the plan she has in her life, Amy doesn’t look upon Levi with the same eyes anymore. He’s a lowly peasant compared to the illustrious Jeff, the master journalist writing prestigious exposes and visiting foreign countries to do good. What does Levi have but a few loving promises and new faith? Now that’s not good enough for Amy? The woman who was once in Levi’s same position not too long ago? Levi has every right to be angry and confused and totally distraught. He went to Open Air rehabilitation just for Amy, and now she’s having second thoughts because she got a taste of what it would be like to be with someone like Jeff. That’s gotta sting. And now doubt is lingering even more.
As Amy reaches her goal she opens up her mouth about it yet again, but this time to someone she truly should not have. Krista seems like a good friend and all (occasionally creeped out by Amy’s erratic zeal) but the fact that Amy believes she can inform someone in Szidon’s circle of the impending takedown is very cringe worthy. The possibility that everything she, Tyler, Dougie and Jeff have worked for might become compromised is risen to new heights. Amy’s foolishness–her delusions of being this righteous martyr that everyone will agree with is going to be her undoing. People still look at her like she’s the crazy woman who had a huge breakdown at Abaddonn only months ago. Not many people want Amy there in the first place, so her grandstanding is very unwise. Krista may seem harmless now, lying in bed about to give birth, but there is no reason anyone should trust her. Again, more evidence that Amy doesn’t think about the consequences of things before she does them. She’s occasionally reckless in her passion–totally impatient and faltering in balance. Of course she had to tell someone, but Krista wasn’t the right one to tell. Her mother, Helen probably would have been a better option.
Speaking of options, Amy has a huge one set before her when Tyler and Eileen prep her for her unexpected meeting with Charles Szidon to talk about the possibilities of creating Amy’s wished upon community outreach job. Amy is reluctant–fervently apprehensive and she should be. She’s walking a thin line here, with the expose close to release and this new idea of salvaging Abaddonn and invoking a positive change. Amy enters the meeting with a doubt–a glimmer of intrigue that worries Jeff. Will Amy flip sides? It’s so easy to be seduced by the Devil when you’re in his arena. And the arena Amy steps into is a lush, beautiful and luxurious country club sprinkled white and bright. Amy seems surprised. What did she think Szidon’s domain would be like? Did she expect to walk into Helms Deep ready to defend her life? No, this is a very inviting atmosphere with charming shiny happy people sunbathing and golfing with their families. It doesn’t take long before Amy comes face-to-face with the dragon she’s been so adamant on slaying this entire season and it happens…
Amy is enthralled, literally entranced by this man’s articulation of his corporate kingdom–a corporate kingdom that is bound to operate with causal flaws. Amy sits, mouth agape and in awe to find that after all the demonizing, Charles Szidon is an actual feeling human being. In this moment, this conversation Amy is his. And contrary to her assertions that she made Szidon feel, he is the one making her feel. Szidon is using the right words with the right infliction to rise Amy’s eyebrows and drop her jaw. This is a skilful coaxing method that I’m almost certain corporate men like Szidon practice on a day-to-day basis in order to get what they want. In the end, Szidon promises Amy the community outreach job she’s been aching for. That doubt–for a split second is eradicated and makes Amy his ally and she’d be ready to dump Jeff and his story for the pretty little promises the Devil–Szidon makes in less than five minutes of their conversation. It’s a huge game-changer and it forces viewers to look upon a extremely flawed aspect of our protagonist. Amy’s dream to helm a job that could invoke change, while mostly self-indulgent, is ideal. I mean, Levi changed, so can’t Abaddonn? Amy is so quick and impatient that she’s willing to jump into any new promise of positive change that will elate her enough to make her feel bigger and more important than she really is. And that makes for a very unstable whistleblower.
The possibility that Amy is given forces her to really tackle her lack of clarity. All she’s ever wanted is right in front of her and all she has to do is choose. But Jeff points out that she doesn’t really have a choice. The greater good–the lesser of two evils, that choice is gone. Jeff reminds Amy that she’s already in too deep with this quest to expose Abaddonn that the community outreach job Szidon just promised her is a thing of the past. Jeff has gotten his story and it will print. The fallout is imminent and the payoff will be grand. All of this is enough ammo to shoot down all of Amy’s ideas of clarity and forces her back into doubt. Is this really the best good she can do? Could Amy really have invoked change at Abaddonn or were Szidon’s words just empty promises to persuade an easily malleable and deluded mind? We’ve seen the depths of Amy’s ignorance, her fallibility, and her implausible naivety. She has all the intentions of doing good, but not for the entirely right reasons. And in that we find that Amy’s naivety also allowed her to be pulled along by Jeff.
Amy doesn’t really fit into Jeff’s world and frankly, Amy had to have known that. That harsh truth had to have crossed her mind at least a few times while they were together. Amy is a newbie to all of this, and while Jeff has somewhat of a valid excuse (emphasis on excuse) for breaking it off with her, he ultimately ends up being the unfeeling lizard he insists Charles Szidon is. It’s an excruciating end to their relationship that was inevitable, but even more heartbreaking when Amy informs Jeff “I didn’t know all along”. Amy really thought she had something positive and whole going on with this seemingly great guy, but in the end her high expectations and need to be in control of everything, including her dreams, are the big causes of her misery. It’s one of the most admirable and sympathetic things about Amy; her inability to foresee the crushing realities before her, even as things start to slowly pan out for the better. As her dream of taking Abaddonn down comes to fruition, Amy couldn’t be more miserable.
The season finale premieres next Sunday and things are sure to get messy when the revelation comes to light and the consequences are piled on. The end of the crusade is full of blood and many casualties. Will Amy be one of them? Much like Dougie says in his speech when he informs his Cogentiva workers of their collective termination, “Life is a sneaky b****!”. Total clarity is a total delusion. Enlightened has always been a story about a very flawed character doing the right thing for the wrong reasons. Mike White and Laura Dern continue to deliver an amazing series that is possibly the best thing on television right now. It’s funny, painful, very honest and revealing in the most thought-provoking and exciting ways. HBO better do the right thing and renew this glimmering star of a series for a third season, it truly deserves it without a single doubt. That much we all have total clarity with. “No Doubt” gets 5 out of 5 stars!
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© Patrick Broadnax 2013