Saturday, November 24, 2018

REVIEW: 'The Kominsky Method' - Norman Doesn't Know How to Move Forward in 'Chapter 8: A Widow Approaches'

Netflix's The Kominsky Method - Episode 1.08 "Chapter 8: A Widow Approaches"

Norman has lunch with a widowed friend of Eileen's. Sandy and Norman attend a Parkinson's fundraiser. Norman is haunted by women from his past.

In 2018, it makes no sense to provide full-length reviews of each individual episode for shows released all at once on the streaming services. Sure, there are some shows out there that value the power of the episode. They do make a point in differentiating each episode to ensure it's not just one big slog to the finish. However, the ability to watch the entire season at one's own viewing pace has largely changed the way we consume and discuss these shows. So, some brief summary thoughts are really all that's actually necessary with these seasons. As such, here are my latest thoughts on the next episode of Netflix's The Kominsky Method.

"Chapter 8: A Widow Approaches" was written by Chuck Lorre, Al Higgins & David Javerbaum and directed by Andy Tennant

This season has dealt with grief and depression that comes from aging in a very serious way. It was a major component of the show. Norman and Sandy are trying to move on with their lives but face problems that only their peers could possibly understand. They typically could only find understanding and compassion with each other. Of course, they are both mean-spirited as well. They love jabbing each other with their spirited wits. And yet, they support each other no matter what. It's so crucial to listen to Sandy as he proclaims to Norman that he sees him. Those are some vital words to ensure that someone suffering from depression feels like they matter in the world. This entire season has seen Norman struggling to cope with Eileen's passing. He wanted to believe that him continuing to have conversations with her was a good thing. He could still look to her for advice. Instead, it has only opened the door for him to have an even greater psychotic break with him being visited by all of the woman of importance in his life who have died. His wife, mother and grandmother all have differing opinions about the way that he is choosing to live his life. It's all so overwhelming. He can't escape these voices. He feels like a broken man. He doesn't see himself as a crazy man wandering the streets. And yet, that's how he presents to the rest of the world. He no longer sees purpose. He doesn't have the love of his life. Nor does he feel fulfilled by what he is currently doing. And yet, Sandy is still there to look for him. He hits the streets trying to find his friend. He gives advice even when it is ill-suited. Sandy doesn't have any of the answers. He just wants his best friend to be okay. He wants him to continue living. He wants him to have a meaningful life. He hopes that can come from Norman putting himself back out there in a romantic way. Eileen's friend Diane seems to be putting out that kind of a vibe as well. And yet, that's the opposite of what's going on. As such, Norman only seems like an even grumpier old man than usual. That's what fuels this break from reality in which he doesn't feel like he belongs anymore. It doesn't reach a dangerous place where the audience and Sandy should be worried about his safety. Instead, he just winds up at the police station and keeps making inappropriate comments. Sandy is still there to take him back home and tuck him into bed. It's his way of giving back. Sure, he doesn't like the loan being held over his head for the rest of their friendship. But he still wants Norman to get all of the answers that he seeks from the world. Even in old age, Norman still doesn't have any answers to the big questions of life. He doesn't know if it's all pointless or if there is something more that he should be doing. He doesn't know how to answer these questions either. But Sandy will be staying the night. That's very appreciated. Even though his relationship with Lisa has quickly fizzled out once more, Sandy is still a good guy who values this friendship. It's the most important bond in his life. He wanted more from Lisa. He was shocked when she chose to be his acting student. To her, there was no choice to make. He's a better teacher than a lover. That's the relationship she wants moving forward. Sandy may have poor timing with everything in his life. But he still shows up in moments of need when his friends need it the most. That's much more thrilling and endearing than many of the other components that have been on display this season.