Sunday, December 2, 2018

REVIEW: 'My Brilliant Friend' - Elena Has the Opportunity to Leave Naples While Lila Has a Different Proposal in 'The Shoes'

HBO's My Brilliant Friend - Episode 1.05 "The Shoes"

Elena grows tired of Gino, while Lila rejects two potential suitors, at a cost. A rare outing into the city turns violent. Elena worries about not being there for Lila after accepting an invitation to spend the summer away from the neighborhood and her family.

In 2018, it has become very difficult to keep up with every television show out there. It's even more difficult to provide adequate coverage on this site about the episodes that air every week. Not every show can get full coverage because of my busy and hectic viewing schedule. As such, some reviews will now be condensed to give only some summary thoughts. But it also affords a space for me to jot down my thoughts on the various episodes. And so, here are my thoughts on this week's episode of HBO's My Brilliant Friend.

"The Shoes" was written by Elena Ferrante, Francesco Piccolo, Laura Paolucci & Saverio Costanzo and directed by Saverio Costanzo

Elena and Lila have such vastly different responsibilities in their lives. Elena is expected to accumulate as much knowledge as she can by performing at the top of her classes in school. Lila is expected to accept the marriage proposal that her father has approved for her. Both of them are fully expected to support their families. These are actions that have been determined for them in the hopes that they will pull their entire families up in life to some new rung on the social ladder. They remain so close and compassionate. Oftentimes, they are only able to confide in each other about the struggles in their lives. As they've grown though, they have gone in polar opposite directions. It wasn't that long ago when Elena wanted to be the first of the pair to accomplish some important hallmarks of a person's life. She wanted to be the first to get a boyfriend. And yet, she did so mostly to say she did it before Lila. She never even liked Gino. Their relationship quickly ends here with him being absolutely oblivious to what's going on with her. Meanwhile, Lila has two boys fighting for her affections. She turns both of them down simply because she doesn't see the world through that lens. She likes everyone but she doesn't have romantic love for anyone. Throughout this series, Elena has had mini crushes on a number of individuals. At times, it has been problematic. Most of the time though, it's just been casual and inconsequential. But again, she is able to follow the path of being intrigued by crushes while still pursuing her education. It affords her more opportunities in life. Of course, she still feels guilt over copying an idea that Lila had in order to get a good grade in class. She has to immediately confess to it as well. But Elena still impresses everyone with her schooling. Oliviero is still proud to stop by the neighborhood and check in on how her brightest student is doing. In fact, she continues to open new doors for her. She presents an opportunity for Elena to go on a resort vacation for the first time. Elena concludes this hour on a ship heading to a new destination far away from the world she has always known. It's an adventure into the great unknown. It's a path that will immediately push aside every other concern in her life. That is so meaningful. It's also destructive as well because of her codependence on Lila and wanting to be the one person by her side all of the time. This is a friendship born out of their close proximity to one another. They are from the same neighborhood and have the same interests. They bonded so closely in their youth. They are still strong friends who challenge each other now. But Elena is the one with the ability to leave this world to something that is hopefully much better. She doesn't quite know what to expect. But she's also beaming with pride as she looks out on the horizon. Meanwhile, Lila is trapped in the tragedy of her life with her father forcing her to get engaged to Marcello. It's so fascinating how this episode wants to position Marcello as a decent guy who could be a solid romantic option for Lila. She knows better. The audience should as well. He's the guy who pushed girls into his car just for them to get abused. He was a part of the party that was shooting guns during the fireworks celebration. And now, he wants complete disassociation from those actions by claiming that he never partook in them. It was all his brother's doing. And yet, that's such a lame and lazy explanation that makes him want to believe that he's not as guilty and is worthy of being rewarded. Lila's family doesn't even care about her feelings. They just want her to do this in order to improve their lives because of the connections Marcello's family has. That's absolutely devastating. Lila sees the entire world as out to get her. At times, that is very much the case considering she is so naive and pushes against the conventions of this world. However, it's also bound to put her in more and more compromising positions. She is still so young but she's now treated as good for nothing more than marriage and starting a family with the first decent-seeming guy who asked for her father's permission.