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Togetherness “Not So Together” Review (1×08)

8 Mar

960

“Thank you for helping me come alive.”

The characters of Togetherness are flawed in many ways, but that is exactly why it’s so compelling to watch them navigate their lives. Over the course of the season, we’ve seen them struggle and fight and plod along with no sense of direction, but at the end of the day, that’s life; life is going to include those moments, and we’re defined by how we live through them, how we form relationships and chase what we’re passionate about. This season wasn’t perfect, but it did a fantastic job showing us not only the imperfections of each character, but also how those imperfections make them who they are.

“Not So Together” refers to the fact that our central characters–Michelle, Brett, Tina, and Alex–are all “not so together” at the end of the episode. At the same time, the point the show is trying to make is that “together” can come in many different forms, through many different people. Human beings grow and change and meet new people and have new experiences, and “together” can mean one thing at one point and another thing at another point. Right now, for example, “together” means “with Larry” for Tina, and while it doesn’t seem like a very fulfilling lifestyle for her, it’s also in line with where she’s at. She’s living a hollow existence, but she’s simply too tired to move on, too tired to move beyond the dog-walking, swimming pool life she’s in. “It’s better this way, don’t you see that?” she says. One day, she’ll hopefully be filled with the kind of youthful excitement that our other three main characters feel right now.

The most melancholy aspect of the episode is that Tina storyline, of course, and it’s hard not to feel bad for her (especially with Peet’s heartbreaking scene at the pool). Elsewhere, though, there might be a more positive spin on “togetherness”, and that’s exactly what we see with Michelle and David. Yes, they’re crossing a line that can’t be uncrossed, but at the same time, we see just how good they are for each other when they’re passing notes under the hotel door. Contrast that with the detachment early on in the season between Brett and Michelle, and it’s easy to see why Michelle is finding a new form of togetherness, why she needs this charter school and David and the new team.

But yes, it’s cheating, and it’s unfortunate that it comes at the same time that Brett is starting to feel a sense of excitement; the beach hasn’t been a good place for him until now, and upon seeing a changed Brett, Alex tells him to “direct that positivity toward Michelle”. It’s key to note, though, that Brett gains this positivity when Michelle’s off with David; he’s instead spending time with his kids, and we start to get the feeling that their youthful energies develop in part because they’re away from each other. And so, at the end, our characters are beginning anew. Things aren’t perfect and they never will be, but there’s some hope and excitement to be found. It remains to be seen how Alex’s movie will turn out or how David and Michelle will navigate their relationship or how the charter school will develop, but hey, that’s why we can get excited about life. That’s why we can get excited about togetherness.

GRADE: A-

SEASON GRADE: B+

OTHER THOUGHTS:

-Great use of James Blake’s “The Wilhelm Scream” at the end. It creates the perfect atmosphere, and I like the silence over the credits.

-Tina with the “That’s What She Said” joke! You can never pass up an opportunity for one of those.

-Common theme of getting things out in the open throughout this one: David and Michelle, Alex and Tina, Brett and Alex.

-This entire cast is great. Can’t wait to see them back next year.

-I thank you, show, for getting Amanda Peet back on television. She is awesome.

Photo credit: Togetherness, HBO

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One Response to “Togetherness “Not So Together” Review (1×08)”

  1. Matthew Thompson March 9, 2015 at 6:36 am #

    I caught up on this this morning and enjoyed the show by the end of the season. I really wasn’t digging it early on, but I thought they took the characters in some interesting directions these last few episodes in particular. The scenes between David and Michelle (at the end) and Alex and Tina were particularly great. Will definitely tune in again next season.

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