Satisfaction Review: Invisible Masks

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We all wear masks.

Wearing them both physically and figuratively is the theme of Satisfaction Season 1 Episode 3 and the depth to which the series goes to examine a long-term relationships and the facade people take up while together is truly satisfying.

If you're still with me, you didn't run off at the idea of a man remaining in his marriage and actively engaging in infidelity after learning his wife was with a gigolo. 

While the series does follow that very strange curve thrown at the marriage of Neil and Grace, there is so much more to it than that. It yearns for discussion. Perhaps that's why Neil has to go to a monk weekly. He is learning so much about himself and his marriage that he needs to lay out his thoughts and run them by someone who can't use them to hurt him.

Adriana, as well as the monk, is escorting him through a range of emotional epiphanies. Yes, she wants him to partner with her as a highly paid escort, but she also understands what makes people tick. She knows Neil is special because he is not in the business of sex.

When Neil goes to a masked party that Adriana has arranged for him to acclimate himself a bit better with her world, he starts acting like who he thinks she wants him to be instead of as he would normally act. That is the exact opposite of what Adriana wants from him or hopes that he sees in himself. 

Adriana: You're here because of who you are, not because of who you think I want you to be.
Neil: Well, I wanted to show you that I know what I'm doing.
Adriana: But you don't. That's what's so special about you. Just because you're wearing a mask doesn't mean you should be someone you're not. Not yet.

Neil almost comes to an agreement with Simon to put an end to their dealings, but Neil didn't have the power to call off the IRS and the more he talked with Simon, the less he liked what he heard. Neil doesn't want to think he hasn't provided for his wife, not just monetarily but emotionally, as well.

Neil is surprised when Simon asks whether Grace got the job she wanted. Part of him just hopes that what Simon says about Grace and other women holds no weight. Surely they don't tell him things they wouldn't share with their partners. Yet even as he grits his teeth at the thought, he was with a woman who shared her most intimate feelings about her husband with Neil, a complete stranger.

As much as he doesn't like it, Neil has to admit that Simon is right. He has lost sight of Grace, the woman he married. He's still married to a woman named Grace, but neither of them are the same people who walked down that aisle 18 years ago. She dreamed of a career where her creativity would flourish, and Neil can't help but be somewhat disappointed when he realizes that her dream wasn't to be married to him. 

While Neil was learning lessons about the facades in his marriage and other aspects of his life, Grace found herself trying to be what other people wanted as well. Jumping back into the workforce with a "boss" almost 20 years your junior isn't pleasant, especially when they sideline your work for trendy things like feng shui. 

Anika discovered being seen was a hell of a lot more difficult than being invisible. Her new popularity after the talent show hullabaloo meant she always had to be "on" and it's an unfamiliar feeling. Stephanie shares with her lessons on how to be in front of a crowd while remaining true to herself and encourages her to push past her fears.

Simon is still in Grace's life. She can't stop thinking about him and he desperately wants to tell her what Neil knows -- until Grace puts Simon in his place by reminding them of their arrangement. She may talk to him about her problems, but she does that with her hairdresser, too. Ouch.

Neil's desire to be truthful with Charles with regard to their business arrangement meant that he had to take a chance on Charles. Neil discovered who had been skimming the $1 million monthly from Charles accounts -- his wife. Neil showed Charles what his return on investment would be with his money under Neil's watchful eye. He also told Charles he discovered something about his wife that wouldn't make him happy. He tried to call Charles' bluff by reminding him he didn't need to know what Neil learned to still make a killing on his portfolio. It worked.

I think you're right. Not every partnership requires that we tell each other everything, as long as we're happy.


Neil knows he's wearing a mask with Grace and vice versa. He wants to take them off, but is worried about what they might find when they do. What if they don't recognize each other anymore? Will the brutal honesty hurt them this early in the game? If he's asking that, he probably already knows the answer. 

The masks will remain on for now, but he'll continue to try to better understand the person Grace wants to be, hoping that they can get to know who they are now before ripping off the band-aid. 

If that means they have to continue to explore who they are outside of their marriage, then Neil's up for that. He's not necessarily happy about it, but I think he's hoping that with a little more time and some coaching, she'll figure out what's going on with them, too.

If you missed any of the series, you can watch Satisfaction online via TV Fanatic. Hit the comments with your thoughts. Is the underlying infidelity too much for you to take or is the bigger picture of what's happening in their marriage enough for you to keep watching? 

Are you learning anything about your own feelings by watching Satisfaction?


Editor Rating: 5.0 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 5.0 / 5.0 (7 Votes)

Carissa Pavlica is the managing editor and a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter and on Google+.


Satisfaction is about as satisfying as a hoarse pill! After 3 episodes I am still having a hard time swallowing this storyline,(stuck in the throat) although I do find aspects of the show entertaining. I really like Matt Passmore and am glad to see his return to weekly television.
I may be alone in this, but I found it odd how easy the character slipped into the role of escort. I mean he didn't appear to hesitate in sleeping with 2 women.
I feel the entire banter between Neil and Simon to be hmmm... catty. After all it is Grace's actions that caused all of this. And I am not sure how the daughter fits in to this.
Like many other reviewers I am wondering where this story is going...


It's funny how your question of the week was about learning or feeling anything in our own lives from this show, and the only thing I can come up with is trying to find a way that the lies and cheating can end with a happy ending and still be written for more than one season. In my perfect world, Neil would very soon, figure out what he needs to do to be the man Grace married and desires. Grace would quickly see how wrong her affair has been and see the change in Neil, thus ending her cheating, and going back to what they both want, a good, loving marriage. There has been several times we have heard that some secrets of the past, are best left that way. The problem is that doesn't make for a great story line. So we're faced with how long will all the cheating and deception go on before it's all exposed? If this marriage has any chance while both characters continue on this current course they better come clean soon .Looks like Neil is really starting to grasp what it is that Grace needs but don't know if he needs a third escort date to advance it, or maybe it's just another revenge hook up next week. As I said before Grace has gone over the, it's only a disgusting business relationship, to an all out emotional affair, that continues again next week. I guessing there wouldn't be any money exchanged. This is why I think the secret needs to be revealed real soon, because Grace is spiraling out real fast.I hope it's Neil who comes clean first, it will make Grace very uncomfortable, and upset with Neils cheating but the fact that Neil is still there for her and is trying to be the man she loves and forgiving, maybe will let them work through it. I fear if Simon goes all douce bag and tells Grace first, she'll be disgraced and find with guilt, but will turn it around on Neil, that he didn't care enough about her and the marriage, by not confronting her when he first found them in the open house. Guess we'll see.
Just don't think we need any more extramarital sex, after next week to get the point.

@ reality adictt

Sadly, Grace is also being used by Simon to get back at Neil. Neil chose not to look only at what Grace did to their marriage, but kind of blamed Simon for being the one she did it with. That's where things get sticky. Simon is a nice guy, he seems to really care about the women he is with -- it's that quality that makes him attractive more than once. He gives them what their husbands do not. It could end up that Neil and Simon have to compete for Grace, but in order for Neil to keep his head on straight he'll also be competing with Simon for other women. They're all playing mind games now. Well, Neil and Simon, anyway. Grace is just doing what she was doing anyway, without any information of what's going on with the men.


NIP/TUCK......but on the "bounds of marriage"..................

Brian schindlbeck

Disgusting, salacious, tale of sex, cheating and marriage, or a very well written, well acted look at what would drive a spouse, after 18 years of marriage, to totally destroy the foundation of trust and fidelity between their partner and at some point, their daughter. I must have a S/M side lurking inside me because I watched it twice last night. I was really trying to find something in Grace, that would help me see her in a better maybe redeeming way ,but I don't see it. I am sure it's not a popular opinion, but I totally blame her, for destroying (and I believe it will end in divorce) the marriage. 6 month affair, justified because she feels like she's missed out of so much that could have been her life. She can claim that there is no emotional attachment to Simon, but she's not being honest, and neither is Simon when he talks to Neil.
I am not dismissing Neils role in all of this. He also has stepped out of the marriage.Two one night stands as an escort, but mentally, we would be led to believe for a couple of years. I think the 2 escort dates were out of revenge, and hurt because of what he saw . It also,by the end of the second date, gave him some kind of perspective, into why or what Grace was doing. The biggest issue is how much Neil is seeing and feeling between his job and his time with the monk.I feel like he is really wanting to forgive and make the changes needed to make Grace, and their marriage work, but Grace gives him nothing, no matter how he tries, emotionally, or physically.
Next week's preview looks like both of them have completely checked out of any hope of working on saving this marriage. So now I am at least hoping that the secrets finally come out very soon. Like next week. Sorry for my rant. And yes I will continue to watch. Love your reviews, just not a good as a word Smith as you.

@ Brian schindlbeck

Hi Brian! I don't think you're a masochist. Trying to find something in Grace makes sense. It's essentially what this couple is doing -- trying to find each other so they can make the connection they had that initiated their relationship in the first place. I'm kind of surprised it's so one-sided, as in we understand Neil so much more than Grace. However, I'm happy that we're seeing this through the eyes of the man, because it's far less common to analyse a union from the male perspective. Being a man has meant for so long that they're the providers and women are the caretakers. It's not an easy adjustment to try to upend that tradition and realize your spouse wants more out of life than to be provided for. Neil not jumping the gun and just releasing Grace because of her infidelity, even doing it himself to better understand women in general and her specifically can either work or backfire. I guess we'll find out which is which! It does make you want to talk about it, and I think anything that sparks conversation is good entertainment.

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Satisfaction Season 1 Episode 3 Quotes

Neil: What did she see in you?
Simon: Well I think you caught a glimpse of that at the tanning salon.

Women don't come to me for just sex. It's about, it's about listening. A lot of times I know more about 'em than their husbands do. They trust me and I'm not gonna betray that.