A leisurely hike leads to an unlikely friendship and a new road to self-discovery on Togetherness Season 1 Episode 6.
Togetherness is not one to shy away from metaphor. Togetherness Season 1 Episode 5 gave us Brett in a self-inflicted prison, while Michelle fought to win the game (of life and/or kick the can). This week, Brett meets a New Agey woman, Linda (a phenomenally Zen Mary Steenburgen), who on first sight recognizes him as a "ghost in chains." The remainder of the aptly-titled "Ghost in Chains" involves a variety of storylines that rely heavily on this idea of breaking free from self-imposed bondage.
For Brett, this involves his job. Beginning with Togetherness Season 1 Episode 2, we've seen the conditions Brett is working under and the arrogance of the director whose ass he has to continually kiss to stay on the payroll. Brett is a character who plays by the rules and typically maintains a pretty even-keeled sense of decorum. However, we know Brett is a boiling pot under the surface. From his outburst at Michelle in Togetherness Season 1 Episode 4, we know he can only toe the line so far before he is going to snap.
You're like a ghost in chains.Linda
Linda takes on the role of unassuming spiritual guru and poses the tough (yet obvious) questions. After she lays hands on him and sets his spirit free, he agrees that he feels better to appease her. She asks him why he thinks he needs to lie. We understand where he is coming from. After all, in polite society, the status quo would be to lie in this scenario. Lying makes Linda feel accomplished and ends the interaction quickly and amicably. Yet, Linda's simple question speaks to the larger theme of the series.
You don't feel better, but you said so. Why are you lying?Linda
If you are unhappy in your job, in your marriage, in your life – why lie? Why go through the motions, hit all the expected social queues and adhere to all of the social norms just because it is what you think you are suppose to do? Some people will answer this question with a logical response, but Linda is there to play devil's advocate to this line of reasoning.
Linda may call Brett a "ghost in chains," but he is not the only character breaking out of their self-imposed prison. Alex has been trying to reach "leading man" status, and tonight we see him working out on his own. Without Tina there, it is clear that he is serious about improving his career and not just following her lead.
When Tina secures Alex a role in one of Larry's films, she believes she is doing a nice thing for him. But when Alex walks into the audition to find the role is Chuck the "comical, chubby best friend," he is offended. After all, he has been working hard to break this stereotype. It should be noted that Tina didn't know what the role entailed, but maybe she should have asked.
What am I suppose to do? He's so high maintenance.Tina
Tina is self-centered and lacks the self awareness required to change. While she can be told by Alex and Michelle that what she is doing illustrates a lack of concern for others, she doesn't really understand. When Michelle explains to her the basic concept of what it means to be a friend, it seems a little disconcerting that this would need to be defined to a woman in her thirties.
Alex pushes back against the funny, supporting friend stereotype, breaking free from his metaphorical chains by marching into the audition and announcing that he is reading for the very un-Chuck role of Vlad.
Whatever it is that you and I are doing, it's over. I'm not doing your bidding anymore, so don't call me. Just keep doing your superficial charade in Larryland, because I don't want any part of it.Alex
Meanwhile, Michelle is continuing her platonic relationship with David. They are dancing around an affair and, with a potential business trip to Sacramento looming, it could be on the horizon. "Ghost in Chains" finds them playing a danger game of proximity chicken. Moving chairs and prying open a locked door with a makeshift crowbar, which apparently requires two people sandwiched together to work. Michelle is on a path of self-discovery but, if escaping from her chains involves an affair, it may not bode well for her characterization.
In the end, Brett joins Linda for a moonlight hike. She wants him to get into the hole where he first found her, but he refuses. He goes on a rant about how he is sick of being bossed around and is putting his foot down now. When he is through venting he acquiesces and descends into the hole without any additional prodding. He is still a "ghost in chains," and his journey is not over yet.
What did you think of Linda? Did Alex have a right to be upset with Tina? Will Michelle cross the line with David? Let us know what you thought of "Ghost in Chains" in the comments!