Who would we be if we dropped all pretenses, let go of other's expectations and just let ourselves be? Togetherness Season 1 Episode 7 addresses these questions in simultaneously poignant and very funny ways.
While Togetherness Season 1 Episode 6 struggled a bit, "Party Time" is the series at its best – an ongoing conversation of the realizations and reckonings of pre-midlife adulthood. However, up until this point, it's mostly been about circumstance – marriage, family, career. Tonight, it's not about how we got here, but about who we become and how far it is from who we are.
If that sounds profound, we only have Brett's metaphysical mushroom trip to thank.
Brett passes on Michelle's fundraiser for a gathering at New Age Linda's house – a McMansion turned quasi-commune where people can come and go, and friendly caretaker Scott is happy to share his mushroom-spiked tea with anyone who needs "stuff" to ease their stress and enjoy life. The idea that life is hard, and that as time goes by, it's not as easy to find the same enjoyment is a struggle that is very real for these characters (and also one that is easily relatable on a human level).
When Scott shrugs off Brett being able to relax without "stuff," we know that is not the case, and are not at all surprised when the next time we see Brett he is stroking the mane of a horse with reckless abandon.
Linda is the perfect conduit for Brett's spiritual journey. She allows him to share without fear of judgment, something that is unfamiliar territory for buttoned-up Brett. It's sad to hear that Brett was chastised for his "weirdness" and subsequently pushed it down.
Brett's trip allows him a rare window of complete self-acceptance and honesty. He may be at a school fundraiser wearing a woman's bathrobe, but he is seeing things clearly. He is able to confront David about his relationship with his wife, asking him if he should be worried. In this moment, his words are genuine, but his inflection is monotone (a result of the tea, which seems to be working like an herbal truth serum).
She's my favorite person on the planet, along with Alex. And there's this horse I just met.Brett
He clearly loves Michelle, but when she confronts him, he tells her he thinks they should go their separate ways for the day, since it has been a rare window of enjoyment for him. He references heading to his bedroom alone to read Dune, the book he earmarks as his perfect-day reading selection in Togetherness Season 1 Episode 5.
While Brett and Michelle find themselves separately, it becomes even more apparent that the most honest and beautiful relationship on this show about relationships is Brett and Alex. And when Brett opens up to Alex, the unconditional nature of their friendship is apparent.
Will you still be my friend if I get weird?Brett
Of course he will. We may be pressured to fit a mold, we may succumb in some measure to the expectations of adulthood, but if we are lucky, there is that one life-long friend who remains a judgment free zone. Alex and Brett perfectly encapsulate that, and their friendship is one of the most honest elements to this series.
Alex faces his own relationship issues in "Party Time" as he faces off against Tina with avoidance tactics that include ignoring the other's physical presence and only communicating through third-party messenger while in the same room.
I'm sensing a presence. Do you have the number for Ghostbusters?Alex
Alex and Tina provide much-needed banter to the series, and while they often function as comic relief, they also have some of the most powerful, heart-rending interactions. In the final scene, the two have mended fences and Alex is helping her discard a defective bouncy house. A close-up of Tina's profile highlights a vulnerability and sadness that we haven't fully experienced from her up until this point.
She tells Alex that Larry the director has asked her to move in with him. She has a flailing business and is sleeping on her sister's couch, so why wouldn't she do it? The answer seems obvious to anyone with a sense of self-worth, but we know Tina is still working on that. She tells Alex that he was right about her, she doesn't have a lot to offer and is tired of the struggle.
I'm just not really interesting or cool or deep. I'm not really good at anything. That's the bottom line.Tina
Juxtaposed with Brett's earlier epiphany about embracing who is really is, Tina's realization is sad. Like Brett, Tina has lost herself along the road of life, but unlike Brett she is not quite as close to finding herself again. (I have not had any of Scott's tea, but I think I may be on to something.)
Tina's journey is one of the most interesting of the four characters. She is not always likeable, but in this very honest moment, we can understand the sentiment. And as Alex hugs her, we feel for him as well. After all, he genuinely cares about her, but at this moment in time, he too is jobless and sleeping on a couch in someone else's home.
As these characters come closer to rediscovering themselves, it is uncertain what impact their individual journeys will have on their relationships. Will Brett and Michelle divorce? Will Tina settle for Larry to acquire security? What do you hope to see in the Togetherness Season 1 Episode 8 finale?