It hardly requires a spoiler alert to say the season finale of Togetherness does not leave us with a happy ending or resolutions neatly tied with a bow.
After all, one of the most successful aspects of the series is its nuanced ability to mimic real life – from the everyday wins and losses to the more elusive bigger picture of what it means to find fulfillment and feel alive.
On Togetherness Season 1 Episode 8, there are endings and beginnings, bittersweet successes and self-effacing failures – a beautiful culmination of the season-long struggle to find that elusive something we are all looking for, which becomes less tangible the more life happens.
While Togetherness is all about relationships, the season ends with each of the four characters continuing their own individual journeys.
Brett's journey has been mostly spiritual. He is a sound editor, but whenever we see him recording sounds outdoors, his fascination with nature has bordered on the metaphysical. It is only fitting that he meets New Age Linda and begins an even deeper journey of self-discovery. In the finale, he takes this new perspective and applies it to his family life.
When his daughter doesn't want to go to school, he asks her how she'd rather spend her day (calling up Michelle and Brett's own discussion of their perfect days in "Kick the Can").
In an homage to the pilot, after she tells him she wants to go to the beach, Brett reconnects with his children and finds the sense of fulfillment and satisfaction he has been searching for all season. It's cliche to say it was right in front of him all along. But, there it is.
Without his journey, however, he would not have reached this moment in quite the same way. This makes it so satisfying to see the sheer happiness he experiences doing the same thing he loathed doing in Togetherness Season 1 Episode 1.
I had that excited feeling like when you're going off to college and your life can be anything.Brett
Meanwhile, Michelle's season-long journey has been about finding her voice and using it to express her needs and desires. The catalyst for this has been the charter school project and David.
While there is clearly an attraction to David, being a needed and appreciated part of the charter school project is an aphrodisiac for her, as well. And which came first is a real chicken or the egg scenario.
After stepping up as the charter school's (and David's) "number one guy," Michelle is rejuvenated. She is very literally given a platform to use her voice and is finally able to speak up.
Cheers to Michelle, our number one guy!"Truman
So when David says all of the things she needs to hear – all of the things she doesn't hear from Brett – she feels valued. As they exchange notes underneath the adjoining door of their hotel rooms, Michelle expresses her gratitude for this appreciation.
While it is flawed that she has come upon this sense of self-worth only through the eyes of a third party, it is an important experience for her character nonetheless. And their inevitable indiscretion, while predictable, was handled in a way that at least allowed us to feel the internal struggle.
Thank you for helping me come alive.Michelle
While all this is happening, Alex has secured a leading-man role – the manifestation of his physical journey this season. But his journey has been emotional as well.
As Michelle and Brett are charged with finding themselves separately throughout the course of the series, Tina and Alex have been integral to the other's season-long arc.
Tina has helped Alex feel deserving of "leading man" status, while Alex has given the previously "dead inside" Tina the genuine friendship and human connection that she was lacking.
Unfortunately, the things they have inspired in the other are the same things that are standing in their way. Alex may be a leading man now, but Tina won't let him be her leading man because she genuinely cares for him and is afraid of feeling anything too strongly.
I'm not jealous of Larry. I don't want to be Larry. I want to be me, with you.Alex
In the end, Togetherness Season 1 Episode 8 gives us four characters in various states of unrest. Literally, they can't sleep. And we know why, we've all been there. The strongest part of Togetherness is the characters, and we feel for all of them during this last montage. Even Michelle, who we may not want to feel for at this particular moment. Even Tina, who is throwing away happiness for contentment. They may not have it together, but neither do we.
Will Brett find out about Michelle and David in Togetherness Season 2 Episode 1? Did Tina make the wrong decision turning down Alex? What did you think of the finale and the first season as a whole? Will you tune in for season two?