‘Enlightened’ Review: Agent of Change
In this riveting finale, Amy comes head-to-head with Charles Szidon, Amy’s mother doesn’t approve of her current mission, Krista has her baby, and Tyler reveals a secret to Eileen.
Things were looking pretty miserable for Amy Jellicoe last week. Jeff made his intentions clear, Amy was very close to losing her job and told off Levi, Tyler was about to be in hot water with Eileen (Molly Shannon), and Amy made the terrible mistake of telling Krista about her article. All of that came to a head in this season (and possible series) finale, and it was truly a breathtaking and mesmerizing thirty minutes of television.
Amy’s mother, who you have to remember is from an entirely different generation from her daughter and most of our characters, is appalled by Amy being a whistleblower. From her perspective, you don’t backstab a company that took you back after a mental breakdown. Amy insists that her mother doesn’t see the “big picture,” but their relationship appears fractured and mom wants her to move out.
Like usual, Amy acts before she thinks, and calls to tell Tyler about the story running any time now. Tyler is obviously freaking out, and almost immediately spills everything to Eileen, who is spending the night with him. We don’t see how she reacts exactly, but it doesn’t matter – she’s out of there, and she’s mad. Not to mention, the first person she’ll be talking to is Mr. Szidon.
Amy finds out from Jeff when she arrives at work that someone leaked the article. Once again, Amy doesn’t put two and two together and realize that it’s Eileen. Instead, the cynical part in her trumps logic and she decides she’s been “fucked” (her words) by Krista for the last time. She stomps over to the hospital and starts aggressively confronting her in front of all of Krista’s friends and family, and finds herself kicked out. This unstable and lifeless friendship is most likely dead.
Dougie gives an “inspiring” speech at Cogentiva, learning about everyone’s future plans. As Tyler gets dragged out of the office by some evil looking corporate employees, Dougie gives him a touching fist pound on his chest. The change in Dougie has been a wild ride, and watching him scheme with Amy and Tyler has provided some of the funniest scenes of the series.
Dougie tries to help Amy get rid of her stuff before more minions arrive, but it’s no use. In one of the best exchanges between the two before Amy goes up in the elevator, he tells her, “I gotta say, you are the worst employee I have ever had.” She replies, “You’re the worst boss I ever had.” Dougie can respect that and responds with, “We should hang out some time.” If there is another season of Enlightened, they have to make room for Dougie.
My heart was admittedly racing as Amy entered the lion’s den, and I kept yelling at the screen, “Get a lawyer, Amy!” I know Amy’s own employer doesn’t need to read her Miranda Rights, but it sure feels like they need to. Amy may get her name in the L.A. Times article, but I think Jeff should have prepped her a little better for this kind of situation. What if she says something that hurts their story? I didn’t appreciate at all how Jeff just left her in the dust.
Oh, and I hope Mr. Charles Szidon didn’t fool you last week, because he’s a bonafide sociopathic corporate weasel CEO stereotype. Although all of the insults he rattles off to Amy are actually quite true, it gives her more strength to defend herself, because she has nothing to lose. She’s not worried about being sued or losing her job anymore, so she simply replies, “Well, if caring about something other than money is dopey, I’m a fucking moron.” As Szidon screams “cunt” at Amy while she gets back into the elevator, Amy and the viewers finally get some feeling of satisfaction. For once, Amy is the hero, not a naive idiot.
Not everything is perfect though. Although the cynic in me expected the season to end on more of a sad note, it ended on a generally very hopeful one. Although Amy lost her job, her mother proudly reads her daughter’s article in the newspaper, Eileen and Tyler make up, and Amy has a pleasant encounter with Levi. It was a satisfying season finale, yet if Enlightened is renewed, there is plenty of opportunity to build on what they have. There is still the fractured relationship Krista, and lots of people need a job now. Also, with Amy being a whistleblower worthy of being in the newspaper, maybe someone will set their eyes on her.
Enlightened shows that the world can be more than what we’re so used to seeing on most insightful, excellent television shows – a world of painful cynicism where being good and weak causes you to be crushed. Enlightened is definitely filled with plenty of cynicism, but leaves room for the hopeful and enlightened mind. Hopefully, HBO will feel the same and renew this gem for another season.