A quick review of tonight’s “Enlightened” coming up just as soon as we go back to my place in Yucaipa…
The strongest episode of “Enlightened” season 1 was “Consider Helen,” which stepped out of Amy’s head to show this world from the point of view of her mother. It was such a powerful, well-received outing that it’s not a surprise Mike White would return to the alternate POV idea not once but twice this year, first with Levi in Hawaii and tonight with Tyler making an unexpected love connection with the CEO’s assistant Eileen. As I noted in my review of the season 2 premiere, the amount of empathy White infuses throughout these episodes in turn gives me greater appreciation for the Amy-centric ones. She may drive me nuts, but she’s meant to. This is not one of those shows that doesn’t understand how any of its characters are being perceived; through 15 episodes so far, White has demonstrated an impeccable command of tone and atmosphere and emotion, even if it’s often such an uncomfortable show to sit through.
Where the Levi episode offered us a view of Amy’s rehab paradise – the place that’s defined every aspect of her new personality – through more cynical eyes, “The Ghost Is Seen” looked at the ups and downs of being in her more immediate orbit. Without Amy pushing him on this anti-corporate crusade, Tyler never has reason or courage to talk to Eileen – beautifully played by Molly Shannon in the same buttoned-down mode she was in for White’s movie “Year of the Dog” – who sees him in a way that even Amy hasn’t. It’s forced him to realize how long it’s been since he fell into his rut, and how much better it is when he tries. But Amy can’t stop pushing, and she and Dougie wind up hacking Eileen’s computer, which could cause this relationship to end practically before it starts.
But for the moment, the ghost is seen, and gets to live again, and that’s not bad.
Lovely episode in what’s been a strong second season so far.
What did everybody else think?