Divorce: “Church” Season 1 Episode 8 Review

Photo Credit: http://www.vulture.com/2016/11/divorce-recap-season-1-episode-8.html

Robert and Frances both attempt to “win” the post-breakup in a highly nonsensical episode of Divorce.

After a relationship ends, there’s almost always that period of time where each person attempts to prove to their former significant other that they’ve won—that their lives are better, especially now that they’re apart. “Church” sees Frances and Robert doing this same dance, only to pull back the curtain and reveal that neither of them are doing that great after all.

Robert’s reveal doesn’t come until the end of the episode, but it’s certainly the most jarring. His chipper mood throughout the half-hour is at first thought to be the result of him finding a higher power, but it’s actually just from the testosterone injections he’s been giving himself. While it was nice to see him taking the kids to church and to an archery range, this footnote puts a morbid spin on the whole thing. First of all, Robert is following Tony’s advice, which isn’t a good sign. Second, Robert’s unhappiness clearly goes deeper than I originally realized. I’m interested to see what happens in future court proceedings. Will Robert dutifully do what his scumbag lawyer tells him to do? Or does he just genuinely want to be happy and to get this whole mess sorted out as quickly as possible?

I hope it’s the ladder, but after this episode, I’m not so sure. Robert’s arc this week is nearly ruined by a deeply confusing scene in which he shows up at one of Julian’s lectures and gives him a gun. The entire sequence comes out of nowhere and doesn’t really have anything to do with the rest of the episode. It’s also very dark, especially for Robert. What is he hoping will be the outcome of this?

Unfortunately, the confusion isn’t contained to this one scene. Frances’ plotline also features a shockingly nonsensical move on her part. Her version of winning the breakup arrives in the form of an exciting new job offer with Sotheby’s. Frances is elated that she’ll finally be getting to do something she’s passionate about, and be getting paid more money to do it.

Yet, when she learns that Robert could possibly claim her new income as his own before the divorce is final, she completely self-destructs, and it’s baffling. Frances already has to give some of her income to Robert at her current job that she doesn’t like. At least with Sotheby’s she’ll have more money left over for herself and she’ll be doing work that she loves. And, the extra money could really help with the financial pit that Robert put their family in. Why would she self-sabotage something that seems like the answer to all her problems? And showing up to the Sotheby’s offices unannounced? For someone who’s an executive recruiter, she had to have known how that was going to look.

The ending of “Church” is a mostly wordless montage of both Robert and Frances attempting to move on with their lives. Robert injects some more testosterone into his body, and Frances officially takes off her wedding rings. I certainly hope that this means they’ll both be acting more levelheaded next week. Getting a divorce is certainly a maddening process, but this was a little too crazy to be believable. Grade: B-

 

Some Other Notes:

  • Frances finding photos of Julia Roberts as Erin Brokovich in a folder marked “business forms” was hilarious. Also, calm down, girl. That’s pretty tame as far as porn goes.
  • Dallas continues to fascinate me as a character in that I really don’t get why Frances is friends with her. She’s just a ball of negative energy, and I don’t know why anyone would want to hang around her.
  • Frances walking through the streets of New York all dressed up and smiling when a guy gives her the up-down was a total SATC moment, and I loved it.
  • Robert saying “that sounds really cozy!” upon hearing of Frances’ plan to turn his old office into a reading room made me laugh out loud.
  • Diane and Nick share a one-off scene where he brings up adopting kids. This too has nothing to do with the rest of the episode, but I liked it in that it hinted that her almost-shooting scandal didn’t magically fix the problems they had before.

 

By Mike Papirmeister

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