Divorce: “Weekend Plans” Season 1 Episode 7 Review

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Robert’s financial troubles come to light, but this might not be enough to help Frances against the formidable Tony Silvercreek.

In Divorce‘s premiere, Frances came out as the de facto villain in the relationship. Her affair with Julian might not have been the sole reason for her and Robert’s split, but it certainly was the biggest one. Since then, the show has tried to level the playing field slowly, but it’s only come to succeed in this week’s “Weekend Plans.” Perhaps this is because Thomas Haden Church is so damn charming, and Robert’s unwavering optimism is endearing. But that optimism has ultimately been his undoing, as Frances learns the truth about the deep financial pit he’s in.

You have to suspend your disbelief a little to buy that Robert—a once successful Wall Street trader—made a ton of crappy investments that landed him and his family seriously in debt. On paper, it doesn’t hold together to well, but Thomas Haden Church’s unwaveringly sunny performance really helps to sell it. Robert believes in the best possible outcome, which is why he’s sometimes the more likable one when put up against Frances’ stark realism. His choices, however, become more more tangible in “Weekend Plans,” making his positive attitude appear more foolish than enjoyable.

Unfortunately for Frances, Robert’s spending dalliances might not amount to much in court. Her lawyer Max proves to be more than a bit faulty after admitting he’s recovering from a stroke and appearing completely unorganized in a meeting with Robert and Tony. Though he later reveals to Frances that this was all a ruse so that Tony deliberately underestimate’s him, his mistaking of the office break room for his office doesn’t do much to ease her growing concerns.

The most interesting part of “Weekend Plans,” though, centers around Robert sleeping with another mom at the school on Tony’s advice. It’s here that he’s able to see exactly what Frances when through with her affair—the little lies, the awkward changing and leaving afterward—and he isn’t able to empathize. Robert’s financial disarray is a serious blow to Frances, but that doesn’t make her actions justified in any way. It’s heartbreaking to see Robert attempt to even the playing field, in his mind, at least—only to come up feeling even worse than before.

The kicker here is that, because they’re going through a divorce, Robert and Frances don’t have each other to turn to in times of need anymore. This is never more apparent than when Robert admits to Frances he slept with someone at the episode’s end, and she blatantly tells him that this isn’t her problem anymore. Frances spends most of the episode being furious at Robert, so much so that she throws a rock through the window of one of his unsold properties. When he tells her about the woman he slept with, she simply doesn’t have the energy to care anymore. The point that Divorce seems to be making here is that both Robert and Frances had issues with their marriage that should have been brought up well before lawyers got involved. Now, it’s way too late.

My one problem with “Weekend Plans,” is that it doesn’t do too much to advance the plot. I’m not saying that Divorce needs to have hair-raising twists or a cliffhanger at the end of every episode, but it’s done an excellent job of establishing these characters so far. We know that this separation is going to be an uphill battle for everyone involved. So let’s get the ball rolling already. If this episode is any indication, this couple is far beyond repair, so there’s no point in stewing in it any longer. Grade: B

 

Some Other Notes:

  • Dallas is still a very polarizing character to me—I can’t figure out why Frances is friends with her—but I genuinely enjoyed her scene in the shopping mall with Robert where he tells her she’s pushing her son away from her (true), and then admits how lonely he is (also true).
  • Dean Winters as Tony Silvercreek is great in that, among the shows layered and complex characters, he is an out and out asshole. His juxtaposition against Robert’s nice-guy is intriguing, and I’m excited to see how much Robert will either rail against him or change because of him over the next few episodes.
  • Also, it’s funny that Dean Winters once played Carrie’s fuckbuddy on SATC.
  • “Go cook some warm milk.”

 

By Mike Papirmeister

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