Enlightened 2×01 The Key Recap and Review
This much-appreciated second season opener of Enlightened starts, as always, with Amy’s ever-questioning voiceover, talking about her cursed corporate kingdom and breaking that spell. We see am image of a computer inside Abaddon. The screen shows code looking as if it is being erased.
Amy wakes up in her bed. She is then seen at the dining room table, tearing an article out of the newspaper and telling her mother that serious stuff is about to happen at work. She needs to meet with the writer of that article. She asks her mother, Helen, if she believes in fate. Helen doesn’t, but Amy believes her fate is to be chosen for something important. Something not as important as she probably thinks it is.
Amy leaves for work in a rush. She meets with Tyler as he scratches his lottery tickets. Amy says she has looked through every e-mail thanks to the password he gave her last season. She sees that they are plunderers and they don’t care. She has found the perfect journalist to write an expose on them. Tyler begs her not to use that password again, as they will trace it back to him. Amy says she needs to since she couldn’t get the printer to work last time. Amy tries to convince Tyler that he is not happy. Tyler says he is since he just joined the company gym and inherited his aunt’s timeshare. Amy says that she discovered that their department is going to get fired soon and that it is their duty to retaliate on their way out.
Amy calls the reporter and leaves a voice mail. She sees that Tyler isn’t doing anything, so she tells him to act like everything’s alright. The reporter then calls back and Amy runs to take the call. They agree to meet at a TGI Fridays that night. Dougie comes out at the end of the day to see both Tyler and Amy are still working. He tells them he likes their dedication, but offers no overtime. Amy seems strangely enthusiastic about it, which Dougie doesn’t seem to take notice of. This is, after all, how Amy got to where she is these days.
That night, Tyler prints out the e-mails, proof that they are all being fired, including Dougie. Suddenly, all of the computers and lights shut off, and it’s probably not just to restart. Amy is worried they can detect a breach in security. Luckily, the elevators are still working. Amy and Tyler cannot get their story straight to the security guards, but stumble out and say they’re done working. The security staff doesn’t catch on.
Cut to TGI Fridays. Amy spots Jeff at a table. Amy talks a big game and gives the e-mails to Jeff, as long as Jeff guarantees her a front page story. They notice someone watching behind them, but he could just be watching the monster truck channel playing behind Amy’s shoulder. Amy gives Jeff the e-mails, like a baton. Amy wants to have some wine with him, but Jeff says he needs to go.
That night, Amy doesn’t sleep as she waits for the morning. While she eats with Tyler the next day, she wonders if any of the other employees would do anything if they knew about all of this, or would they just ignore it like she probably should have? Apparently, Jeff has not called her back yet. Amy calls and leaves a voicemail, refusing to believe he’s too busy for her. Jeff calls Amy while she’s working back but says he hasn’t read the e-mails yet. They agree to meet again, with tyler driving her to LA since her car sucks. She promises that Tyler could be a Time magazine person of the year for his involvement as other start to listen to her yammering.
That night, Tyler and Amy head into LA. They park and Amy starts to put on make-up, as if going on a date, since it is the beginning of something huge. Amy gets out of the car and asks Tyler to wait in the car since she doesn’t want to spook Jeff, leaving Tyler rather flourished. She’s lucky it’s not me in the driver’s seat, as I would’ve sped away as soon as she got into the building.
Amy is then buzzed into Jeff’s apt. She arrives early and notices pictures of Jeff with Noam Chomsky, whom Amy probably doesn’t know anything about. Jeff then tells her that the e-mails are only interesting from a voyeuristic perspective, but that there’s no story there. Amy refuses to believe this, as usual. Jeff says that there’s nothing illegal happening; it’s all business to them. Amy is upset. Jeff asks if this is a revenge ploy. Amy disagrees. Jeff retorts and says that they should team up b/c he knows a better story about taking down Abaddon, since taking down a corporation like that is what he lives for. He promises Amy that the executives will go to jail for it. Amy leaves, a little confused.
Amy gets back in the car, with a story that Abaddon is paying off government officials. Tyler is reluctant to break in again since he is afraid of getting arrested, but Amy twists his arm. Tyler says that they don’t have the key of getting this, but Amy insists they will get it before they are fired. Amy looks sad, but she she insists that she just is tired of feeling small (aren’t we all). She doesn’t want to go back to feeling like nothing. Somehow, Tyler reconsiders. We end with Amy’s voiceover vowing an end to corporate America, so that the earth can breathe again. We end on the turtle that Amy claimed was God in the pilot. Concrete kingdoms may come and go, but some things never change.
This season premiere has me very excited for this season of Enlightened. After it was surprisingly saved by HBO at the end of 2011, I was wondering how they would pick up the pace to find new viewers so a third season would even be possible. It looks like they have found that way with this rather exciting new plot development. Mike White’s sensitive writing gives Amy way too much credit as a character. I would be more impressed of Amy’s insistence of taking down her bosses if it didn’t stem from such selfishness of her getting over her mental breakdown, but that’s what makes Amy’s ambivalence so compelling in the first place. I am very excited to see if other episodes are told from other characters’ perspectives, the way Helen had her own episode last season. It amazes me that Amy has so much knowledge and determination, yet she never figures out a way to stop being so unflatteringly selfish and irritating to be around. She has no real empathy, except for herself. Everything she does is motivated by fear, delusion, and feelings of inadequacy. She’s even expecting to get a Time magazine cover with her vengeful information. Even I find that hard to believe. I’m sure we will find out more about Amy’s life and her increasingly skewed viewpoints, but as long as they stay with this new reporter love interest and the secret corporate conspiracy, watching Enlightened won’t seem like such a chore for most viewers not used to the ambiguity and unconventional structure of this endlessly fascinating show.
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