Photo: Enda Bowe / Hulu /
Marianne and Connell are separated, so it’s time, in Marianne’s words, to find someone “problematic” for her to go out with him right now. Enter: Lukas.
I am intrigued by the changes to the character of Lukas here. In the book, it’s this Swede who looks like the evil prince of Frozen and whose poor communication skills are, according to him, due to his average understanding of the English language. (Marianne, however, says his understanding is excellent.) Our first meeting with him is during the photo shoot that ends this episode, and the first thing we really learn about him is that he and Marianne have an arrangement that ‘he calls’ the game. The rules are as follows: “Marianne is not allowed to speak or make eye contact during the match. If she breaks the rules, she is punished later. The game doesn’t end when the sex is over, the game ends when she goes in the shower… He tells her bad things about herself. It is difficult to know if Marianne likes to hear these things … You are worth nothing, Lukas likes to tell her. You are nothing. And it looks like nothing, an absence to be filled with force. As the photo shoot gets more and more graphic – he grips his wrists so hard that his flesh swells, then blindfolds him – Marianne demands that they stop, threatens to call the police and leaves the studio .
It’s this part of the book where Marianne is beyond the passive, just completely numb. And I wonder if there was any concern on the part of the creative team here that this kind of rag doll void would not translate well to the screen. Or if the public did not tolerate the vaguely consensual submission of this already thorny protagonist. It’s certainly difficult to read and it’s not exactly pleasant or clear to watch, even framed as in the show: like something that Marianne insisted on, which Lukas nodded.
Marianne is in Sweden for Erasmus, which, if I understand correctly, is like studying abroad, but for a whole year and just in Europe. (This is not explained at all in this episode, which, I think, makes the geography and timeline here unnecessarily vague. Maybe it’s just my bias as an American viewer!) Connell is still at Trinity. We learn fairly quickly that she is out of touch with just about everyone from her old click, except Joanna (the only one I liked) and Connell, who is in touch with her by email. . Upon learning that Marianne has a boyfriend, Connell writes, not unfairly, “I just hope you have confirmed that he is not a psychopath. You don’t always have a good radar on this. ”
Lukas is very nice to Marianne, so she breaks up with him in the most timid way imaginable – he has to ask her if this is, in fact, happening, and she replies, “maybe, maybe, Yes “. The eloquence that has … I’m so moved.
He asks her if he could have her reconsidered. “I really love you,” he tells her, and she identifies this like the problem here. What does she want? “The opposite of that. “I write in my notes, yes, Marianne’s favorite thing is when the guy who loves her doesn’t tell her about it at all and leaves her to wonder what’s going on and if they’re even in a relationship. For what it’s worth, it’s a much deeper origin story for the dom / sub configuration in which we find Marianne and Lukas later than the one we have in the book, but it also fundamentally changes the role of Marianne in this whole dynamic. The viewers here who also read, what do you think? Is it a kosher improvement or a television problem with what’s hot?
Meanwhile, Connell and Helen are doing well. Great, even. But their relationship is doomed, of course, because Connell is hooked on Marianne, and Helen can tell. (I like her wearing this Energizer bunny, a fluffy pink jacket that Marianne would never, ever wear.) To make her life more interesting – so Connell tells her to kiss, protect Marianne’s virtue or something. Helen, wrongly, calls her that Marianne doesn’t “necessarily have a problem” with being someone everyone’s talking about, and anyway, Connell, why are you so embarrassed Daughter, he’s in love with her, that’s why he’s upset. Don’t ask if you don’t want an answer!
Connell is devastated that Marianne is not coming home for Christmas. Given his family situation, I think Connell should encourage him never to go home again, and anyway why can’t he just visit him if they are such good correspondents? On Skype, Marianne tells Joanna without conviction that she is fine.
It’s hard to say if things are going well with Marianne and Lukas, really, because it’s hard to say to what extent this is what one or the other wants. She only wears black here (chic and sad, her two favorite things) and a kind of Penny Lane coat that I really like. Lukas tells him that he has this idea for a photo he wants to take of her.
When she gets home, she sits on a mattress on the floor. (In the book, “mattress on the floor” is actually Lukas’ bed in his apartment, but I honestly can’t say if that’s the case here or if it’s just his vision of the saddest photo shoot that I have never seen in my young life.) Article by article, she takes off her clothes, looking desperately at nothing and asking, “Can’t we do this now? »Is this part of their game, his protest? Or does she really want to go out? We have no idea! Can anyone give a sure word to this girl? As he ties his wrists, Lukas says, “This is what you wanted. »OK BUT IS IT? I’m trying to imagine the market for this photo and I’m feeling nauseous and depressed.
In an email, Connell said to Marianne, “Just because people sometimes treat you badly doesn’t mean you deserve to be mistreated. Topless in pantyhose with her wrists tied, Marianne says no, really no, she doesn’t want to do that, and she leaves.
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