Following the Angel…
If Amy keeps going the way she’s going, then there are going to be some major problems. The mission to bring down Abaddonn has Amy on the road to making aquatints that are seasoned agents of change. It’s enchanting, remarkable and a bit flabbergasting to the point of "unrealism". What does one do when their mission to invoke change is distracted due to a pretty face and a pretty union? This special installment of Enlightened does well to highlight a few complex double-edged swords in joining the New World of pixilated communion. Technology and media have altered our separate realities in a myriad of interesting ways it is pretty shocking when you take a while to think about it. One can do so much with a few clicks of a mouse. I didn’t think it was possible, but the stylistic and pseudo-influential “Follow Me” may be my favorite so far of the entire series. And this is only the grave beginning. Amy maybe in-sync with the tech world now, but she is still no doubt out-of-sync with the reality (full of consequences) that lurks right around the corner. Self-delusion can cut a person down quickly.
What really gives this installment so much kick is Amy’s first brief meeting with Charles Szidon (amply nicknamed “Darth Vader”). This momentary confrontation is laced tonally in thinly-veiled animosity and vague foolishness. Amy’s impatience in reaching her goal is what might end up destroying this mission before it even truly gets started. We are half-way through the season and the real dirt hasn’t even been thrown yet. Amy’s discover of the virtual world comes from her new angel and idol (and maybe new crush), Jeff. Amy’s attraction to Jeff, the influential platform that has moved her enough to take some sort of action against the poisonous corporate kingdom that is Abaddonn, is not simply intellectual. Yes, Jeff is an influential expose article writer with a lot of important activist friends who interconnect in the virtual world, yet Amy has been alone for a good while. She’s finding something in Jeff that she never really had with, say, Levi.
It’s alluring because Jeff is on the same level (and beyond) that Amy is or thinks she is. When a person like Amy becomes acquainted with these exponentially successful agents of change, there sets in delusion and even attraction that one might not even realize were there. And it can be a very big distraction from the main goal. Jeff may very well find success in Twitter, but that doesn’t necessarily mean Amy will. What really throws me off with Jeff is the moment he calls Amy a nobody. There is a vague arrogance in this charming, charismatic and influential activist that marks the recognition of another double-edged sword. The power of having influence, be it really real of virtual can lead to self-importance, just as having corporate power can move human minds to be power and money hungry monsters. Which one is the lesser of the two evils? It all gets so glamorous, but lets not forget that there is work to be done. Amy isn’t exactly the most low key individual at all. So far this season, she has been leaving small trails of hints scattered all around Abaddonn and now on the internet.
Twitter is used by millions of people everyday so the influence is pretty spectacular. These days companies and corporations and even government officials use something as ridiculous as a “twit” to communicate some of the most influential news. But it does matter “who” is using it. Jeff titles Amy as a nobody early in the episode, yet as Amy continues to take aim at her target, Charles Szidon, her passion and self-delusion override the few red flags that might distract her on her quest to bring down the corporate evils that have been destroying everyone, slowly but surely. All Amy can do now is influence the little guys, her co-workers and friends, as she tries to do in the office and even her slightly creepy visit to Krista, who looked as though she feared for her life as Amy gave her an inappropriate foot massage.
Amy doesn’t have any “real” power like that of Szidon’s or Jeff‘s, but everyone has to start small right? Rome wasn’t built in a day, and a revolution can surely take years (maybe even decades) to achieve. Amy is not an influential figure in the way Jeff and his associates are. Therefore, the delusion that she can “twit” information about her ambitious corporate takedown and have others follow her lead, might get her in trouble faster than she thinks. Most people around Cogentiva still look at Amy as though she’s still insane. Jeff and the acclaimed Roberta Jackson might be right that virtual worlds have their positives, but we are all too familiar with the ugly side of the internet. It’s disturbing just to think about. In all honesty, the internet is largely used for porn and complaining these days. Influencing for good and taking physical action (that takes place away from the computer) is harder than spewing pretty little words that may move, but not in the way that invokes change. Don’t get me wrong, words influence greatly, but it does matter who the words are coming from.
The gathering of prestigious activists that takes part in a great deal of the episode speaks volumes about the real concerns and double-edged sword theories that evolve from influence. The party, while vaguely influential and full of words that speak truths to the thoughts of revolution, is almost a bit full of itself. Amy watches and listens to Roberta Jackson speak about her success in bringing about massive anti-corporate protests through the virtual worlds, such as Twitter and Facebook. It all sounds wonderful and affects Amy to the point that she feels wholly included into this fabulous group of activists. The room is full of activists who have assembled virtually through similar ideals and concerns. This party makes the hard work of being an activist and an agent of change look like an alluring path to tread on. But in all reality it takes a lot of blood, sweat, and tears. Being a martyr with a cause is not something to take lightly. What’s more is the utter snobbery that cuts short Amy’s elated internal narration, when a server attempts to say hi to her and Amy simply shoos him away like a stray cat or something. If Amy becomes too influential will she become one of the evils as well? If this is just her high on momentary self-delusion, then I’d hate to see her with thirty-thousand passionate followers on Twitter. Another thing to worry about is if Amy can handle all that influence. Amy barely has influence over her own life right now. Or her affections..
When Jeff plants a kiss on Amy, it instantly complicates everything. Amy has no doubt been quite infatuated with this angelic agent of change, which is something her mother, Helen definitely notices without a doubt. It’s just like Amy to be so obvious and think that she is successfully keeping a secret. Amy has found someone who seems just as enlightened as she is (or thinks she is) and that is conflicting. It is an ideal pairing in all honesty, although I’m still not sure I like or full trust Jeff through and through. Whatever happens will happen, especially when Levi makes a return. Hopefully, this doesn’t end up a complete disaster for everyone.
Then there is Dougie. The guy has always been nothing more than an occasional oddball obstacle in Amy and Tyler’s way. This installment marks the first time he has broken out of the mold and into an actual bit of action. Throughout the episode, Dougie begins zeroing in on Amy and Tyler’s behaviors and slowly but surely he finds what they’ve both been up to. Still steamed about Omar’s dismissal after being labeled the hacker, Dougie finds himself conflicted when Tyler uncovers some incriminating information that might pull Dougie to his and Amy’s side. Lucky for them, Dougie is more sensitive about himself and his job than he is towards one of his friends and former co-workers. In a sense, Dougie comes to realize that Abaddonn has never really found him or this Cogentiva project as influential as he thought it was. This means that most of Dougie’s life and hard work has all been for nothing. His influence and power is shattered in just a few words from a virtual e-mail. The only thing to fear now is Dougie’s hot-headed approach to resolves. He’s not the most subtle individual and he is now motivated by anger and revenge. I might be limiting Dougie by saying this, but I don’t find him to be very tactful in a crisis. The outrage he feels about him and his team getting dismissed and replaced by machines is enough to make him switch teams. Amy and Tyler’s influence has gained them an agent of change. Is this just the start of the revolution?
Amy closes the installment with one last insistence that she has dominated the world of virtual reality and media. It has become a vital weapon in fighting the good fight. Amy has joined the New World and has inherited its language. She will finally rise from being a minnow in a sea of sharks. Amy speaks of compassion and action taking place over this pixilated world, gathering agents of change to rise up. United in technology, the revolution starts and by following this electric angel, Amy, Jeff, Tyler, Dougie, Krista--everyone & anyone will make a real difference. Or is this virtual world just a comfortable complacency full of influential words and little action? Technology unties and divides. It’s a tool that we all use everyday. It’s a double-edged sword full of passionate words, yet complacency is so easy to fall into that impatience and distraction may bring us all down faster than we realize. But it does all depend on the user…
Enlightened once again proves why it is one of the best shows on television that everyone should be watching. It’s fresh, complex, and almost too well-written. Amazing character study that is perfectly building from what was established in the first season. This installment is definitely no different! It’s an exhilarating episode that gets the blood pumping and the story developed in truly poetic fashion. If you‘re not watching then you are really missing out. “Follow Me” gets 5 out of 5 stars!
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© Patrick Broadnax 2013