“It’s hard to sit down and focus when you have something this good.”
Things are finally taking a huge turning point in this crusade for good. Enlightened sets up an emotional game-changing installment that’s like a punch to the heart. Control is something we as humans in our contradictory position like to helm, although we have little to no say about the circumstances we tread in. We’d love to control who enters our lives and the people around us. We want to control our feelings and irrational emotions, things that send us in a panic. But alas, we aren’t able to harness our heaven or our hell. It just comes to us in the most surprising and devastating ways imaginable. There’s a saying that we all write our own stories, but is that true? Because quite often it feels like someone else or something else is holding the pen that guides us. “All I Ever Wanted” is another poetic and touching episode that further muddles the lines between the greater good and personal want. This is what our protagonist, Amy Jellicoe has always asked for and now she’s getting it. But instead of it being her heaven, it’s her hell…
It has happened: Amy is reaching her ambitious dream. Those things that once seemed intangible are now collectively becoming immaculate realities. And that happiness is perfectly overwhelming. Amy has cracked the code and unlocked the golden gate leading her to what she needs to bring Abaddonn Industries crumbling down. This has been life-changing crusade and finally it is almost over. Handing off the information to the man she idolizes and respects beyond belief, Jeff, our protagonist can taste her victory! It’s exciting--it’s a monumental achievement that exacerbates passion and elates both Amy and Jeff to the point of falling for each other. As I expected, once this mission ended in success, these two whistle-blowing humanitarians would end up fawning over each other. Amy is on cloud nine--in her own heaven--a heaven that she created with Jeff.
The two sleep together, find solace in one another. Being on a quest to uncover troubling truths about this corrupt corporate kingdom can be lonely. Jeff admits that his life revolves around fighting for the greater good, making the world a better place. There is no time for the normal American lifestyle--celebrating Christmas and having a family--when there is so much good left to do in an often cruel and ravaged world. Amy has been lonely in her quest too. It’s no accident that Amy and Jeff find heaven in one another. They want the same things, they think the same and have similar values. They both may have their heads stuck up their asses at times, but they’re both on a path to being martyrs and great activists! It’s a perfect pair. Not to mention, Amy gets to start all over!
Amy’s previous marriage had been full of hate, resentment, drugs, drinking, cheating, harsh words and detachment & alienation. Levi was seemingly the perfect guy, but their marriage quickly went south after Amy’s miscarriage. In attempts to numb the pain of their loss, Amy and Levi went down a dark path that nearly destroyed the both of them, but succeeded in destroying their marriage. Amy’s first story did not have a happy ending. It is full of crushed hopes and regrets. But now, Jeff, this masterful, amazing man who is a God in Amy’s eyes, has given her a chance to write a new story--A story and a new life that is engaged, loving, not selfish or closed. A new life worth believing in and sharing. It’s beautiful and eye-opening. Amy’s life has become a delightful dream! Anyone would be over the moon about finding a like-minded individual with a creative, loving, worldly presence.
But at the same time, Amy is not really thinking of the life-altering consequences moving on from her unfinished story might cause. All of her ambitions and passions have made her practicality weak. Happiness always comes at a price. Amy also isn’t thinking of anyone else’s story. Amy passes on the information she got from Eileen’s computer, but at the possible expense of her and Tyler’s relationship. Tyler isn’t the ghost he used to be. He has taken control of his own story and Eileen is a part of it now. Amy’s actions in rewriting her story-her life--might destruct another’s. Amy’s happiness leaves her oblivious to what personal wants might interfere with the greater good she’s been risking so much for. And not just her, but Tyler as well. The connections both and Amy and Tyler have made are possible consequences. They are their own personal heavens and their own hells. It makes one wonder if Tyler had the right idea about being a ghost. At least as a ghost, one doesn’t have to concern themselves with emotional conflicts such as these.
As Jeff attempts to squeeze an expose out of all the information Amy has given him, things take another surprising turn. Amy prepares for a date with Jeff when Levi returns fresh out of Open Air and returns, clean-shaven and sober to Amy. Again, this is something Amy asked for. She wanted--literally begged Levi to get clean, go to rehab and change his lifestyle. And he has. Levi is back and ready to rewrite his and Amy’s story together. However, Amy is stuck in the midst of rewriting her own story with someone else. She started over to early. Amy lost hope in Levi and found it in another man who is ideal. There are a few fantastic parallels to last season’s episode, “The Weekend” which focused on Amy and Levi’s broken marriage. These parallels do well to inject an emotional conflict of the past and present which sends Amy in a slowly growing panic. Her life just now became heaven and now a significant piece of her past, from a previous and hellish story has returned. The devastating realization that Amy is stuck between her dark, unhealthy past and her interesting, fulfilling present/future sends her overboard.
Amy and Levi’s interaction in this episode leaves viewers worried. Even Amy’s mother, Helen takes notice of this particularly bewildering situation and attempts to alleviate the conundrum. There is a distinct distance between Amy and Levi now, which is also evident simply in the episode's direction. Amy has fallen back into society comfortably with another man, while Levi is just returning with this overemotional franticness that is reminiscent of how Amy’s initial return from Open Air felt like in the first season. The roles have switched in a sense. Amy is a more elevated Season 1 Levi, and Levi is Season 1 Amy, if that makes any sense. Our protagonist’s reactions to Levi’s changed demeanor and attitude towards life are simply confounding so much so that Amy even tries to deny that Levi is in fact better. Amy isn’t happy, she’s angry--angry that Levi would have the audacity to return to her in the midst of her happiness with someone else.
This is usually what happens to people when they finally find happiness. They forget about everyone else. Levi is a constant reminder of Amy’s past and she doesn’t want to be reminded of it at all. Not when Amy has so recently gotten a fascinating glimpse at what her life could be with someone new and more in-tune with what she wants for herself--with Jeff. Levi may have changed, but he is still an unsettling reminder of all the things that can go wrong in Amy’s life. Amy wants control of the pen that’s writing her life’s story, but the deeply troubling truth is that she never really had control of it in the first place. Levi wants all of these things: a new marriage, a baby, a new chance at being happy. Amy is the thing that brought Levi through rehabilitation and its crushing for him to see that she might not be the graceful angel he thought she was.
Getting all she ever wanted seems like heaven at first glance, but ends up being the worst thing that could happen to Amy, making her question why she even wanted these things in the first place. Consequence hangs at the edge of this episode. Everything is coming together, yet falling apart. Separating the greater good and the personal wants fall into conflict. Amy’s panic attack is just a taste of the hell she’s unfortunately falling into. Amy doesn’t know whether to be angry or sad or depressed. It’s an emotional rollercoaster inside of her, while everything else seems to fall into place perfectly. All of Amy’s wants collide and she only has Helen there to help pick up the pieces of the devastation. Enlightened isn’t going out with a whimper this season, but is gearing up for quite a season-ender. Laura Dern and Luke Wilson are outstanding in their contending reunion. And the heartbreak of realizing one’s loss of control and their story might leave both Amy and Levi at odds with the greater good and their personal wants. “All I Ever Wanted” gets 5 out of 5 stars!
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© Patrick Broadnax 2013