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S01.E09: Looking Up


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Maura finds solace with ex-wife Shelly, and the two hatch a plot to help Ed realize his wishes. Sarah spends time with her ex-husband and begins to question their breakup, while Raquel finally breaks through to Josh. And when the entire family is summoned to Shelly's, they are in for a few surprises.


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Well, that was uncomfortable. Meant to be, of course. I'll hold off more on that till I've seen the next episode.


The narcissism of all three children was certainly on display again. I was rather sorry that Syd's resentment was resolved to having feelings for Ali, because before that her feelings indicated a very real sort of imbalanced relationship I've sometimes experienced (from her position) -- the "friend" who doesn't seem interested in actually building a friendship, just using you from time to time. Again, there's more to be seen there in the future, I'm sure.

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Yeah, I agree. It would have been more interesting to examine the relationship from an imbalanced, but not an unrequited romantic love place, which always seems like the easiest go-to on shows to explain a friendship with an unhealthy power dynamic. I thought this was one of the few times where I disliked how the show delved into a character, because it just reaffirmed Ali's narcissism rather than challenged it.

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This episode just about broke me. I interpreted the end as him leaving to commit suicide on his own terms. It took their selfishness to a whole new level for me, going from "self-involved, cause emotional harm to others" to "totally disregarding the life and last wishes of another human being". I don't think I've fully processed it yet.

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That's an interesting interpretation, makes sense.  I was confused when

Ed was shown to be dead in the next episode, and

recaps of this one were describing that bit as his death scene.  There was even talk that they had actually euthanized him, which seemed incorrect.

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I had a very tough time with this episode, and I was enraged at Shelley and the kids on Ed's behalf. It also felt like a rare misfire for the show on many levels for me.


But I brought a lot of baggage to this episode. I nursed my sweet and lovely stepdad of 27 years through his terminal cancer beside my Mom, and he like Ed lost his voice permanently very much like Ed here (the underrated Lawrence Pressman).


I have no problems with death with dignity for those who want it, but the most horrifying and enraging part of this episode for me was that it was not at all apparent that this was what ED wanted at this particular moment. These monstrously selfish people are literally sitting in the other room discussing ending his life (and they've already moved on to the Shiva/wake) and we never see them involve Ed at all! To me, that took their plans from "assisted death with dignity planning" to murder.


And while I was happy that Ali spoke up for him, Shelley's response that she's just sick of the vomit and shit and all the stuff that goes along with caregiving -- this was her answer to "Why Kill Ed Now"--?  Not, "Ed wants to go. I want to help him."  No, instead it was just: "I'm sick of taking care of him."


This was all incredibly contrived, uncomfortable and also utterly unrealistic. We've seen that these people have money and access to money, so Shelley should have had paid help. Beyond that, even if they didn't have money, Ed is at a point where Hospice should have been involved, with access to nurses, meds, support, care for his final days at home, etc., no matter what their financial situation (that's the great thing about Hospice).


So I felt like this was just badly written. The situation was not realistic, the reactions of all involved were not realistic and took them beyond pleasingly flawed to sociopathic, and the only one I was rooting for was poor Ed, who evidently flees the fucking house to kill himself on his own terms before they do it for him. What a horrible ending to a life that should have ended with his loved ones at his bedside.


Occasionally, I feel like this show pushes the selfishness of the characters to near-unwatchability and that was definitely the case for me here.

Edited by paramitch
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