My Brilliant Friend: Season 1/ Episode 5 “Le Scarpe (The Shoes)” – Recap/ Review (with Spoilers)

Lila and Elena continue to take diverging paths and Elena may have finally reached a point of breaking away and getting ahead.

Lila and Elena continue to take diverging paths and Elena may have finally reached a point of breaking away and getting ahead.

Director(s) Salveri Costanzo
Writer(s) Elena Ferrante, Francesco Piccolo, Laura Paolucci, Salveri Costanzo
Air Date 12/2/2018

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Life At A Crossroad: Elena, Lila, Gino, Alfonso, Nino

Lila has seemingly closed herself off to the world after the New Year’s debacle as Elena pushes forward in life. She breaks up with Gino, after how he treats Alfonso, and continues to stalking Nino. Thus giving neither one much of a life but Elena, at least, making moves.


A view of the neighborhood.
Elena: For the whole Christmas holidays, she did not leave the house.

I don’t fully understand what’s going on with Lila? Is losing her brother to greed what broke her? I could understand if she didn’t want to make shoes because of that, but why did she stop reading? Does she fear becoming like him because of her ambition? Also, when it comes to Elena breaking up with Gino, what will her parents say? Assuming they knew she was dating a pharmacist’s son. For considering how Lila’s parents react to what is below, you have to wonder if Elena’s parents made a stink out of her decision at all.

A Proposal & Obligation: Marcello, Pasquel, Rino, Elena, Lila, Fernando, Nunzia

As Elena gets straight As at school, Lila is dealing with Rino’s greed, Pasquel proposing to her, and Marcello as well. Problem is, Pasquel takes a no and lets it go. Marcello? Oh, a no is not an answer. You saw what happened to Ada right? However, Lila is fiesty and damn if maybe, like a mare, he wants to break her and claim her. So, after being told no on the streets, he gets in with her brother, gets invited to dinner and this, of course, makes Fernando go gaga. Then, after Lila makes an ass of her brother and father, yet Marcello asks for Lila’s hand in marriage, you know Fernando is adamant on the marriage.

But you know the icing on the cake? Nunzia adds in this lovely, it’s your life, but ours as well. Making it seem Lila denying Marcello, and what could happen to them, she will have to bear the burden of. No matter how she feels.


Lila being guilted into accept Marcello's proposal.
“You need to think about your life, but about us, too.”

You ever watch something go down and get second-hand frustration? From Fernando and Rino, who want money and prestige by association, to Nunzia who too wants a better life, they are willing to sell Lila for it. Well, not sell, it isn’t that far in the past, but definitely make it seem she will be homeless and beaten to a pulp if she denies Marcello. Which, urgh, the tension in my shoulders just picking up Lila’s energy.

Yet, what can she really do? While she knows a thing or two about making shoes, she can’t just leave and start a new life. Yes, she is taking doing laundry more serious, but while they have laundry shops, where will she live? As is pushed by Elena, Lila has barely been out of the neighborhood and while she has book smarts, she doesn’t know a whole lot about life. Hence her fascination with Pasquel who seemingly has lived quite more than she has.

Making you wonder, to spite her family, would she marry Pasquel to keep from marrying Marcello? It may be the only option she has. Granted, she’ll likely be kicked out of her home and have to live with his family but when has Lila not made hard choices that angered her family?

A Vacation From It All: Elena, Lila, Maestra Oliviero, Immaculata

But, one person who was usually around to help with the fallout is Elena. Yet, with her doing so well, and keeping in touch with Maestra Oliviero, she now gets the chance to head to Ischia. An idea her mother, as usual, gets convinced of but Elena has a bit of guilt. Things are going increasingly well for her but for Lila? Well, it’s going to the gutter.

Yet, despite the way their relationship seemed based on power dynamics, Lila is all for Elena having new experiences. Take, for example, her mother worrying about her and acting kinder than we’ve ever seen her. At that moment, it seems Immaculata may have finally learned to love and accept she has a brilliant daughter who will go farther, do more, than she ever will. Which is frightening but it seems she may have finally allowed herself to be happy for her.


Lila on a ship to Ischia.

The shift in their relationship is a bit weird – Elena and Lila’s that is. For most of the series, thus far, it relied on Lila being one step ahead and Elena in awe. Yet, I think it may have truly come to a point where Lila has gotten tired of competing. After testing Elena, challenging her, I think now she grows tired of that method of treating people.

Looking at Rino, I think she realizes she created this monster by challenging him, pushing him to think beyond his scope, but then it went awry. So with Elena, who Lila has been challenging, and sometimes was cruel to, I think she realizes she is the only one left now. For while there is Pasquel, his sister, and some of the other girls, they are not like Elena. Lila can’t have conversations like they do, she doesn’t truth them like she does Elena and with Elena coming to a point where she will surpass Lila, she needs her more than ever.

For it is in Elena’s adventures that Lila may get to live vicariously. Maybe know what it means to fall in love voluntarily rather than be saddled with some sense of duty to the family. And better now to heal old wounds and help Elena see her importance to Lila’s life than let them end up characters in a book. Someone who had a great effect for many chapters but then faded out and became someone to ask about – with no real answer to say what happened to them.


  1. Immaculata showing herself to be the kind and loving mother Elena has rarely gotten.
  2. Gaia Girace’s joy, frustration, and almost sense of defeat being so powerful it seeps into your shoulders and lower

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