My Brilliant Friend: Season 1/ Episode 8 “La Promessa (The Promise)” [Season Finale] – Recap/ Review (with Spoilers)

Lila calling Elena her brilliant friend.
Lila: You're my brilliant friend.
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Despite the brilliance of both young ladies, the lessons learned and the idea they were ahead of the curve – life shows they have so much left to learn.


Network
HBO
Director(s) Salveri Costanzo
Writer(s) Elena Ferrante, Francesco Piccolo, Laura Paolucci, Salveri Costanzo
Air Date 12/10/2018

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Reaching Our Peak: Lila, Stefano, Elena, Nino

Could things get any better? Lila has someone to finance the dream her and her brother had, she has reign over his anger, and is living a rather good life. Yes, there is some need to question if this is the life she truly wants, but she wasn’t really given the option for the life she wanted. So, based on the options she had, is this really so bad?

Then for Elena, what about her life? She has Nino interested in her, maybe meeting someone who she can talk to about books, the news, things even Lila can’t give her. Is this joy? Is this fulfillment? Could this be everything she hoped for?

The Lion & The Lamb: Lila, Elena, Stefano

For most of Lila’s life, she always had to fight. She had to fight her father, later her brother, even the boys in the neighborhood. She was feared and used that fear to get to where she has gotten today. Yet, what has that really gotten her? She isn’t a man so that fear doesn’t come with respect. All it means is she is seen as an annoying girl. Someone childish and it is frustrating. What is fear without power and what is power if she has to rely on Stefano to give it to her?

Someone who speaks of compromise with the Solara family. This idea of Silvio being part of her wedding, part of the business, and that meaning Marcello could inherit a part of what she has kept away from him. This leads Lila to question everything and Elena being sent in for, at the end of the day, she is the only one who speaks Lila. Heck, at this point, the only one Lila can trust.

Elena asking what Lila wants to do?
Elena: What do you want to do?

Leading her to talk about the need she had recently to humble herself. For, at this point, with Elena starting to get a voice, get that passion Lila has, she found herself getting in trouble with her religious teacher. Something she had to apologize for since the alternative was being expelled. So, in light of that, she pushes Lila to compromise to reach the end goal she wants. For to sacrifice it all because of pride would mean all the work she has done up until now would be for naught.

We Still Have So Much To Learn: Lila, Elena, Stefano, Antonio, Nino, Marcello

For a good amount of time, Lila’s wedding seemed perfect. Though she had doubts, needs to question if she was doing the right thing, it ended up a beautiful day. However, it slowly went to s***. It began with Elena having issues. Happy for her friend, but stuck with Antonio. Then migrating to Nino when he showed up and unable to get and keep his attention. Oh, and learning that her article, he may have made it so it wouldn’t be published. Why? Jealousy because she is a better writer than him.

It doesn’t end there though. Antonio, jealous of the attention Elena gives Nino, he walks out. Then, later on, bored of Elena and the wedding, Nino walks out. Thus leaving Elena with no one to dance with, romance, and feeling more alone, ugly, and an outsider than ever. But things can and do get worse.

Lila put aside the Maestra’s insult that led to her questioning the marriage, she put aside having to have Silvio at her wedding, and for a moment she was genuinely happy. For one in her life, things were working out for her and she was in bliss. But then Marcello shows up, wearing her shoes, and then she realizes she got played. She looks at Elena and they both realize, as brilliant as they see one another, and themselves, they couldn’t see the day ending as it would.

Highlights

Game Recognize Game

There has always been this vibe that Lila was ahead of the game and Elena catching up. Then, when Elena thought she matched, or got ahead, of Lila, she’d pull a fast one. But, as of late, Lila hasn’t competed with Elena and instead was simply friends with her. She recognized her friend’s intelligence rather than challenged it. She let Elena be as brilliant, but in a different light. Making it where we didn’t see her testing what Elena could take but just admire what her friend could do.

Thus making Lila calling Elena her brilliant friend, which Lila has been touted as this whole time, seem like a new stage in their relationship. I mean, just take note of the tub scene. That whole thing was about how vulnerable Lila was willing to be with Elena. The idea that she has nothing to fear from her or about her anymore. They truly are friends and there is no longer any need to question why but simply enjoy it.

Both Girls Ending Things Without Their Happy Ending

Though perhaps wrong to say, I’m glad neither girl ended up with a happy ending. While they both experienced a bit of hardship in the finale, and Elena in recent episodes, it would seem weird if everything came together in the end. Plus, as well off as Elena seems in the future, there also seems to be trouble as well. So there is a need to wonder, as the girls exit their teen years with Lila married and Elena an academic who wonders what life could hold, what could be next and are they ready for it?

On The Fence

So, We’re Not Going To See Older Elena or Lila This Season?

With that said, the last we heard from the older Elena, Lila was missing, and we never got an update on that. That has me a bit worried and also curious as to why we never returned to the recent present. Unless it was to make sure not to spoil the decisions Lila made to live up to that point. Yet, just for some reassurance, the show wanted it to be clear Lila and Rino made it to old age.


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