My Brilliant Friend: Season 2 Episode 1 “Chapter 9: The New Name” [Season Premiere] – Recap/ Review (with Spoilers)

Lila looking sad out the window.

In “My Brilliant Friend’s” return, we learn whether or not Lila made a huge mistake and if Elena may have finally found herself not seeking other people’s validation.

In “My Brilliant Friend’s” return, we learn whether or not Lila made a huge mistake and if Elena may have finally found herself not seeking other people’s validation.

Directed By Saverio Costanzo
Written By Elena Ferrante, Francesco Piccolo, Laura Paulucci, Saverio Costanzo
Aired (HBO) 3/16/2020
Introduced This Episode
Pinuccia Federica Sollazzo

Plot/ Recap

Never The First Choice: Antonio, Nino, Elena

Despite feeling dissed by Nino over not publishing her article, and the way she was treated at Lila’s wedding, a part of Elena still burns for Nino. His brilliance, his passion, the feeling of his lips in a greeting, it doesn’t compare. Yet, who is the one who would kill for her, if not kill her? Antonio. And being that Elena is always following after Lila, like her, she is seemingly willing to settle.

But the difference is here, Elena is willing to settle in terms of who is her first chosen sex partner. As for marriage? Even with a war looming, and it seeming no means might be possible to get Antonio out, that’s not an option. I mean, Elena struggles with the idea of saying she loves Antonio, so marriage would be out of the question.

Though, that isn’t to say Elena isn’t willing to stick her neck out for him.

A Pawn Who Thought She Became Queen: Elena, Lila, Stefano, Alfonso, Pinuccia

Lila with a black eye.

In marrying Stefano, there was a time Lila thought she made it. That she made the smart choice, for the first time in a long time, beyond remaining friends with Elena. However, after a wedding night, which included being slapped around and raped, she realizes she made yet another impetuous decision. One which may have solved a short term problem but didn’t provide a long term solution.

Why do we say this? Well, with Stefano revealing how he, Lila’s brother and father made a deal with Marcello for the shoes, wheels start turning in Lila’s head. Especially since, like a caged bird with clipped wings, it seems her leaving the brand new home he purchased isn’t easily done. So, she stews, she thinks, and she comes to realize she was but a pawn and meant nothing in all that happened. Also, her deal with Stefano didn’t mean a thing for Stefano, in pursuit of money, will befriend whoever can make it for him.

However, while given black eyes and feeling embarrassed, Lila isn’t going to take the insults flung at her nor allowed by others without fighting back. But, to begin, she regains her strength through her friendship with Elena, and Elena, as usual, stroking her ego by showing how easily she picks up what Elena is learning in school. Though one could submit, with Elena the only one shedding a tear for Lila, it isn’t just her ego that gets to recover but her faith in humanity.

Making it so, when Elena asks Lila to find a way to help Antonio, so he doesn’t get drafted, it provides an opportunity. One which, thanks to Pinuccia, Rino’s girlfriend, Lila learns Marcello and his brother paid someone to label them as having “Thoracic insufficiency.” And, as a favor, they did the same for Stefano.

Now, as for what the favor was, and if it was beyond money? Well, with Lila looking to stir up trouble, and remind people who she is, she plans to come with Elena to ask the Solaras some questions, and maybe a favor. Which, knowing Lila, Elena fears what she might do considering she is dressing up and putting lipstick on.

Collected Quote(s) & .Gifs

Inside small things there’s something smaller that wants to burst out. Outside a big thing there’s something bigger that wants to keep it prisoner.
— Lila

Characters Introduced This Episode

Pinuccia (Federica Sollazzo)

Rino’s current girlfriend, who is also Stefano’s sister, that adds fuel to Lila’s fire in regards to knowing all the deals Stefano keeps secret from Lila. Especially in regards to the Solaras brothers.

Review/ Commentary


The Wheels Always Turning In Lila’s Head

While Lila hasn’t found a way to gain the life Elena has, and in fact has probably made life harder than need be, what you have to appreciate is that she endures despite it all. Stefano’s betrayal, matched with her father and brother seeing her with a Black eye and doing not a thing? Heck, blaming her for getting one, she sits in that, notes what happened, but makes plans. Toils about and after feeling sorry for herself, thinks of ways to reassert her position and be more than some rich man’s wife.

On The Fence

Elena and Lila’s Interdependency

Elena happy that the distance between her and Lila was shrinking.

There is a beauty and sadness to Elena and Lila’s relationship. For Lila, her association with Elena has always been a boost. She gets to remind herself of what life is like in the outside world and, despite how many would love to clip her wings and brunt her intelligence, she is still sharp. Also, Elena strokes her ego in ways that helps fuel Lila, and one could even say enable both her good and bad decisions. All because Lila knows, even if it is days, weeks, maybe even months, Elena almost always returns.

But, when it comes to Elena, there remains the question of what she gets? Will Lila get fiery for her and be almost like an attack dog? Yes. However, with Lila often, if not always, stuck in the neighborhood, it is increasingly shown she can only think small. Hence her advice for Elena to stay with Antonio and trying to keep Elena on a leash of sorts.

For, when you sum it all up, Lila gets everything she could want and need from Elena’s friendship, and all Elena has ever gotten was someone to compete with. But, outside of academics, one could submit Elena is coming to the point of surpassing her friend and leaving her in the dust. Which makes it so, when she realizes that Lila can no longer compete, what will it be that keeps them together?

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