My Brilliant Friend: Season 2 Episode 5 “Chapter 13: The Betrayal” – Recap/ Review (with Spoilers)

As the vacation comes to an end, both Elena and Lila are faced with a change in their life. One neither were prepped for but realized must happen if they desire happiness.

Directed By Alice Rohrwacher
Written By Elena Ferrante, Francesco Piccolo, Laura Paolucci, Saverio Costanzo
Aired (HBO) 4/13/2020

This content contains pertinent spoilers.

It’s Hard To Live Vicariously When They Have The One You Want – Lila, Elena, Nino

With Lila and Nino hot in the ass but dealing with how wrong any tryst between them could be, Elena finds herself in the middle and sort of happy about that. At least for as long as she seems to be able to remind both sides Lila is married. But, after a certain point, that seems like a reason to have an affair.

Why? Well, just as Pinuccia experienced the life she never got to have, it seems Lila is experiencing that now as well. Thus triggering her desire to learn more, read, perhaps go to school, and with Elena hearing this, she is tired of both Lila and Nino and being involved with trying to cover up what’s going on.

Elena watching as Lila and Nino act intimately.

When You Can’t Have Joy, Get The Next Best Thing – Gigliola, Lila, Elena, Nino, Donato, Bruno

While Lila and Nino are making out, and likely going further, thanks to the invention of condoms,  Bruno is trying to get himself some too. The problem is, Elena has 0 interest in him, and so she throws a fit when he tries to take the initiative. Leading to Lila and her leaving and Lila showing her softer side. Not the side filled with jealousy or envy due to the lack of opportunities that came her way, but the side which has Elena keep coming back. For with being reminded that Lila adores her, and always will, there might be the silver lining of this whole situation.

However, with Gigliola and the Solara brothers catching wind of Lila’s affair, what fun Lila was having seemingly may come to an end. But, as much as this seems like a good thing for Elena, it becomes a reminder that no one she wants ever really takes the initiative to be with her. She is always waiting, wanting, and this shows once more and her letting Donato, with his weak stroke, have sex with her.

Yet, in thinking she had some realm of control over what happened, she feels meekly empowered.

To Live Bold And Unabashed – Stefano, Lila, Elena, Nino

But, what power she has discovered may never compare to Lila. Someone who damn near got Nino to write a letter to Nadia announcing they were over, quit his studies, and look for a job. Only to, days later, have him change course, and her deciding to, rather than bring him to her level, get on his. Yet, with Stefano’s arrival comes the reminder she is trapped in a marriage, and, as usual, she lashes out on Stefano, he drags and threatens her, and within a few scenes things are calm.

This chaos, which Elena is increasingly becoming used to, is making Elena truly tired of Lila’s drama. For her to revel in such power, her mood to shift wildly and everyone adjust to her, it goes beyond the feelings of jealousy or envy at this point. In Elena’s mind, the shame Lila noted Elena might have when it comes to her, it is starting to exist. And Elena isn’t necessarily going to question the feeling anymore but begin to let Lila know she doesn’t support her antics. Especially if her saying the wrong thing could mean the difference between Lila getting to maintain her dignity or being beaten within an inch of death.


Lila Has Gone From Jealous To Envy To Having Aspirations

Lila taking note on all she hasn't gotten to do and have in life.
Lila: How many things I’ve missed

Lila and Elena’s relationship has never really been a loving and healthy one. It has been based on competition and power dynamics. Lila has always loved to threaten Elena with her abilities to outdo her in everything and, unbeknownst to her, with Nino she once against proved she can take or surpass Elena. And it really makes you wonder how did their relationship last to their golden years for even is Lila says she adores Elena, their relationship is toxic.

Yet, one could submit that competition has always been what pushed both sides to do better and be better. When it comes to Elena, Lila threatening to go back to school was driving for her to get her act together. Plus, in many ways, Lila’s life has forced Elena to be grateful for what she has. Never mind, in a financial way, through giving all those books, Lila has shown she is monetarily invested as well.

Now, as for what Lila gives in return? Well, despite how much Elena looks to Lila’s life and tries to keep up with her, I’d submit Lila is trying to tap into Elena’s life to live vicariously. I’d even say her fling with Nino was her trying to tap into that life and world that, only an episode or two ago, made her feel inferior. But I think, since Elena has long stopped pressing Lila to get an education, that is why there was so much conflict after that dinner party.

To me, Lila likely felt setup for Elena didn’t necessarily prep her, studying and education-wise, to be amongst that kind of group. So what could Lila do but remind Elena how much of an outsider she was, how behind she was compared to her? Only to learn that, thanks to Nino, she isn’t as far behind and out of touch as she thought. Yes, she may not be able to design shoes, but her thoughts remain sharp and provoking.

And, to wrap this up, I think a part of Lila doesn’t necessarily want to use her intelligence strictly for manipulating the people around her anymore. That has been her way to survive, not thrive, and with Nino, she got to live in a world where she could thrive on her intellect and not use it to sway the anger and desires of the men around her. Well, alongside petty women like Gigliola. Leaving you to wonder, considering how done Elena is with Lila’s antics, will she be willing to invest in her as Lila has shown investment? Even if it means the few things she holds over Lila will be gone?

Elena Realizing She Has Spent Her Life Waiting For Things She Has To Go Get

Since we see everything from Elena’s point of view and hear her literal thoughts, we have long known what she wanted, waited, and hoped for. So it seems sad that, as with many things, Lila doing something which hurt Elena is what woke her up. Yet, it could mean a new chapter for her and this season truly living up to the second part of its title for this season: The story of a New Name.

On The Fence

Elena Letting Donato Have Sex With Her

I get it was about taking back control and regaining her power, also feeling wanted, but *vomit sounds* Here is hoping Elena doesn’t go back on the idea of this being the last time we see Donato. Especially seeing Donato deliver some weak pumps that make you wonder why one woman goes mad just seeing someone who resembles him.

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Elena Letting Donato Have Sex With Her - 70%
Elena Realizing She Has Spent Her Life Waiting For Things She Has To Go Get - 85%
Lila Has Gone From Jealous To Envy To Having Aspirations - 89%



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