Lila, Elena, and Nino sitting in the shoe shop as Lila reveals she plans to leave Stefano.

As both Lila and Elena seek freedom from the neighborhood, one potentially finds bliss as the other is practically forced back.

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As both Lila and Elena seek freedom from the neighborhood, one potentially finds bliss as the other is practically forced back.

Directed By Saverio Costanzo
Written By Elena Ferrante, Francesco Piccolo, Laura Paolucci, Saverio Costanzo
Aired (HBO) 4/20/2020

This content contains pertinent spoilers.

The Final Straw – Elena, Pasquale, Immacolata

After Lila’s antics while on vacation, Elena is very much disenchanted about the idea of being in the neighborhood. Add in the opportunity to study in Normale, at the University of Pisa, on a full-ride, and her desire to be away from it all rises even more. However, the suicide of Pasquale’s mother pushes her over the edge for between the life Lila lives and the trappings of the neighborhood, it is becoming increasingly clear Elena needs to get the hell out of dodge.

But, as always, her mother decides to throw a fit. Though it is starting to see the purpose behind Immaculota’s fits have less do to with Elena and more being mad at herself or life. So, after yet another tussle and claiming Elena looks down on her family, she gives her the money so she can take the exam to get in, and Immacolata tells her she is going to get in.

(Roughly) A Month Of Bliss – Nino, Lila, Stefano, Rino, Pinnucia

Lila with arms raised and pits out.

For nearly 23 days, Lila leaves Stefano and her family behind. Which, considering Pinnucia increasingly hating her decision to be with Rino, never mind have a child with him, it was bliss. At least until Nino, similar to Stefano, realized Lila is easier to love when there is a chase than deal with her day in and day out. Mind you, unlike with Stefano, Lila likes and loves Nino. However, their beginning, which had Lila seduce the man into ending his relationship and being willing to postpone his studies, that high is gone. Now he is a struggling writer with a child on the way.

Then, on top of his own struggles, he comes to realize an editor that Lila knows had no desire to read his work, never mind publish it. No, the idea was to get close to Lila, as many wish to, in order to maybe tame the wild mare and make her their own. Well, at least this is the way Nino presents that relationship.

Back To Life, Back To Reality – Enzo, Lila, Stefano, Nino, Antonio, Michele

With Nino fed up with the direction his life has taken while being with Lila, he decides to leave. Then, to further said desire, Antonio, who was let out of the army, seemingly due to a psychotic episode, beats the hell out of him on behalf of Michele. Why? Well, Antonio’s breakdown has become well known, and that has made the possibility of getting a job hard. So, being a thug who gets Lila back isn’t the worst thing. Especially since Enzo ends up doing that.

Now, taking things a few steps back, why does Michele want Lila to return? Well, because she is an attractive woman and he thinks that will sell more shoes than men or his girlfriend. So, that’s why he hires Antonio. As for how Enzo gets involved? Well, that is where things get weird, and you need to raise an eyebrow.

You see, Enzo, like so many, apparently has had a long time crush on Lila but never pursued her due to being short. So, upon hearing about her living conditions, he decides to go see for himself, and upon seeing what she was living in, he packs her bags, for he thinks she deserves better. Which, oddly enough, doesn’t lead to Lila screaming, shouting, threatening Enzo, or anything of the sort. Rather, she goes with him back to Stefano’s, who just welcomes her home.

Thus pushing the idea that Lila tried the love thing, and it backfired on her, and Enzo gave her a serious wake-up call. One that, per Elena’s voice-over, notes that Lila didn’t hit the point of desperation or ruin, and Enzo likely saved her from that.


Options and Opportunity

Elena reacting to Pasquale's mother's suicide.

One of the central themes, to me, is showing not just growth, but what avenues Elena and Lila had to grow, alongside the opportunities that were presented to them. For Elena, opportunity for her mainly came in the form of education. Boys and men, the ones she wanted? They didn’t reciprocate her feelings, and thus she didn’t get empowered by her beauty. Instead, she got empowered by her knowledge and way with words.

And to add onto the parallel that Lila and Elena operate under, the main people who compliment Elena have always been women, and for Lila, it has usually been men. However, when it comes to Lila, the compliment has rarely ever been for her wit, her ability to take initiative, or anything of that sort. In some ways, Nino seemed intrigued by her thoughts but, as we saw with Elena, he doesn’t necessarily like his partner being more brilliant than he is. Which doesn’t inspire him to do better as much as lash out or ice out.

Which has long been Lila’s problem – Her inability to craft healthy relationships with women, especially those in some form of a power position, has been her undoing. Hence why nearly every woman on the show either tolerates Lila or doesn’t like her. Thus leaving her often alone to deal with the consequences of her actions. Some of which aren’t due to her being a woman but more so her need to feel powerful and using manipulation to give herself a castle made of sand.

On The Fence

Enzo Getting Lila Back To Stefano

While we know who Enzo is, and he was notable enough to put into our character guide for the show, it seems like forever since Enzo said or did anything of consequence. Usually, his name is dropped, we see him around, but often he is a glorified extra. So him confessing his feelings to Lila and going to her place to retrieve her? That was weird. Granted, I get he doesn’t want to see or hear that she is suffering, but it doesn’t lessen how strange it was for Lila to just go with him without fight or fuss.

Enzo showing up at Lila's doorstep.

Though, who knows, with being pregnant and having a man, any man, seem to look out for her best interest, rather than his own, maybe that touched her? Perhaps shocked her into submission since it is hard to say when is the last time someone did something selfless for her.

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