In “The Fever,” we catch up with Lila, whose life continues a downward spiral as one of her demons catches up to her.

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In “The Fever,” we catch up with Lila, whose life continues a downward spiral as one of her demons catches up to her.

Aired 3/8/2022
Network HBO
Directed By Daniele Luchetti
Written By Elena Ferrante, Francesco Piccolo, Laura Paolucci, Saverio Costanzo
Introduced This Episode
Gennaro Giuseppe Cortese


What A Giant Farce – Pietro, Vittorio, Immacolata, Elena

Pietro officially proposes to Elena after getting Vittorio’s blessing to marry Elena. However, as always, Immacolata had to make things difficult. From saying Pietro was ugly and with crooked feet to having Vittorio push the issue of Elena not getting married in the church, she doesn’t act up but definitely acts out. But, Pietro rolls with the punches, and when he wins Immacolata over, she just warns him not to hurt her child, the one who has never disappointed her.

Now, before you get teary-eyed, know this, Elena isn’t as happy as she seems. In fact, she has a pseudo-nightmare about being forced to marry this man she doesn’t love while he puts the ring on her finger. Which makes her old friends from the neighborhood appearing not too long after Pietro leaves a blessing.

The Long Decline – Enzo, Pasquale, Nadia, Lila, Bruno, Gennaro, Elena

Who are the old friends? It’s Enzo and Pasquale, and they have come to bring Elena to Lila, who has been asking for her and also is quite sickly. Why? Well, that is a long reason that Lila goes into once she forces Elena into the promise of raising Gennaro if anything happens to her. Now, what is or could happen to Lila?

The story is, for quite some time, Enzo, Lila, and Gennaro lived their life peacefully until Enzo ran into Pasquale. With him being so political, he wishes to engage Lila and light that fire he saw when they were younger, for seeing her make herself small as she has is foreign and uncomfortable. The problem is, when she gives a passionate speech, Pasquale, alongside Nadia and the rest of their communist party members, they print and distribute what Lila says, making her job at Bruno’s sausage plant harder. And mind you, she already had to fight the man off from trying to assault her in the meat drying room, so this makes him go ballistic.

Yet, it is one thing to remind people, including your boss, you are not some promiscuous woman who will sleep with anyone you keep your eyes on for too long. It is a whole other thing to make it public and appear to make a stink, that you are sexually harassed by nearly all men, and the conditions are so terrible that you are damn near an indentured servant. All of which comes from people like Nadia, who make no sacrifice in using Lila’s words for a revolution she has no desire to be part of.

The Destruction Of My World – Michele, Lila, Elena, Bruno, Enzo, Nadia, Pasquale

While Nadia and Pasquale bring chaos to her workplace and lead her to believe her health is failing, Enzo stands by questioning what is going on and why does he not know anything? He lives with Lila helps take care of her son, yet doesn’t know what happens to her at work, issues with her health, nothing.

This disturbs and angers him to the point Lila has to shut him out for a bit. But, with losing her relationship with her brother, father, and mother, Enzo is family now. So is Pasquale, even though he is part of all this mess. So to ease the tension, she offers herself to Enzo. However, he doesn’t want her out of pity or desperation, so while they sleep together, it is just side by side.

Michele getting comfortable in Bruno's office

But, while things at home cool down, work only worsens as Michele shows up and presents the idea that Bruno’s business now has a new financer and potential boss. With that, Lila finds herself once more in the realm of influence of the Solara. Which, when you combine her being malnourished with a potential heart murmur and other health ailments, is overwhelming. It is even noted that after Lila quit, Lila had a nervous breakdown on her way home.

Yet, thankfully, she made it home and is alive in the presence of the only consistent and reliable person in her life. And with that, she finds peace.

Things To Note

Question(s) Left Unanswered

  1. Was helping Enzo with his studies what led Lila to get into IT?
  2. How many days, or weeks, passed in Lila’s story?

What Could Happen Next

  1. I dearly hope we return to the present, or sometime close to it since we haven’t done that since early in the first season. This has instead just been a How I Met Your Mother-styled long story.



Even At Her Lowest, Lila Still Has Her Dignity

Lila’s strength and allure always came from her having no desire to appear demure and make herself small to make any man in the neighborhood not feel emasculated. What she wanted, she’d get, one way or another, and always with her head held high – even if she had to have a physical altercation.

But, that was when her social status was up there due to her youth, being childless, and being seen as a prize. Now? While still a formidable beauty, she is clearly working class, and what delicate features she once had are now with edge. Thus giving her a new kind of appeal and perhaps a more appropriate physicality when paired with her personality.

Yet, no matter what her class and what she has to do to survive, you do not see Lila hang her head low and allow disrespect. Whether it is her co-worker, the boss whose employment she relies on, or Nadia, who sees herself as harmless but complicates Lila’s life and everyone who works at the factory, Lila doesn’t endure. In this episode, we see why, all these years later, Michele still wants to break Lila in like the wild horse she remains.

A Revolution Off The Backs Of The Poorest Around

Unfortunately, for change to come, it is almost always thanks to the sweat, bloodshed, and sacrifices of the underprivileged and oppressed. But, as shown through Nadia and Pasquale’s efforts, it is one thing for those with privilege to sacrifice what they have, or could gain, due to arrest, fights, and disrupting the system. It’s a whole other thing to force those who already struggle to join the fight, and get mad when they aren’t grateful for what you are doing.

I’d add how Lila goes off on Nadia shows you the other side to what happens when well-meaning people come in to disrupt the status quo with grand ideas of bettering things. They are the ones who cause managerial staff to crack down, cut hours, if not people, and turn a trying job into one, which is pure hell. Meanwhile, these well-meaning people often can go back to their nice homes, pat themselves on the back, and eat a meal fit for someone middle class.

Meanwhile, those like Lila, working paycheck to paycheck, whose life apparently needed the hands of the upper-crust to be saved, have no relief. Now their worries have doubled because of someone else’s consciousness awakening that there is a world they were cut off from. And let’s add in this important fact: Nadia and her people don’t have anyone who looks like Lila or is in her position as a speaker or lead. Which is why Pasquale brought her on, but clearly under duress and in no position to be the fighter he saw.

What Elena Means To Lila

Lila asking Elena to watch over her always

Lila’s life and world is chaotic. She was betrayed by her father, who rarely invested in her. Her brother, who once was her champion, turned his back on her for money and opportunity. Lila’s mother didn’t have the spirit and backbone needed to sway the men in her family, so Lila has been alone for quite some time.

I mean, add in the men in her life from Enzo, Pasquale, and her husband, they all wanted something from her. They wanted her beauty, her charm, attention, her power, with not enough in return to make it worth her time. Elena was the only one who was different. She challenged Lila and admittedly made her uncomfortable. But in that discomfort, she grew to know herself better, rather than learn who others are.

Hence why, no matter how much time passes or the fights they have, Lila doesn’t allow Elena to vacate the space she takes in her head and heart. She is her friend, the one who neither kisses Elena’s behind and put her on a pedestal nor berates her every chance she gets. Is there sometimes envy and hurtful words exchanged? Yes. But with a long history comes many battles, and the reason anyone dares to argue with another is that there is a desire for eventual reconciliation.

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Lila standing by a window
My Brilliant Friend: Season 3/ Episode 2 “Chapter 18: The Fever” – Recap/ Review (with Spoilers)
With Elena's other half returning and catching us up on her life, the season feels like it has truly begun and is ready to take us on to the next chapter.
Even At Her Lowest, Lila Still Has Her Dignity
A Revolution Off The Backs Of The Poorest Around
What Elena Means To Lila

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