My Brilliant Friend: Season 3/ Episode 6 “Chapter 22: Becoming” – Recap/ Review (with Spoilers)

As Elena returns to Naples and is coerced to fully be involved in what’s going on, Pietro gives the kind of observations that disturb her perceptions of everyone – including Lila.


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Elena convincing herself to reconcile with Lila

As Elena returns to Naples and is coerced to fully be involved in what’s going on, Pietro gives the kind of observations that disturb her perceptions of everyone – including Lila.


Aired 4/4/2022
Network HBO
Directed By Daniele Luchetti
Written By Elena Ferrante, Francesco Piccolo, Laura Paolucci, Saverio Costanzo
Introduced This Episode
Elisa Francesca Montuori

Recap

Your Words Don’t Match Your Actions – Pietro, Elisa, Michele, Lila, Elena, Immacolata, Vittorio, Gigliola, Marcello, Enzo, Manuela

At this point, Elena can’t deal with Dede and Gennarino’s bickering anymore, so she decides it is time for Gennarino to go home, and during that conversation with Lila, things get tense. Elena starts to criticize her, and so Lila throws Elisa being with Marcello in Elena’s face, and with that, Elena speeds over to Naples and starts asking questions. Yet, from Immacolata and Vittorio, she finds nothing but smiles and appreciation for the Solaras, which perplexes Elena.

Add in learning that Lila made a deal with Michele and watching him praise her in front of Gigliola at Manuela’s birthday party, and it is all too much. And while Elisa seems happy and Marcello in love in ways that make him seem like he evolved beyond who Elena knows, she isn’t fooled. In fact, neither is Pietro, despite him rolling with the punches.

Elisa (Francesca Montuori) surprised to see her sister at her doorstep
Elisa (Francesca Montuori)

But, it is Pietro not picking fights or even standing up for himself that upsets Elena. Pietro allows Marcello to bully him into staying at Marcello and Elisa’s home rather than sticking to a hotel. Also, Pietro is all smiles and giggles with everyone and then decides to provide his analysis of everyone, from the quiet, almost out-of-place Enzo to Lila.

Now, Lila is of particular interest to Elena since Lila was acting funny during Manuela’s birthday party, especially regarding Elena’s book being published in Germany. So, what did Pietro think of Elena’s brilliant friend? It’s a mixed bag. Pietro recognizes her intelligence and charm but sees her similarly to the Solaras. In his mind, there is something evil there, masked by an immense charm.

This insults Elena, alongside Pietro questioning why Lila and Elena have been friends so long. But with a nightmare following that conversation, you can see, buried deep, that there are issues that Elena has long been avoiding, and they have existed since she met Lila as a child.

It’s Not Love Or Longevity. It’s Just A Chemical Reaction – Lila, Elena

At Manuela’s party, Lila and Elena barely say more than a few sentences to each other. But the day after Manuela’s party, Lila and Elena walk among Michele’s new data center, where Bruno’s sausage factory was. Lila is now the Head of Technology, respected, and experiencing the same power she once did, but now it is about her intelligence and not who she is dating or married to. For that, Lila is thankful, but just as Elena accused Pietro of poking holes out of envy or jealousy, so does she.

Elena pushes the idea that Lila sold out in some way and she is being used, which Lila refutes. And after a while, Lila feels the need to call out how Elena brings her to adverse reactions, and it seems calling Elena out only brings her closer in. As if both don’t realize there is a volatile chemical reaction between them that has never really simmered down.

But, seemingly, with neither able to make friends beyond the other person, both seem to be stuck and unable, or unwilling, to set aside the relationship’s longevity for the sake of peace.

Things To Note

  • Nino is married, with a one-year-old, and has tenure
  • Lila speaks of Alfonso, who may not only be gay but potentially trans
  • Stefano’s company has gone under
  • Lila’s family is talking to her again

Question(s) Left Unanswered

  1. How right is Pietro about what Lila may or may not be doing?
  2. Do you think Michele ordered a hit on Bruno?

What Could Happen Next

  1. Gigliola attacks Lila
  2. Someone attacks the Solara businesses, and this sends Lila back to square one
  3. Clearly, I think something bad is going to happen to Lila in the future

Collected Quote(s)

In fairy tales you do what you want, in life, what you can.
— Lila

To become was a verb I’d always been obsessed by, but I only realized it on that occasion. I wanted to become something, but I never knew what.
— Elena

Review


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Highlights

Pietro Pushing Elena To See Beyond Her Blinders

Pietro saying Lila detests her

Elena has seemingly spent most of her life defending Lila because of how connected she felt to Lila and how much Lila has been one of her inspirations. But, it is one thing for Immacolata to call Lila a whore, or anyone from the neighborhood who has felt slighted by Lila one way or another. Pietro is different. He is an outsider who knew Lila purely through what Elena has said and spending some time around her son and partner. So him to give such a negative perception and compare her to the Solaras was shocking.

But, in many ways, he is right. Manuela and Lila are very similar, with the only difference being that Lila may not be capable of murder or having someone murdered. I can’t tell you why, but it does seem Lila does have a line she may not cross, or at least certain things she won’t allow herself to be part of. Yet, with Elena still, to this day, feeling like she is trying to catch up to Lila, it seems she can’t allow her role model to be tainted, no matter how true she knows everyone’s statements are, to varying degrees.

I mean, that nightmare said it all. Elena doesn’t fear Lila but, deep down, resents her. Yet, as she says towards the end of the episode, a part of her is obsessed with being likable in general and liked by Lila, specifically. So she’d rather push down all her negative feelings and avoid confrontation than be alone and enjoy the peace which comes from it.

Now, why does she feel this way towards Lila? Why does she resent her? I think it is because Elena compares the life Lila has made to her mother and other women from the neighborhood. Elena’s mother is alone most of the time and unhappy. Gigliola is miserable, with no means or desire to end her misery, for she has no alternatives.

Meanwhile, Lila always bounces back, usually in a better situation than she was in before, because she took a risk, and Elena needs that strength for where else would she draw from? Who else would make such rash decisions, especially at that time, seem plausible? So between failing towards the life of Immacolata or Gigliola, Elena would rather stay in Lila’s orbit, take notes, and live vicariously until she can attain what Lila has for herself. Even if not a apples to apples comparison.

Lila Is Back To Being A Big Fish In A Little Pond

What has long been a draw about Lila is that you, like everyone from the neighborhood, will question Lila’s decisions. In the short term, you might be right about her getting with this person, getting in that person’s face, or burning this bridge. Yet, you are shown signs that she has a plan in the long term. She doesn’t just go off on people because she is a stereotypical passionate Italian. It’s all about the long game.

In the short term, Lila wants to show 5th-grade education or not, she is to be respected, and her intelligence remarked. Just because Elena went to college and has a book released doesn’t mean Lila is less than. Lila has not only similar book smarts but also street smarts. Never mind the intelligence that even Pietro sees regarding social skills. After all, if Lila didn’t know how to talk and sometimes manipulate people, she’d probably be dead.

Lila smiling

This is why she had to hit reset, and as much as we might have originally seen Lila taking a step back since she went to the neighborhood, what she did was more like how a slingshot or catapult works. To leap forward, she had to take steps back. Otherwise, the brick wall in front of her could become insurmountable, and if there is one thing Lila won’t stand for, it is anything or anyone making her feel stagnant.

My Brilliant Friend Still Finding Ways To Deepen Lila and Elena’s Relationship

Sometimes I grow tired of Elena’s obsession over what Lila did or didn’t do and her trying to be a better version of her. It’s tiresome, sometimes annoying, and lessens Elena’s journey since you sometimes feel like she is going through the motions just to keep up. Heck, and even when she surpasses Lila, like getting a college degree or releasing a book, she doesn’t truly get to enjoy it. Instead, Elena is looking everywhere but internally for validation and praise to uplift herself.

Yet, despite our issues with Elena at times, it is interesting to see that, despite both Lila and Elena recognizing there is something wrong in their relationship, maybe down to the foundation, they would rather stay together than split apart. I’d even say, at this point, they are the closest thing to that ideal family of, no matter what is said or done, when the going gets tough, all ill feelings and things done will get set aside for the other person.

For Lila, her family abandoned her and Enzo, she recognizes some parts of that relationship is conditional, but with Elena? She can be at her worst with her and not lose her. The same goes for Elena. There will never be peace or acceptance when it comes to Elena and her mom. Immacolata will always be resentful that Elena got opportunities she didn’t and got away with things she could never without being smacked, talked down to, or humbled. Yet, Lila isn’t like that. Lila may give Elena tough love about Elena not writing and stuff like that, but that’s because she has high expectations not being met that she knows Elena is capable of. Also, while Elena does have one kid more than Lila, she also has privileges Lila doesn’t.

This season, overall, really pushed the idea that both sides envy the other, love the other, and need the other. It’s just, with us only in Elena’s head and hearing her inner thoughts, we just hear Elena’s side to everything and have to be as empathetic as she tries to be when it comes to understanding Lila’s perspective.

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Elena convincing herself to reconcile with Lila
My Brilliant Friend: Season 3/ Episode 6 “Chapter 22: Becoming” – Recap/ Review (with Spoilers)
Overall
While My Brilliant Friend may sometimes seem like it is going in circles, Chapter 22: Becoming shows us that we’re going into a spiral that takes us deeper into Elena and Lila’s relationship. That and the various influences, family included, that keep them revolving around each other.
Highlights
Pietro Pushing Elena To See Beyond Her Blinders
Lila Is Back To Being A Big Fish In A Little Pond
My Brilliant Friend Still Finding Ways To Deepen Lila and Elena's Relationship
Disputable
83

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