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


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



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.

My Brilliant Friend Directory

Network(s) HBO
Created or Developed By Saverio Costanzo
First Aired 11/18/2018

Character Guide


Season Reviews

Season 1

Affiliate Link(s)

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My Brilliant Friend: Season 3 - Summary/ Review (with Spoilers)From raising children, creating new families, and rediscovering themselves, Elena and Lila may struggle in their friendship but find ways to flourish in their individual lives.
My Brilliant Friend: Season 3/ Episode 8 “Chapter 24: Those Who Leave, Those Who Stay” [Finale] – Recap/ Review (with Spoilers)As Elena closes a major chapter in her life, we're introduced to the next actress who will play her in Elena's next chapter.
My Brilliant Friend: Season 3/ Episode 7 “Chapter 23: Try Again” – Recap/ Review (with Spoilers)In an almost complete Lila-less episode, Nino returns to Elena's life, and between old feelings and him supporting her writing, it complicates Elena's marriage to Pietro.
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.
My Brilliant Friend: Season 3/ Episode 5 “Chapter 21: Terror” – Recap/ Review (with Spoilers)As political violence starts to engulf Naples and surrounding areas, Elena is asked to keep her godson for the summer, with very little context as to why.
My Brilliant Friend: Season 3/ Episode 4 “Chapter 20: Cold War” – Recap/ Review (with Spoilers)We jump through at least 2 or so years as Elena gets married and has her first two children while struggling immensely in her personal and professional life.
My Brilliant Friend: Season 3/ Episode 3 “Chapter 19: The Treatment” – Recap/ Review (with Spoilers)With feeling like she'd be better as a big fish in a small pond, Lila makes it her goal to return to the neighborhood, and Elena lays the groundwork for that to happen.
My Brilliant Friend: Season 3/ Episode 2 "Chapter 18: The Fever" – Recap/ Review (with Spoilers)In "The Fever," we catch up with Lila, whose life continues a downward spiral as one of her demons catches up to her.
My Brilliant Friend: Season 3/ Episode 1 “Chapter 17: Indecencies” [Premiere] – Recap/ Review (with Spoilers)In its long-awaited return, My Brilliant Friend focuses on Elena, Lila's name haunts every conversation and accomplishment.
My Brilliant Friend: Season 2 Episode 8 “Chapter 16: The Blue Fairy” [Season Finale] – Recap/ Review with SpoilersIt's 1967, and what Elena has long wanted has come to her. However, thoughts of Lila always lurk, and Elena once more is drawn to them and her.
My Brilliant Friend: Season 2 Episode 7 “Chapter 15: Ghosts” – Recap/ Review with SpoilersWith a time jump of three years, we learn whether Elena’s time away from the neighborhood changed her or confirmed what she already knew.
My Brilliant Friend: Season 2 Episode 6 “Chapter 14: Rage” – Recap/ Review (with Spoilers)As both Lila and Elena seek freedom from the neighborhood, one potentially finds bliss as the other is practically forced back.
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.
My Brilliant Friend: Season 2 Episode 4 “Chapter 12: The Kiss” – Recap/ Review (with Spoilers)As Pinuccia comes to terms with marrying Rino, Lila finds a new means of getting under Elena’s skin – just as it seems they could reconcile.
My Brilliant Friend: Season 2 Episode 3 “Chapter 11: Erasure” – Recap/ Review (with Spoilers)After Elena spending so much time in Lila’s world, things are flipped, and with that, we see some old demons pop out.
My Brilliant Friend: Season 2 Episode 2 “Chapter 10: The Body” – Recap/ Review (with Spoilers)As Elena observes what it means to be a wife, mother, and what can be lost in the process, her understanding of Lila reaches a new level.
My Brilliant Friend: Season 2 Episode 1 “Chapter 9: The New Name” [Season Premiere] – Recap/ Review (with Spoilers)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.
My Brilliant Friend: Season 1 - Recap/ Review (with Spoilers)My Brilliant Friend is a true statement to the power of girls and young women despite a world which tries to undermine and oppress them.
My Brilliant Friend: Season 1/ Episode 8 "La Promessa (The Promise)" [Season Finale] - Recap/ Review (with Spoilers)Despite the brilliance of both young ladies, the lessons aced and the idea they were ahead of the curve – life shows they have so much left to learn.
My Brilliant Friend: Season 1/ Episode 7 "Fidanzati (The Fiances)" - Recap/ Review (with Spoilers)Lila makes drastic moves in order to free herself from Marcello and Elena takes notes on her friend’s social intelligence.
My Brilliant Friend: Season 1/ Episode 6 "L'isola (The Island)" - Recap/ Review (with Spoilers)It’s a (mostly) Elena focused episode and we get to see her reach a personal high, and low. Meanwhile, Lila deals with Marcello’s advances.
My Brilliant Friend: Season 1/ Episode 5 "Le Scarpe (The Shoes)" - Recap/ Review (with Spoilers)Lila and Elena continue to take diverging paths and Elena may have finally reached a point of breaking away and getting ahead.
My Brilliant Friend: Season 1/ Episode 4 "Le Smarginatura (Dissolving Margins)" - Recap/ Review (with Spoilers)As Elena tries to find ways to keep up, maybe surpass Lila, she comes to a point of realizing that girl is in a league of her own.
My Brilliant Friend: Season 1/ Episode 3 "Le Metamorfosi (The Metamorphoses)" - Recap/ Review (with Spoilers)We jump to the teen years and as the girls get a taste of being seen as women, neither one seems fond of what that brings.
My Brilliant Friend: Season 1/ Episode 2 "Soldi (The Money)" - Recap/ Review (with Spoilers)Lila continues to face adversity and yet despite being born poor, a girl, and being a girl who is headstrong, she continues her arduous journey.
My Brilliant Friend: Season 1/ Episode 1 "Le Bambole (The Dolls)" [Series Premiere] - Recap/ Review (with Spoilers)While My Brilliant Friend overloads you with character introductions, the leads keep a tight enough grip for you to not end up lost.
Elena convincing herself to reconcile with Lila
My Brilliant Friend: Season 3/ Episode 6 “Chapter 22: Becoming” – Recap/ Review (with Spoilers)
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.
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

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I started Wherever I Look back in 2011 and have aimed to be that friend who loves watching various forms of media and talking about it. So, from bias, strong opinions, and a perspective you may not have thought about, you'll find that in our reviews.

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