My Brilliant Friend: Season 3/ Episode 8 “Chapter 24: Those Who Leave, Those Who Stay” [Finale] – Recap/ Review (with Spoilers)

Elena (Alba Rohrwacher) looking in a bathroom mirror

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.

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.

Aired 4/18/2022
Network HBO
Directed By Daniele Luchetti
Written By Elena Ferrante, Francesco Piccolo, Laura Paolucci, Saverio Costanzo
Introduced This Episode
New Elena Alba Rohrwacher


The Beginning Of The End – Pietro, Nino, Elena

One of Elena’s problems with Pietro, for quite some time, is that he doesn’t stand up for himself – especially when it comes to other men. He can be a pushover, and with Pasquale bum-rushing himself in previously and now Nino disrespecting Pietro at his own dinner table? It is too much. A part of Elena is entertained by this, maybe even hoping Nino could break through to her husband, especially since her latest book is about to be published and Pietro still has yet to read it. Yet, Pietro still treats Elena as a horse he tamed and now is bored of.

A Full-On Affair – Pietro, Nino, Elena

Elena and Nino naked in her home

Hence why Elena begins her affair. As she noted previously, the passion has long since died out when it comes to Pietro, and she doesn’t even enjoy the sex. She disassociates during their encounters, and with him not even treating her like a peer, they barely are even friends. So Nino deciding to kiss Elena, and make love to her, it’s like being renewed. She is present once again, and sex isn’t just a physical act but an experience.

Heck, and the fact it is a full-on, damn near in your face affair might make things hotter. However, there comes a point, even with Elena enjoying the power she holds over Nino, and not the other way around, that she finds herself questioning what is the long term? Nino is hooked and hungry now, but what happens when he gets bored? What happens when the lust fades, and love may not be there?

Think about it: Elena isn’t young and unattached. She has two daughters and can’t risk it all for a man known for being hot and cold. A man who, on two occasions, abandoned women that Elena knows because he was asked to be there beyond when it was fun and convenient for him. Heck, even the idea of him leaving Eleanora, is it because raising a family isn’t as fun as he thought? Did the love fade once he realized he was being absorbed into a larger unit, and it couldn’t be just her, him, and their son? It’s hard to say.

The End Of a Marriage – Elena, Pietro, Dede, Nino

Yet, despite initial reservations, Pietro making accusations becomes the sign Elena needs. To her, Nino would be someone who would confront her, yes, but talk to a resolution. Pietro? He’d rather bury his head in the sand, not learn the truth, sleep in a separate room, and ignore the elephant in the room. Elena doesn’t want to live like that. So, when Nino offers an opportunity, and Elena makes it clear she won’t leave Pietro and abandon her girls, and Nino accepts this? It seems that Elena’s decision is final.

Pietro processing his wife's confession of having an affair

Unfortunately, Pietro doesn’t take it well. Part of this is understandable since Elena lied to him weeks or days ago and said she never slept with Nino, just loved him all her life. However, now the story has changed, and that causes suffering. But, with nothing to hold over Elena, since she is capable of independence, he uses their kids. He forces Elena to tell the whole truth, not one edited for Dede and Elsa’s ears, to damn Elena in their minds.

This is difficult for Elena to handle and does push the idea some damage has certainly been done to Dede. However, we won’t know the long-lasting effect until the next season when it seems, after 2+ seasons, we’ll have a new, older Elena leading the show.

Things To Note

  • Unexpected Content Advisory: Violence (Depiction of self-harm)
  • Adele reads Elena’s book and thinks it can be a hit, which shows Nino wasn’t just blowing smoke up her dress. Heck, Mariarosa loves it too and even is getting it translated into French.

Question(s) Left Unanswered

  1. So Elena just decided to completely never mind Nino not taking care of his bastard child? Never mind, when it came to Lila, did he ever learn the boy wasn’t his?
  2. Was Nino’s relationship and marriage to Eleonora just for his career?

What Could Happen Next

  1. Nino and Elena break up and because of the affair, Elena’s life is difficult but manageable

Collected Quote(s)

When you don’t know what you’ve written, it means it’s good work.
— Adele



Feeling For Elena and Pietro

It is effortless to damn both sides when it comes to the dissolution of Elena and Pietro’s marriage. Pietro, since the nuptials, has treated Elena as a prize to keep on the shelf. His intelligent, published wife, who potentially had so much going for her, he put on ice. He didn’t allow her to get the pill, so she got pregnant. Pietro didn’t want to be an active father, so everything regarding rearing two children was put on Elena. As a lover, he was selfish and didn’t make much effort to please Elena, so sex lost its joy. Add in his inability to be the man she needed when people from the neighborhood came around, and he lost all the attraction he once had.

Though, in Pietro’s defense, Elena dreamed up someone based on what they could give her. Pietro had a notable last name within education and literature. Also, he was kind, stable, and well-raised. Not to sound like Immacolata, but in many ways, Elena saw him as another way to other herself from the rest of the women from the neighborhood as he was an academic, not someone blue-collar or in some sort of gang. So, through him, it was like she ascended.

But Elena wanted more. Which has long been her problem. Elena has wanted more but doesn’t know what specifically she wanted. If anything, through Elena’s various relationships, she just learned what she didn’t want. There is good knowledge in that which is valuable but in terms of marriage? I think Elena still not knowing who or what she wants made it clear she got married too soon, and Pietro should have been a lesson and not a potential lifetime.

Yet, that doesn’t excuse Elena’s affairs. Yes, she was unhappy, and they lived in a time when divorce wasn’t normalized as it is today. However, she went beyond emotional affairs. She had physical affairs which required effort, and when it came to Mario, it seemed she used him as much as she did Nino. They were good for boosting her ego, and it seemed that once it could potentially get too serious, she wanted to end things.

The only reason it didn’t end with Nino is that Elena is a bit of a pick me, and with Lila getting to have him and Nadia, she felt it was her turn and that maybe she would be different? Though based on the times they have flirted and departed in the past, it seems unlikely that Elena will be treated as she has fantasized. Which might be what she deserves.

Dede’s Performance

Dede questioning if she is going to be abandonned

It’s a lot to ask a child performer to do more than be cute, know their lines, and maybe drop a one-liner. For Dede, she had to be aware of her mother’s affair, deal with her dad’s tirade, which was meant to poison the well, and then question whether Elena leaving her father meant she would be left too. Even with not coming from a household where there was a divorce or witnessing a close relationship between my parents, it was hard not to get teary-eyed for Dede.

Yes, she dry snitched on Elena multiple times, and the two did have their spats, but she clearly knew, at the end of the day, who took care of her and didn’t love her when it was convenient. So it should be interesting to see how Pietro’s selfish act affected Dede and Elena’s relationship in the long term.

On The Fence

Last Minute Lila Inclusion

I hated that they gave us such a juicy story at the end of the episode. The head of the Solara family is murdered, the neighborhood is in chaos, and with this being the season finale, we won’t get the opportunity to explore the details of what went on or the aftermath. We’ll have to wait a year or so, and with there being a time jump, there is a good possibility we’ll see things after they calmed down and may not know the details of what happened in full. It’s frustrating and keeps up this idea that Lila can, in one scene, send a wave over whatever is going on in Elena’s life and wash it out.

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