Sorry For Your Loss: Season 1/ Episode 5 “17 Unheard Messages” – Recap/ Review (with Spoilers)

Matt smiling.
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We finally learn how Matt died but the jury is still, kind of, out on whether he had an accident or it was suicide.


Network
Facebook Watch
Director(s) James Ponsoldt
Writer(s) Jonathan Igla
Air Date 9/25/2018
Characters Introduced
Matt’s Doctor Poorna Jagannathan

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Therapy & Pills Can’t Solve Everything: Matt, Matt’s Doctor

When it comes to mental health, often there is the idea that if you get past the stigma and communicate, perhaps maintain a healthy regimen, including your pills, that should help. The issue here is the word should. For Matt is seeing a therapist, isn’t consistently taking his meds but doing so when things get bad, and yet he is still in this trough and drowning.

Leading his therapist to question if Matt will allow himself to be happy. For while not confronting the idea he has a good life, it is noted that there are a lot of things to try and while Matt has done many, he hasn’t gone through them all. Yet, it is becoming clear, no matter what he tries, neither the pursuit or attainment seems to be working.

Commentary

Matt's doctor changing his meds after he builds a tolerance to his current set.
Matt’s Doctor (Poorna Jagannathan): I’ll send the prescription in today.

Question time: Was Leigh on Matt’s list of things he thought would make him happy? Be it a girlfriend, if not a wife, or Leigh specifically? Because, and I say this cautiously, it seems Matt came to a point where he was desperate to get some sort of intrinsic motivation. Which Leigh seemingly can’t give no matter if it is support, sex, or even trying to make sure he gets out of bed on a regular basis. So, I do wonder, if his marriage made things ultimately better or worse?

Coming For Others When No One Comes for You: Matt, Jules, Danny, Leigh

Increasingly it seems worth noting, Matt is an introvert. Yes, he can be social but it seems he mostly enjoys being home or in small groups. So I wonder if being a teacher, and getting nothing out of his students; being Danny’s brother, and just being expected to listen to him vent and not much else; Jules seeing him as Leigh’s backup at the time; then Leigh sort of getting it, but still having this sort of fixing attitude, this did nothing but drain him. For he notes he needs space, when he talks to Leigh, but she promises only ten minutes and that for some post-sex washing. Could it be, dealing with all these people who didn’t fulfill Matt, say or invest in him as he needed, that could have been a factor of his death?

Not to downplay his depression, and him seemingly deciding to give up on taking new meds, but there is the need to look at the external factors and not just the internal ones.

Commentary

Leigh asking if Matt came after sex.
Leigh: Did you come?

I know there is a need to tread lightly because suicide isn’t the type of topic you can just say as you please. However, I must admit I like the fact this show isn’t giving us something on the level of Thirteen Reasons Why which seems brutal for the sake of water cooler moments and shock value. Matt, seemingly, giving up, it happened over days and weeks and the helplessness wasn’t because of any dramatic event. It simply came from living and feeling like, no matter what you do, nothing changes.

Which, for most programs, once a character hits that point there are usually tears, confessions, total breakdowns, and then a nice epilogue of things getting better. Sorry For You Loss doesn’t take that route though, be it intentional – fully, or maybe just for a moment, Matt died. He went through a really long spell where it seemed nothing would make him happy and he died.

June 2018: Matt, Danny, Leigh

But whether it was suicide remains the question. All we know, based off Danny’s e-mails, is that Matt ended up going off a cliff. One on the hiking trail he often goes on and Leigh was talking about joining him on that day but didn’t. Instead, hours later, she got a phone call. Thus explaining, beyond losing a husband, why his death hit so hard. Though she couldn’t fix his depression, she could have maybe kept him from dying that day.

Though, I’d be remiss not to add in Matt pitched his comic, got told he would get published, but also had to fix some things and create a strong chapter. For that could have been what broke the camel’s back or might have been the last big hope that didn’t pan out.

Commentary

Leigh crying after hearing what happened to Matt

You ever get the feeling where you’re not at the point of crying but something has happened which flips certain switches which usually precede tears? That’s my mindset. For while I have been treating Matt’s death like a mystery, and am highlighting, with some hesitation, a pessimistic view of what it is like to have a mental illness, I won’t pretend that this doesn’t hit me in the brain a bit.

After all, Matt is a Black guy dealing with depression and seemingly he tried the major ways of trying to get better and nothing worked. He went to therapy and got a diagnosis, even pills – that didn’t help. Matt found a nice girl, got married, and they integrated lives – that didn’t help. He participated in social gatherings, donated to causes, exercised, ate right, and yet none of it helped. Matt even reached what could be considered a career goal and that didn’t make things better.

Taking that in, this idea that happiness isn’t even fleeting but a work of fiction? Even if you don’t suffer from depression, just acknowledging your own sadness and frustration with life and tapping into Matt’s feelings has to take you to a darker place. For, again, most programs with a tone like this don’t usually delve deeper into their Matt. Usually, Matt is talked about a lot but barely seen and certainly not developed to the point we see here. Also, Matt has mostly gotten to control his narrative. Leigh hasn’t been speaking about him with longing nostalgia. Matt is thought about and then we get a full-blown moment of him speaking and acting as himself. Just like we see in this episode, where it isn’t based on Leigh’s memory or Danny’s. Matt gets to be whole even if he is gone.

Other Noteworthy Facts & Moments

  • The hidden credit card came from Matt donating to save a Rhino.

Question(s) Left Unanswered

  1. Was the final call a suicide or an accident? From the coroner that is.
  2. Didn’t Matt’s mom seem nicer than he often made her out to seem?

Highlights

  1. Matt being a whole character with faults and joys, rather than someone just reminisced about fondly and you being left with nothing but the living people’s sadness.
  2. Addressing the idea, as controversial as it is, you can try anything and everything, have what many would dream of, yet still not be happy.

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Check Out Other TV Recaps



Episode 5: 17 Unheard Messages

Episode 5: Upon unlocking Matt's phone, Leigh discovers 17 unheard voice messages. As she delves into them, we launch into an episode entirely from Matt's perspective, culminating in the final days of his life.

Posted by Sorry For Your Loss on Tuesday, September 25, 2018

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