We’re more than halfway done Mrs. Fletcher from HBO and I don’t know about you, but I have no sense of where we’re going yet. I assume somewhere clothing optional, right? That’s a given. But will our poor, lonely Mrs. Fletcher find what she needs? Let’s find out in Mrs. Fletcher S1:E05 Invisible Fence after the break.
We open with Brendan Fletcher (Jackson White) lifting weights in his room half-naked, all alone until his roomie Zach (Cameron Boyce) wanders in looking for his headphones. Brendan’s been having a hard time adjusting to college, he has no friends, no sporting endeavours, no interest in school and no girls paying him any mind. I have expressed a strong amount of antipathy towards Brendan in the past (HE’S THE WORST) but I’m trying to be compassionate about this jerky fish out of water. He was just very badly disappointed by his dad last week, right after his mom warned him exactly that would happen.
Back home, his mom Eve Fletcher (Kathryn Hahn whom I adore) aka Mrs. Fletcher, is calling in sick to work from outside work. Considering she got tipsy and made a pass at her co-worker Amanda Olney (Katie Kershaw), we’re all a little skeptical.
*To be fair, Eve has been watching a metric tonne of girl-on-girl adult educational videos, those things will make you do strange things. Almost like Twinkies, really.
Amanda seizes the elephant in the room by the horns and says they can just pretend nothing happened the other night and Eve about cries in relief. She’s feeling better already!
Eve returns home to slide into some girl-on-girl adult educational movies involving such elements as bondage, masochism, dominance and what’s the other one…sadism! Maybe not in that order, but in that vein and I’m not wrong that she’s focused almost exclusively on movies that feature only women, am I?
Eve works hard at recreating the video by herself, but spanking oneself is a lot like tickling oneself. It just doesn’t evoke the same response. She roleplays, again, solo, unfortunately hurting herself in the process. I had no idea that people could spank themselves with their bare hands into pain. Huh.
She goes for a run, a barking dog stopping her in her tracks as she sizes up the danger. Ahhh but he’s behind an invisible fence, stopped at the boundary of his yard and not able to reach her.
*I once had two small pugs on an acreage and let me tell you what that invisible fence did for my girls when a moose and her family wandered by. NO.thing. NOTHING.
I left out above the one person at college who can stand Brendan, Chloe (Jasmine Cephas Jones!!!!!! From HAMILTON!!!) runs an autism family support group and somehow can stand Brendan’s useless arse.
He talks his way into attending a party with her the following night, I can imagine not one scenario where he’s not hugely inappropriate and wrecks the night. Not a single one. Chloe’s co-worker Kat (Erica Lance) and I are of the same mind.
Done spanking herself and running off sexual frustration, Eve settles in to write an essay for her Personal Essay class.
Maybe a mani-pedi first! At the spa, Eve and her married friend Jane Rosen (Casey Wilson) discuss their barren sexlives, I’m sure someone is asking somewhere how can you be married and not have sex in a year? Awww, congrats my unmarried or newlywed friend, enjoy your time!
Jane’s looking to end her dryspell with her husband in Turks and Caicos in a super fancy room, which must feature later because we got such a good look at all of that. Jane’s not so interested in Eve’s Personal Essay assignment, she does that thing where she wants to talk about herself for 90% of the conversation then throws in a “so how are YOU?” when it’s almost time to go.
Eve has to write an essay about a turning point in her life, when she had to make a decision that ended up defining who she is now. Hmmm, now I’M doing that self-absorbed friend thing where I’m wondering what that would be in my life!
In class, teacher Margo Fairchild (Jen Richards) counsels the students to dig deep, do the work, blah blah but her face is saying “YOU DISAPPOINTED ME, CURTIS!!”. She and Curtis (Rashad Demond Edwards or Ifádansi Rashad) hung out one day without defining it as a date, but she has a crush and slightly overreacted to his hesitation of setting up an actual date.
Then she leaves, with everyone else staring at each other. Barry (Josh Pais – his face just makes me happy) asks everyone left if they want to go for a drink, but Eve’s not feeling up to it tonight. Fellow classmate Julian Spitzer (Owen Teague) has been staring at her, they will probably hook up sometime soon. They got super drunk and almost kissed, it’s all very middle school, by way of a adult education video with a MILF mom of the guy who bullied you in high school.
Eve finds Margo smoking in her car outside, didn’t it look like Curtis liked Margo when they all hung out together? Yeah it did! Was her being trans too much of a challenge to his masculinity that freaked him out or was it that she freaked out when he said Wednesdays weren’t good for him? Either way, can Eve come to the party Curtis can’t go to instead?
Brendan is going to a party too! Chloe is impressed with his promptness, but we know he had literally nothing to do. He snoops in her room, finding a head massager that she uses on him before they head off to a Body Positivity Party.
Brendan, a guy who couldn’t stop using the R word at an autism support meeting, is going to a Body.Positivity.Party. Yikes. Chloe says it’s just naked people who want to hook up, but if he knows what BP means, it also usually means naked people of size.
*I can actually feel my whole body bracing.
They strip down to underwear (after she snakes him, that was funny) and join the throng of people in underpants and unicorn headbands dancing to electronica.
Eve and Margo are cruising a much, much tamer party, but everyone looks to be about the same age as Chloe and Brendan’s! Except for them. They stand, scoping out men until Curtis shows up! Hai Curtis! Margo is very happy to see him.
Brendan and Chloe dance the night away, awww, it’s awesome! They’re having so much fun right until Brendan sees his roommate Zach (in an impressive banana-hanger) kiss a dude. Zach’s a good friend of Chloe’s, they’re all connected!
Margo and Curtis come right out and discuss the issues between them: has he ever dated anyone trans? No. Has she ever dated a black person? Yes. What’s the deal? He came all the way out to Brooklyn on a weeknight, Margo, that’s the deal! Now back up and let it breathe!
Eve cruises the party solo until she meets someone called Hookup Guy (Paul Fitzgerald). She’s trying on a new persona! She’s the dominant, ordering him around and he likes it. A lot.
Chloe, Brendan, Zach and his partner Harrison (Brett Temple) hang out at a sushi restaurant, it quickly becomes obvious that “I’m Studying” Zach is a huge partier who hates his roommate. Brendan confronts Zach in the bathroom (while they’re PEEING), why didn’t he tell Brendan he was gay?
Maybe because Brendan comes off as the most basic homophobe ever? Remember when he scoffed at “Latinx” because it was inclusive? THIS is the guy Zach’s going to share personal information with?
Eve and Hookup Guy are doing great, almost banging in the club bathroom before heading to his place.
*Is this a thing? I’ve seen this in so many shows – Coming Home, Doctor Foster, so so many, but I’ve never knocked on a bathroom door and had a messy couple stagger out.
Brendan is so uncomfortable with these people, for one thing he’s at a sushi restaurant and he won’t eat anything that comes from the water. Chloe tries to joke some tuna into him but his discomfort makes him angry and he lashes out.
Erm. Eve’s all in with Brooklyn Hookup Guy but I’m pissed they’re showing so much of her nudity and actual foreplay.
Brendan is just out of his depth here, everyone liked him in high school and here all view him as the enemy. Chloe welcomes to him to the discomfort that most other people experience, some all the time.
*That reminds me of Real World Brooklyn 2009 where one of the more woke members was a huge proponent of the most but absolutely loathed two frat-bro peeps. They were used to being the status quo.
Eve’s not enjoying her hookup as much as she thought she would, this guy only likes to be told what to do and she’s just not digging it. Eve: not a switch. “Why don’t we just do it the regular way?”
Eve looks uncomfortable herself during the ‘regular way’, plus he’s done already and mostly asleep and completely uninterested in making sure she’s done, which is just good manners.
Brendan invites Chloe upstairs and she demurs, taking a kiss instead. Awww, Brendan has to treat her like a person and everything! Their kiss was more intimate than anything we’ve seen him do thus far and that includes the two times we saw him hooking up.
Margo and Curtis have their first kiss too, it was beautiful. So is Eve, leaving behind her awful hookup.
We, as a people, are not typically all that great at being alone. So maybe that’s what Eve’s been doing, trying to be not alone, in the fastest way possible. Watching her grab a slice of pizza and walk the streets by herself is glorious.
Think about all the people we’ve seen her with: her son Brendan who ignores and barely tolerates her. Her ex-husband, who mistreated and lied to her. Her best friend, barely present. Her work involves taking care of those she can’t connect with, maybe she just needed to feel comfortable alone, to realise it’s much less lonely than being around only the wrong people.
Maybe she was just looking for connection, to fill the space her son left when he went to school.
She even eschews porn for once when she gets home, falling asleep fully clothed while young Julian from the Personal Essay class texts about how he can’t stop thinking about her. We’re oot.
I don’t know why, but I love Margo and Curtis’ relationship the most! It’s uneven and fraught but they have excellent chemistry and it’s a joy to watch. Everything else on the show for Brendan has been awkward and painful, just like his mom, but Chloe and he (him?) together are magic. She humanizes him, which I’m aware is a shitty thing to say (about her), but her acceptance of his basic arse makes him seem more likeable.
I’m just always wary when people of colour and/or LBGTQIA peeps are in a show to humanize other people, ya know?
So what was everyone’s invisible fence? Was it Eve walking away from the invitation of an enticing pub and instead grabbing a slice and heading home? Was it her inability to commit to roleplaying the scenario she was copying from a video? Is it the internet itself, giving the impression of connection but in actuality keeping you cut off from the physical reality of people? I don’t know!
What about Brendan? He seems to be wandering around college the same way, elementally disconnected from most things and everything happening around him. Maybe it’s not about disconnection, maybe it’s about the idea that bad things can happen close to us but we don’t have to let it affect us. I don’t know!
Until next time!