Breaking Bonaduce 2, 11/26/06 - Human Behavior
The thing about human behavior is, it’s unpredictable. Just when we begin to think something has been resolved, it all unravels. Just when we begin to think there’s been a revelation, a turning point, the sun rises and nothing’s changed. And where we think we saw wisdom, the sunrise greets a fool. Where we thought we saw a court jester, suddenly there stands a king. Human behavior means there are no firm answers, there are only surprises. So it is in this week’s episode of...Breaking Bonaduce.
Just when we think Danny has had some life changing experience in church, and the man he was has burned away, we get a stark reminder not to believe in cliches any more than we should believe in Grimms fairy tales. While last week we had a floundering man grasping for the light, a nascent being reaching for the sun, this week we have, in part, a creature stalking the darkness, and chuckling about it. Not an evil creature; just an impish child figure. Were we foolish to expect more so quickly? No one grows up overnight. So there is no neat packaged ending yet. There is no solid footing in this story. Human behavior will always surprise. Or as the Bjork song by the same name puts it, "If you ever get close to a human and human behavior, be ready to get confused. There's definitely no logic to human behavior but yet so irresistible...".
And the emotions this week will run the gamut. After a scene of Danny trying to play backgammon with his dog, and then getting bored, Dr. Garry asks about Danny and Gretchen’s “agreement”. Danny says “To be fair, I never agreed to this. I accepted her terms; I did not agree. She could’ve said, ‘You get to leave your apartment and come home, but I get to stick a red hot knitting needle in your eye’. And I would’ve said, Ohh, okay. So I’m not agreeing to that; I’m not agreeing to this kind of torment. I’m just accepting it”. Dr. G peers skeptically at Danny, and makes a sardonic comment. Danny half-grins and says it’s not a subtle distinction he’s made, but that he wants to move back into his place as head of the household, and into bed with his wife. So, effectively, he’s saying he has no choice in this. Gretchen counters that Danny needs to respect her boundaries. Danny snaps “I’m over boundaries. You’ve got boundaries, he’s got boundaries...neither one of you are f***ing me”. Dr. Garry looks half-disgusted, half-bemused. Gretchen’s kind of speechless. Then as Dr. G gasps out a laugh, Gretchen snipes at Danny, “Nice Christian mouth!”.
Car scene! Danny monologues to the passenger-seat camera that the reason he minds being in the guest room of his mansion is: “What’s a guest room? It’s for guests!”. He says that people work to earn the right to live in an apartment (such as he just left), but the only people who want to be in a guest room are actual guests. He does have a point, of sorts. Guest rooms are usually not made too comfortable because people are not meant to stay in them very long. On the other hand...that should possibly be a clue to Danny that his exile is almost over. One would hope, for his sake.
Gretchen’s car scene! It’s odd that she’s actually replying to what Danny said, but they are both in separate cars. Why are they both talking to thin air? Anyway, Gretchen says she feels bad that Danny’s upset about being in the guest room. But that she needs to heal, and get her bearings, and make sure Danny is on the right path. She notes rightly that Danny is interpreting all this as some type of punishment, or Gretchen being mean.
Smoking in front of the fireplace scene. (Is this going to be a new theme, like separate cars? Well, at least they’re face to face.) Gretchen tells Danny that she was unhappy with the way the conversation was going in counseling. Danny says he can’t let his current position in the household stop him from having an opinion, nor allow it to make him “submit to everything” - even though he’s afraid he’ll be in the guest room longer as a result. Gretchen says she would never ask him to always submit. Danny points out “Disagreeing with you is kind of dangerous for me. I get afraid of you. It’s thin ice”. Danny’s nothing if not upfront about any thought he’s having. Gretchen says he’s really not on thin ice, and Danny says “Good”. It’s a tense dance. As if on some type of ‘happy housewarming’ cue, their two dogs come bustling in; Gretchen’s Chinese crested hops into the room to nuzzle her, and Danny’s larger dog rubs noses with Danny. Things just seem preternaturally easy and calm. What happened to all the fireworks, the anger? Perhaps they’re both simply exhausted? I find myself exhausted just wondering what the next emotion will be, what the next turn or dip in the roller coaster. But to be honest, isn’t that what keeps us all watching? As Bjork's song continues: "There is no map to human behavior. They're terribly moody then all of a sudden turn happy. But, oh, to get involved in the exchange of human emotions is ever so satisfying...".
Is This How Hank Williams Got Started?
Danny walks into the guest room, followed by his big, cheerful black dog. As if to haunt Danny, a large oil painting of a man and woman kissing hangs on the guest room wall. “What am I doing here?” Danny asks himself out loud. It’s a good question (for both spouses). This query prompts a musical interlude - all lyrics are improvised by Danny, as he strums along to his own singing, on an acoustic guitar. I've gleaned the lyrics from Vh1's subtitles plus a little lip-reading. Let’s follow the bouncing BB, shall we? Sing along to Danny's song:
I wanna go up to the second floor, can’t do it cuz my wife’s a whore. Wanna go upstairs cuz it’s fun. My wife, she wouldn’t f*** nuthin'. Cuz I’m down here totally bored. My wife’s up there and she’s a total whore. I hate her. Oh yeh, I hate her.
Danny puts on a sock puppet show for himself, where one sock puppet asks the other one to have sex. Then, to scenes of Danny jumping on the bed, and turning the lovers' painting upside-down, his made-up song continues:
Going down to Carolina. Gonna get a new vagina. Gonna go upstairs because I’m bored. I’m down here in the guest room, feeling like a big buffoon. I wanna go upstairs because I’m bored. Haven’t been upstairs in quite a while. I wanna go up and do it doggy style. I wanna go upstairs because I’m bored.
Car scene. Danny’s vintage red Pontiac. Okay, wait a minute - so this show is edited out of actual chronology. Because last episode, Danny said he’d been gone two months. And now, Danny’s just said that Gretchen’s had to “shoulder the burden alone” for 30 days. (Please tell me this won’t be a new Morgan Spurlock episode.) So this all happened before the last episode, in actuality? My head's swimming; I can't think about that. Back to what we're shown. To do more of his share in his home, Danny vows to watch the kids for Gretchen this evening. Danny reasons that ‘not only will Gretchen get a chance to do some things she’s been wanting to do for a while’, but Danny thinks that if he does this, he’ll be ‘out of the guest room that much quicker’. Well, his actions may not be altruistic, but at least he’s being open about that.
At Casa Bonaduce, Gretchen and a friend of hers are dressed up for an evening out with ‘the girls’. Danny counts off four kids’ names - his own, and two of their friends (“Sam” and “Blues”). Danny will be responsible for these four this evening. It seems the other children belong to this friend standing beside Gretchen, but it’s not made extremely clear. “So there should be four children that look something like the children you left,” Danny jokes. Gretchen and friend smile and Mrs. Bonaduce hugs her husband good night. “If I lose one of them, I’ll grab a neighbor’s kid” Danny says with a straight face - and now Gretchen’s friend stops smiling. They leave the kids with Danny anyway...and Danny quickly shows why he’s the most popular babysitter in (I’m guessing) the hills of Burbank. He heads straight for an upstairs closet, where he keeps a pellet gun.
Tea in the Sahara
Gretchen and a round table gathering of her best girlfriends are having dinner and iced tea (unless wine comes with lemon and sippy straws now?) at a restaurant called Oasis. It must be a much needed respite from the chaos and craziness of the past month or two. Gretchen smiles and boasts, a bit, that Danny is left in charge of the children tonight and is doing a good job. One ladyfriend thinks it would be good if Gretchen had a hidden camera in the house to see what goes on. Gretchen says “I do! Not hidden, but cameras!”. And so she does. Not only that, but everything Danny does will be shown on television sets throughout the world. Although, I’m not sure whether that’s a deterrent or a catalyst for risky behavior in their household.
Shoot ‘Em If Ya Got ‘Em
Danny calls Dante over and removes the handgun-shaped pellet pistol from its packaging. Danny says the gun is for children 5 and over, so, this gun is “for children”. Well, this must mean they should begin shooting it in the house, right? And so they do. Danny points the gun at a kitchen canister, and a plastic pellet bounces off. Dante, of course, pipes up that he wants to try, so Danny kneels behind him and helps him aim. Dante and Danny both miss, so Danny says “Let’s shoot other stuff!”. But not before one last aim at the canister. The pellet ricochets off and from somewhere, there is a glass-breaking sound. Danny just shrugs and smiles.
Meanwhile at the Oasis, the same ladyfriend who mentioned hidden cameras before, says that she thinks many people will be inspired to seek help for mental health issues after watching this show. And in some of the most ironic editing juxtapositions all season, we now jump to Danny training his 12 year old daughter Isabella to shoot at him. Well, to be fair, he does make her don “eye protection” first (read: sunglasses). Isabella asks if she can shoot “one of (her) best friends” instead of Danny. Danny simply straddles a far doorway and so, Isabella fires away. As implied by ‘doorway’, they are still indoors; it looks like an upstairs game/music room. Isabella reaches across the pool table and snipes Danny right in the chest. I’m not as shocked as I should be, I guess. Have I become somewhat numb to the goings-on in this family? Isabella actually says, ”You’re the freakin’ anti-Christ!” to Danny, who stands there, waiting for the next BB. “Just shoot the gun!” he says. I really am at a loss how to even intrepret this. I think I will leave this scene to more qualified minds.
Anyway, father and daughter giggle as she continues target practise. Isabella muses maybe she’ll “be a cop” when she grows up. Dante says something, and she warns him to “stay back - I’m shooting Dad”. (Now ya don't hear that every day.) These bullets must not be overly safe, either, as one of them hits a sensitive spot, and Danny grimaces and groans. As he does so, Isabella smiles, and Dante does one of his confused, loud, overwrought fake laughs. Danny lifts up his shirt to show the welt the pellet raised. “It stings!” he says. There must be other ways to express masochistic leanings than to have one’s children take part.
Back in civilisation, the same lady (I just noticed none of the others there seem to talk, except Gretchen and this one friend) asks everyone at the table what their ‘deal breaker’ would be with a man. “Cheating?”, she asks. “I guess I haven’t found that line yet”, Gretchen laughs, and the table laughs along with her. Oh, hahaha. Well, I’m sure Danny will keep coming up with creative ways to test that line. Speaking of which...
PETA Piper Picked a Peck of Porkled Puppy
Now Danny - never lacking for imagination - comes up with a new game to play with the four children in his charge this evening. Let’s tempt coyotes to eat a toddler and a tiny dog! (What - hasn’t everyone played that one before??) Danny dresses his 5 year old son Dante up in a Scooby Doo dog costume. Then, the Chinese crested (a dog a bit bigger than a chihuahua) is called over, and Danny holds the dog while he gives it a ‘bath’ in raw bacon. This is, Isabella says to her friend, so that the dog will smell good to coyotes. Makes perrfect sense, huh? Except, coyotes do not need encouragement. As a sidebar - we live about a fourth mile from the hills. A cat up the street was eaten by a coyote, and there’s nothing but concrete and asphalt nearby. I’ve seen a coyote poised to cross Ventura Boulevard (a very busy six lane road). Coyotes can and do get all around the city looking for small animals to eat, and they could care less if it’s someone’s pet. But, the hills are their favorite domain. Okay, keep that in mind during this next segment.
So, Danny and one of the kids “slather the dog up with bacon” as Danny puts it. Well, I must say the dog sits patiently throughout this whole thing (doesn’t try to eat the bacon, either). I hate to imagine what it must be used to. Maybe it’s just an exceptionally well-bred or good-natured canine. But rubbing raw pork on their dog must not seem enough to turn it into crudite for coyotes. Because now, Danny picks up individual raw slices of bacon and threads them through the dog’s collar. (PS, trichinosis, anyone?) The odd-looking dog (it looks like something out of Lord of the Rings) soon has an entire collar of woven pork. Now, Danny, porkdog, Isabella, and Scooby Dante are all ready to go “coyote hunting” as they have been promised. “We’re gonna go out coyote hunting, and we have a dog full of bacon?” the kids’ friend asks. “Right!” Danny replies. “How do you think we get the coyotes?”. Well, of course. Isn’t this normal?
Danny and all four kids, plus porky puppy, take off on a walk throughout the nearby hills. It’s pitch dark outside, and Danny is armed with the pellet gun. He’s wearing a long coat that’s like a Wild West duster. By the way, there’s no guarantee Danny would be the only one packing a weapon walking in L.A. at night; drawing a real-looking firearm from your coat is a good way to risk being shot. And if they do see someone dangerous or a wild animal, it would not be much protection. This scene does bother me somewhat, as I was always taught growing up “never aim a gun at anyone for any reason, not even a toy”; gun safety was important. Oblivious to all this drama, the cheerful little crested trots along on its leash. As the little group walks along - by the way, in the middle of the road - Isabella thinks she sees something in the brush. They all stop, and Danny peers ahead. “It’s nothing big, whatever it is,” he p’shaws. Well, it can’t be the stack of probable CPS and ASPCA violations, then. Tempting fate as he’s tempting the coyotes, Danny then muses aloud, “Wouldn’t it be cool if a mountain lion just came down, and grabbed Dante by the head?”. The kids laugh, but Dante or this tiny dog would only be a snack to a mountain lion. Oh, and Dante is the one creeping closest to the brush along the roadside, as Danny says this. So far, though, no coyotes. But, it’s hard to see anything, it’s so dark where they are. The whole scene is in greenish ‘night shot’ video.
Keeping up with the hilarious jump-cuts, Gretchen lauds Danny to her koffee klatsch. “He’s really been going to church, and making friends in the church...” she begins. One of her friends breaks in that Danny brought cookies to church. The friends profess amazement. Gretchen smiles and enjoys the moment. “What a nice change. How great is that?” one of them wonders aloud.
Danny answers this, back in the hills, by aiming his handgun into the high brush near the road. “Did you see it?” he asks Isabella, who says “No”. “It’s something big, too. It just ducked down” Danny says, keeping his aim steady. Satisfied Bigfoot or whatever was lurking, is gone, Danny says “Let’s go”. (Phew!) The group wanders further down the road. Isabella marvels in the way only a kid can, “This is awesome! I’ve never done anything THIS cool”. “I know,” Danny says. He and Countess Isabella counter back and forth how “bitchin’” this is, then Danny’s cell phone rings. The light when he opens his phone is the only one visible. “Hi, Honey!” Danny says innocently, a cigarette dangling out of his mouth. “Everything’s great, baby!” he assures her, lighting his cig. We see Dante alone near the side of the road, as Danny attests that everyone is fine and all the kids are being good. He asks them if they are, and they all shout “Yeh!”. “Take your time. Love you too. Bye”, Danny says as he turns off his phone, chortling “heh-heh-heh”. “I don’t feel that I’ve been lying in any way - she didn’t say ‘Are you home or are you heavily armed?’”, Danny offers as if to prove his good intentions. Well, no, I guess he’s right. She didn’t ask that.
The group wanders along...and now Isabella wants to borrow Danny’s gun. He asks her why - what’s she want to shoot at? He doesn’t reprimand her, but he doesn’t give her the gun. (So maybe, despite playing this scary game, he really is thinking.) She points to something down the road. The 'nightshot cam' is so grainy, there’s no way the Tv audience can see what they are looking at. Danny peers toward where she’s pointing - far down the road. “Is that (thing) in the street?” Danny asks, sounding amazed. “What the hell? This is messed up,” Isabella says. (I’d have been in trouble for using that word at her age!) “Is that just sitting there, not afraid of us? That bothers me,” Danny confides in his kiddie compadres. “Give me your gun,” Isabella asks sotto voce. Thankfully, Danny says “No! Hold on”. I’m so grateful he is waiting to see what’s out there before just opening fire, pellet gun or not. I’m especially glad he’s not letting the kids fire into the open air. The road they’re on does wind through a residential area, after all. He asks the kids again if “that’s something there by the yellow line”. No one answers, so Dante says “B’ing it on, bitch!”. Danny talks into the darkness: “I gotta go with the kid on this. Bring it on, bitch, or run away!”. There is still silence, so Danny begins to walk away, bored. “Whatever it is, it’s fine, you guys” he informs the kids.
But now Isabella is riled up. This is her chance to show how tough she is. How...Bonaduces don’t back down? She’s pointing her arm into the darkness the same way she pointed the handgun at her dad earlier (wow, is that a disturbing feeling, typing that last bit out). Danny laughs again. He’s done; he walks the opposite direction as Isabella and two of the other kids (including Dante) march toward the mystery shape. She yells, “You wanna screw with me? You wanna screw with me? I’ll kick your ass! You get your ass outta this bush!”. (She’s so reminding me of the girl who punched my jaw in 7th grade.) Danny encourages her dare, even saying “Way to go, Boo”. But he’s walking the other way. He seems a bit nervous, to me. Maybe he’d envisioned playing “Peter Pan” and leading them safely through the coyote patch, but - not this. After yelling, Isabella meets up with her father and says the ‘thing’ they saw near the yellow line “is moving up”. “Is it?” Danny asks, a bit high-pitched; he cranes his neck forward. Again, it’s so dark in the hills at that time of night, nothing much can clearly be seen. Danny isn’t sure he sees anything, but one of his kids’ friends points something out. Soon, Isabella can make out a person’s shape. “It’s a person!” she shouts, adding that there’s some “whitish thing” in front of that person. Danny shouts an apology to the person - sort of. “Hi, person!” he says. Well, at least they’re not all threatening to “kick the person’s ass” any more...Because as it turns out, when the shadowy figure gets closer - it’s a woman pushing a baby carriage.
“Sorry, we thought you were an animal!” Danny offers as the woman walks by with the stroller - as quickly as she can. I'm only glad Isabella never got to shoot at that shape she saw coming toward them.
The Peril of the Pram over, Danny and kids march back home toward rows of neatly manicured lawns - they're loudly humming the theme to “Jaws”. It’s clear the kids have had a lot of fun. Danny has, too. Even the little dog is skipping along happily. I have to admit...if I were 12, stalking something scary through the dark, with friends and my dad would’ve been thrilling but fun. Nothing I’d advise as an adult, but kids love a bit of danger and pretend. And after all, Danny did keep a rein on things. Who knows, maybe Danny Bonaduce has discovered some new form of child therapy. Something about facing primal fears, sort of an Outward Bound for the kiddie set. Well, it can’t be much stranger than Freud's childhood theories. And so their bizarre evening ends, with their Pied Piper of a father (as Dr. G put it on the Vh1 website) merrily leading the band back home. I’ll just gloss over the fact that the real Pied Piper led the children out of town never to be heard from again; effectively ending their childhoods.
Far Away, So Close
Danny and Gretchen are seated in a booth. This will be a romantic dinner at a place called La Poubelle. I believe that translates from French to mean “The Trash Can”, so I hope the food’s better than that sounds. Hopefully Oscar the Grouch won’t come out and serve them. Gretchen, who apparently hasn’t been attending Al-Anon meetings, orders some Cabernet for herself. Danny, of course, is a recovering alcoholic, and can’t have spirits. He just watches silently. I guess Gretchen isn’t thinking about tempting Danny by drinking wine in front of him. Danny never mentions it, and cheerfully orders a lemonade. He does crave a ‘smoke’ though, and asks Gretchen if she’d like to come outside and smoke with him, or “is it too cold?”. “Too cold,” replies Gretchen. I’ll just leave that one alone for the sake of being nice.
In case someone doesn’t know, California has strict anti-smoking laws, and many public places don’t allow it indoors at all. But most restaurants have an outdoor patio (with heat lamps) where smoking is allowed. So Danny goes outside onto the patio to light up. Luckily for him and for the camera operator, the patio is right outside the plate glass window the Bonaduces’ booth sits up against. This means that Danny and Gretchen can still ‘sit together’ separated only by a pane of glass. I couldn’t help but think of prison imagery...and I don’t know why. Maybe because of the way Danny’s still stuck in exile in the guest room. At any rate, what follows is a very touching interlude in which Gretchen and Danny make eyes at each other through the glass. Whether it’s the candlelight, the smoke wafting through the air...I don’t know. It’s like a silent movie, the whole story being told through their eyes. I think it has everything to do, actually, with the love, emotion, and history these two have shared. Simply put, these two are in love. And in this place, on this night, they look at each other as Shakespeare must have imagined Romeo and Juliet, when they first met. “Longing” is an understatement...as long as they are each on opposite sides of that glass. So close, and yet so far away.
Danny asks, through the window, if Gretchen can read his lips. She nods yes. He then gestures toward his pants and says “Huge”. His wife shakes her head and mouths the word “Small”. They laugh gently. Ok, maybe it's more Titania and Bottom. Pyramus and Thisby? Falstaff and...? As long as it's not Othello. But it’s the combination of sadness and love in their eyes that makes his attempt at silliness so poignant. And, it also might be said...the silence. Everything is said in their expressions. They suddenly are both glowing and basking in this moment; the years seem to drop away from their features. Gretchen, especially, shines like a schoolgirl on her first real date. Danny is the tough boy that’s fallen hard. “I love you” he mouths to her. He’s gazing at her with the wonderment and awe of a newborn; there is nobody in his universe, except her. Gretchen smiles a huge smile, and forms the words “I love you” through the clear pane of glass back at him. I can’t help but notice again that this is how prisoners and their spouses communicate in jail: But at least the visiting room is one step removed from the jail cell.
Danny’s had his smoke now, and is back in the booth. Two plates are put before them. “What’s this?” Danny asks the waiter. “Oysters,” is the reply. Danny remarks that the oysters are an aphrodisiac. Gretchen rejoinders “Maybe you should’ve ordered turkey”. For someone as sensitive to language as Danny is, that’s a zinger. He doesn’t look too happy. But, it must be Gretchen’s way of warning, “Not so fast, fella”. She does fall for his charms, but she’s going to maintain the upper hand romantically. Gretchen bridges the awkward silence with a “Help ya sleep” - as if she was recommending the turkey for his health. Danny just shakes his head, and slides down an oyster.
And now it’s morning, and we’re back in Dr. Garry Corgiat (Ph.d!)’s office. It’s a solo Gretchen session. He asks her how she’s doing. “Good,” she begins. “Things really are well”. Dr G asks her about choices Danny has been making; if he’s been willing to take part in child care. (I’m thinking, if what we’ve seen is the sum total for 15 years, no wonder she’s ticked; although to be fair, Danny’s been working non stop during that time as well.) Anyway, Gretchen says Danny’s been making “great gains”. She admits she feels bad, because she knows Danny wants her to say “Next Sunday, you’ll be out of the guest room” but she’s just not ready to do that yet. She says she has to decide that in her own time. Dr. Garry says that although Gretchen says this as if it’s going to take a lot of time, in reality it’s sounding as if it’s not going to be much longer. (He’s trying to call her on talking out of both sides of her mouth.) Gretchen says she has to be realistic about Danny and knows he can’t stay in the guest room forever. As usual, she and Dr. Garry talk more around issues than tackling them head-on. Nothing (that we’re shown, anyway) gets into depth here. Dr. G concludes by asking if this is the “best Danny” Gretchen has ever known and she affirms this. They both say they hope this situtation continues to improve. The face Dr. G’s making shows he may be skeptical.
Living On A Prayer
Danny and Gretchen are walking...together! Into Baycities Lomita church. Pastor Jim (who we met, last episode) is inside waiting for them. The three are the only ones inside. Pleasantries are exchanged all around. What strikes me is that Danny introduces Pastor Jim and Gretchen as if they’d never met before. I had assumed that Gretchen had taken him into the church she’d been attending. Could be that’s not the case. I’m curious how and when Danny found this particular church, but, that goes unanswered in this episode. Gretchen imparts to the Pastor that they’ve been anticipating this session, and that Danny’s been reading his Bible. Pastor Jim gets right to the point, and asks if Gretchen has seen Danny’s life change in the past two weeks. Danny just listens. Gretchen says she thinks he has changed: he’s been more at peace, “And I’ve never seen him this way”. Pastor Jim then asks the two of them to turn their chairs to face one another. They happily comply. Danny and Gretchen join hands, and look into each other’s eyes. Pastor Jim conducts the session: “Danny, I want you to tell Gretchen what you admire about her,” he says. “We’re gonna be here all day,” Danny begins. Then he says, in a somber, sincere voice: “I admire your character. The fact that you tell the truth at all costs. You stand up, and do what’s right, always.” Pastor Jim then asks Gretchen to tell Danny what she loves about him. He asks if she’s forgiven Danny fully. “Yeh,” Gretchen quickly affirms. “I think I have to. I don’t think we can move forward without total forgiveness.” She takes a breath, then tells her husband: “I love how hard you make me laugh. You’re just such an unbelievable, hilarious, intellectual, amazing man, and I’m proud to be married to you on, on...I’m glad you picked me”. Danny just smiles silently throughout that whole statement.
This exchange finished, still close enough to touch knees the way Pastor Jim asked, still holding hands, a smiling Danny and Gretchen turn toward Pastor Jim as he says, “Okay, Danny. One more thing. I want you to tell Gretchen how sorry you are for the way you’ve treated her in the past”. Danny lowers his head; his wife looks at him sadly. “As completely as you can,” Pastor Jim instructs. Danny offers Gretchen, “I know the wretchedness of my behavior. And I know what it has done to you. I don’t want to carry that sorrow with me, ever again. So as small of a word this is, I am very sorry”. “Thank you,” Gretchen says. They both look very sad. The theme music swells, and we’re to feel that something here has been resolved. We’re led to accept this. And, can we? Can we accept the sacred with the profane? The silly with the sublime? Do we believe all of it, or do we believe none of it? Can we weigh a man calling his wife a whore, with a man asking her forgiveness? To do less is to say that humans are easy, and we know they are complex. And do we take these pastor-led peacemaking sessions at face value? Or do we believe that something has stirred in even the most stolid of souls? Each must view and make their own decision, but to me, it didn’t seem either were acting; it seemed both craved resolution. But is it wrong of me that I felt this spiritual counseling session would’ve been more complete, had Danny had the right to seek an apology for any wrongs he felt he’d been dealt, also? There may have been more to the session, of course; but this is all we’re shown. Danny's all to blame, again.
Now the counseling session ends in a prayer. Danny, Gretchen, and Pastor Jim touch hands, and the Pastor prays: “Lord, thank you for Danny turning his life over. And I pray, Lord, that their kids will grow up to love you with all of their heart. And that this marriage will just become an example to all of us”. We see Danny and Gretchen’s heads bowed in prayer; they are listening intently. I know Danny has his skeptics. But, I’ve seen a lot of actors in action, and right now, this simply looks like a man in prayer. To me, Danny looks sincere. Gretchen also seems very serious. Both their eyes are shut as they hear Pastor Jim’s prayer for their family. Gretchen seems to be blinking back tears.
Somehow there is a tangible feeling of a burden left behind as Danny and Gretchen walk out of the church, hand in hand. And then, drive away...together...in the same car. Now if that isn’t a sign something has changed, I don’t know what is. And Danny’s in the driver’s seat. “I love you” they say to one another. Once home, as Danny lies on his bed, Gretchen asks the camera crew to wait as she goes in. She’s apparently forgotten about the microphone she’s wearing. So behind the closed guest room door, we hear her ask Danny if he’d like to come upstairs tonight. “Very gladly” Danny says; and just like that, his exile is ended. The two married lovers have found their oasis; they’ve clung to each other again for respite in the world. Do we know where they’re headed? No. And just maybe, neither can they. We’re all only human, and to quote the end of Bjork’s wise song:
"There's no map, and a compass wouldn't help at all
Next week: Dr. Garry’s been asking Danny about issues with his father. Danny visits his father’s grave, then sees a psychic. Something she tells him about his father upsets him so much he’s tempted to drink again, and he struggles with this at one of Gretchen’s singing gigs. This season’s almost over. Now that we’re all in for a penny, in for a pound, let’s hold a good thought for all of them.