We’re in week three now of Hulu Saves Selfie, which means this is three weeks in a row that I don’t understand the practices and general judgement of ABC. (Just kidding, it’s been way more weeks of that.) This week’s episode was definitely not bad, for sure not worthy of cancellation, and was better than most TV on this week. Still, most of it was fairly tame, will they/won’t they stuff, as Eliza is waiting for a response to last week’s impromptu elevator flashing. In general, it was reminiscent of this classic television story line:
The entire episode seemed to be driven by an undercurrent of sadness. Freddy wants Eliza, Eliza wants Henry, and Henry doesn’t know what he wants. Our two main characters, whose chemistry usually propels the show, were isolated from each other— from anyone, really. Henry’s deepest conversations of the episode were with people who didn’t actually know what he was talking about: his and Freddy’s dissection of Eliza’s motives, and a cryptic karaoke/romance metaphor with Raj. Eliza, meanwhile, was for some unspoken reason doing laundry with Charmonique, who tries to foist off all her own crazy stalker baggage. Despite the overarching loneliness of everyone involved, the episode wasn’t overtly dark, and there were moments like this to guarantee it stayed light:
That is until the end, when Eliza took the stage at the mandatory office karaoke party. (Yes, it’s a contrivance, but it worked.) Stripped of everything— not just Henry and her pants and her Adonis Belted boyfriend, but her desire for said belt, her sense of self, really— she’s completely vulnerable. Sure, her version of Sia’s Chandelier is a bit on the nose with the lyrics, and the dubbing may be a bit glaring in the close-ups, but it’s beautiful, and Karen Gillan absolutely kills it. And then it cracks right open. As we move from the present moment—
—into a haze.
The audio continues, Eliza singing about her own planned self-destruction, as we see it play out—
—until she ends up right where she started.
It was a jarring sequence, completely out of place but also making perfect sense. The show is still learning what it is, and it’s created a foundation where moments like these may be surprising, but they work. It’s a real shame that this show was canceled, but there’s also something comforting in knowing the whole thing is contained. It’s never going to get out of control, we’re never going to get tired of the will they/won’t they. It’s like a sweet, occasionally surprising miniseries.
Oh, and as if Eliza’s song wasn’t heartbreaking enough, they threw one more at us. Almost as an afterthought as the end credits were already rolling, John Cho dropped a flat-out amazing a capella rendition of Cat Stevens’ “Wild World.”
Which you can listen for on repeat forever (in its non capella form, unfortunately) here: