Tue. Jul 14th, 2020

TV Recap: ‘Dispatches from Elsewhere’ Season 1 Episode 8 — “Lee”

As the game “officially” ended in last week’s episode, the eighth installment of Jason Segel’s Dispatches from Elsewhere forced itself to move in a different direction. It pulled back the curtain to show the Architect of the game, a woman named Lee (Cherise Boothe). This week’s episode was named after this Architect, the person who created the entire game.

“Dispatches from somewhere,” an actor states as he’s trying out for the part of Octavio (played by Richard E. Grant). Lee is us if we have ever had a regret so big you just couldn’t shake it. Lee is us any time you’re afraid you’re in over your head and that you can’t change anything around you. She talks to her therapist about having anxiety after a major life event, and it all feels too reminiscent of our current lives and current anxieties. Episode 8 continued a trend of special episodes in Segel’s show.

Clue 1: Lee and Clara

Lee watches our heroes as they play the game, as they veer off course, find the HQ, and find her actual apartment. She trashes her own home to keep the integrity of the game. We find that Lee’s care for the game is rooted in her relationship with the real Clara, who died when she was 20. 

Lee works for the almighty tech giant Bender Elmore, and looks to be someone of influence in the major corporation. She was involved in some way in Clara’s death, and she still feels absolutely horrible about it 20 years later. She even kept a recording that Clara left her before she died, which leads the group to:

Clue 2: Simone and Peter Go Outside the Game

After the group finds the above recording at a graveyard and they, and we, hear some relatable words, “I can’t tell which comes first: feeling unhappy or feeling alone.” Heading to the diner to regroup, the team gets a recap from their waitress, Janice gets a phone call, and for the lovebirds in the show, Peter asks Simone on a date. That date doesn’t go as planned, though.

First to a fancy restaurant, next to a street hoagie stand, Peter (Jason Segel) and Simone (Eve Lindley) struggle to get along. More than anything, Peter can’t talk about himself, he can’t express his opinions, and he can’t make a choice. It’s awkward, and that’s putting it lightly. Simone notices, and calls him out. 

“I don’t think you’re ready for this,” she tells him. “Have you thought about how complicated this would be if we were dating?” It’s possibly the first time that the show has outright said the word “trans” and given Simone a larger allotment of time to talk about her experiences, her difficulties, and her reality as a whole. It’s a heartbreaking, yet beautiful few minutes of television.

After a final plea from Peter, she walks away and tells him to call her when he can decide between cake and pie. It’s a painful end to a painful date.

Clue 3: Fredwynn Grows As Janice Loses

Janice’s (Sally Field) phone call from earlier ended up being about her husband, Lev. Always dutiful and curious, Fredwynn (André Benjamin) follows her to the hospital. Immediately, he shows that he’s grown as a friend. “What can I do?” he asks.

While Janice calls her son, Fredwynn talks to Lev about subliminal advertising in one of the few funny moments in a darker episode. Her younger self attempts to talk her out of pulling the plug, but she stands up to her, saying she “still has more life to live.” 

Fredwynn continues to show his care for Janice, as he tells her dying husband, “I’m sorry we never got a chance to meet, Lev.” As she pulls the plug, she holds Lev’s hand and wishes that her son was there holding his other hand, and in a moment of pure tenderness, Fredwynn grabs Lev’s other hand, and holds it strongly. 

The group gets back together for Lev’s funeral. Fredwynn gives each person their game file as Lee reads different aspects of each person’s personality, a somber end in a somber time. The game isn’t over yet, though, as Fredwynn heads back to Clara’s tomb and looks into her urn. What’s in the urn though? 

Candy, of course.

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