This is a black and white image of two girls in the middle of a countryside road. Both girls have their backs to the camera but one girl stand ahead of the one with the other looking towards the girl who is ahead of her. It represents the two girls in "My Brilliant Friend" and their fractured relationship."
Negar Nikkhah

Everyone is changing a lot.

The TV adaption of “My Brilliant Friend” has been on-going for a while now but for some reason, except for the brief moment after the first season was initially released, no one seems to talk about it anymore. That’s a huge mistake. The show carries so much weight and with the release of the second season, it could easily be considered an epic drama. The second season is getting better and better with each episode.

So far in the second season of the series, Lenu (Margherita Mazzucco) and Lila (Gaia Grace) have grown up some. In fact, we catch them shortly after Lila’s marriage, with Lenu driving back with neighbourhood friends from the reception. Everyone talks about how fantastic the wedding was but we soon find out Lila’s marriage is fraught with pain because of how deceiving and abusive her new husband is. Stefano (Giovanni Amura) is a horrible partner. He’s controlling, manipulative, and he has a terrible temper. The worst part of it all is, he wants Lila to smile and be happy shortly after he’s finished slapping and beating her. He wants to be in control of everything: what she thinks, feels, does, wears, where she goes, and even who she sees. And so, Lila feels trapped in this unhappy marriage, where she can never take a breathe and just be herself. It’s why it’s not surprising that in the latest episode, she ends up betraying Lenu’s trust.

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Back in episode three of the new season, Lila crossed a boundary and disrespected Lenu after she introduced her to her teacher and classmates at a party. It was a very vulnerable act for Lenu; she was extending an invitation to her friend with the expectation that she would pale in comparison. It tugged at her intense insecurity. She was worried that when her classmates and teacher met Lila, they would be so mesmerized by her beauty and intellect that they would completely forget about her but instead she stole the show. Her teacher was immediately put off by the fact that Lila married young instead of finishing school so, she didn’t give her any consideration and focused only on Lenu. It was as if when she saw Lenu, she saw a bright young woman with promise but when she looked towards Lila, she looked right through her. Lila felt it, they both did. She felt the complete disregard of Lenu’s friends, that she wasn’t able to enchant her audience or even understand them, and she grew envious. She was jealous of Lenu’s freedom, her ability to live the life she wanted among studied people so, she became cruel. Of all people, she laughed at her with Stefano and humiliated her for her intellect and the fact that she spoke up during their get-together instead of staying in her shadow. Seeing Lenu at the party changed things. It was the first time that she really saw Lenu and she didn’t like it. So in the fourth episode of “My Brilliant Friend,” Lila endeavoured to try and understand her friend’s world better while also holding her back.

In “The Kiss,” Lila took her new sister-in-law Pinuccia (Federica Sollazzo), along with her to a beach side rental to get stronger for pregnancy. She decided to take Lenu with her presumably to have companionship but she was adamant that she didn’t want her to have fun independent of her. Still, Lenu schemed well. Before agreeing to go on the trip, she asked to stay in a town by a beach where her crush Nino (Francesco Serpico) would be. The only problem is, Lila caught his eye and he didn’t want to be too forward so, he hid his intentions by making it seem as if he liked Lenu. It was disheartening to watch.

“The Kiss,” made it undeniable. Lenu is pitiful. She’s pitiful because her insecurity blinds her from seeing that Nino is like his father; troubling and untrustworthy, and that her relationship with Lila is unhealthy. It’s so disappointing to watch as Lila lowers herself to bringing down Lenu just for the attention of a man. She doesn’t actually care for him but since Lenu does, and because she is desperately unhappy with her relationship, the fact that he acknowledges her, an uneducated teen wife of a shopkeeper, meant something. It made her feel like someone was finally giving her value. It’s why she’s so competitive to no end. It helps her to have fleeting victories to reassure her that she is a meaningful person since she believes her life and work are worthless. After all, she looks down on everyone in her community and wanted to escape from them through her studies and now that that path of escape has been stolen from her, her only way to feed her esteem, is to defeat a competitor.

Every woman in “My Brilliant Friend ” and in this episode in particular, seem to be doing the same thing. They distract themselves with tasks, useless goals etc, so that they don’t have to bear with the reality of their miserable lives with their abusive husbands. For instance, it is truly sad and heartbreaking to see Pinnucia meet a kind-hearted man that she would have liked to be with had she not fallen pregnant. It’s important to remember that she was fearless, a renegade, and outspoken when she was still single and simply dating Lila’s brother but shortly after their marriage, she became quiet and still. You can see that he stole her joy and that she lost a huge piece of herself when she married him which is much like the situation of the other women in the show. It’s tragic. Hopefully Lenu will do better for herself.

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