Enlightened Review: "No Doubt" (Episode 2.07)
“No Doubt,” like the two episodes before it, effectively undermines the entire foundation of the first season and a half of the series. In a good way. Amy’s inner monologue opens the show by telling us, “Blessed are the moments in life when the decisions are clear.” The effervescence with which she convinces herself this is the case is the first warning that complications will arise. Even so, she’s ecstatic in Jeff’s company and exuberant when he tells her they’re about to take down one of the six worst companies of our time.
This paradise fades to black, and we are jarringly awoken to reality by “Sound of Da Police,” which Dougie is blasting in his office while smoking weed. He explains to Amy and the always-punctual Tyler that he’s officially received word that the higher-ups are terminating the entire staff of Cogentiva at the end of the month. He offhandedly refers to it as “Kristallnacht,” which is a bizarre reference to just drop casually into conversation, and it makes Dougie all the more fascinating. His mind is one of the underexplored wonders of a show that often manages to fit more in half an hour than many do in a full 60 minutes.
He follows this up the next day with an incredible speech that can only properly be described as a “Dougie Tour de Force.” At its core, he addresses Americans’ sense of entitlement as well as the malaise that served as the focal point of “The Ghost is Seen.” Although we do not come to know most of the Cogentiva employees, many of them are likely ghosts like Tyler was. “Maybe you’re like me and you thought you had a career here,” he says. “That somebody fucking respected you. Or that maybe life was looking out for you. Well, life is a sneaky bitch.” Yes, this is about the impersonal nature of corporations, but more than that it’s about taking control of your own life. Although Dougie is an unlikely source for this message—and one who the previous day used his seniority to make Tyler share his joint—but his point is likely also the point of the entire series. Don’t be bogged down by the noise and distractions of life; just live it.
In between Dougie’s two appearances, Tyler presents Amy with a potential out that she rejects almost immediately. His relationship with Eileen has driven him away from the bitterness and loneliness that initially caused him to join forces with Amy, and he simply wants as pleasant a resolution as possible. He informs Amy that Eileen is willing to set up a meeting with Abaddonn’s CEO, Charles Szidon, wherein she could pitch her idea for a community awareness position that she was trying to establish the previous season. Amy’s myopia doesn’t allow her to view this as a legitimate possibility, even though, as Tyler argues, it has the potential to bring more positive change than tearing down the company.
Amy also manages to lay the groundwork for destruction in two of her interpersonal relationships: Krista and Levi. When one of Amy’s former colleagues informs her that Krista’s doctors are inducing labor the following day, Amy pays her a final visit at the hospital. Here Krista admits that she’s glad they’ve reconciled and that she values Amy’s friendship, to which Amy inexplicably responds by telling her about the exposé. Krista is clearly and understandably troubled by Amy’s disregard for her career stability. That evening, Amy meets Levi at a bar where he is pointedly drinking water in an effort to show the completeness of his recovery. This conversation pretty much goes as expected. Levi is upset by Amy’s selfishness and lack of regard for his needs and emotions, and by the end of the conversation it’s clear that he is racing back to addiction’s seductive embrace.
Back at the office, Eileen has successfully set up an afternoon meeting for Amy at Szidon’s country club. Amy reluctantly agrees, and, when she arrives early at the country club, silently marvels at the lifestyle on display. In that private moment she casts her idealism aside and longs for a life of luxury. Her meeting with Szidon is the one true surprise of the episode. He proves himself to be a thinking, breathing person and not just a corporate money vacuum. He also proves himself to be kind of insane as he describes America as a post-apocalyptic world in which humans are the bacteria. Szidon then correctly assesses that Amy is not necessarily interested in doing good as much as she is interested in not being powerless. Impressed by his worldview and insight, Amy comes away with a different point-of-view. Szidon’s $100,000 job offer didn’t hurt, either.
Here it becomes clear that the second episode’s title, “Revenge Play,” referred both to Tyler getting back at Omar and also Amy’s entire character direction since her initial rejection. The fact is she put considerably more effort into destroying the company than she did into working to establish the position. Her defeat and embarrassment drove her decision-making more than a desire to make the positive changes for which she strove.
After her meeting with Szidon, Amy gives Jeff the full blow-by-blow and presents her newly Machiavellian outlook. She is willing to look past Szidon’s numerous criminal offenses because of the power her new position would wield. Jeff is incredulous that Amy wants to turn back now, and essentially tells her the horse has left the barn. Furthermore, Jeff explains to Amy that it would be “bad form” if they seemed like a romantic or sexual item when the story broke, and he puts their relationship on an indefinite hiatus. Jeff says they knew all along, and Amy leaves brokenhearted, saying, “But I didn’t know all along.”
In a single half hour, Enlightened manages to trigger every negative outcome it had been building for two seasons, and Amy’s opening thoughts come back to bite her in a more complete way than seemed possible. She closes the episode by reverting to the mental breakdown state that opened the series as she flips out at an obnoxious woman who wants her parking space. In one episode all of the positive growth of the previous 16 evaporates, and Amy is forced to question to the validity of her life path and also what she can and must do moving forward to prevent further damage.