Enlightened: “Follow Me” (Episode 2.04)

TV Reviews
Enlightened: “Follow Me” (Episode 2.04)

At the most basic level, the plot of “Follow Me” plays out like a @FakeLouieEps tweet: “Amy joins twitter. Oversteps established social media etiquette. Accidentally goes on a date.” The episode, which opens with Amy and Jeff Flender discussing the burgeoning Abaddonn exposé, is strung together by her discovery of the potential of social media; Flender nonchalantly explains that Twitter specifically holds the power to allow a “nobody like [her]” to reach the masses.

Amy’s skepticism that technology pushes people apart and turns them into zombies with smartphone-shaped tumors quickly melts into insanity, as her inner monologue tells her, “This is an angel sent to you from the other world.” Statements like these, which admittedly are infrequent, make it challenging for a cynical viewer to suspend his or her disbelief long enough to buy into Enlightened’s optimism. In reality, Amy’s initial contention is likely more true than it is false, and her ardent belief in the beneficence of social media is undermined by her lack of familiarity with accounts such as @YesYoureRacist and @BestFansStLouis.

After her conversation with Jeff, Amy joins Twitter and, in an unfortunate turn of wacky sitcom antics, proceeds to inform all of her coworkers individually and coerce them into following her. The gag becomes so drawn out it feels like something they’d pull on How I Met Your Mother, and in that regard it is a fairly disappointing and redundant attempt to show that Amy either lacks or rejects social awareness.

Meanwhile, Amy continues her efforts to rekindle her relationship with her former assistant, Krista, who is very pregnant and in the hospital. When she arrives at Krista’s room, Amy is greeted by her pre-breakdown colleague Janice, who abruptly says she has to move her car and leaves. Krista and Amy’s conversation turns to the former’s impending actual childbirth, to which Amy responds with an extended and uncomfortable birthing metaphor of her own. Amy explains that she’ll also be giving birth to something unspecified that will take on a life of its own, and Krista responds with a charmingly awkward expression that straddles fear and patronization.

Later, and at Jeff’s suggestion, Amy attends a fairly upscale presentation by a woman who affected change through a Twitter account she operated from Monrovia. Here she meets many of Jeff’s activist friends and is further exposed to the world she wishes to join. However, in a brief moment of brilliant acting, Amy shows that she has not completely abandoned her old self as she borrows Krista’s thizz face when addressed by one of the caterers. He informs her that he frequently serves her when he works at Chili’s, and Amy expresses clear disdain at having to consort with someone she reflexively considers beneath her. As she leaves the party, Jeff joins her, and, perhaps encouraged by Amy’s mother’s suggestiveness earlier in the episode, imparts a goodnight kiss. This was a necessary gesture despite its awkwardness, as the events of the previous episode clearly restored Levi as Amy’s sole love interest; the gods of dramatic irony begged for a response, and Jeff graciously supplied one.

Although this Hays Code-length kiss plants the seed of a future love triangle, it also must plant a seed of doubt for Amy. To that point Jeff had been relatively vague for a reporter who desperately wants to break a corporation-crushing story, and it seemed reasonable that he might have simply set Amy on a nearly impossible journey because he was interested in her romantically. This possibility is reinforced the following day when Amy calls his office only to be pushed aside by an excuse almost as flimsy as Janice’s—Jeff, a writer for the Los Angeles Times, can’t talk because the Huffington Post picked up his article, and the office is going crazy.

That said, the plot machinations are not limited to Amy’s romantic entanglements and social media follies. Indeed, the episode’s most significant development occurs in the final scene. Amy and Tyler’s awful boss, Dougie, confirms his suspicions that the two were responsible for the security breach, and he plans to report them both to human resources to be fired. Luckily, Amy came prepared with hacked email printouts in which the higher-ups describe Dougie as a dirtbag and a joke with stupid hair. The irrefutable veracity of these descriptions notwithstanding, Amy reassures him that he’s not a joke and that his hair is nice. This turns out to be enough to lure Dougie into her vengeful triumvirate in which he will use his heretofore unseen expert hacking skills to acquire more information. This interesting character nugget places Dougie firmly in the Michael Scott mold of terrible bosses who were simply promoted out of usefulness.

After securing Dougie’s services, Amy closes the episode with her typical sermon. This time it’s about the new media and the power they wield and that she wields through them. Her closing whisper of “Follow me. Follow me.” so closely echoes Col. Kurtz’s “The horror. The horror.” that it is unclear just how tinged with irony the revelations of this episode are.

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