On Sunday night, Mark and Jay Duplass’ excellent HBO series Togetherness returned for its second season. The first season left us with some huge cliffhangers, such as the status of Brett and Michelle’s relationship, news about Alex’s first role in a movie and perhaps more importantly, that thing between him and Tina. But the season two premiere, “Hotels,” gave us a lot of wonderful moments and some much-needed answers to these questions, while also hinting at the fact that this group’s troubles are far from over. Here are the five of the greatest things from Togetherness’s excellent second season premiere.
The first season of Togetherness ended on what could absolutely be considered a down note. While in Sacramento, things were getting hot and heavy between Michelle and her business partner/friend David, as Brett was on his way to her—in hopes of explaining how he truly feels about his wife. Of course the biggest question going into this season was how far Michelle might have gone with David. When the episode begins as the season finale ended, with James Blake’s incredibly sexy “Wilhelm Scream,” it’s assumed we’re watching the consummation of Michelle and David’s Sacramento night. Instead, we’re seeing a quick trailer tryst between Alex and his new girlfriend, while on the set of his new movie. Considering last season’s heavy conclusion, it was smart that “Hotels” opened with a much-needed moment of brevity.
Well, if Alex’s fake-out proved anything, it’s that James Blake makes people want to have sex on Togetherness. We finally see what happened on Michelle’s Sacramento trip and it’s even more depressing that expected. After having sex with David, Michelle immediately regrets it, only to have David show up at her hotel room to proclaim his newfound investment in his marriage and love for his wife. It’s hard to figure out which is sadder now that we’ve gotten this answer: is it Michelle’s anguish over the mistake she knows she’s made, or David’s complete ignorance to what happened in that hotel room moments before he arrived?
Alex’s arc in the first season—beyond trying to get Tina to fall in love with him—centered on him trying to get his act together so he could finally become what he wants: a leading man. Last season ended with Alex on his way to New Orleans for his first big role, and in “Hotels,” we get to see him in his element. Sure, the vampire film he’s in doesn’t exactly seem like a masterpiece, but it’s a big moment for one of the show’s most loved characters. Everyone on set seems to adore him and he’s got a very loving girlfriend now. Hell, he even gets a James Stewart signed It’s a Wonderful Life poster for his birthday. The only possible problem with his new life might be that he’s trying too hard not to squander what might be his only opportunity at stardom. After giving a wonderful take for the film, he asks the director for a second take, since his co-star walked on his line. Let’s hope he’s not becoming a drama queen during his first big shot.
Despite how everyone felt in the first season of Togetherness, no one was especially adept at hiding their emotions. Michelle and Brett especially couldn’t quit talking about the trials and tribulations of their marriage, while Alex’s longing for Tina was so obvious, everyone could see how he felt towards her. While shopping for a present for Alex’s birthday, Tina tells Michelle to “keep her fucking mouth shut” about her affair with David when Michelle finally comes clean to her sister. Tina believes that no good can come from being honest with Brett, and for once, Tina is probably right. But poor Brett is already enough of a punching bag in “Hotels,” it’s hard wanting him to stay in the dark, even if it might be better for him and his marriage.
Since he went to New Orleans, no one has seen Alex at all. And in Tina’s case, she hasn’t even talked to him since leaving L.A. When the two finally see each other, there’s clearly drama between them, but both try to play it off in completely different ways. Tina tries to remain buddy-buddy with Alex—being playful, buying ridiculously expensive compasses so he doesn’t “lose his way” and acting like nothing has happened between the two of them. Meanwhile, Alex tries his best to separate himself from Tina and his feelings towards her. At this point Alex is winning this battle, since Tina looks fairly ridiculous in “Hotels,” but we also know that Alex clearly has love for Tina that he’s desperately trying to hide—all of which could potentially ruin everything he has going on right now.
Ross Bonaime is a D.C.-based freelance writer and regular contributor to Paste. You can follow him on Twitter.