Photo: Sarah Shatz / HBO Max
Love life move fast. The time jumps of months or even years are already proof of that, but the speed at which it all progresses really struck me at the end of “Magnus Lund” last season, which ended on a cliffhanger proposition. so enticing that I couldn’t stop watching, only to find the next episode picks up nicely in their marriage – no response, no engagement, no marriage (well, until now). In this way, Love life is like ten snapshots that can span a night, a few months, or even years, capturing euphoria or grief and sometimes both. Like the proposal’s time jump, “Paloma” offers no clear cut resolution after Emily’s revelation about Marcus’ infidelity. Instead, it picks up a month later, and all we know is that there was a messy “72 hour state of union” that ended in a divorce petition. Emily.
As these jumps in the narrative demonstrate, it’s not a show that’s invested in the details of each relationship, but how these encounters shape the protagonist into the person they become. Essentially, each episode investigates the cosmic significance of this moment to arrive at this point in time. In Paloma’s case, she is a sort of respite for Marcus. She smiles, nods and laughs at his jokes, all without realizing the loneliness and fear that hangs over Marcus as he deals with his breakup. She could be anyone, really, but it turns out she’s a final year student riding on the thrill of having sex with a sophisticated older man. But the question of his age and immaturity also acts as a red flag. Not so long ago he was in a relatively happy and stable marriage – now his life is unrecognizable.
Apparently, the end of a relationship opens a new chapter in Marcus’ life, but it exudes the deplorable energy of a divorced man. Marcus is in pretty horrible shape after the breakup, and by dreadful, I mean in a stained apron that reeks of his sister Ida’s apartment with peanut butter infused chili on a Friday. After Yogi tells him to have “ass time”, he decides to spend an evening as a newly single man, texting everyone in his contacts, “What’s up tonight ??? ” (three question marks taken verbatim) including Mia.
What happens next is a new variation on the story of a “wild night”, except that it’s less savage and more deadly. Marcus dashes off from an impromptu happy hour at the office where he raids his boss’s bar cart and gets high on Adderall for an expensive dinner with his wealthy friend Kian, who wears a Balenciaga sweater (played by Arian Moayed , whose appearance made me scream “STEWYYY”). Later he has a drink with Ida and ends up inviting Mia too. Everything is going a little too well – they laugh, Mia seems to have the green light from the family – until Marcus and Mia are out for a walk. He is hoping that something will finally happen with Mia, which is why he is so baffled by his questions about Emily.
Whether out of confusion or anger, he blames the blame for his ruined marriage on Mia, whom she refuses to feel guilty about and walks away. And rightly so. Cheating is cheating, but Marcus is the groom – he has decided to be unfaithful, even though he may not have really taken into account the mistakes he made. Last episode, his friend Yogi urged him to actually work on his marriage because the spark does not naturally materialize: “Make happiness happen.” Even after it all fell apart, Marcus still hasn’t absorbed that advice into taking responsibility – considering that he could be the reason he was and isn’t happy.
What makes the ‘Wild Night’ tale so fun to watch is that each encounter feels like a small story in its own right, which I think ‘Paloma’ lacks. This isn’t so much of a problem with Mia’s serving as it is with Marcus’ sushi date with Kian – it goes with a few small talks and divorce condolences before they are interrupted by Kian’s. real Dated. The episode doesn’t really know where to go until it meets the titular hookup, but it’s when Marcus looks at Paloma from across the bar that he truly finds his place.
It’s kind of a one night stand staring through my fingers that I don’t even know how I endured it. Surely Marcus should have noticed that something was wrong when Paloma ordered the potato skins back home? (The after-drink takeaways give me a college night vibe.) But then again, she’s the kind of girl who seriously pokes fun at every boring detail Marcus shares about her life, giggling and twirling her hair. to get his attention. It wasn’t until they were in front of a college dormitory that he finally realized how young she was. (“I’m RA, I literally run my floor,” she reassures him.)
Everything about the resulting hookup is so unbearably awkward but perfect, from string lights in Paloma’s cluttered bedroom to cheap wine to the set of Harry potter books on the shelf. Her version of foreplay involves munching on pre-oit potato skins and asking her if her feet stink. And despite the pot of condoms on the windowsill, she most certainly learned all about sex from porn, judging by her overzealous blowjob technique and deafening moans – as if the sign of good sex was so. your neighbors could hear you.
With the wounds of his separation still fresh, what Marcus needs at this point is not someone to sleep with but time to recover. A simple question like “Are you okay?” Kian briefly brings out the truth that he’s not. Emily was the one who kept his life together, and without her he’s lost and aimless – aimless enough to get a bad blowjob from a final year student. I really hope for him that he can eventually find the right outlet to vent all his feelings about Emily, because his friends are not helping him right now. The last person he asks for advice is the spectator. As he finds himself in Emily’s (and also once her) apartment with Paloma’s potato skins in tow, he stares at the camera, his eyes alarmed asking, “How did I get here?”
• Let’s just relive all the Adderall roasts thrown at Marcus: “You couldn’t find a drug that was, I don’t know, illegal? “Do you have a homework assignment? “; “It’s not 2004, shit.”
• Marcus and Paloma reunite briefly six years later, and although he recognizes his “carefree aura and serious smile,” she walks past him with no idea who he is. Paloma left an indelible mark on him (probably of the crippling embarrassment kind), but it didn’t have the same effect on her.
• When Marcus tells Paloma he would cover up the smell of weed with a roll of toilet paper and a clothes dryer, and she responds “My dad told me that thing”, I screamed! She didn’t have to erase it like that.
• Paloma, after removing Marcus’ t-shirt: “Are you sure you are an editor and not a CrossFit instructor? ” She understands.