This Close: What Happened To Us?

"I don't care if it's awkward as long as it's not bullshit. I'm done pretending."

In which Kate finally gets balls and speaks up for herself - along with Michael - and realizes that, in life, as with so many other things - once you start standing up for yourself, you can't stop.

How do you find a way to truly connect with someone?

There's a book called "The Five Love Languages" which claims there's five ways people attempt that connection. Some do it verbally, some physically. Some connect through actions. There's probably many more than five. In this episode, our characters move past simple communication to the point of looking for true connections. It's no accident that they both do so by first truly connecting with themselves.

For Michael and Ryan, this has been a truly long road. They've tried the open relationship, they've tried the closed relationship, and now they're holding hard onto a single truth: that they love each other. Michael's been lost for the last several episodes, and it's becoming clear he was lost without Ryan - and that Ryan felt the same way. It's interesting to see Michael's struggle with work as the artist's struggle to produce work when they're out of touch with themselves and their own needs. It's no accident that Michael and Ryan coming together at the beginning of this episode led to Michael standing up for his art at work, demanding to let go of the commercial project and work on something with a real relevant meaning. Another change I want to mention is Michael wanting to set boundaries with Ryan - it's something I've thought a lot about myself and I truly believe healthy, clear and communicated boundaries are just so important to a positive relationship.

For Kate and Danny, the issues have spiraled into another direction. In the first episode of this season they seemed like the power couple supporting Michael. This episode and the one before showed that, deep down, the cracks have been opening and getting wider. My first thought, when Danny threw a surprise party for their engagement, was that this was a mistake. Kate has been asking for genuine connection and open communication for a while. At work, Kate stands up to her boss Stella – and as a result gets what she truly wants, a client to manage and a chance to drive her career. At the party, Kate finds herself unable to lie - and, after disappointing alley sex, breaks up with Danny. Her goodbye speech is heartbreaking, and the trouble she has communicating with Danny only makes it more explicit how important this breakup is to her identity and self-esteem.

And then Danny strikes back the only way he knows how - by pointing out the secrets Michael has kept from her (and flashback to two episodes ago where Kate was wishing Michael would tell her more, everything.)

For Kate and Michael, big picture, we've come full circle to the other direction. When the series started it was Michael breaking up and Kate in the full flower of an engaged relationship. It was also their connection which kept the going and kept them focused. Now it's Michael whose relationship shows promise, and Kate whose relationship has ended. Is Kate right to feel she can't trust Michael? I think it's something she has to hold onto right now - her need for truth. But in one of those sad accidents of fate she walks away, Michael chasing her - only to get hit by a car in a season-ending cliffhanger.

Seen in the Scene

Kate has issues about fidelity. When she finds out Danny has no insurance, she goes straight to accusing him of cheating. It becomes clear that Danny's potency or lack of it has a lot to do with his job.

Josh Feldman looks really cute in the hat in the beginning of the episode.

The baby photos from Mom two episodes ago play a big role here, connecting Ryan and Michael.

Read in the Captions

Ryan: I’ve always been afraid I was gonna mess up with you. You scare me. But not having you in my life - that’s scarier. I know that now. You’re home.
Michael: What?
Ryan: You're my home. I didn’t know someone could make me feel like that. But you do.

Danny: I don’t understand why this is happening.
Kate: Because you didn’t tell me. Because that’s what always happens to me. Because I can’t be with somebody who doesn’t understand that that’s the worst thing they could ever do.

Overall

A fantastic episode with a great ending to the first season. I really have to wonder where they'll go in Season Two. Five out of five cute artist hats.

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