Photo: Lifetime

In Dean No Veritas

Relatively real talk in the midst of deeply fake set-ups.

True Tori got ugly in the fifth installment -- quite literally, as Tori spent nine days in the hospital with...well, migraine and abdominal pain and dehydration, but taken together the symptoms suggest over-it-itis. I tend to stop consuming anything but coffee and dread when faced with an emotional rollercoaster/limbo like the one she's in, so I get it; I don't think she cocked that up (but if she did, she gets gangster points for calling a revenge vacay in the middle of her own docuseries and letting Dean gut it out with the kids for over a week).

True Tori did get to some true things this week, but tended to get to them in a fake way. Let's list them from least to most contrived.

Exhausting sobbing in the bedroom

She's all smeary and swollen and can't be bothered to spare his feelings, FINALLY, and some of her resentment is irrational, but all of it is real: that he "didn't go through SHIT" to have their kids, that the only thing he could do to fix this (build a time machine, basically) is not possible, that he hides behind his addiction issues, that he can't guess her heart. It's the first time she's crying without caring about her eye makeup, but the real reason I know it's not acting is that he looks genuinely afraid. She's too tired to get it up for protecting him, or her saintly image, from her fury, and his "oh boo hoo I'm the worst [peeks to see if it's going over]" routine isn't going to fly this time.

"I hate and love him all at the same time, and it's all very confusing."

Real talk, painkiller-style.

"I went to a sex shop!"

Dean tries to say that he went to Toronto "with a ton of resentment" because they hadn't Done It the night before he left, which they always do before he goes on trips. This is probably bullshit, but I can't really clock him for that, because her obsessive pushing for details to try to understand why, while completely normal and understandable, is also a fool's errand that is only ever going to get her hurtful answers like "because I wanted to" or "because the other woman had a pre-baby body" or whatever shitty human reality it is. I mean, that's not why, but the fact that he's telling himself it is is important, and Tori should try to figure out why that is.

But of course she can't, because her incredulous response is to keep score with, "I did things with you that you wanted me to do!" Translation: I let you put it in my butt the weekend before; I assumed I would get double points for that. And then he doesn't want to talk about their sex life, and then he storms out, and then he comes back in, and Tori finally reads him for always shutting down and deflecting the conversation into his fragility: "Something happens each time, and I have to be worried about him." The weary near-contempt in her tone is, I think, closer to what their day-to-day is, and has been.

They both hate that he's the trailing spouse. He feels emasculated; she wants someone to take care of her for once; this is what happens. They can't get at it because they're in it.

Phun with physical photos

Tori's scrapbooking is marginally more believable than it might be otherwise, given her career, but in 2014, nobody has this many paper photos around with which to torture themselves -- do they?

Talking to the kids

Dr. Wexler is good on the subject of children knowing something is wrong, though they might not have the vocabulary for it, and how they don't approach adults about these things so the adults have to do it -- but Tori's cluelessness on the subject seems canned, an excuse for Dr. Wexler to bullet-point the issue for the folks at home. I don't think Tori is the overwhelmed SAHM she's sometimes posing as for True Tori, but I don't think she's way on the other end of the spectrum either; she's emotionally involved in her kids' lives and has probably done enough self-help reading to understand the effect trouble in the marriage has on children.

The actual talk with the kids felt sort of real in that, basically, nothing of substance was said because nobody thought to ask what might be an age-appropriate way to broach this with a seven- and five-year-old. "Dad went away to work on himself" is typical Dean filler talk.

Shopping with Mehran

Another scene that felt true on one level -- Tori telling Mehran that "it feels embarrassing to admit" that she's still working on things with Dean, because people must think she's a sucker; Mehran's insight that the love she and Dean had is gone, but they can build something else -- but also manufactured so that these points would be hit, in so many words, with the cameras rolling. "I don't want to cry when I'm shopping" aside, the scene stopped barely short of showing an actual story editor onscreen with notecards.

"I ruined such a beautiful thing"

Shut up, Dean. The melodramatic phrasing doesn't make you any more believable; at this point, you're better served just not saying anything, and trying to get real about YOUR resentments, no matter how bullshitty you think they sound, so you can lance the boil and things can start healing.

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