Showtime's Polyamory, Episode 7 recap: "Coming Around"
This coming Thursday (October 3) we'll see the final episode of this season's Polyamory: Married & Dating.
But first, it's recap time for last Thursday's Episode 7, "Coming Around," now in late-night re-airings.
We start with the troubled trio in Hollywood. Cheating Leigh Ann has sent her formerly hidden boyfriend back to Chicago and declares that it's over. She wants to reconcile with husband Chris and their third, Megan. The show opens with Megan wondering (and perhaps calculating) where her place will be depending on whether or not Chris takes Leigh Ann back, and whether or not she wants her back herself.
Megan finally meets Leigh Ann for the first time since the latter was kicked out:
Megan has been been intrusive about letting Chris and Leigh Ann spend much time alone together (even after three years of all living together?!). Megan semi-required Leigh Ann to meet with her before Leigh Ann spends a night with her husband again, and now Leigh Ann objects to this dynamic:
"The truth is Chris and I need time alone right now, to reconnect. And I don't want you to feel like I'm trying to exclude you, but you came into this relationship with a couple. I was with him for seven years before we met you, just him and I. And that was my rock. My foundation. And I need to have that security. I don't want too make him choose between you and me. But I still need to stand for my marriage and making it the most important thing to me."
Megan: "I don't know what that means for our relationship. If that means me taking a step back and not being a primary anymore, when you brought me in fully. We have to talk about that. I fell in love with you both, and I love both of you. But what does my role look like going forward?"
Leigh Ann: "For the last couple of years, we let things get really out of control."
Megan: "Does that mean you want me to take a back seat?"
Leigh Ann: "I just want to be his wife again."
Couple-privilege... I won't rant. Because although Leigh Ann would lose points for pulling rank here, I don't think that's what she's doing. Megan has been subtly keeping them apart all along. In seven episodes now I've had little sense of who Megan really is. Other commenters about the show have said she is trying to get Chris all to herself and become "the wife." I'm beginning to wonder if there might be some truth to that. I have a hunch there's more calculation going on in Megan's head than she's letting either her partners or the cameras know. I do not sense the natural transparency everyone needs for poly relationships to flow free and easy.
In San Diego, Jennifer and her young boyfriend Jesse are having Kamala do some formal conversation-development coaching for them. Kamala is good at this; in real life she does it professionally. Jen asked for her to help her and Jesse rebuild their communication surrounding his jealousy issues — in particular, over her attraction to Jason, Kamala's boyfriend. Watch carefully how Kamala models this work:
It ends all too quick for me. A half-hour show has to compress everything, but at a good moment Jen says "I've had enough," and they hug and end the session. Jen to the camera: "Processing isn't fun for either of us." Which she has indicated before. But, "Jesse and I need to have more of these conversations, even if they're painful, so we can grow as a couple."
Back in Hollywood, Leigh Ann and Chris finally meet alone. To see if they can "move forward again." There's an awkward heaviness between them, but both seem to be feeling their way toward a reconciliation. Although, here comes another dominance move by Chris: "I need to ask you, have you spoken to [boyfriend] since he left?"
"No, I haven't."
Chris to the camera: "I want to hear from her that she has put that relationship behind her and it's not something that I'm going to have to hear about again." Way to cork down communication, dude.
Leigh Ann: "I don't think we can be in a polyamorous relationship if we're not committed to taking care of our marriage, and that's what we didn't do with Megan. I don't think that we can proceed unless our marriage becomes a priority. So how do we do that without breaking her heart?... I never stood up for our marriage, and I really regret that."
As the conversation goes on, Leigh Ann finally spells something out: "All three of us have communication issues. Megan struggles to put things into words. You overbearingly communicate." And she has told how she herself is afraid to talk about difficult things until they become a crisis and then it comes out all the wrong way.
Chris: "I will work hard on not making you feel so terrified. I want you to feel safe. I'm going to try hard to keep my temper in check." But, "I'm a little terrified right now about the idea of being caught between you and Megan."
They end up making up and spending the night together. "It gives me hope that he really wants to be with me."
Among the San Diego crowd, it's Ladies' Night Out and Guys' Night Out. Jen explains: "Whenever we're all around each other we're all sort of latched onto our new lovers, so us going out separately is a way for the ladies to stick together, and the guys to get to know each other."
At a crowded, noisy bar, Jen and Kamala meet Rachel and Tziporah. Kamala explains: "It's really important for the four of us to connect, because if we can't get along, if we don't love each other, then there's going to be so much pain or emotion or conflict."
Over the background noise, Jen expresses to Rachel that it feels weird to her that Rachel sought them out as a fan of the show's Season 1, and "Michael had a deep relationship right away and it kind of made me nervous — because I thought you were kind of a fan. I have to admit I've kind of had a wall up with you, or my guard up."
Rachel: "Yeah, I felt your apprehension. I want you to know that my interest in Michael is completely authentic, and I love Michael so much." In fact, she plans to move down the coast to San Diego: "I realize I have to be closer to you all, I need to be here, I want to deepen my relationship with Michael and deepen my relationship with the community." They all cheer and clink glasses. Transparency and honesty — yes, it's that easy.
And then Kamala and Rachel agree they'd like to try a do-over of their failed group sex scene that Michael herded them into a few episodes ago.
In another noisy bar, it's the guys' night. Michael to Jason, his mono metamour, who is looking a little intimidated: "I've been super impressed with you. We had a threesome, and it was great. I have to say I had some concern that you might be too monogamous, have not enough kind of poly experience, and you just did awesome in that environment." Jason says its was a first for him as they clink glasses. Michael to the camera: "I like Jason's attitude about polyamory. He's taking some big strides and he's very open to the ideas. I feel really good about his deep connection with Kamala."
Worlds and world apart from the Hollywood bunch. We are being shown this contrast deliberately.
Then Jesse shows up. Jen's jealous Jesse. This is a big step for him. Tahl, who sounds like he's had a drink or two, raves to him about how Jennifer "has been so much less bitchy since she started dating you. Like her and my relationship is getting better, and better, and that, Jesse, is thanks to your cock. You're a good man, Jesse."
Michael to Jason: "It's the same thing with me and Kamala. She comes back from being around Jason, and she's totally charged up, and our relationship's better because of it."
Jesse and Jason say how weird it is for them not to be in competition with the other men. Michael explains to Jason: "We can really get our needs met more if we're not in competition but in cooperation with the other men. That's why we're here! I want you to know that I'm not in competition with you. That I've got your back."
And then Tahl and Christian head home for some serious sex between them at last. Christian is leaving the next day. Jennifer gave Tahl the green light earlier in the evening. The house is empty. They kiss, both gentle and rough. Christian pins smaller Tahl's arms behind his back. Quietly: "You like that?" And picks him up in his arms and drops him on Jen and Tahl's bed. Where they wrestle. They strip each other, and events proceed, sometimes on top of the big purple duvet, sometimes under it. Tahl: "All of a sudden Christian gets like, really tense and he's staring deeply into my eyes. It's just really beautiful. He's a very passionate man."
Natalia Garcia, the show's director/producer, says this marks the first time that genuine gay lovemaking, as opposed to actors simulating it, has appeared on mainstream network television. And lovemaking is what it is. Get the porn you may have seen elsewhere out of your head; we see here something different, and real. Yes, they were hot and horny for this chance at each other, but the intertwinings of sex and love are not easily dissected. It was a bold and moving scene.
Here are previews from this Thursday's final episode, "The Road Ahead". In which, we're told, "Chris, Leigh Ann and Megan finally come face to face."
Not sold out yet: It's less than 10 days to the San Diego pod's four-day, "heart opening" Poly Palooza, which they and their network are holding at a resort in Desert Hot Springs over Columbus Day weekend, October 10–14. Spaces are still available. "Immerse yourself in a sex-positive celebration of liberated love: learn from top love experts, express yourself in group, experiment at play parties, soak in healing waters, and create lifelong relationships with a worldwide tribe of love leaders."
Formal sessions include Free Love vs. Agreements, Into the Heart of Jealousy, and Visioning the Future of Polyamory. ZEGG Forum after breakfast, music and parties in the evening. Workshop presenters include Diana Adams and Reid Mihalko. I wish I could be there.
Viewing party. The San Diego cast is holding another, season-finale viewing party (of episodes 6, 7, and 8) on October 26 in the Victory Theater, followed by a Q&A with the show's director, Natalia Garcia. Full info.
Each episode airs Thursday at 11 p.m. ET/PT, then again several times during the week; see schedule (on the left there, click On TV > All Airings).
If you're a Showtime subscriber, you can watch any episode on demand (click On Demand) or on a computer or device via Showtime Anytime, after it first airs.
Showtime’s Facebook page and website for the series.
All video clips from Season 2.
All video clips from Season 1.
To keep up with doings of the San Diego family, see their Facebook Fanpage.
Here's my own stuff about Season 1, with plots, spoilers, commentary, and notices in other media.
My stuff about Season 2 so far (including this post; scroll down). There are eight episodes this season.