Flowers Season 1, Episode 5 (2016)
Written & Directed by Will Sharpe
Sadness is a painful emotion to express the full experience of to others. Each of our encounters with deep sadness and depression is profoundly personal that it inhibits us from letting others know. These emotions seem to exist outside known language which is what leads to people sound intelligible or merely sobbing, their only avenue of release. Series creator Will Sharpe understands the immutable incoherence of sadness and manages to express his understandings on this state of being with honest humor. In this penultimate episode, characters either reach an explosive pinnacle or find themselves strangled by their condition and unable to speak. Sharpe has stated that Flowers is “comedy with mental illness,” a description that at first may sound merely witty but after you view the series is the very core of everything that happens.
This episode opens by immediately entwining Amy and Maurice’s mental conditions together. The noose plagues her dreams, hunting she and her father through the woods, finally smothering them both. This episode is ultimately about how these two individuals handle the pressures and stresses they are experiencing. Amy shows strength but ultimately suffers at the hand of nature. Maurice remains silent and ends up wandering alone and rain-drenched. Depression often feels like an indestructible force, overpowering you no matter which action you take.
The tables are flipped with Deborah now in the role of the volatile one while Maurice desperately tries to repair the relationship. He books a weekend at a country hotel thinking they will get away and things will magically fix themselves. However, Deborah wants Maurice finally be honest; her theory is that he is gay and in a relationship with Shun. A stop at a petrol station ends up being the critical moment where he tries to ply her with roadside tea and misshapen scotch eggs. Maurice finally explains that he is having a “dark period” and confesses that he can’t seem to get past it. He fails to explain what is going on in a way that Deborah can understand, and she finally reveals that she has become sadder because of Maurice. He fights to find the words and settles on:
“It’s like this invisible monster with no shape, no form. But, it’s loud, and it’s fierce, and it never ends.”
When you have been in a relationship with someone for many years, it almost becomes harder to empathize. You know them in such intimate detail that you are in danger of not listening to them anymore. Deborah leaves Maurice on the side of the road and goes off for a weekend alone.
Amy receives a visit from Abigail who reveals that she is moving and that it was fun, but they can’t have a relationship. On her way in, Donald tells Abigail that this is Amy’s first relationship. (“I’m more experience of course. I’ve had one and a half girlfriends.”) He isn’t the primary cause of the demise of Amy’s relationship, but his decision to lash out happens directly after a scene he shares with Maurice. The patriarch of the Flowers clan tells Donald that he isn’t very good at inventing things and that maybe his dreams and aspirations are wrong. Donald wants to hurt someone as badly as he has been cut, so he does this Amy. By the end of the episode, there is a kind of resolution between these two and the idea that better times may be ahead.
The highlight of episode five is the meeting between Shun and the Carols. He has been pitching new ideas for The Grubbs Family books for eight hours when he finally tells the story of how he came to be with Flowers.
One more episode to go.