Seriously, how underrated is Enlightened? Season 2 premiered tonight with “The Key,” and it’s become clear already that all of the buildup acquired over the show’s first season is going to be set into motion straight away. Amy (Laura Dern) and and an apprehensive Tyler (Mike White) are ready to burn Abaddon to the ground. Can Amy Jellicoe destroy the castle made of glass, concrete, and cancer?
The episode opened with one of Laura Dern’s signature narrations; this company is built on poison and deceit, and Amy sees it as her life’s work to expose the corruption. This would be Amy’s “sword in the stone” moment! Her mother Helen (Diane Ladd), of course, couldn’t be bothered. Still, she’s endearing, no? I like the way she always sneaks a tiny bit of support into her discussions with Amy.
Having done her research by sifting through the private emails of Abaddon executives, Amy sat down with Tyler to discuss “their” plan. Things seemed so simple, at first. Alas, this is a television series, and we have a whole season to watch. We know Amy’s not ruining Abaddon over the course of the season 2 premiere. Amy required tech-savvy Tyler on board to help her perform difficult tasks, like using a printer. Tyler, already regretting that he slipped his super-password to Amy, was set to bail from the get-go. Why would he risk his job? As it turned out, Amy discovered that the Cogentiva, which sounds like an eye virus, was only set up as a temporary program. Basically, once the program is up and running, it will only take one super-nerd to run. They’re about to lose their jobs, anyway!
After sifting through some corporate emails himself, Tyler jumped onboard for the time being. Amy managed to conjure up a phone number for Jeff Flender (Dermot Mulroney), a journalist with a knack for writing scathing revelatory exposés on corporate screw-ups. The first order of business was staying late in order to print their evidence. Dougie (Tim Sharpp) was shocked at how awesomely “anal” Amy had become with data entry.
Dougie: “Stay anal, you guys.”
Next, Amy set up a rendezvous with Jeff at T.G.I. Friday’s. I like a lady who’s instinctual choice for a covert rendezvous is Friday’s! Without giving too much detail, Amy slipped Jeff an envelope full of evidence. The rest would be a waiting game. Amy was discouraged the next morning to find that Jeff hadn’t gotten to her earth-shattering material yet. Insisting that they meet at his place in Los Angeles that evening, Amy would have to pawn a ride off of Tyler. Her car is still tow-up!
In Jeff’s apartment, he revealed that Amy’s findings weren’t strong enough to make a cover story. None of what she discovered contained illegal activity. Being a douche isn’t illegal, it’s just obnoxious. Programs like Cogentiva are unethical, but not illegal. Having a sense of social consciousness isn’t a requirement to be a big business executive. Discouraged but not defeated, Jeff tipped Amy off to the real deal. He had reason to believe that Abaddon had been paying off government officials to turn a blind eye to their awful waste disposal habits. Basically, Amy was offered the opportunity to team up with Jeff on something even bigger.
Tyler, on the other hand, was done. Amy attempted a pep talk before the ride home. Aren’t you tired of being nothing? Of just dying? Tyler doesn’t know how to live any other way, but Amy managed to convince him to give living for a legacy a shot. What was nice about this scene was that it showed how Amy truly is acting, first and foremost, selflessly. She’s not striving to be Time’s “Person of the Year,” it’d just be a perk. She’s seriously on the road to building a fulfilled life for herself by changing the planet. Now, Tyler is coming along for the ride.
The episode closed with a cameo from Amy’s inspirational sea turtle buddy swimming across the night sky.
What did you all think of the season premiere of Enlightened? Are you happy to see a little more urgency going into season 2 after seeing the pacing pick up in “The Key”? Do you think Amy and Tyler will get Dougie and the rest of Cogentiva on board?