Togetherness Season 1 Review “Handcuffs”

With the basic set-up out of the way, the second episode of Togetherness was free to jump right into further dissection of the characters and their relationships. And wow, “Handcuffs” took things to the next level, quickly building a case for this as one of the year’s strongest new shows.

At its core, this is a show built around two major relationships: the marriage between Brett and Michelle and the burgeoning friendship between Tina and Alex. I use the term “friendship” because, a quick flash aside, romance isn’t a predetermined endgame between Tina and Alex. On most shows, sure, but Togetherness is really striving for realism. Sometimes, a man and woman can just be friends – shocking, I know – and it’s my hope that this show can maybe eschew the standard TV idea that it has to turn into something more.

And that’s not to say there’s no chemistry between the two, or that it couldn’t happen, I’m just enjoying the fact that the two of them falling in love isn’t a given. At any rate, I’m loving their interactions, and the fact that they’re helping each other. Last week, it was Alex coming to Tina’s rescue, but it was the other way around here, as Tina helped Alex out of his funk. If nothing else, it shows how much the two need each other at this point in their lives.

Appropriately, given the state of their marriage at the moment, Brett and Michelle spent a majority of the episode apart, giving us a chance to see how they spend their days. Brett got a bit more focus here, putting way more effort into his TV job than anyone he works with actually appreciated. The whole coyote scene felt a bit meta, almost like the Duplass brothers were commenting on their own frustrations with certain aspects of the Hollywood process. Again, given how natural they strive to make their work, it was almost too on the nose to have Brett literally searching the woods for his sound. Still, entertaining stuff.

Of course, nothing was as entertaining as the long, awkwardly intimate handcuff scene the episode took its title from. From Brett’s desperate want for food, to Michelle’s attempts at domination, to the painful – both physically and emotionally – way things devolved into a standard marriage argument at the end, it all came across as a slow-motion train wreck, both hard to look at and impossible to look away from. This was just a masterful scene, filled with plenty of small touches that suggest this has a strong basis in reality for the creators.

What did you think of this week’s episode? Let me know in the comments!