Made For Love
I Want a New Life
Photo: JOHN P JOHNSON/HBO Max
What sort of person would marry a man she just met and never leave the tech palace/prison he built for ten years? This episode is our show’s chance to prove to us that the source of the entire story is plausible enough for us to proceed on the remainder of the ride. And unlike a CERTAIN series I shall not mention by name but will only link to this , I think Made for Love creates a pretty convincing case.
We already know Hazel is out of this shitkicker little city, that her mother died, that her dad was drunk a great deal. Some basic boxes are checked, re: why would a girl want to get out of here. But there’s gotta be more, yes? What was so attractive about Byron from the hop? Time to find out!
Ten years ago, Hazel was the scrappy little hustler. We watch her running a smart scam outside a Gogol occasion where Byron will be talking: selling lottery tickets to win a phone she’s never seen and does not have. Professional! Who is watching this from afar? Byron. What’s interesting for me is that every quality of Hazel’s that appears to draw Byron for her — her sense of mischief, her self-reliance, her hunger for elsewheres — can also be matters that are clearly and totally incompatible with the life that he wants for her (trapping her in a terrarium of scentless cubes, controlling and/or observing her every move and thought). But all Byron says is that he loves her scam artistry, and that in reality his lecture is all about this very topic: spotting chance and understanding human appetite.
You know what else I love about this? It reminds me a little Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, in that it takes all of the tropes of romantic comedies/sexy grand gestures — come away with me to Rome, tonight! I am a stranger but I actually see you! — and reveals them for the really creepy and deeply unsettling behaviours they are, or are, if anybody did that stuff in real life. Byron asks her to dinner at Rome and informs her she will not desire her passport since he’s with her. Oh, and he already knows her name. Supremely sketchy, however, she is too intrigued (and distressed, I think) to not go. Like, you can see the way she would be enthused about it.
Knowing what we do about this very first date, the ensemble feels like much more of a wild choice, though we’ll eventually learn its source. Hazel shows up for this frightful oversized truck guarded by Lyle, and just as I am writing in my notes she is definitely gont get killed in there, she asks,”Is he gonna kill me in there?” Fantastic question, Hazel. Can she tell anybody where she was going tonight? Unclear! Lyle says Byron outsources all of his kills, ha, ha, ha!
Inside the truck would be the virtual-reality Rome. This is the component that’s somewhat tricky on television and I am very curious how it works in the novel — because on TV it doesn’t seem all that different from what it is, that resembles, a very powerful green display. (And I am dying to know whether there are scents in the vehicle, or if the food is kind of tasteless since it doesn’t smell like anything!) Byron tells Hazel her dress suits her, though we know she will never be allowed to dress like this again.
Back in the present, Hazel’s dad presents her with a price analysis of staying . All families are weird about money in their own way, and this is this particular family’s way of being odd about it: With his daughter obviously in crisis –“DAD I DON’T HAVE MONEY I NEED A NEUROSURGEON WHO CAN GET THE CHIP OUT OF MY BRAIN” — Dad’s attention is on a ballpark figure of what she ought to pay for lease. Divorces are time-consuming and expensive, honey. And so are neurosurgeons, probably. She acquiesces to his fair rate ($200 a month, amazing bargain ) and just pushes back a bit on his additional demand, and that’s to treat Diane in regard. She’s some questions about the arrangement (“do you take a bite out of her food and then pretend that she ate it?”) , and I get it, but in addition, no offense, this is an actual pots-and-kettles scenario, re: Hazel criticizing somebody else’s unconventional and baffling relationship dynamics!
In the Hub, Byron is sitting watching the Hazel series. He is going to have Bennett construct her a odor cube. Honestly, the whole thing about Byron and scents is so funny to me and won’t ever stop being funny to me. Just the delivery of”That’s good, that’s good, what’s that?” “…That’s glass””That’s LOVELY” fully killed me. A-plus work Billy Magnussen. His overly literal interpretation of her demands is just perfect. So far as he is concerned, this is all proof that the chip is functioning! “Look how much more I know about her!” He says. “I think this process has really brought us closer together.”
Hazel uses her con-artist abilities to steal a bunch of cell phones outside a yoga course (“Digital detox today! Namaste!” Okay, so she is a genius) and sells them in a pawn shop. At said pawn store she runs right into her past: Bangles, the former companion and style pupil who given Hazel that green dress, which she needed for her final grade (!) , simply to be ghosted by Hazel for ten years. The intensity with which she yells,”We’re gonna fucking CATCH UP,” is simply perfect. I love how bananas Hazel’s predicament sounds to anyone outside of it. “I didn’t have a phone.” “Ohhh, Mrs. Gogol didn’t have a phone?!”
Bennett arrives in the pawn shop because Byron has agreed that it’d be so nice if Hazel were included in the smell-cube-building process. Bangles intervenes (lotta B names on this show, hmm) and compels him out. In this process she’s beginning to see what’s what. The older Hazel would not be taking shit from this tiny redheaded boy. What happened?
Hazel attracts Bangles house, much to her dad’s horror –“I guess they let you out of prison, huh?” He states, up her. “Hope I never see you again!” Hazel and Bangles are on good terms , now that Bangles knows what occurred. Plus Hazel has not hung out with a buddy in literally a decade, and she is so relieved to be doing a standard.
Back in the Hub, Byron is flipping out that Hazel won’t come back regardless of his generosity, re: smell cube. Oh, too, he informs Fiffany, he revoked Zelda’s pool privileges. “I’m going to eat her.” Oh ! Additionally, Lyle has gone awry , Byron really doesn’t know where he is and wants to find him and kill him. Meanwhile, Byron is going to understand to appeal to Hazel on her own terms, so he needs to drink beer. Bennett says that he and Byron can practice”hanging out the way people do where she’s from,” like… Earth? Bennett’s pour is similar to 90 percent polyurethane. (They have an exchange about donut holes and Bennett’s inability to secure one for the that cracked me up.)
Meanwhile, Fiffany has become private style within her hot-pink lab. She is sending a message into Herringbone:”If you’re out there and alive, we need a new plan.” Then she pulls up a screen of all of the tanks. A Great Deal of dolphins! But where’s Zelda? I’m concerned for Zelda! Subsequently Byron tells Fiffany that if Hazel’s not back 48 hours that they will MERGE. Merging will likely kill Hazel but Byron doesn’t care about this; he can keep Hazel living indefinitely… in his mind palace.
At Hazel’s home, Bangles moons Hazel now that she comprehends Byron sees what Hazel sees. Hazel supports this:”He HATES butts!” Dad’s advice: “Don’t engage. That’s not how you deal with narcissists.” Subsequently Bangles reminds Hazel of a secret made-up speech they used as small children that Byron can not know, so that they finally have a means to communicate without him knowing what’s going on. Amazing! Dad understands it, also. “Why do you think I want you out of my house?” He says to Bangles.
Now we are back in the past, on Byron and Hazel’s very first date. Again, everything he does here is like, surface-level amorous but obviously really scary — how can he get access to her bank account?! If he can put cash in, he can take money out! — but she is smitten. Her joy in his ability to snap his fingers and make the truck/cube appear to be some other location she cites is quite persuasive, even thoughagain, on TV it does not really look like much? She’s within a screensaver. However, this is the happiest we have seen her on this series. The way she states PENGUINS conveys way more joy than her allegedly five-star orgasm did.
Byron tells Hazel that he can tell they’re the same: People that aren’t where they are supposed to be. Again I wish to grab Hazel by the shoulders and be like, Girl, you are within a truck… you haven’t left the vehicle, but she is all wrapped up inside and she hates her life and he says it’s because she is a super-special girl who hasn’t been cared for by anyone before and he GETS it, he built a whole world including all the best things in it (but no cinnamon???) . He asks her to marry him and she says YES and if she call her dad maybe?? He is like, Nope, we must go right this second. YOU DO NOT HAVE TO GO RIGHT THIS SECOND HAZEL, I shout to no one, and the truck drives them off to the night.
Made for Love Recap: I Can Show You the World