Grief for her husband’s death makes attending a friend’s wedding hard.
Episodes seven and eight of “Sorry for Your Loss” debuted yesterday on Facebook Watch. The half-hour dramedy focuses on Leigh (Elizabeth Olsen), a young widow whose husband, Matt, died three months before the show’s action begins. Her network of family and friends includes her mom, Amy, her sister, Jules, and Matt’s brother, Danny. The action shifts frequently between the present day and flashbacks to points throughout Leigh and Matt’s relationship.
***SPOILER ALERT*** In this recap, I’ll be talking about a major plot point that was revealed last week in episode five. If you haven’t yet watched episode five and you’re not interested in spoilers, now is the time to turn back! ***SPOILER ALERT***
In this week’s new episodes of “Sorry for Your Loss,” we continue to learn more about Matt, digging into the childhood he never much talked about to Leigh. Then we see how attending a wedding comes with unexpected triggers for the folks we’re following in this story. Well, unexpected for some; I think we all knew as well as Leigh did that a wedding would be hard for her, five months after her husband’s unexpected death.
Last week, we got a whole lot more information about how Matt died, but we still don’t know one crucial detail that continues to nag at Leigh. Was Matt’s death an accident or did he choose to end his own life?
In episode seven, “I Hate Chess,” Leigh can’t get past the question of why Matt died. As she obsesses over it, her brain reminds her of something else she doesn’t know about Matt.
Matt never talked much about his childhood with Leigh. As she thinks about this, she remembers an old scar he had on his back and the fantastical stories he’d make up when she asked how he got it. No matter how she asked, he wouldn’t reveal how he got the scar, nor would he elaborate on much from his childhood.
Danny makes a telling comment when Leigh pumps him for information about Matt as a kid: “People who want to talk about their childhoods are weird.” It’s an unusual opinion, and it leads Leigh to visit Matt and Danny’s mom for the first time since the funeral. There, Leigh learns that depression runs in Matt’s family, and that the unhappy childhood that Matt and Danny preferred not to remember was fueled in part by their late dad’s mental illness. (She also learns how Matt got the scar.)
(Related: My Un-Suicide Note)
The conversation escalates into an argument, and Leigh is left apologizing for digging – and for accidentally leading Matt’s mom to believe she might be pregnant with Matt’s child. But she’s not the only one with apologies on her mind this episode. Jules, as she works her way through the twelve steps of Alcoholics Anonymous, is on step four, making a moral inventory. She’s got a notebook in which she’s cataloging all her mistakes and bad deeds.
It’s a painful exercise, and Jules struggles as she works on it. But she ends up finding an unexpected ally – and new friend – in Leigh’s stepmom. (This is also the first time we’re expressly told that Leigh and Jules are half-sisters with different dads, which is interesting but doesn’t seem like it’ll be an important plot point.)
In episode eight, “A Widow Walks into a Wedding,” Leigh’s editor and best friend is getting married. We learned a few episodes ago that he and his boyfriend got engaged just after Matt’s death, feeling strongly in the wake of the tragedy that life is short and it’s important to make every minute count. It’s just another way that Matt’s death reverberated in the community surrounding him.
Leigh reflects on her own wedding day as she prepares for the wedding, but nothing will prepare her for running into the florist who did her wedding flowers – and who doesn’t know Matt is dead. When she asks if he’s there too, Leigh lies that he’s out of town. But later she has to admit the truth when the florist continues to ask friendly questions about him.
It’s almost too much for Leigh, and she slips out before the ceremony begins, planning to catch a ride home. Danny convinces her to return, and she manages to push down her feelings and have some fun. But Danny is next in line to be blindsided by emotions as one of the grooms does a funny dance with his brother and it hits Danny all over again that he’ll never goof around with his own brother again. As for Leigh, a moment of joy and laugher turns to a sudden uncontrollable crying jag.
Jules has her own hard time at the wedding, trying to flirt with a man but giving up when explaining her recovery and her job feels like too much. It’s a defeat that leads her to engage in self-destructive behavior. When Leigh and Jules finally leave the wedding together, they’re both solemn and subdued.
Throughout the series, we’ve seen a visual contrast between flashback scenes and present-day ones. As Leigh’s memory casts itself back over the years of her relationship with Matt, the scenes glow with warm light. As we transition back to the present, there’s a jarring clunk into duller tones. This is especially evident as we move between Leigh’s memories of one of her happiest days, marrying Matt, and one of her most difficult ones, struggling to get through another wedding as she grieves.