REVIEW: ‘Love Life,’ Episodes 7-10

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Love Life Episodes 7-10

Love Life Episodes 7-10 prove, without a doubt, that Love Life is a romantic comedy after all. Yet, the HBO Max original from creator Sam Boyd and star Anna Kendrick is so much more than that. Over the course of the season’s final arc of episodes, the show emerges from the chrysalis of its tragic middle act a gorgeous, fully formed inversion of all that is romantic comedies. It is so clear, in retrospect, the intentional evolution from the trite and only mildly appealing pupal stage of Love Life‘s first three episodes to the seasons’ final. In its final form, most of its original sins are not only forgiven but should be praised for how they masterfully played with viewers’ expectations to deliver a genuinely impactful show about love and relationships.

The final arc of episodes includes “Claudia Hoffman,” “Sara Yang,” “Augie Again,” and “The Person.” The last set of episodes primarily dealt with Darby’s (Anna Kendrick) relationship with abusive, machismo-drunk Magnus Lund (Nick Thune), Darby’s dismal parents, and the disintegration of Sara (Zoe Chao) and Jim’s relationship (Peter Vack). Virtually everything that happened in that arc was dark, heavy, and utterly real. Starting this final set of episodes took emotional fortification. Focusing the first two of the four episodes on non-romantic relationships also worried me at first, as I had been convinced by the previous episodes that Darby was on a path towards self-determination and didn’t need story arcs devoted to her uneven emotional labor supporting her mother and best friend over herself. She was, after all, finally learning to stand up for what she wanted out of life when she divorced Magnus.

But Love Life apparently had me exactly where it wanted me. I kept waiting and waiting for Darby to approach the situations she was in with her mother the way I would have. She didn’t, and won a hard-earned healthy relationship with her mother for it. I kept expecting Darby to handle the situation she was in with Sara the way I would as well, and when she did, it blew up on her. For the show’s first six episodes, Darby’s life, despite not following the perfect trajectory she anticipated and classic romcoms follow, nothing ever veered from my expectations because her experience reflected something realistic and familiar. So when Darby finally begins making decisions outside of my expectations, outside if my experience, she finally starts breaking free of the bad habits and bad relationships that held her back for so many years.

Love Life Episodes 7-10

Love Life beginning as a trite but realistic rom-com is a commentary on the unrealistic and unhealthy expectations we set for our relationships. It’s also a perfect juxtaposition to Darby’s life by the season’s end. Absolutely nothing went the way she planned it or the way viewers expected it to, yet everything is exactly right. There are so many messy parts of Darby’s life in Love Life episodes 7-10 that are just as realistic as the emotional and psychological state the previous episodes explored. Yet, the last episode had me crying with happiness nonstop for how happy Darby is in the end and how her unexpected journey turned out just right. Despite breaking probably every romantic comedy rule in the book, the show has a quintessential rom-com finale.

Frankly, I was also probably crying because Love Life taps deeply into the fear of time ticking away and the opportunity for a love life being ever-fleeting. But what it shows is that, over the eight or so year period of the season, you shouldn’t rush to find love, nor should you settle for less than what you and from it. Darby has a lot of pent up trauma at the onset of the series but by the end, she is practically a different person without having changed one bit. Her ultimate satisfaction is both a point of jealously in the way that good fiction makes you yearn for a world you don’t inhabit and a sobering reminder that her world is, in fact, the real world and we all have the opportunity to hopefully reach the same point in life’s journey that Darby has.

Love Life‘s arc from trite rom-com to tragic drama and back to a perfect inversion of romantic comedy expectations is enormously satisfying. Darby’s journey is geniusly reflected in the way that the viewer’s expectations are manipulated across the season. Going from respectfully lamenting the show’s lack of diversity and uniqueness to realizing there was something deeper to Darby’s character arc to understanding that Love Life is ultimately a show about breaking the shackles of unrealistic and unhealthy romantic expectations was emotionally challenging but deeply satisfying. I was not expecting such an education on my own love life going into this show on a whim, but I am certainly grateful for it.


Love Life Episodes 7-10
  • 9/10
    Rating - 9/10
9/10

TL;DR

Love Life‘s arc from trite romcom to tragic drama and back to a perfect inversion of romantic comedy expectations is enormously satisfying. Darby’s journey is geniusly reflected in the way that the viewer’s expectations are manipulated across the season. Going from respectfully lamenting the show’s lack of diversity and uniqueness to realizing there was something deeper to Darby’s character arc to understanding that Love Life is ultimately a show about breaking the shackles of unrealistic and unhealthy romantic expectations was emotionally challenging but deeply satisfying. I was not expecting such an education on my own love life going into this show on a whim, but I am certainly grateful for it.