It was dark, and tragic – in the full sense of the word. Matt’s demise was inevitable from the beginning; the first time we met him he’d just broken up with Harriet and was high on Vicodin. No surprise that’s where he’s ended up again, so swamped in sadness that he can’t write.
Matt Perry was outstanding. His pain was palpable, but I loved the subtlety of his performance (and of the writing); his disorientation and distraction worked perfectly with the inter-cut flashbacks of the start of his relationship with Harriet. Or, at least, his narcotic skewed memories of the start of their relationship. Who knows how much of it was true?
A lot of people have predicted that Danny’s relationship with Jordan would keep him from noticing Matt’s decline, and in this episode we see evidence of that. It’s been a week since Matt and Harriet broke up, but Danny has only just found out. Matt even says ‘I could have used your help’ and we know he’s not really talking about the Neve Campbell sketch – or Dolphin Girl. I’m predicting an Emmy-worthy scene between Matt and Danny at some point in the near future…
Through the whole episode, Matt is drifting alone. The only person in the real world who touches him is the singer; the siren whose sadness lures him into dangerous waters. And, as the audience, we share that sense of disjointed drifting – in and out of scenes, in and out of the present and the past. By the end of the episode, when Matt swallows the singer’s pills and the camera sinks down behind him, it almost feels as if we’re going under with him, into the black.
Wonderful, affecting stuff.
Two more episodes until the hiatus... *sigh*