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Satisfaction “…Through Competition” 

Photo Credit: Richard DuCree/USA Network
Photo Credit: Richard DuCree/USA Network

Neil has presented himself to the world for one way for the last few decades. He’s a father, a husband, a financial advisor. What this whole experience seems to be teaching him is that underneath this persona, this mask he presents to the world he is more. So when he talks to his Zen Master, Neil is genuinely concerned that if he and Grace take off their metaphorical masks they might not recognize each other. And if that happens, where does it leave them?

I’m not quite sure what Neil was hoping to accomplish by reporting Simon to the IRS. Yes, he had every right to be upset when he discovered his wife was having an affair. But Grace was paying Simon for a service (and Neil did his own cheating so he really can’t claim any moral high ground). And the service Simon provides is about a lot more than sex. Simon says he often knows more about his clients than their own husbands. The most important part of his job is listening. It doesn’t hurt that he’s also fun and exciting, but mostly he’s there to hear what these women’s husbands can’t or won’t. The most perceptive thing he tells Neil is that Grace’s life is boring, but she isn’t. Is it strange that I like whatever it is forming between these two men? It’s definitely not friendship – I think Neil will always resent Simon for the threat he poses to his marriage. But when it looked like Neil was going to help Simon out of the jam he created and in return Simon was going to spill all of Grace’s secrets, I felt like they might be good for each other. Simon clearly needs someone to manage his finances properly and if Neil is too scared or reluctant to ask Grace to tell him the truth about the state of their marriage, getting that knowledge secondhand is better than being in the dark.

I love that Neil won’t be bullied at work by his partner. Now that he’s signed Charles Lipton he gives him the choice as to whether or not he wants to know about his wife’s visit with Neil. In doing his due diligence Neil found that Charles is supporting at least four women. Maybe that entitles Samantha to the money Neil thought Charles’s old firm was stealing from him. Maybe not. I just like that Neil feels it’s necessary to be upfront with Charles – it’s maybe the only part of his life where he’s brutally honest – and that it’s paying off. Maybe he can apply what works in his professional life to his personal life. I’m not holding my breath though.

A Networking Opportunity
Neil’s relationship with Adriana continues to be a complex and unusual puzzle. I like that she won’t stop pursuing him, even after Neil tells her he’ll reach out to her when he’s ready. I like that she sees something in him that she wants to nourish. I mean, she’s not doing this for free. She’ll definitely be making money off him, but it seems to be about a lot more than that for her. Adriana encourages Neil to be who she thinks he really is, who she thinks Neil himself wants to be. But Neil thinks Adriana wants him to be someone he’s not and that’s why he fails at her masquerade.

Aunt Stephanie the Enabler
In “…Through Admission,” she provided the pot that got Grace high and motivated enough to work on a great presentation. This week she lets Anika skip school and have a party at her place. While Anika seemed unhappy with the relative anonymity of her life before she exposed the cheating scandal at her school, being in the limelight brings a different set of challenges. Stephanie talks about popularity in high school setting you up for life. And she just wants to help her niece do it on her own terms. I think she also really wants to be the cool Aunt. And maybe she needs a new client base for her pot. We’ll see if she’s got ulterior motives.

Random Thoughts
Even though Grace is very emphatic that she wants nothing more to do with Simon, she’s still fantasizing about him. Maybe it’s more about having someone to talk to. Maybe it’s about having a close physical relationship without strings. Whatever it is, they’re clearly not done.

I love that Grace called Patrick. She and Alex were butting heads from day one. I feel like Grace did a pretty good job of trying to work with Alex, but at some point it’s necessary to go around the problem if you’re not getting the results you want.

I wonder if Simon really will try to mess with Neil’s life. Neil has a lot to lose. I think he needs to keep Simon friendly.

Satisfaction airs Thursdays at 10/9c on USA Network.

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