Being Erica recap, episode 2: wherein Julianne gets the attention, so there’s a lot of unnecessary air quoting
The second episode of Being Erica’s fourth season aired last week, and—for once—the focus was not Erica. Erica learns that Julianne, who has been irritable, rude and more annoying than ever, is her latest patient. Erica believes this is just Julianne being Julianne, and Dr. Tom tests her hypothesis by sending her back to 2009 to relive her first day at River Rock, where she met the fiery blonde—the goal being to do everything Julianne says to escape the cruelty she originally faced (and overcame, which she is sure to tell us at least three times). There are some problems with this model for an episode: why is the show only digging into Julianne’s lack of self-confidence in season four, when we’ve already deduced that she must have deep issues—she drinks at least three coffees a day and won’t stop calling Erica “Chicken.” Aren’t there bigger fish to fry, like perhaps explaining how she, Dr. Tom, Adam and the rest of the group travel between touchstone moments without anyone being the wiser?
We can’t answer those questions, because the fourth and final season sees more value in introducing us to Rachel, or “Ray Ray” as Julianne has nicknamed her. Julianne sets up the power dynamic in the first few minutes of the episode, telling the personal assistant/guerrilla gardener/smart aleck/poet/screenwriter/psychic that it is one of her duties to keep her caffeinated at 9 a.m., 10:30 a.m. and 3 p.m. every day. Failure to meet this demand results in anger that is expressed by Julianne showing off her grasp of geography: “Rachel, it’s 3. My second wind has blown all the way to Scarborough by now.” Not only are we bored by “Ray Ray,” we also had to sift through the utter nonsense that is Georgie, Julianne’s younger, smarter sister—we should note that Julianne’s past with Georgie is the internal conflict that fuels this entire episode. What this means is that Jules (see, we can give people nicknames too) feels undervalued because she isn’t as smart as her young sis, which, we admit, is understandable, considering Georgie is a huge wine snob, brings dictionaries as gifts and corrects Jules when she believes prosaic means the same thing as prose. Oh, Julianne.
After Erica travels to the past and realizes that she can’t please Jules no matter how much she appeases her, she realizes that Jay Jay isn’t the confident, powerful woman she has always thought. In fact, Erica learns a lot about herself in the process too (shocker). Earlier, she was preaching to Rachel that she must stick with her new gig, because in two years, she could be a big-shot editor (just like Erica, who in addition to Sweet Dreams, Kitty, may be publishing a dog cookbook titled Osso Barko), and now she’s debating whether her dreams of being a published author could be a reality (a passion that was only reignited because Rachel told her that she’s written a few plays). Ultimately, Erica saves the day by telling Julianne exactly what she needs to hear at exactly the right moment in exactly the right tone, which is illustrated by a contract negotiation whereby Jay Jay must agree to never snap at Ray Ray again, or she’s walking.
Oh, and Frank Galvin dies, but only as a means to reintroduce Brent, who we see for all of two seconds—that is, except for when he’s talking about Julianne’s “sexy curled lip” and Dr. Tom’s cheekbones in Erica’s flashback time shift. We still don’t believe Brent is a heterosexual male, but we’re sure he’ll spring up here and there to put the moves on the now-confident Julianne.