Reverie: 1.06 Pas de Deux
After taking the premise of Reverie in interesting new directions over the last couple of episodes, this instalment returned to the central premise of Mara helping a person who had emotionally stuck in the program. But rather than disappointing, Pas de Deux delivered another heartfelt, emotional character journey with a bit of moral quandary thrown in.
The case of the week was professional dancer Holly Maxwell (Sally Pressman), a woman who found herself paralysed from the waist down following an accident. Forced to rely on the care of her sister Vivian (Wynn Everett), her only escape was the Reverie program, which allowed her to dance on stage once more. Naturally the appeal of the program saw her totally absorbed and when an hour became sixteen and she began to suffer physically, that's when Mara and Onira-Tech stepped in.
Enter Mara's former boyfriend Chris Condera (Sam Jaeger), a man she left behind when her life fell apart after the death of her sister and niece. He returns to her life as Holly's psychiatrist, and through him we got a deeply emotional case of the week and some well deserved back story to Mara too. While there wasn't a huge amount of chemistry between Jager and series lead Sarah Shahi, the episode still presented a tie to her old life, allowing the audience to get more of a glimpse of whom she was before the series began and explore her mental state now, which might not be as stable as we thought; visiting her comatose but still living murderous brother in law at the hospital showed that the pain of her family's murder was still raw in her mind.
While the story of Holly was initially presented as a story is a dancer reliving her old life again and again, it became something much deeper with the discovery that she was pregnant at the time of the accident and lost the child; in her Reverie she didn't just dance on stage, she had a whole second life where she was the mother to make believe daughter Sadie.
Even knowing her body was dying in the real world, Holly chose to remain, raising the moral quandary of whether Mara should try and make her leave. More challenging was the idea that Alexis might be able to force her out even though it might cause permanent brain damage. As a viewer it seemed the best course of action was to let her remain; the curveball of having her sister suffering with secret MS needing help and convincing Holly to leave almost felt too contrived. Would it have been braver for Mara to let her die happy inside the Reverie?
Pas de Deux had a lot of emotion - the final dance between Holly and her daughter Sadie particularly - but it also revisited Mara's own mental state and suggested she's not quite as strong as she thinks she is. I'll be interested to see how this is explored in the final four episodes...