I feel really alone and really helpless. I need you to hold me......I just need you.
Was there anyone watching as Natalia pleaded for Olivia's support whose heart didn't ache when she uttered these words. Oh, yeah...that was me. Was I alone in feeling a little bit of smug satisfaction at seeing Natalia suffer so? I know this episode pissed people off, and everyone wants to know what the hell Olivia was thinking with her big "I can't hold you" reply. But, really, wasn't this episode all about comeuppance?
Welcome To The World Of Olivia Spencer
I don't for a minute think that Olivia's refusal to step in, hold Natalia, stroke her hair, etc. was an act of revenge or coldness. It's a little something Olivia Spencer calls self-preservation. She's been hurt by Natalia, already. We only get hurt when we're vulnerable. Olivia is at her most vulnerable when she opens herself up to what she truly feels for Natalia. How, then, does a woman like Olivia protect herself? She closes off. She sets boundaries. She steers clear from that which puts her in harm's way. Hate Olivia's response all you want, but know this: it doesn't come from a lack of compassion, but from a desire to feel safe and in control of her own life. And, really, is it all that unreasonable for Olivia to consider that getting close to Natalia, again could end up just how it's ended up already - with Natalia running scared and Olivia betrayed, humiliated, broken-hearted, and left holding the proverbial bag? It's not as if Olivia hasn't been through this with Josh, before.
Jessica Leccia is good at looking completely lost and alone. It really does tug at the heartstrings to see those big, brown eyes well up with tears. But let's look at what she's crying about: Rafe has joined the armed forces. (Evidently, the U.S. Army is now accepting diabetic felons for active duty, but I digress.) Rafe is Natalia's son, her only child. The news of one's child planning to go to war would be upsetting for any parent. Still and all, she is broken-hearted even though her loved one made a point of going to her home, sitting down, and telling her - in person, no less - about his plans. Imagine how awful it would have been if her loved one had just decided to pick up and leave, without letting her know, first, what his plans were, where he was going, why he was going, and that he loved her? Can you imagine what that might feel like? You know who has a good idea what that feels like? Olivia. Because that is exactly what Natalia did to her on July 4th. And isn't a little comeuppance for Natalia exactly what few of us have been looking for, in order to feel as if the Olivia/Natalia pairing is even worth rooting for, anymore?
Deeds, Not Words
Natalia has spent the time since she's been back in Springfield saying that she knows things have been tough for Olivia, but I haven't really believed it. In fact, a few times I had the distinct impression that Natalia was rolling her eyes and wishing Olivia would just get over the ridiculous sadness, take her back, and let go of the whole "you left me and broke my heart" nonsense. "I left you and broke your heart?" Natalia has seemed to be asking, "Here's some raspberry jam. All better?"
Maybe I'm just petty and mean-spirited but, ever since Natalia returned to Springfield, I've had the overwhelming desire to see her suffer as Olivia has. I've actually felt that I've needed to see this, if I was ever going to get back to thinking these two belong with one another. Just to even out the score. I'm petty like that. It's why I love 96 Tears and Kill Bill and Once Upon a Time In The West. It's why I've loved Stockard Channing ever since Girl Most Likely To...
Comeuppance. It's the pause that refreshes. I didn't just want Natalia to say she understood how hard it's been for Olivia, I've needed her to actually feel it. When Olivia refused to be there for her in the way that she needed, Natalia looked genuinely shocked. Because that's never happened before. Not to Natalia. It's Olivia who knows what's it's like to call the person she loves on the telephone, leave message after message, pleading for some sign that everything is ok, that she's still loved. It's Olivia who knows what it's like to have those calls never be returned. That's got to sting, and now, maybe, Natalia has an idea how much.