This was brave, the whole season is set up around their long distance, and we get past the whole thing in one episode. But then, it’s a show about relationships, we don’t need to see them apart, we need to see the good-bye and the re-entry.
We fly through 6 months in 30 minutes. Dhruv struggles with his work, panics he won’t be good enough, hangs out with his new friends, succeeds at work and feels good about himself, and then wonders about leaving all this behind.
Mithila is the one with the bigger upset, because it is unplanned. There is no purpose to her being alone in Bombay for 6 months, she just has to go with what happens. And what happens is that her younger co-worker comes to her at work to complain about an icky supervisor (probably the same one who cut them off and mansplained at lunch in the last episode), Mithila comforts her, and they bond and become good friends over that. Mithila ends up going out a lot at night, hanging out with this younger woman. Her life becomes lighter, less work focused, less serious. And at the same time Dhruv’s life revolves around work, he is passionate about what he is doing and obsessed with doing it better.
There’s also what they were worried about at the beginning, they are different people and when they are alone, they react in different ways. Dhruv reacts by cutting everyone else out, being strong and alone, building walls. And Mithila reacts by finding other people to care for, to bring into her life. When Dhruv returns, he is going to have to compete with Mithila’s new friends. And she is going to have to compete with his solitariness and difficulty opening up to others.
There are some bad fights along the way. Mostly over Dhruv shutting Mithila out. And a little over Mithila expecting more from him than he is able to give. At her birthday, he sent her an amazing present, little drawings of her whole life, he even called her parents and friends to get more details. Thoughtful, lovely, kind, and a lot of energy and time sacrificed on his part. But while talking to him Mithila suddenly is sure that he came to Bombay to surprise her. Only, he didn’t. She is suddenly so upset over what he didn’t do, that she loses track of what he did do.
And then Dhruv is caught up struggling with his research one night when Mithila calls to chat and snaps at her to leave him alone. She can tell he is upset, she doesn’t take it personally, but when he doesn’t want to talk to her about why he is upset, then she takes it personally. He is so stressed and strained he just wants to hide his fears away, and has lost the ability to open up even to Mithila.
The episode has a great structure, the time just flies by, we see little bits and pieces of it but we aren’t going through it day by day. That’s the real hidden cost of long distance, it’s not when you are missing each other, it’s when you STOP missing each other. When it doesn’t feel like long distance any more, but just life. Dhruv visits once, for two days, and we don’t even see that, just the airport pick up and drop off. That wasn’t real life, real life was what they were doing by themselves all that time, and now the challenge is going to be integrating each other back into their “real” separate lives.