"She said that you need me to be sick! Because it's the only f--king thing holding us together!" -TaraIf season one of "Tara" was in part about showing how a marriage could hold together in spite of ridiculous stumbling blocks, season two has shown us that there are some things that even the most laid-back husband will not stand for (even if he's played by the guy who kept taking back Carrie Bradshaw after she screwed him over again and again and again). Between Buck's affair, Tara keeping it a secret and now the emergence of another alter - whom Tara is treating not as another symptom, but as a possible cure - Max is about at his breaking point. And Tara taking her sweet time to bail him out of jail while she had a roadside therapy session with Shoshana sure didn't help.
But is Tara right with what she says above? Does their marriage succeed in spite of the DID, or because of it?
Diablo Cody gave an interview to New York Magazine's Vulture blog a couple of weeks where she confessed to dissatisfaction with the show's first season, and specifically with how she and the writing staff serviced Tara herself:
Ironically, I felt that Tara was one of the least interesting characters on the show last season — the audience responded to her various alters, but not to her. So in season two, we’ll get acquainted with Tara, the core identity of the character, and get some insight into her weirdness and her pain and what drives her forward through this endless storm of transition and treatment.Looking back at my reviews of the first season, I can see where she's coming from, as I tended to respond more to the alters, or Max, or Marshall or the rest of the family, with Tara sort of along for the ride.
And if Tara's behavior earlier in this season in letting Buck and Pammy's affair go on, or here in letting Max stew in jail so she can talk to Shoshana (and possibly avoid being committed by Max) seems more selfish than before, then at least it's Tara making choices, as opposed to being dragged through life by her alters. It's showing us the imperfections of Tara, and of her marriage to Max, and it's making me more interested in what happens to her, even if I don't always like what it is she's doing.
And the idea of Tara having co-consciousness with her alters allows for Tara's seemingly insane idea of using Shoshana as an actual therapist to make a weird kind of sense. On one level, it's just an excuse for Toni Collette to act opposite a green-screened version of herself, but she so far is doing that well. And if this series is going to be about this war going on inside Tara's psyche, there have to be times when it's just Tara with another version of herself. And the show's portrayal of the co-consciousness gave us that great visual at the end where a fed up Max accepted Shoshana's existence and chose to talk to her under the veil of "doctor"/patient confidentiality, with Tara having to sit out in the hallway of her own mind while her husband shares his innermost thoughts (about her) with one of her alters.
A few other thoughts:
• Because Pammy is a waitress at Max's favorite bar, he has to be frequently reminded of how his wife snuck around on him. And I loved the way Pammy described Tara to Max to remind him of how intimate she was with his wife: "She tastes like rain. Sometimes kiwi fruit. And once, she tasted like a penny." Between that and Marshall and Kate's discussion about Uncle Jemima and Mr. Butterworth, Sheila Callaghan's script had some of the sharpest dialogue of the season so far.
• As I suspected, Charmaine's baby turns out to be Neil's, and that revelation forces her to admit her true, conflicted feelings about the two men in her life: "I want my wedding pictures with Nick, but I want my wedding night with Neil."
What did everybody else think?