But episode 4 starts straight away with Lenù being shown around a nearby city where her father works, and her world starts to expand. And when she sees the sea for the first time, opening before her like a huge Renaissance landscape, it’s like her life is complete.
Back in the neighbourhood, tensions are rising between two families for the sins of their fathers. Lenù has just started high school and her beauty is starting to attract a flurry of boys, which she treats with some hilarious but indifferent obligation. It’s a similar case for Lila (Gaia Girace), who doesn’t seem to desire a boyfriend despite the obvious affections around her. Among their studies and male affections, they try and seek a union between the two families.
There’s an enticing political edge to Dissolving Boundaries. Lenù and Lila are learnèd teenagers, of superior intelligences to their male counterparts (who ultimately hold the power), and they know how to resolve their conflicts – whereas Pasquale (Eduardo Scarpetta) is desperate for revenge.
There’s a clear division between thought and action. Lila even channels Sir Francis Bacon when she says to Lenù ‘The more we know, the less we’re afraid’, which might as well be translated into ‘knowledge is power’. She learns about the history of her neighbourhood, why the people act in the ways they do. That gives their group the edge to change things.
These tensions are most vivid in the party scene at the beginning, which plays out like Scorsese, Tarantino, and Godard all mashed into one gloriously energetic substance. The youths dance along to whatever record is playing, transitioning to rock n roll, and potentially fatal stares and glances are thrown into every beat. It's like Saverio Costanzo is directing a Western within a neo-realist setting, and it’s the most immersive and exciting scene in the series.
Dissolving Boundaries marks an optimistic, though patently ominous, turning point. We’re now halfway through, which might mean this change will hold for a little while before it crumbles. This is My Brilliant Friend, let’s not forget, where moments of content can be chucked into a violent scramble within a few seconds. And that world, that character which defines the show, is endlessly unpredictable.
|What||My Brilliant Friend episode 4 review|