Selfie Season 1 Episode 9 Review: "Follow Through"

Selfie 1.10

See what kind of show Selfie could’ve grown into?

With only four episodes left to air, “Follow Through” might be the closest we ever get to Selfie’s full potential, a hilarious half-hour that not only makes a definitive move towards a romantic turn for the show, but also finally feels like its following through on the ideas in the pilot it presented about identity and self-awareness in the modern age. Is it an episode of television that cuts some corners because it probably saw the writing on the wall? Probably; regardless, “Follow Through” is the far and away the best episode of Selfie yet.

There are still a few awkward moments shoved into the corners of “Follow Through” (mostly the stuff involving Henry and the sandwich girls), but there’s so many strong moments with Eliza, they far outweigh the few rough patches it has. Eliza finally putting her phone for an extended period of time (long enough that she can’t even remember!) doesn’t seem like a huge move for Selfie as a whole; but given how reflective she becomes when she does, the action is given a huge amount of narrative and emotional weight, and really feels like a revelatory moment. There are even some distinct directorial choices to reflect this, as the camera finally takes its extreme focus on Eliza, and pans around while she looks at everyone else in the world, and realizing how much we’ve gotten sucked into the little screens in our lives.

Of course, the way the episode frames it is a bit awkward – with her breaking up with her man toy, and their names not making a fun nickname together – but the larger ideas around it hold true, both in society and in the world of Selfie: the more we’ve gotten sucked into our online identities, the less personality we have in real life – and the less we’re able to notice about those around us. Finally taking Henry’s advice (which was hidden in a heck of a compliment: “The only thing that should be glowing at the table is you”) pays huge dividends for Eliza: she begins to finally focus on her career, and realizes she’s in a relationship racing to a dead end – both of which lead to huge character moments for her in the episode’s third act, paramount among them her pursuit of Henry, which she kicks off by giving him something she couldn’t with a hashtag or a business plan, disrobing in front of him as he smashes on buttons to close the elevator door.

What’s even more impressive is how the show builds to that final scene, but doesn’t force its resolution: Henry makes some hilarious jokes about having to buy a cat and feed it generously, and runs away from the situation as fast as he can. Previous scenes established his interest in her – but the show keeps him a respectable character, a man who fights off the advances of TWO women in this episode to stay with the person he thinks he’s supposed to be with, a woman he unfortunately never sees, because they share the same work ethic. He’s certainly intrigued by Eliza’s invitation, but the show doesn’t disrespect Henry or the romance it’s trying to build by having them embrace in the hallway at the end; he’s got to break up with Julia, and his character fully understands the importance of that.

It’s a nice touch most comedies will skip in order to get to the Big Kiss: but “Follow Through” stays true to its characters to the final moments, with Eliza using Henry’s reluctant rejection as inspiration to continue ‘following through’, as she embraces the idea of living life to the fullest, not just enough to take some pictures to get likes on a social network. And it gives them plenty of comedic fodder for next week’s episode, with what are bound to be some awkward office scenes between the two, giving a different kind of energy and rhythm to their scenes I’m looking forward to. It’s always encouraging to see a show willing to dive into its central romance with confidence – and after a few weeks of the predictable will they/won’t they beats, the choices they make to push their relationship forward in “Follow Through” are really terrific.

If all that isn’t enough, “Follow Through” is also a hilarious episode, one that features a “corporate riffing” session (Eliza does not know what a French horn sounds like), some physical gags, and Eliza calling a janitor (something she’d never seen before) a “reverse Santa… of garbage!”. The timing couldn’t be worse, of course, but Selfie is firing on all cylinders, comedic and narrative, in “Follow Through”, which makes it even more of a bittersweet experience. In only its ninth episode, Selfie finally followed through on the promise it showed in the pilot and in intermittent areas in between -unfortunately, there’s only four more opportunities to build on that momentum.

Photo via ABC

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