Directed by Hagai Levi, Scenes from a Marriage episode 2 is the part of Levi’s miniseries based on the 1973 Swedish series of the same name by Ingmar Bergman. The show is led by Oscar Issac (as Jon) and Jessica Chastain (as Mira) playing a couple trying to figure out the ups and downs of a marriage.
Unlike, the first episode which was so closely adapted to Bergman’s classic, the second episode is set on a different track. The original series’ second episode focused more on the couple’s characteristics and traits that helped the audience understand the people whose lives they were invading via the screen. However, Levi takes the second episode by a crushing revelation that stuns all of us.
– Scenes from a Marriage episode 2 review contains spoilers –
Scenes from a Marriage Episode 2: Poli
Scenes from a Marriage episode 2, just like the first one, starts with a little behind-the-scenes framework where we see Oscar Issac slip into his character of Jonathan as he plugs in his earphones.
Jon is at home. His daughter Ava is asleep. Mira is not supposed to be back until noon the next day, only 6 minutes into the episode we see that she is- a subtle hint that what Jon is expecting or predicting out this relationship can change at any point in time. Which is exactly what happens next.
Mira, as miserable we have seen her in the last episode, is finally speaking up. She confesses about having an affair with a man named Poli, indicating that a considerable amount of time has passed since her breaking down at the abortion clinic. She has had some time to reflect on the functioning of her marriage with Jon, the abortion and the lack of passion in the marriage.
Scenes from a Marriage episode 2 is like a storm breaking lives. Jon and Mira confront the realities and understand that having sex is not always the same as having passion, just like, talking isn’t necessarily communicating and once it is too late the situation comes down to now or never.
Scenes from a Marriage Episode 2: Repression & Resistance
The first episode helped us witness the cracks in Jon and Mira’s marriage but it is the second episode that tells us why.
When Mira lets Jon know about an affair she is a part of, Jon is visibly clueless and asks Mira what he is supposed to do with that information. He lives in a bubble where his wife’s sadness has never caught his eye. He is curious to know about Poli and how Mira started seeing him. When Mira tells Jon, “I am in love with someone”, Jon is unable to understand what exactly he is supposed to feel.
The bounds of repression have grasped him for so long, that he can’t understand Mira’s lack of feelings in their marriage or his self-destructive tendency of knowing the details of his wife’s affair. It is repression that makes him passive-aggressive at the beginning of episode two about the attic’s renovation and it is the same repression that stretches to the point that he is unable to understand Mira’s suffocation. All he wants to do is sit and talk, but clearly, he is never listening.
Mira, on the other hand, is trapped in resistance. She has had an affair with Poli for months now yet, she has let herself feel hurt and miserable by not being truthful to Jonathan. It is clear to us that when she had the abortion to save her marriage, it was an end game but she resisted her emotions of leaving Jon.
As the end scene pulls up for Scenes from a Marriage episode 2, both these individuals are troubled by their respective villains. Jon only breaks down after Mira walks out of that door but is unable to scream loudly and decides to bite onto his hand and scream into it, in silence. Mira resists every chance of a conversation because “…if I don’t leave now, I might never”. Even at the door, when Jonathan hugs her almost trapping her to not let go, Mira resists every fibre in her body to hold on to the man she is married to.
Scenes from a Marriage Episode 2: Final Thoughts
The gender-swapping that Levi has taken up in this reimagined version of Scenes from a Marriage episode 2 is going to give rise to some heavy dialogues. However, not acquainting us more closely to the characters as Bergman somehow confuses the audience about the motivations and desires of the characters.
Nonetheless, the second episode does its work intensely. With only Jessica Chastain and Oscar Issac on the screen, some might assume the episode to not stand out. But, the actors are so remarkable that you’d hardly want to see anyone else.