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Fantasy Island - "The Big Five Oh"/"The Romance & The Bromance" - Review

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My biggest issue over the last couple of episodes has been the fact that the writers have been giving us scenes that appear to be designed to allow us to get to know Elena, but these scenes kept repeating information we already knew. I wasn’t kidding when I said it was an issue big enough to make me lose interest in the show.

I didn’t have that problem with these two episodes, and the reason was Ruby.

When Ruby starts a conversation with Elena, Elena brings more of herself to the conversation. It’s not to say that Elena doesn’t evade the questions she doesn’t want to answer when she’s talking to Ruby, she does.

It’s just that, in the scenes between Elena and Ruby, Elena reveals something about herself to us.

I didn’t have that same sense in the scene between Javier and Elena. Javier asked her a personal question, Elena evaded, but it was different.

What I’ve been missing in the writing of Elena is the layer where, as Elena repeats “what I do is important”, she reveals something to the audience. I finally got that in “The Big Five Oh”.

Although, I could have done without the shy greeting part of the opening scene in “The Romance” The Bromance”. The awkward ‘Hello’ didn’t really work for me for me.

One element of this episode that really stood out was finally getting to see that Elena has a bit of magic. I loved the way she appeared and disappeared throughout the episode.

Guests:  Nettie Fantasy:  Wants to be swept off her feet by a hot, successful man.
Guests:  Camille Fantasy:  A new body to replace the one that betrayed her.
Guests:  Margot Fantasy:  A little rest.

The guests in “The Big Five Oh” were billed as a trio, but they have separate fantasies. There’s an understandable selfishness to the friends’ fantasies. That’s what fantasies are. Unfortunately, when you’re part of a unit, selfish desires cause friction.

Margot is a 50 year old woman with 3-year old triplets at home, and she’s exhausted. She wants to sleep, but keeps forgoing her nap to referee arguments between her two best friends, Camille and Nettie.

Nettie wants a hottie to make her feel desirable again and Camille wants a new body.

The trouble starts when Nettie brings her “boy toy” to their 50th Birthday dinner. Their fantasies threaten to destroy a friendship that’s existed for more than 30 years.

When it seems they won’t be able to settle things on their own The Island gives them a fairly terrifying wake-up call.

They find themselves at a funeral service for Margot.

I didn’t expect the revelation about the reasons behind Camille’s body swap fantasy.

I have to confess that I made the same leap of logic that Nettie did. I assumed that her fantasy was wrapped up in body image issues. It was, in fact, a reaction to dealing with breast cancer...on her own. I agree with Nettie. That’s something you scream at your support system. That’s why they’re called a support system.

Seeing herself in a coffin so soon (her kids appeared to be younger than 10) prompted Margot to stop taking care of everyone else and put herself first for a change.

Many of us need that little reminder, sometimes, that we’re just as important as everyone around us.

Guests:  Isabel Marshall Fantasy:  To get her nose out of books and get a life.

I enjoyed this fantasy. As with most of the fantasies, when I sit down to write my review, I realize that something about the fantasy stuck with me. Here I was reminded of how I overcompensated, when trying to battle my shyness, during the first few months of my freshman year of college. (It was embarrassing. 😆)

Isabel’s early presence had that awkward, uneasy feel that made it all seem more real to me. She was over the top and just a little too ‘overt’ in her actions that felt like what you would do when you’re trying to force yourself in to a space you’re not used to. At least that’s what I did.

But, as much as I liked this fantasy, there were some elements that I couldn’t complete reconcile, story telling wise. I kept waffling on whether it worked for me.

One of my favorite scenes was Isabel taking control of the publisher. I loved watching her turn the tables on that misogynistic bully.

But the fact that she took him on to protect someone else, rather than fighting like that on her own behalf, left me wondering if her fantasy was truly being fulfilled. (I always found it much easier to fight for my friends than for myself.)

In that same manner, I found myself wondering if remaining in the past was running away from building a life in the real world. Again, I found myself wondering if her fantasy had truly been fulfilled.

I would love to hear your opinions.

I don’t consider it a flaw at all. I would even call it a strength of the writing. I was told a story that stuck with me when the episode concluded. That’s not typical.

Guests:  Brian Cole Fantasy:  To face his ultimate physical and mental challenge.

Brian Cole is an extreme survivalist. He’s just gotten divorced. (His wife got sick of having to put up with his obsession survivalist adventures.)

The Island has decided that what Brian needs is to understand why he feels the need to spend more time in the battling the extreme challenges nature has to offer than living his life.

How does The Island intend for him to do that?

By forcing him to confront the situation that sent him down that path in the first place. This means facing the part of himself that experienced that incident.

Bullies dumped Young Brian in the wilderness, in December. They could have, literally, killed him. Brian has to admit to himself that he’d never actually dealt with his feelings about the incident.

He’d considered his younger self a weakling; looking at the situation through adult eyes, he realizes his younger self was a real survivor; not just of the incident, but of the aftermath.

I suppose the real mental challenge of this fantasy is facing the fact that the one weakness in his life has been in not doing the work to deal with that incident in his past.

I found myself hoping that he will be able to save his marriage and enjoy a happier life.

This fantasy was short and sweet but it did contain another seed of wisdom we could use.

I’m a little bummed that FOX rushed through the final few episodes of the season. I finally start connecting to Elena and the season finale appears. Hopefully, season 2 will contain more than 8 episodes.

What did you think of the episode?

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