'Satisfaction' Season 1, episode 3 - '...Through Competition': Behind the mask

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satisfaction-season-1-episode-3-through-competition-neil-mask.jpgNeil Truman is hiding behind a mask -- but aren't all of us hiding to some extent? In Thursday's (July 31) episode we explore the many sides of  our "Satisfaction" characters, as they determine which side is the real person.

Episode 3 opens with a naked Simon scene -- we'll allow it  -- when Neil, thinking Simon is making a play for Anika barges in on Simon's daily tanning session. Once it's out Simon doesn't want to hook up with Neil's daughter, the conversation turns to Grace. Apparently the male escorts relationship with Neil's wife isn't all about the physical. Simon tells Neil, Grace revealed to him her husband has been "checked out of the relationship for awhile" and he's "emotionally unavailable." Neil, realizing he has a lot to learn about communicating with the woman he took sacred vows with, calls a truce with Simon and says he will call off the IRS investigation, in exchange for all of his Grace insight. It's interesting how receptive and trusting Neil is with his wife's lover in this moment -- isn't he skeptical Simon could just be telling him anything to get his life back?

Later Neil meets with Simon and breaks the news he can't call off the IRS and they finish with a conversation about the art of listening. Does Simon really do a lot more than Neil in the listening department or is he just more present in the moment? 

As it turns out, Neil's marriage isn't the only one filled with lies. When he gets into the office, he is greeted by Charles Lipton's wife, who tells him the money Neil realized was missing from his accounts are the million dollar payments his wife has been secretly transferring into her personal accounts for years. She tells Neil she needs the transfers to continue, and that she knows about all the other women in Lipton's life. Goodness, is there hope out there for a happy, satisfying marriage -- it sure doesn't seem like it.

Grace is having some trouble getting along with her younger, super passive aggressive project manager at work, Alex (Alyshia Ochse). Since Grace doesn't get started off on the best foot with her, she invites her out for drinks for some gal bonding time. They go to a nightclub -- which looks like the same one Grace originally met Simon -- and what do you know, Simon's there lurking in the shadows. He immediately approaches Grace and wants to talk -- and it is hard to determine if he has true feelings for her or if it all part of the game. When Grace blows him off, he sets his attentions on Alex, which makes Grace hate them both even more.

Neil gets invited to a mask party by Adriana, which kinda seems like it might be an "Eyes Wide Shut" kind of deal -- or what the blonde beauty calls a "networking event." She tells him, "The truth is, you're already wearing a mask. I'm just trying to help you take it off." The meaning behind this is unclear until suave Neil starts working his mask sexiness at the party and the ladies are loving it. Guess who in turn, is not loving it -- Adriana. She tells him, "You're here because of who you are, not because of who you think I want you to be." When she follows that up with," Just because you're wearing a mask doesn't mean you should be someone you're not," the viewer is left just as confused as Neil.

Later when Neil meets with Charles Lipton, the man offers some wise insight, telling  Neil that not every partnership requires that you tell the other everything. Then of course Neil has to go ponder this subject with his guru. It then dawns on Neil that Grace has been wearing a mask as well. Can things still work between them in their separate journeys to self discovery?

In other news, Anika's struggle with her sudden popularity is making her uncomfortable, so she seeks refuge at her cool, young, aunt Stephanie's. Is anyone else waiting for the other shoe to drop here? It sometimes seems more like the other students are laughing more at Anika, than with her.

What did you think of episode 3? Did you find it satisfying?


Photo/Video credit: NBC/Universal, USA