Frances and Robert are actually getting a divorce this time around.
Now that the divorce part of Divorce as officially kicked off, things are about to get exciting. This week’s episode, ‘Mediation,’ feels like the calm before the storm as Robert and Frances make attempts at civil separation. Yet, divorce isn’t usually amicable, and the two of them begin to ready themselves as well as their family for the fallout that is bound to happen.
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The first step is gathering up their financial records so that their assets can be fairly divided between both of them. However from the glimpses that the audience has been offered of Robert’s construction business and Frances’ high-end executive recruiter, it’s clear that there is trouble brewing. With Robert’s realization that not only is his business failing, but that he’s also broke, his world begins to fall apart.
Every week, Thomas Haden Church has elevated the show with his performance. ‘Mediation’ is no different. A majority of the episode follows Robert as he desperately tries to figure out a way to make money quickly. His newest investment venture is a Funzone-type place which he names “Funspace,” and he sees it as his saving grace. With failed attempts at getting Diane and his “friend” Nick on board, Robert decides to sacrifice everything he has to finance his idea on his own.
Frances spends most of her time figuring out a way to finally break the news to the kids. At first, she plans to take them out to dinner but that doesn’t end well. Robert spends most of the time worrying over the cost or in the bathroom while the kids think a relative has died. The stress of trying to keep her family together coupled with Julian’s incessant calling is enough to have Frances break down in front of a co-worker.
Despite all of Frances’ planning, Robert takes the lead on telling the kids about their separation. He may not have a handle on his own life, but he knows exactly what to say in order to comfort his children. Much to both of their surprise, both Tom and Lila were very aware of their parent’s marital discord. Frances takes their indifference as their way of “punishing” both her and Robert, that does the kids a disservice. Children are much more aware than parents give them credit for, so it’s likely that Tom and Lila had noticed their the couples’ unhappiness before they did.
There was a moment of worry near the end when Frances sits alone in mediation and reflects on how great Robert has been. With the official dissolution of her and Julian’s relationship (hilariously because Robert kept sending him threatening emails, texts, voicemail, etc. including a picture of a baguette with a knife in it), it seemed like she may once again reconsider her divorce. Thankfully, Robert decides to lawyer up in order to squeeze more alimony out of Frances to fund his Funspace idea. With the battle lines officially drawn, the two of them will begin the legal proceedings next week with Robert’s discount lawyer and Frances’ shark attorney.