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Divorce Recap: Gustav

Divorce gets down to it in ‘Gustav.’

Divorce picks up right where it left off with ‘Gustav,’ following Robert’s meeting with his new attorney. Now that the show has officially hit the half way point in the season, it’s time for Divorce to kick it up a notch as the characters start their contentious battle over alimony and custody. “Gustav” is one of the best episodes yet, as it chooses to focus on the characters’ lives separately with their impending legal battle taking the backseat.

Frances’ art gallery isn’t exactly as glamorous as she thought it would be. Upon receiving the keys, she immediately realizes that the space is much darker than her first visits and receives a disappointing visit from two brides-to-be who were looking for a bridal shop. While Diane (Molly Shannon) scores an invite to a gallery opening in a town close by, Frances becomes aware that the people she needs to schmooze for her business to be a success are kind of pretentious snobs. It doesn’t help that the gallery owner, Carson Hodge (played by a fun Frank Whaley), already comments on whether there’s a market for high-end art work in the suburbs. While Robert may have a reputation as a poor investor, Frances doesn’t look like she will be having much success either.

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Speaking of Robert, he still has his heart set on his FunSpace idea despite not having the money for it. He prepares a presentation for Nick in an attempt to sway him, however the headphones, PowerPoint slideshow, and $4.99 steaks aren’t enough to convince him. Robert, after all, can only be himself. Nick tells Robert that he needs to go groveling back to Frances because there’s no way he’s coming out the “victor”. Nick makes a sound point, their marriage may not be ideal, but it’s a lot easier compared to the messiness of a divorce. It’s an argument that many people can relate to in real life because staying together out of convenience does outweigh the cost of divorce for many couples. Yet, the only thing Robert takes note of during their dinner is that Frances has hired a big shot attorney who will slaughter him in court.

“With “Gustav,” the audience is finally treated to the independent lives of Robert and Frances.”

It comes as a surprising blow for Frances to discover that Robert hired a lawyer, albeit a less than mediocre one, behind her back. It spurs her to hire an expensive divorce attorney who she promptly spills her darkest side to. Sarah Jessica Parker has taken the backseat to Thomas Haden Church all season but she gets a hilarious scene here as she admits to loving to make Robert feel inadequate. Her confessions catch her lawyer by surprise but it’s fun to finally see her let loose a little bit. Meanwhile, Robert finally fires his discount attorney who claims, “it’s all law,” or that he doesn’t need an office, etc, and gets an equally ruthless partner in crime. Tony Silvercreek (played by an scene stealing Dean Winters), is the perfect amount of brash, ridiculous, and intimidating as he lets Frances know that he holds the upper hand.

With “Gustav,” the audience is finally treated to the independent lives of Robert and Frances. It’s a fresh look at a show which seemed to be unsure of how it was eventually going to execute the couple’s divorce. Divorce isn’t a knockout, but it continues to get stronger every week.