Modern Love 2×06 “In the Waiting Room of Estranged Spouses” is one of those episodes that catches you by surprise. It feels a little too cliché to work as well as it does, and there’s so much anger to it at the beginning that it’s almost hard to believe it can get to a place of healing, of tenderness. And yet, that’s exactly what the episode accomplishes in one of the most surprisingly emotional hours of the season. Some episodes I expected to hit me deep, this one took me totally by surprise.
It was mostly because of Garrett Hedlund, I’ll admit. I love Anna Paquin as much as the next person, and there’s a specific moment in Modern Love 2×06 “In the Waiting Room of Estranged Spouses,” after she offers to cut Spence’s hair, that struck me as the right kind of emotional, because it wasn’t yet romantic at this point, it was just …basic human kindness, a connection that didn’t necessarily have to be about something else to be important.
That’s sort of the beautiful thing about this episode ….the relationship between Spence and Isabelle turns romantic, because they end up being just what the other person needed, but it didn’t have to be romantic to be important. Their relationship isn’t just valid or life-changing because it ended up becoming romantic, or because they “ended up together.” That’s not how life works.
No, life is about all the people that come into your life, that leave a mark. It’s all love, and most of it isn’t actually romantic. You get a few lasting romantic partners in your life, and many more relationships with people that sometimes might be familial, sometimes might be just friendship, and at other times might be hard to define …but are important, nonetheless.
Hedlund, in particular, does a great job of showcasing the larger message of Modern Love 2×06 “In the Waiting Room of Estranged Spouses.” He first meets up with Isabelle in the waiting room of the therapist they have in common. They already know each other, of course. Her husband was cheating on her with his wife. But the bond Isabelle and Spence end up creating, which is, at first, based on mutual understanding, and the need for someone to be there, ends up being much more than that.
I see it in Paquin too, don’t get me wrong, but women get to display these emotions much freely, in real life and on TV. To see Spence get to be soft, caring, to see him heal …was my favorite part of this episode. Particularly as the hour never placed the burden of healing Spence on Isabelle, or vice versa. They met at the waiting room of a therapist’s office, after all. They were both in the journey of fixing themselves. It just so happens that they started walking the path together.
And then …it turns romantic. Or it could. There’s that possibility. But it was many things first, above all, two people who found common ground, an ally, in each other, when they needed it the most. Not because of where they were in life, not because they needed each other to survive, no. Because they enjoyed each other’s company.
This is particularly important as Modern Love 2×06 “In the Waiting Room of Estranged Spouses” makes a point to sort of repair both Spence’s relationship with his ex-wife, and Isabelle’s relationship with her ex-husband. For Isabelle, it was necessary, they share a son. For Spence, it was cathartic. That relationship wasn’t giving her what she needed, but it was also clearly not giving him what he needed, and they’re both better off apart.
So, Spence can show up, all awkward, to an outdoor party for a kid that isn’t his, not because he thought he had a chance with his mom, but because he cares for her. And Isabelle can choose the man who actually gave her the kind of companionship and caring that she desperately needed, when she desperately needed. It’s not a parent for her child she needs – her child has another parent in Nick, and it’s up to him to figure out how to step up. What Isabelle needed, what she always wanted, was a real partner. Through good times, and bad times.
Funnily enough, that’s what Spence wanted too. And in that waiting room, as they both continued therapy and fixed their own issues, they found something that, sometimes, makes the road easier. Because love isn’t meant to fix you. That’s too much to put on love. But love can help ease the burden. And that’s more than worth it.
Agree? Disagree? What did you think of Modern Love 2×06 Review: “In the Waiting Room of Estranged Spouses”? Share with us in the comments below!
Modern Love season 2 is available to stream on Amazon Prime Video.