Up Here 1×07 “Baggage” finally confronts some of the pretty significant baggage Lindsay (Mae Whitman) and Miguel (Carlos Valdes) have brought to their relationship. And, as it often happens when the past is being dredged up to finally be put to rest…it isn’t always pretty. Which isn’t to say it isn’t necessary.
We all carry baggage from our past. The weight we carry may be heavier or lighter than most. But nobody goes through this life completely unscathed. Maybe we were burned by a friend, or by an ex. Maybe we lacked positive role models to show us how to really deal with our emotions growing up. Or maybe we were so protected by our parents that we lack the skills to fully deal with the real world and all of its complexities. Baggage is created in a myriad of ways – and not always with bad intentions. But it’s there.
Heaven knows Lindsay and Miguel seem to have more than most. Although, honestly, that’s probably not true. It’s just that their baggage is condensed into such a short period (due to the limited nature of the Hulu mini-series). It just seems like what they’re carrying must be exhausting. It is for the audience, so one can only imagine what it would be like for them.
And their baggage isn’t entirely metaphorical. They carry actual baggage, too. At least, Lindsay does, in the form of her ex’s mother’s wedding gown. Yes, she packed and fled in a hurry, but that was certainly something that would have been better left behind. Still, it’s probably best that she didn’t, because returning it forces her to actually deal with the mess she left behind. Made even worse by her…well-meaning? We’ll be generous and say well-meaning…mother (Katie Finneran).
Meeting Lindsay’s mother, Joan – and not Lindsay’s mental representation of her – really explains a lot about where she got some of her insecurities. Not that her mom is an evil person. But, again…she would be exhausting to live with. Yeah, small town gossip can be a thing, but letting people believe your daughter has a tick-induced neurological disorder rather than owning up to the fact that maybe she just realized she wasn’t ready for marriage? It may be the path of (strangest) least resistance. But it isn’t exactly supportive and doesn’t really fix anything in the long run. Neither does hiding the fact that Lindsay’s parents are separated. Was she happier not knowing that fact? Maybe. But eventually, she’d have clued in (on one of her rare calls home) that her dad had been “in the bathroom” for an awfully long time.
Joan may have meant well, wanting Lindsay to be happy in her ignorance and well-liked in the town’s. But it also explains why Lindsay is so desperate to be liked, and why she places so much of her own value in whether she’s liked by others.
Returning home gives Lindsay the chance to right some wrongs she (admittedly) did in her last relationship. Things with Ned (George Hampe) may not have been perfect, and she definitely shouldn’t have married him if she wasn’t sure she was doing so for the right reasons. But she blindsided him pretty hard and then bailed fast. He probably did deserve some kind of conversation. So it’s good that she finally faced the music – and became comfortable with being hated in the process. It never feels good to be hated, of course, but she ultimately did the right thing in ending things. And she has to take strength from that, rather than the elusive goal of being universally beloved.
As for Miguel…sigh. Look, I’m really going to need him to stop being hurt so much, okay? Watching him realize that Lindsay blew him off and lied about why hurt. He did the right thing in choosing to still go to the party, giving him a chance to get some closure of his own. Fiona (Julia McDermott) left some pretty deep scars when she cheated on him. Don’t get me wrong, though. I’m not letting him off the hook for that kiss. Yeah, he didn’t initiate it, but I’m skeptical that he couldn’t pull away sooner.
Confronting his own demons gave Miguel both closure and a chance to blow up his love life. Again. And, because he and Lindsay are both train wrecks, he took it. Only one episode to go, so there’s not much time for the two of them to fix things and come out the other side. Will they manage it? Probably not. That is, they’ll almost certainly end the season on a happy note, but with two people with this many issues? Realistically, there wouldn’t be smooth sailing for very long before another storm appeared on the horizon.
Still, even after Up Here 1×07 “Baggage,” I’m somehow rooting for the two of them to figure things out. As messy as they are, they’re still fundamentally good people who are genuinely trying to work on themselves and be better than they were. Honestly? I’m rooting for that, too.