Emily’s film shoot comes to an end – and so, it seems, does her friendship with Dolly as the pair part on less than amicable terms in the penultimate episode of Doll & Em.
Is this what it’s come to?
As she prepares to shoot the final scenes of her film, Em‘s insecurities are fuelled by a succession of small things. She wonders if she will get another film after messing up the audition for the rom-com role that both she and Doll auditioned for. The prosthetic make-up designed to make her character look 63 years old makes her look more like 83. And the palpable tension between her and Doll continues to rise as her assistant and friend seems more interested in raiding her free swag than her, and begins to act increasingly evasively.
Her suspicions are well founded. Doll has resorted to keeping her in the dark about the fact that, after her audition, she has been called for a screen test in London. She turns down the opportunity to become Andy Garcia‘s PA after Em attempts to set her up. And finally, after a mix-up with moving companies, she has to admit the truth she has been concealing.
Em’s reaction is one of stunned surprise as she attempts to process the news and Doll reacts – overreacts – badly as all her pent-up frustrations spill over and she vents about the horrors of being Em’s assistant.
You say you’re my best friend but that’s just as long as you’re the fancied one, the successful one, the pretty, clever one.
Doll’s rant is over-the-top and a one-sided view of a working relationship which has been strained on both sides from the outset, provoking Em into an equally scathing reaction.
You’ve made this entire shoot all about you.
Neither of them is entirely right, but the truth is neither is completely wrong either.
Doll storms out to leave for the airport, while Em’s husband and kids (played by Dolly Wells’ real-life husband and children) come to pick her up. Their lifelong friendship is shattered – but is it beyond repair?
I had become somewhat frustrated over the previous couple of episodes by the pace and linearity of the plot, but this episode brings the women’s simmering frustrations to a head with just the right note of poignancy. Doll and Em’s climactic falling out seems almost petty and lacking in melodrama, but rings true in terms of it feeling like that moment where the metaphorical straw breaks the camel’s back and a succession of tiny irksome moments suddenly coalesces into huge and irreconcilable differences.
What started out as one individual unhesitatingly and unselfishly dropping a red carpet interview to offer a helping hand across an ocean to her best friend has exposed tiny cracks in a close relationship which in turn have become a gaping chasm. Sometimes close friends drift apart slowly over a long period of time – at other times it comes suddenly out of nowhere. With its gentle, unforced humour, Doll & Em has empathetically captured the essence of the latter, organically unfolding a broad story which is more than the sum of its individual parts.
Stuff happens. All that remains now is the reconciliation.