I watch “My Brilliant Friend” with my hands over my mouth, ready to cover my eyes at a stroke of violence. Lila’s father. Has a word ever been more poisonous to say and feel its smoky meaning disappear in the air than the word, “man”? What is a man? No one cares. I don’t care. Lenu and Lila don’t care, and it is like not caring about Trump and his government. They could kill you, and they’re still so fucking uninteresting. I hate this episode, but I couldn’t stop watching it. I can’t stop watching a minute of this series. I worry it’s about to end, but I don’t want to look at the bar across the bottom to see how much time is left. There are too many men in this episode and things men say and do that circle women. Lila is a fly in a spider’s web. The more she buzzes, the more the silk circles her until she can’t move. She can’t move because she’s so alive, and the men want her aliveness inside them and then they want it to stop. She’s so alive and yet she can’t leave the town. She’s a kid. She’s maybe 15. Who asks a girl of 15 to get married? She is afraid of the world, and somehow Lenu is not. The thing that brought tears to my eyes is when Lenu tells Lila she is leaving for the summer. She has a chance to escape and swim in the sea, a whole summer away, and Lenu can’t think of anything but the guilt she feels in leaving Lila to fend for herself against her father, her brother, and the Marcello who has come for her. She can’t kill them all, and she knows that, and the knowledge is like dying when you are still alive. It’s pretty much what it means to be female in this town at this time and during all times and still now in many places, and there is a double consciousness always working, the thinking: This can’t be happening to me, and: This is happening to me, and I can’t find a way out because there is no way out. Lenu has been offered one, and what does Lila say? She says, “Brava.” She says, “You go, girl, go into the world I can’t venture into. Feel joy. Feel joy for the two of us.” But the thing is, it’s impossible to feel joy if you are the female who has gotten away and you know it’s a fluke, and it doesn’t change the condition the others live in, that you live in. There is no getting away because the other women are inside you, and yet you have to get away because you can only make one run for it.