Dispatches from Elsewhere: The Creator Review
On this week’s episode of AMC’s Dispatches from Elsewhere, The Creator, the group goes through some personal growth as the end of their journey is in sight.
After Fredwynn (Andre Benjamin) finds that Clara’s ash urn is only filled with candy and that mystery isn’t quite solved yet, we are treated with his own version of Octavio’s (Richard E. Grant) usual opening. Frankly, I got to say, it’s pretty enjoyable to have Fredwynn be in control of things as his comforting yet sort of gloaty narration is really enjoyable assures viewers that this story isn’t wrapped up with just yet and catches us up with Peter (Jason Segel) – one year later. As we see him waiting to reunite with Simone (Eve Lindley), Fredwynn tells us that Peter’s realization for his shortcomings and simple life are really of a result of himself and that he’s seeing a psychiatrist – the same one that Lee (Cherise Boothe) was seeing. It’s a great scene that shows a different side to therapy and shows some of the progress he’s made in improving his life and is going to take in these last two episodes.
Before we get the heartfelt and emotional reunion between Peter and Simone that we’ve all been waiting for, we get another quick interruption from Fredwynn, which is pretty funny, and a quick catch-up with Simone. Talking with Janice (Sally Field), Simone realizes the same thing as Peter in that she might be the thing holding her back the most. I love the “take it or leave it” line from Janice and how connected Peter and Simone’s stories really are. It’s two interconnected stories about self-progress that are rarely seen and made to feel very personal. The entire sequence where Simone attempts to find self-expression in a dance class and Peter searches for his feelings and thoughts through things like trying new foods and street magic are very inspirational and offer a stronger connection to their growth because of how relatable and doable they are.
There’s even a surprise meeting between the two when they run into one another while they’re experiencing new things. While Simone is still a little embarrassed about her dance class, Peter is much more open about his new discoveries about himself. Aside from how he feels about hats in general versus wearing them, the big new thing he’s taken an interest in is magic and he’s even been taking a class on illusions – which is where we are taken next. With his big final act coming up and him inviting Janice (who shows up) and Fredwynn (who gives a cold shoulder), he invites Simone in the hopes that she’ll show up. We’re then treated with a delightfully odd sequence of Peter being shown that he’s actually in a class for children, but unlike the kid before him who tries to guess her participant’s card, his trick is much more dangerous. Trying to take a big risk, Peter, of course, tries to escape the legendary water dunk tank trap, but not even Simone showing up can save him and he ultimately fails when his teacher has to use a fire axe to break the tank.
Like any good motherly figure though, Janice is still impressed with Peter and gives him and Simone some alone time to talk things over. What follows is an incredibly passionate moment of love that’s just absolutely heartwarming to watch as Peter essentially proclaims his feelings for Simone. From him having her read over his list of likes, which are just things she does, to talking about their struggles and how he doesn’t want to go on this journey to finding happiness on his own, it’s a picture perfect love story unfolding before our very eyes and its very moving to watch. Even what Peter says about Simone being transgendered comes off very real and its one aspect to what makes their relationship so unique and their feelings very genuine. Peter and Simone are finally together in a way that’s truly satisfying as a viewer and shows their progress in their own personal growth.
We eventually cut back to what we initially thought was going to be their initial reunion, but it’s actually the one-year anniversary of when the game began. With their blue paddles in hand, the two exchange gifts with Simone going the extra mile. The mural she paints on the side of a building of how she sees Peter is a perfect showing of how much they’ve grown and even he shows approval for it. It’s a genuinely moving moment that cements how strong they are and how they see themselves. However, one question still remains – where are Janice and Fredwynn?
While Fredwynn is still delivering narration, Janice is shown to be taking new steps in her life without Lev. Although she misses him dearly, her conversations with her younger self (Tara Lynne Barr) lead her to go back to school and earn a higher education in psychology or anthropology – it didn’t come off too clear to me honestly. Regardless what it is, it’s another simple moment that shows her growth and reflects this series’ thoughts on personal growth. Even when she eventually arrives late to their anniversary meet up, Fredwynn does not and it looks like its time to see what’s been happening with Fredwynn since the game ended.
Rather than seeing the lush and clean apartment that Fredwynn lives in, the group stumbles upon his apartment being disheveled and littered with everything that he’s been up to – solving this mystery. While everyone else’s story has been uplifting and full of growth, Fredwynn’s inability to accept the end has driven him to the edge and forced him into a place where he can’t be wrong. After we see him conjure up clues and piece together every loose end, we see him end up in a place called Transcendence where he can’t be wrong and only find Octavio telling him things that he wants to hear. It’s denial and obsession taken to a whole new level and it’s a little horrifying how real it all feels. Eventually, Janice is able to snap him out of it by telling him how much she needs him as a touching montage of their time together plays, but he still wants to truly end things and answer all of the burning questions. So, he and the group meet up with Lee at Clara’s (Cecilia Balagot) house to question her about the real story and Clara’s urn was full of candy and we get the real story – finally?
Obviously, since this series loves false endings and wrong turns it’s tough to really know what’s true, but there’s something very definitive about this telling. In some ways, things go as we’ve expected them to – Clara creates something spectacular to change the world, sees her invention want to be utilized for profit, and turns away from the world because she feels she’s being taken advantage of. However, the big piece that’s been left missing is that there is no Clara and that Lee is actually the one whose story is Clara’s. It’s an interesting reveal that takes a strange turn when the attention of everyone is turned on the clown faced boy that’s been quite a mystery since his first appearance. Even stranger, everyone else seems to understand what role he plays and who he is leaving us with one more mystery left to be solved in the film.
The penultimate episode of Dispatches from Elsewhere gives viewers some more touching and relatable personal growth for its characters on its way towards its conclusion and one more mystery that sets up a puzzling finale. Episode 9 reassures viewers that the journey is certainly coming to an end, but also relives them through its satisfying reveals and wrap-ups.