Episode 10 of Conversations with Friends begins with a message from Melissa to Frances: “Can we talk?” Frances goes to her house. Melissa has been curious as to what she’s been thinking, what she wants.
Frances admits it’s difficult having Melissa know about her relationship with Nick. Melissa confesses that she had an affair with his best friend while he was depressed, so maybe she shouldn’t feel betrayed. But she does. She feels stupid. She encouraged their friendship, they started sleeping together, and now he’s too passive to argue with her.
Melissa says she doesn’t want to leave him; he doesn’t want to leave her either. She’s not going to ask him to stop seeing Frances either.
She realizes he’s happier, and that’s likely because of Frances. That’s always what she wanted, his happiness. So, she wants to figure out a way to make it work between the three of them. She wants all of them to have dinner, with Bobbi too.
Frances tells Bobbi about it, and Bobbi believes Melissa was being very generous. She tries to get Frances to see this outcome as a good thing.
They awkwardly get through dinner and hang out afterward. Melissa tells Frances she’s working on a piece about her dad. He died two years ago and suddenly he’s all she wants to write about. She says Nick told her that her dad is an alcoholic like her own. Frances is uncomfortable throughout the entire ordeal.
She later meets up with Nick. She asks him if he would still find her attractive if she were pregnant. He smiles at the thought. He would.
Valerie wants to talk to Frances after reading her story. She’s going to get published in The Stinging Fly.
Frances tells Nick about it and how it’s about Bobbi and their breakup. She’s not sure how Bobbi will feel about it. Nick says she should tell her.
Dennis leaves Frances a voice message she only listens to a day later. “I can’t do this anymore,” he says. She panics. She can’t reach her dad, so she calls her mom, who says she’ll check on him.
Her mom calls her late to tell her that Dennis is fine. He’s safe, but not well. He’s now being looked after.
The next morning, Bobbi says she was up late being her dad’s therapist. Frances doesn’t say anything about her own dad’s suicide attempt.
At a get-together with friends, Bobbi rants about non-monogamy vs. monogamy, and how monogamy has always served a patrilineal society. Both are valid, but she asks why monogamous is the default? She gets some push back from friends, but Frances backs her up.
“I feel like shit,” Bobbi says to Frances afterward. She has a lot going on at home. Her dad is very upset. She says he’s dealing with the divorce and is trying to turn Bobbi against her mom. Her mom is likely going to move away and leave her with him.
Frances didn’t know she was going through this, to which Bobbi responds that everyone is always going through something.
She apologizes for being rude with their friends. Frances says she doesn’t have to. “I know.”
They stand and stare at each other for a moment, tears streaming down Bobbi’s face. Then they kiss.
The Episode Review
Finally Frances will have to wrestle with the reality of loving a person who is already in a committed relationship. The fact that Melissa is handling everything so gracefully just makes everything harder for the college student.
As the once affair now turns into a consideration of polyamory, the characters’ capacity to accept love without boundaries is challenged. Conversations with Friends remarks that it’s not easy to uproot a system. But maybe it’s right?