Episode 11 of Conversations with Friends begins with Nick and Frances getting a drink. He tells her how happy she makes him. She finally asks him what happened last year.
Nick says he was doing a hard job in California. He became rundown and had to drop out of the film. He felt everyone was disappointed in him, and he wasn’t in touch with Melissa. When they were back in Dublin, they argued about children. She didn’t want kids; he did. He felt she was changing their plan.
Nick became very depressed and sick. Melissa tried to get him to counseling, but he wouldn’t go. He was admitted into a hospital for six weeks. Then Melissa started seeing someone and asked him for a divorce.
He realized she had been so scared for him. That she felt guilty for everything he was going through. They talked it through and agreed to live in separate rooms until they figured things out. He got better, and she stopped seeing Chris.
Still, he felt worthless–until he met Frances. He couldn’t even believe she was interested in him.
Frances says she feels like she was too cold at times. She couldn’t express what she felt. “For the record,” she says. “You make me really happy too.”
She asks if he still wants kids. He does, but it’s not on the table. Frances remarks that he’d be a great dad, and he wipes away tears.
He offers to walk her to meet her mom. Frances briefly introduces him to her mother.
Afterward, her mom remarks that it was odd seeing her with Nick. She looked very “grown-up.” She asks if they are together, but Frances doesn’t have an easy answer.
At her appointment, Frances is diagnosed with endometriosis. There’s no cure. There are surgical methods for helping severe cases. The doctor says they want to focus on pain management and preventing it from becoming debilitating. She warns that some women suffer from fertility issues as a result.
Frances downplays her condition to her mom. She says it’s just bad period pain and that she’ll just need to switch her pill.
Frances is reading up on endometriosis while Nick calls her to ask about her appointment. She tells him the same thing she told her mom. Nick sounds relieved it’s not more complicated than that. Frances feels stupid for making “such a fuss.”
Nick tells Frances that he and Melissa slept together. He wasn’t sure how to tell her. She says it’s alright, but hangs up and bangs her head on the wall.
Frances tells Bobbi what Nick told her. Bobbi asks if that bothers her. After all, they kissed. “That’s different,” Frances says. “Ok,” Bobbi says with a noncommittal shrug.
They go to Nick’s birthday party later. Frances tells him she’s having trouble processing what he told her. She lashes out at him before his sister interrupts. He introduces her to his sister and niece.
Frances holds the baby and starts to tear up. Melissa asks how she’s doing, but she quickly rushes out, telling Nick she’ll call him tomorrow.
Bobbi later tells Frances that Melissa showed her the story she wrote. She’s angry about how she portrayed her and how Frances is getting paid for it.
“I don’t think you think anyone else is real, Frances.” Bobbi says she acts wounded, kisses her, writes this story–but she never communicates to others. She calls Frances completely self-obsessed.
She reads out a passage from her story. “Is that really how you see me? Like my only role is to move effortlessly through the world in contrast to poor fucking you?”
Bobbi says she doesn’t think she can be her friend anymore and doesn’t want her in her life.
After she leaves, Frances cuts herself on her leg.
Nick calls her to talk. He wants to know if Frances wants him to leave Melissa. She doesn’t. But she doesn’t know how to do this anymore. She suggests they stop seeing each other. “Is that what you want?” he asks.
“Yeah,” she says.
The Episode Review
The pain of Frances’ loneliness and miscommunication has been slowly building throughout the series. It finally culminates here in her parting with Bobbi and Nick.
Somehow, I feel Frances can survive losing Nick. But Bobbi? The previously declared center of her life? Perhaps their parting will finally kick Frances into becoming more vulnerable and considerate of others.
On top of providing much-needed representation of endometriosis, this episode lays out high stakes going into the ultimate episode, as it plunges Frances into her darkest and loneliest moments.