Episode 9 of Conversations with Friends begins with Frances working on her short story. It’s definitely about Bobbi.
When Frances’ card is declined at a coffee shop, she finds her account is overdrawn. She hasn’t been getting any payments from her father. When she tries to call her dad, she gets no response.
Surprisingly, Valerie meets Frances for a drink. She says Melissa speaks highly of Frances. She wants her to send her some work so she can read it and help guide her in the right direction. Frances agrees to email the agent something.
She scrolls through her files, searching for something to attach to her email and eventually settles on ‘The Dance.’
Frances meanwhile avoids speaking to Nick and continues to experience excruciating pain while on her period.
Bobbi asks to meet Frances for lunch, but Frances is obviously still not feeling well. She walks toward Bobbi in the rain and passes out.
Bobbi helps her home. Frances says it’s just her period. Bobbi undresses her and draws her a bath. “Who knew I could be so nurturing?”
“I did,” Frances says. “Did you? Thanks,” Bobbi replies.
Bobbi mentions Nick, and Frances states they are fighting. She says she doesn’t know what’s going on and starts to cry. When Bobbi asks, she confirms that she never told him about when she was in the hospital.
Bobbi calls Nick and gives Frances the phone. Nick says Bobbi told him what happened. He offers to come over.
Frances thanks Bobbi for being there. They get on the subject of Bobbi’s economics class. Frances says she never saw her as an economist, but maybe a famous lecturer or cultural commentator.
Bobbi rolls her eyes. This is something Frances always does, she says: build her up as something she’s not. She claims she’s a normal person; she’ll find her own way.
“Am I a difficult person to be in a relationship with?” Frances asks if that is why she dumped her.
Bobbi says she didn’t dump her, but ended it to save them. They were both miserable.
When Frances asks if she regrets it, Bobbi says she tries not to regret anything.
Frances smiles when she hears Bobbi tell Nick to be nice to her because she’s had a tough day.
Nick asks after her, wondering if this has happened before. She says it has, once. That time she tried to call him and he thought she was drunk. She says they thought she might have been having a miscarriage.
He apologizes for the other night; she does too. He’s told Melissa about them. He told her he wants to keep seeing Frances.
Nick knows he’s been a coward and tells Frances he loves her. He has from the beginning. “I love you too,” she says.
The Episode Review
A painful frustration that comes from watching this series is the repetitive and brief nature of most of its interactions.
The quiet conversations are often charged with some undercurrent of emotion that the writers are surely trying to get across from the novel’s deeper meaning. It’s obviously very difficult to convey. After some time, each interaction becomes tedious and slow–usually adding a piece to the puzzle but no clarity as to what the full picture is.
It’s especially this way between Frances and Nick. The writers have taken little effort in making their relationship particularly dynamic or interesting, so that both their passionate and aggressive moments feel devoid of any spark.
Fortunately, this episode focuses largely on Bobbi. Conversations owes more to Bobbi’s character as well, but it at least delivers some tense and emotionally charged moments between Bobbi and Frances, implying some unresolved feelings on both ends. Most of the compelling moments of the show are between Bobbi and Frances, and I only hope we get more.