Episode 6 of Modern Love sees us follow Maddy, a girl without a Father whose attraction to senior engineer Peter at work spells trouble ahead. Using any excuse to get near him, when he calls her Madeline it throws her off her game until he invites her to dinner. Despite her insistence to her friend that it’s not, partway through cooking she realizes it’s definitely a date.
After dinner they lie down together in bed and she asks him to pretend being his Dad. He starts telling a story before she admits to him about why she’s really there. After going their seperate ways for several weeks, they reconvene over a car crash, prompting them to eventually meet up and rekindle what they had.
It’s all a bit weird and becomes even more strange when Peter takes her to the zoo and runs into Leslie, his daughter. She looks around the same age as Maddy too but things go okay though and Maddy seems fine with the arrangement as well. After buying her a red dress, Peter leans in and kisses her, instantly setting Maddy off in incredulous rage.
He asks what the snuggling was about and she tells him she only sees him as a Dad, not a lover. After fighting, he caves and tells her she’s partly to blame. Some time later she sleeps with a random guy, imagining he’s Peter before deciding to let go of him entirely given there’s no romantic feelings there.
This prompts Peter to speak to Maddy where he tells her he’s leaving for a bit. Her obsession led him to an eye-opening confession that he needs to sort his life out. She asks him why he’s crying as he’s old and shouldn’t be which, for the first time, allows us to appreciate how naive and clueless Maddy really is. Eventually he tells her he’s proud of her before walking away.
Out of all the episodes in Modern Love, this is the one I’m the most conflicted about. I’m not sure whether we’re supposed to feel sorry for Peter or feel apathy for Maddy’s situation but throughout the episode, I couldn’t help but feel Peter is the victim here. Maddy even admits she knew it was a date early on in the episode but yet at no time does she mention she’s not interested in him romantically.
Now, I do appreciate he perhaps should have read the signals but it’s also no excuse for Maddy to fly off the handle and berate him for this miscommunication. Even moreso given this leads to him humiliated and ashamed, so much so that he has to take time off work. Still, the actual episode has some good pacing but out of all the others in this anthology, this is by far the weakest.