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Scenes from a Marriage: The conclusion

So, the star-crossed lovers meet in secret one night, giddy like teenagers. Jonathan drives them to their old house, which is now an Airbnb. He tells Mira that he rented it for the night

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And so Hagai Levi’s five-episode HBO miniseries Scenes from a Marriage finally ends — with a twist.

In episode 4, the formal separation of Jonathan and Mira (Oscar Isaac and Jessica Chastain, respectively) is a foregone conclusion. In that powerful, tragic episode, Mira signs the divorce papers and Jonathan drives away with a bruise on his face and in his soul. Their house, in which they had built their lives together, is abandoned.

Episode 5 opens not the usual way. Previous episodes always open with a behind-the-scenes shot of either Isaac or Chastain. This time, it goes straight to the fictional world of Jonathan and Mira.

It’s disconcerting to see Jonathan and Mira outside their house — since their abode has been a major supporting character in this chamber piece since episode 1. Now, the ex-couple are not only untethered from each other, but also from the home they had shared for 10 years.

the formal separation of Jonathan and Mira. / Photographs courtesy of HBO

In this episode appears Poli (Michael Aloni) — the younger man Mira falls for. I didn’t imagine him to look so gentle and kind.

It’s been four years since her divorce from Jonathan, but Mira is not with Poli (she leaves him in episode 4). Yet they’re on good speaking terms — even if Poli is clearly nursing a deep resentment.

Poli asks Mira if she is seeing someone, and Mira says no. Poli doesn’t believe her. I don’t believe her either. She has that sparkle in her eyes, and an aura that betrays her deep happiness and contentment.

Surprise. She is seeing Jonathan again. Her ex-husband. They’ve been having a secret affair for quite some time now. Nobody knows, not even their daughter, Ava (Lily James).

Seeing them get together discreetly, engaging in a passionate affair behind everybody’s back, is both welcome and disappointing. It feels like your time watching all their soul-shattering fights was wasted.

On the other hand, it’s also beautiful.

So, the star-crossed lovers meet in secret one night, giddy like teenagers. Jonathan drives them to their old house, which is now an Airbnb. He tells Mira that he rented it for the night.

It’s amazing how only one week has passed from your viewing schedule and already it feels like a decade. When the couple walks into the house, you feel a pang of nostalgia. You miss the house, but the house feels different.

Episode 5 opens straight to the fictional world of Jonathan and Mira.

They don’t fight in episode 5. They regard each other with care and lust, while keeping a part of themselves hidden from one another.

They revert to their courtship days, treading carefully in a new landscape, mysterious to one another — but very much in love.

As they explore the house that was once theirs, chatting and caressing each other, we realize that their love story is a story of true love — but an unusual one. Unusual, yet believable.

As we watch the post-divorce, post-Poli Mira and Jonathan reunite, we see their new personas. The affair with Poli and the divorce are still hovering above them, still hurting them, but they are also healed in many ways.

It’s rather fascinating how the tragedy of their separation dramatically changes their lives. Jonathan is the more fascinating character study. Now married again, with a son, he engages in adulterous affairs now and then, which includes Mira, but he is more at peace with this lifestyle. If you dissect this man, his heart only belongs to Mira. The same Mira who ruined him.

Mira, though now single and unattached, also belongs to Jonathan. Call them soulmates or whatever, but theirs is a love story that is both devastating and touching.

They can’t live without each other. Like a planet and its moon, they are inseparable. Whatever the future holds, they’ll always find their way to one another.

4 out of 5 stars
Stream on HBO Go

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