HBO’s ‘Divorce’ episode 5 review: Dueling divorce attorneys

Robert -To think, through the entire episode of “Divorce” and everything that we saw Robert and Frances go through this time, we ended up getting the most emotional over the sight of the dog. Maybe this shouldn’t come as too great of a surprise (we do love dogs), but that was the part of all this that really got to us. It was the one thing Frances had left to cling to for the sake of her children, as the rest of her life was turning out to be a disaster.

If you are looking for some further specifics, we saw that throughout the episode Sunday night as she learned that Robert hired a divorce attorney, albeit one of the worst ones in the business who threw around expressions like “it’s all law” to compensate for the fact that he had almost no tangible experience that would prove useful. In turn, she went and hired a bigwig with the sort of training that could be used to really destroy her husband in court. That’s great news for her long-term prospects, but not so great for her piggy bank.

We’re not going to say that it’s funny (this show does often lack the common attributes we’d associate with the genre), but there is a terrible sort of irony in how this entire divorce-attorney situation could’ve been avoided in the first place. This all happened just because Robert was embarrassed about how little money he’d be left with, and he wanted to have something that he could claim next to his name when the dust settled. Therefore, he followed some (bad) advice. Eventually he realized that his current attorney was terrible and went to the city for a better one — one who is so misogynistic that he doesn’t even work with female clients and likes to call them in the middle of the night.

We wonder after almost every episode of this show how things can get worse for Robert and Frances, but they almost always do. They’re making each other miserable through either miscommunication, anger, or greed. They could avoid these problems if they’d just let the walls down, but they don’t. We don’t know if “Divorce” is meant to be preaching any particular message, but we do think this is almost a cautionary tale to people who are going through these sort of situations as to what to do and not do, and that there can be better ways.

As for comedy, we suppose that the gallery brawl scene that enveloped Francis was worth a few laughs, as was Robert trying to claim that an upcoming project somehow proved he had value. He’s like the entrepreneur who goes into “Shark Tank” valuing his business with the assumption that he gets a deal and makes millions as a result of being on the show.

Episode Grade: B. We’re not going to say that this episode was low-quality, since Sarah Jessica Parker and Thomas Haden Church remain fantastic. Also, there are many poignant moments throughout, including that one with the dog. We’re still not going to say that this is our preferred Sunday viewing, mostly because we feel like a sillier sort of comedy once it is over.

Next week – We’re going to see the arrival of the Christmas holiday, where in the process Frances and Robert are going to do their best in order to put on a good face. For some additional insight into that, head over to this link. (Photo: HBO.)

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