“Surprise Me” sees Sofie and Max’s game begin to have a knock-on effect for everyone, not just them, and it’s surely only going to get worse.
This recap of Love & Anarchy season 1, episode 2, “Surprise Me”, contains spoilers. You can check out our thoughts on the previous episode by clicking these words.
After the racy start of the premiere, “Surprise Me” finds Sofie a bit distracted at work the next day, impatiently waiting for Max to set her a new challenge. That’s if work doesn’t provide one first, since Lena Endre, an author who was paid a lucrative two-million advance, has delivered a manuscript that isn’t up to snuff, either by basic literary standards or as a fawning love letter to male achievement (there’s that ideological division again!) When she gets back to her office and finds a note from Max telling her to shout at someone other than him, she begins roaming looking for a target.
She can’t find one straight away. The young woman she berates for going to the dentist already got permission to do so — from her. Friedrich is barely paying attention. And that means that, at home, Sofie is barely paying attention either, keeping a p**n tab open and scrolling Max’s Facebook page. When she gets to work the next morning, she finds another note telling her she has 30 minutes to scold someone. But Caroline is on a call. Tom starts crying at the prospect of being fired, and Sofie has to hug him. She’s running out of time.
Lena, meanwhile, comes in for a meeting, during which Friedrich tries to not-so-subtly suggest she includes more titillating smut for the enjoyment of a wider audience. Needless to say, it doesn’t go well, especially when Sofie brings up the outsized advance she received. Luckily, when she goes outside she’s almost knocked down by a man on a bicycle and manages to berate the whole street, accomplishing Max’s task and earning back her lipstick.
Unfortunately, the bicyclist was Lena’s agent. The only way to secure the deal in the aftermath of that was to publish the book as-is, which is a net loss for everyone, except Lena, obviously. Here we see Sofie and Max’s game begin to have a knock-on effect for everyone, not just them, and it’s surely only going to get worse.
While Sofie goes out with Johan, who we learn is a struggling director of commercials, Max hooks up with another random woman at the gym. At this point, “Surprise Me” is walking a very fine line between Max being charming and outright creepy. We’re expected to believe women just fall at his feet, but all of his wooing tactics seem to involve manipulation. He’s a difficult figure to pin down, and Love & Anarchy would be smart to delve into his interiority a bit.
Speaking of Love & Anarchy, that was also the title of a novel that Sofie wrote, which Johan is pretty condescending about. In the bathroom, she messages Max telling him to create some anarchy at tomorrow’s meeting. He does — by inviting a bunch of workmen in for “cultural coffee”. Max and Sofie smile at one another to close out the episode.
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