Through flashbacks, a young Laura finds romance in the roaring 80s as her father’s empire crumbles.
This recap of Netflix’s Pieces Of Her season 1, episode 5 contains spoilers.
The series has teased a fully-formed backstory set in the 80s for a while now, with episode five we are invited into this world and explore Laura’s intriguing past in more depth. This fully realized history means more screen time for the enigmatic duo of Joe Dempsie (Nick) and Jessica Barden (Jane). Their blossoming romance is the center stage for this chapter, which not only reveals more of Laura’s past but also revitalizes the show on the whole, breathing new life into the story.
Pieces Of Her season 1, episode 5 recap
Young Laura (aka Jane) is an exquisite piano player, controlled by her egotistical father Martin Queller; she’s looking for an out. The introduction of Nick, a confident anarchist, into her life sparks a romantic fling that manages to upend Martin’s hold over Jane and set this whole sorry tale in motion. Nick works with a vigilante group who want to topple Martin’s empire and they invite Jane out on one of their many midnight escapades. The gang also includes a young, skinhead-sporting Paula Kunde and a troubled woman named Grace Juno (this is Martin’s killer). It’s an exhilarating if risky lifestyle that appeals to Jane. She’s willing to leave everything behind for this man.
Back in the present, Andy spends time with her Uncle (Jasper Queller) and unearths old videotapes that show Jane stunning audiences with her piano skills. Andy is dumbfounded by this revelation and can’t fully comprehend why someone this talented would give it all up. One unsuspecting piece of home video reveals this budding romance between Jane and Nick, as they flirt on camera. Andy also finds time to watch the shocking footage of Martin Queller’s onscreen assassination, which has a damning impact. The anxious daughter feels at home in Jasper’s mansion until she discovers he can’t be trusted either and she flees.
Our modern-day Laura has dinner with her ex Gordon and explains how she’s given up witness protection for a fresh start. Gordon is perplexed why she’d put Andy in harm’s way. The secretive ex-wife divulges her real name, asking for help with a new will. Gordon says, ‘Nice to meet you, Jane’ in a poignant scene. This feels like a stronger episode that focuses more on the emotional impact rather than the twisty backstabbing of earlier entries.
The episode effortlessly switches between the present and the past, weaving the two stories together in a seamless edit. The flashbacks carry weight and the tragic romance hits hard. There’s a beautiful scene of the two dancing in a nightclub with Blondie’s “Rapture” in the background. Time and effort are placed on this love affair, which evidently deserves the added emphasis.
Now all the cards are on the table, the writers have the time to unpack all this heartache and emotion. The series is all the better for it and this is the strongest episode since that powerful opening. Pieces Of Her is at its best when exploring the fallout from these massive life events, yet it’s also sculpted a surprisingly gorgeous subplot set in the 80s that I’m eager to spend more time in.
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