Olivia and the Stages of Grief

A common misconception when it comes to grief is that a person only "grieves" as a result of the loss of a loved one, a loss to death, and this isn't necessarily always true. Any kind of loss can cause a person to grieve, and Olivia has lost quite a bit. We can start that discussion by bringing the title of the episode into play. A marionette is, according to official definition, "a small figure of a person operated from above with strings like a puppeteer." Obviously, this ties into the "Monster of the Week" story, but it also ties into Olivia and how she feels right now, like someone has had her on strings for the past two months, which I would imagine would be a combination of Walternate and Bolivia. She has lost two months of her life, two months worth of freedom, she almost lost her life, and now, she is losing Peter.

The grieving process, simplified, involves five stages, and the process isn't always the same for everyone who endures it. The stages aren't always followed in the same order, and some people even skip stages. What I am going to discuss here, however, i
s Olivia's individual process, which is incredibly appropriate, because she hasn't skipped any stages. She has, in fact, been following the process relatively rigidly, as I observed even during my very first viewing of the episode. I believe that this was a perfect episode to leave us with before the hiatus, because that is ultimately our primary cliffhanger; how is the relationship between Olivia and Peter going to change? Will it be more professional? Will there still be a world of hurt between them? Will Broyles intervene? How will Olivia reach the final stage of her grieving process - acceptance?

Stage 1 -
DenialBefore Peter tells Olivia that he has had a relationship with Bolivia unknowingly, Olivia says to him, "I'm here now," assuring him that they can pick up where they left off on the Other Side. Peter, however, then delivers the incredibly shocking news to her, and this is her discovery of exactly what has been taken away from her. She responds, however, by telling Peter that they're okay, that they're good, denying the graveness of what he has told her. The reality of what he has told her simply hasn't sunk in yet.

Stage 2 -
Olivia yanks all of her clothes out of the closet and yanks her comforter off her bed, because now, it's beginning to sink in. Now, it has hit Olivia that for the past two months, someone else has had control of her life, using her as a marionette, wearing her clothes, sleeping in her bed, with her boyfriend, and all she can do is sink to the floor and cry, unable to sleep. I definitely think that it would be safe to say that she is experiencing a severe bout of depression after all that has happened and after what she now knows.

Stage 3 -
Perhaps, I'd be better equipped to handle this if I had a better understanding of it, is surely what goes through Olivia's mind when she decides to talk to Astrid about Peter and Bolivia. She wants to know how the two of them behaved with one another. "What was he like with her? He didn't seem different, happier?" She is hoping that she can make some sort of a deal during this conversation with Astrid. Maybe a small amount of suffering would be acceptable if the two of them didn't have chemistry. After all, it wasn't really her, was it?

Stage 4 - AngerNow, Olivia is angry, taking all of her feelings out on Peter, first when they are reviewing suspects and now at the end of the episode, and she goes back and forth between being angry with her alter-ego and being angry with Peter. She stole my life away from me; how could you let her do that? It's as if she can't decide with whom she's angrier. "I don't want to be with you," she says to Peter. She then adds, "She's taken everything." It is also prudent to add that, again, this grieving process is different for everyone, and often times, the stages, while they may first appear in a sequential order, actually overlap, which is what we see happening here. Olivia's depression blossoms early, but it's something that she is going to hav
e to endure for a while.

Stage 5 - AcceptanceThis is what I'm really hoping that the end result will be. As a Polivia shipper, I want the two of them to work this out and start over, but Olivia has obviously not reached this stage yet, but we know that she will, because Olivia is very strong; for as long as we have known her, she has been very strong. The question is, however, how will she come to terms with this, and what exactly will it entail? Will she be able to forgive Peter? Will they be able to maintain a relationship? Will she be able to put her anger toward Bolivia behind her? How will Olivia move on?
This is something that I am really hoping to see play out throughout the rest of the season, because as he says to Walter before he tells Olivia the truth, this will fundamentally change the way that Olivia feels about Peter, which breaks my Polivia shipper heart.

1 comment:

  1. This is a great look at the character and how she is reacting. I too love Olivia and Peter and am very intersted in how things will develope with them.