Elena Ferrante’s female characters are always flawed and real. They never shy away from being their true selves, but Giovanna is an adolescent who is searching for this self, who is trying to piece together a life of her own, to understand her beliefs, the world, her political thought, explore her sexuality, and also find the right person to look up to. In episode 1 of “The Lying Life of Adults,” we learn that Giovanna found Vittoria to be this person. At least for now, she thinks she’s exactly what she needs to be. Coming from an affluent family, she hasn’t seen the true struggles of people she hears about from her parents and their friends. In episode 2, we see her start to create her own experiences.
What Happens In ‘The Lying Life Of Adults’ Episode 2?
Giovanna practices breakdance in the street and her mother yells at her from the balcony to go to school. When she returns, her mother, Nella, shows her all her jewelry, saying she will give Giovanna anything she likes, but the bracelet she wants isn’t there. Giovanna has a secret plan to go meet Vittoria, but to her own surprise, Vittoria is at her door when she’s ready to “go to school.” Nella is shocked and asks what is going on, to which Vittoria says the two have a plan to go meet Enzo. Giovanna is lost in thought as Vittoria goes on about her father’s good looks back in the day, but Vittoria realizes Giovanna has never been to a cemetery before. When Vittoria discusses death with Giovanna, she narrates some very eloquent and philosophical words about death, but Vittoria shuts her down immediately, saying she sounds like a puppet of her father. At the cemetery, Vittoria cries at Enzo’s grave, saying that if he were still alive, Giovanna could have been theirs and that she is such a beautiful child. She tells Giovanna that she and her father are feuding because he wants to sell away the ancestral property she’s currently living in. Enzo was there while this happened, and he offered to buy the house, to which Giovanna’s father said that it was not possible because Enzo is a poor man and behind his police uniform is a criminal. Giovanna’s father, Andrea, then went and told Enzo’s wife that he was having an affair with his sister, and that was the end of it. Enzo couldn’t live on without Vittoria, and so he died. Then she tells Giovanna in detail how Enzo made love to her and how she had never loved anyone so much. She then tells her she’s never been with anyone after Enzo died because she could never feel that way about anyone else. Giovanna goes to the beach with Angela and Ida, her friends, and tells them all about the place Vittoria lives and the kind of person she is. She tells them that it’s a place in Naples, but it doesn’t seem anything like it. Vittoria gives Giovanna some saved-up money to buy herself a Vespa so she can get to her more easily whenever she likes. Vittoria takes Giovanna to meet Enzo’s family, including his wife and her three children, who have forgiven her. They have a wonderful time, and she thinks she has feelings for one of the sons, Tonino. Angela asks her all about them the next day and starts to tease her about Tonino. In the evening, Giovanna’s family spends time with Angela and Ida’s family (they’re sisters). The two families are very close, but while Angela’s family was born rich, Giovanna points out how her mother has worked hard by working as a proofreader. The episode ends with Giovanna making an observation of her mother’s foot and Angela’s father’s foot touching under the table, and with rainfall.
Episode 2: Ending Explained – What Is Giovanna Thinking?
At the cemetery, Vittoria tells Giovanna to keep a close watch on their parents and not believe every single word they say. She needs to learn to think for herself, and Giovanna takes this very seriously. As she spends more time with Vittoria and Enzo’s family, she sees that they are truly happy, even with the pain that Vittoria has caused them. They also accept her immediately and show her real endearment, which she doesn’t see as much of in her own family. At the end of the episode, when Giovanna sees her mother’s interaction with Angela’s father, she is immediately flabbergasted and believes they are having an affair. She’s immediately found a reason to defy and hate her mother—to be rebellious.
Giovanna is also experiencing the idea of love for the first time. She thinks she’s immediately formed a connection with Tonino, even without having said a word to him, because they made eye contact. A very trivial matter, but these nuanced pieces of acts, even when Giovanna glances at herself in the mirror when she undresses before bathing, are a perfect representation of teenhood, and that’s what makes this show authentic and atrociously likeable. Is she right? Is there actually something going on between them? What will Giovanna do next? Will she confront her mother? Giovanna is an intelligent girl even if she’s flunked in classes; she loves to read and has great comprehension, but has she read the room correctly? Who’s lying, and will Giovanna get her answers? We will find out in episode 3 of “The Lying Life of Adults.”