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Dirty John: The Betty Broderick Story| Season 2, Ep. 3|Marriage Encounter

This episode made me seething mad at Dan. Believe me, you’ll understand why.

The episode starts off with the audience getting a flashback to Dan’s days as a thriving law student. Oddly enough, while having a dialogue with his law professor, he said “Under the right circumstance, lying serves a greater good,” in order to support his argument. I think he truly believed this, and quite frankly, this is what lead to the disintegration of his relationship with Betty. Later, there is a back and forth between Betty and her friends having a conversation with Yvonne, who is currently having marital problems with her husband, Martin; and Dan and his colleagues are having a conversation with Martin about his marital issues with Yvonne. While Betty and the gang are trying to console Yvonne, and reassure her that her marriage can get back on track, Dan and his colleagues are busy trying to give Dan advice on how he can go around loopholes during a divorce and essentially be on the winning end. Dan of course comes up with the bright idea of establishing a legal date of separation, which is the date the courts will use. Great advice Dan!

During the episode, the audience really gets to see how much of an impact Betty had on Dan’s success as a law student. In fact, being a student took up most of Dan’s time, as well as Betty’s. During another flashback, we see Betty helping Dan study, and also manually typing up legal briefs for Dan as he is talking. It also appeared that Dan was nonexistent, at least emotionally, in his children’s lives, because all his time was devoted to his legal studies. In another flashback during “happier” marital times between Betty and Dan, they are having dinner at a posh restaurant and Betty tells one of Dan’s colleagues that they used to be on welfare. Dan is not happy about this because not only does he want to forget their times of destitution, but he also doesn’t want anyone to feel like they truly know who he is on a personal level. Betty of course wants Dan to remember where they came from, so they can appreciate the life which they are currently living. Deep down, Betty is feeling a change in their relationship, and feels that she is slowing losing Dan.

In the next scene, we find out that Martin will be getting married to Amelia, who is the woman he was cheating on his wife, Yvonne, with. Dan gives Martin his blessing and tells him “You deserve to be happy.” I think this is where Dan got his own ideas, and would essentially get the same support when he decided to make his own moves. On the day of Martin and Amelia’s wedding, Betty takes a stand for what she believes is right, and decided not to go to the wedding. I don’t blame her. At least from a woman’s perspective. True ride or die. Yvonne is her friend, and it’s her way of showing that she is not in support of Martin’s insensitive union. I also can't help but to think that Betty is seeing herself inside Yvonne and in a way, is also taking a stand for herself.

Next, while Betty is leaving church, she comes across a flyer called “Marriage Encounter,” which was a kind of marriage counseling done at church. Betty later admits to Dan that she thinks that their marriage is in trouble and wants them to go to marriage encounter. She tells him that he doesn’t kiss or look at her anymore and doesn’t touch her hair like he used to. Dan later tells Betty that he no longer believes in the catholic religion and he thinks it’s filled with a bunch of fakes. Betty is of course bemused at Dan’s new philosophy because little by little, he’s becoming a different person, just as Yvonne said of Martin before she found out he was cheating. Albeit, Dan agrees to go to marriage encounter with Betty, because it’s what Betty wants. I wonder if he truly cares at this point or is he using his previous mantra "Under the right circumstance, lying serves a greater good?"

While sitting with the priest at marriage encounter, Betty laments that she doesn’t feel loved by Dan and wants to get a sofa where they can sit and talk because she needs to connect with and feel closer to him prior to bed. Betty goes on to say that Dan is the most important person in her life and that she would be lost without him, and he will never be replaced. This affirmation is very ominous, as we see that Betty truly meant this. Dan on the other hand starts off by saying “If I were told that I had a short time to live, I would feel like I wasted my whole life.” Then he confessed that he felt like time was running out on him and he wanted to acquire a certain status and wealth before he could be an attentive, thoughtful, human being. He also goes on to say he wants to be a loving husband and that Betty has made sacrifices for him and their family and would like her to feel loved and rewarded for those sacrifices. With his avowal, I realized that he never once said he loved Betty. I think he truly believed all the things he was saying, I just don’t think he has Betty in mind as he’s saying it. Granted, I think he does want to reward her for all the sacrifices she has made, but that’s as far as it goes.

After Dan and Betty’s therapy session, it appears that they are getting closer and on the right track. But when they are out to dinner, Betty overhears Dan talking to a colleague about someone being so beautiful. Betty knows that Dan is obviously not talking about her, and it’s bothering her. Before bed, Betty confronts Dan and asks him who he and his colleague were referring to about being so beautiful, and Dan says his colleague had a thing for a new receptionist in their building. He pretended as if he didn’t know her name, and said her name started with an L. The next day, Betty stalks Dan’s building out looking for the new beautiful girl whose name starts with an L. Betty locates her, and finds out that her name is Linda. Yes, the same Linda that Dan eventually marries after he divorces Betty. Well, Dan comes home and tells Betty that he’s hired a new assistant and her name is Linda, the same beautiful woman he referred to previously. Betty of course is not happy, and threatens Dan to fire her by month’s end or he must leave the house. When month’s end comes, Betty calls Dan’s office to confirm that Linda has been fired, but to her surprise, Linda is still working there. When Dan comes home, she confronts Dan about why Linda was not fired, but instead, Dan fires back that Betty doesn’t make the decisions and that he pays for her life. He goes on to say if anyone will be leaving the residence, it will be Betty.

I think at this point, Dan is trying to justify his actions and slowly making his moves to leave Betty. Of course, we know that Dan’s attraction to Linda leads to so much more. The real question is why did Dan do it? While we know that everyone’s motives for cheating are different, Dan was simply tired of his life with Betty. And although he wanted to suppress his destitute past, and wanted to simply reward Betty (whatever he thinks that compensation would amount to) and move forward with his life without her. I seen this old Oprah interview with the real Betty Broderick, and Betty says that Dan would call her fat and ugly, and overall found her unattractive. In my opinion, Dan wanted to live a life of luxury, while having a new beautiful wife that fit his new life. Now do you understand why I was so seething mad at Dan?

Stay tuned for recap and review of episode 4.


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