After watching this week's impressive installment of "Being Erica", I had one immediate reaction: was "Please, Please Tell Me Now" the most important episode of "Being Erica" to date?
First, let's take this from a technical perspective. Over three-plus seasons of "Being Erica", we've seen multiple uses of the Doctors' time travel powers, but we had little explanation on how they actually worked. "Please, Please Tell Me Now" did more than any previous episode to address that, with future Erica (seen above on the left) coming back to talk to present Erica and all but spelling it out. The doors we've always seen are metaphorical doors to divergent timelines, with the door itself representing a choice the person makes.
We've seen alternate timelines used on the show in the past (most notably in Season 1's "Leo" and Season 2's "What Goes Up Must Come Down"), but the show's never really addressed whether those timelines existed or if they were just illusions created by Dr. Tom to prove a point to Erica. Monday's episode pointed things much more in the direction of the former, with future Erica -- who, let's be honest, looked AMAZING for 43 years old -- pointing out specific doors to present Erica, including a timeline in which Leo is alive and, more direct to the plot of the episode, a door in which Erica didn't find out about her future and one in which she did.
But let's say you're not an Abed-esque stickler for timeline and parallel universe details. Then why would this episode still be so important to you? Simply put, because the lesson Erica learned is really the core lesson for the series, and one that too many people fail to learn in their life before it's too late. When Erica thinks she's going to die in 2019, because of what she learned from Kai and Dr. Fred, she kind of went over the deep end with an "OMG I have so much stuff I still want to do" mentality. She was ready to sell 50/50 to River Rock and go on all these crazy adventures, all because she "knew" her time was short.
So what lesson did she learn from future Erica? "Your time is short." Not because she was going to die in 2019, but because she's going to die. Period. It's the reality of life; sorry if that seems depressing, but it's true. And the fact is, you can't make every decision in life through the prism of "I'm going to die." If you did, you'd never do anything.
"We all know we're going to die. But the date, the exact moment, it's a mystery. It's a secret. And for a good reason. Knowing, it changes things. The way you act, the choices you make. You need to live fully in the present, unencumbered by the past or the future."That's a bold statement coming from a show that has focused so heavily on "regrets", but "Being Erica" has never been about changing the past, only learning from it. If we spend every day trying to change mistakes we made in the past or trying to prevent mistakes we think might have been made in the future (if you can wrap your head around that bit of time-language manipulation) then we're not really living life. That's the lesson of this episode and of this show, and it's why this episode might have been the most important one of the series.