“Grace And Frankie” is a mostly fun Netflix series featuring Jane Fonda (as creepily “Death Becomes Her”- like, 70-going on 40-looking Grace Hanson) and Lilly Tomlin (Frankie Bergstein, an old, adorable hippie) as an odd couple of septuagenarians brought together when their respective lawyer husbands, Robert ( Martin Sheen, looking very old) and Sol (Sam Waterson) declare that they have been carrying on a 20 year gay love affair. It’s now Season Two, both couples are divorced but friendly, and Robert and Sol are preparing an elaborate wedding.
Ah, but at the end of last season, cleaning out their old house and being soaked in photos, regrets and fond memories, Sol and Frankie had one last sexual fling (they had a kid: this was not unprecedented). The final episode saw Sol in anguish, feeling like he had betrayed the love of his life (that is, Robert) and not knowing how or whether to confess that he cheated with his former wife.
As Season Two gets underway, Robert has a heart attack, so the wedding is much reduced in grandeur with him still recuperating. Frankie officiates, having received her legal authority to do so over the internet. All is romantic bliss until Sol, after Robert, now recovered has prepared a romantic dinner and they have belatedly exchanged rings, can’t hold his terrible secret back any longer. He tells Robert about his one-night stand. [As he should. Everyone else in the extended family knows about his dilemma, and Robert and Grace’s children urge him to never reveal a secret that can only cause unhappiness. Sol, correctly, asserts that he can’t begin a marriage with secrets and lies. For better or worse, he has to come clean.]
And Robert throws him out!
Maybe there is some nuance of gay relationship ethics that I haven’t grasped yet, but this makes no sense to me whatsoever. Robert, like Sol, cheated on his own wife for twenty years while having an intimate relationship with his now husband. How can he not empathize with the forces that led to this single, almost valedictory farewell act of love-past between Sol and Frankie? What standing does he have, as a 20 year secret adulterer, to take an absolute position regarding a one-night stand that took place before Sol and Robert had even taken their vows? Sol is so remorseful and contrite that it is painful to watch. He says that the one-night-stand meant nothing but nostalgia and support for a woman he knows he wronged and still loves in many ways. I believe him, and I don’t even know the guy!
I think Robert’s a hypocritical, emotionally abusive jerk.