Rita starts smoking on the Trasher tour. Elie gives her a pack of Marlboro Lights and she thinks he’d be impressed if she empties it that first night. After coughing and laughing and smiling just because eye contact is made, Elie still seems disinterested.
The first therapist Rita sees is in college, the free one at health services. During the first appointment, Dr. Picard asks Rita if it’s alright if she has a cigarette while they talk. When Rita asks if she has any relation to the Captain, the doctor lights up a second.
Elie gets upset with Rita for what he calls trying to please too hard and he’ll say it over and again. Baby, why are you trying to please too hard again? She’ll apologize and go out for a cigarette.
One night, when Elie gets home late from a gig, Rita is there with dinner ready. She stayed home that night after too much office gossip and celebrity stories from coworkers and two cigarettes into the evening at home, regretted not being there to support. Elie comes home to fish and two vegetables, which is his go to when he’s trying to get his life back in order. Elie gets upset, uses the bathroom, staring at himself too long in the mirror and yells at Rita saying again, this is her working to please too hard. Then he leaves. Rita wonders if she’d be asking too much if she could just try too hard to please. Just once, switch the damn word order, say it right. She decides that yes, she’d be asking too much.
Elie sent Rita to Dr. Picard because he decided she needed help. Her anxiety gets unbearable when Elie starts asking her who she is attracted to and getting mad no matter the answer. If she said no one, Elie would say that she shouldn’t just say what she thought he wanted to hear, that she was trying to please too hard and she should just tell him. If she said Luis, or even Johnny Depp, Elie would get distant and cold and bring it up any chance he wanted to make a situation awkward.
Rita gets told by strangers she has to speak up. Every time at a restaurants, she has to say her order three times, too quiet for the waitresses to hear.
Rita tells Dr. Picard about Elie and Dr. Picard says she wants to meet him. Elie agrees and during the appointment, they all have cigarettes together. Elie tells Rita she should hold her cigarette the right way. Dr. Picard makes a comment about how Elie makes Rita second guess herself, that his aggressiveness makes her nervous. After the appointment, Elie says to stop seeing Dr. Picard because “she’s just not working out.” Rita complies.
Elie’s mother is leaving the agency to start a private practice. Elie decides that he and Rita should go see his mother together for couple’s counseling. Rita complies. When they get to the office, Elie lets them in with his key and helps himself to a Diet Pepsi in the office fridge. During the session, Rita sits there and listens as Elie and his mother talk about her issues communicating and how she needs to learn to express herself. Rita can’t bring herself to tell his mother about how her son told her to stop seeing her friends or how he sometimes doesn’t come home after a show and the next morning smells like someone else. She just sits there.
That night, Elie asks Rita to rub his back. He’s sitting at the kitchen table they got from Rita’s parent’s garage and he complains about the wobbly leg as he thumbs at an empty box of Marlboros. She continues to massage his shoulders. He asks her if she liked the session. She says yes, that it was helpful. They’re right. She should work on finding her voice. He taps her hands and says, “Good. You did well today.” He goes upstairs and gets undressed.
She stays and sits on the uneven kitchen table, rocking it back and forth wondering how long the ride will last before it all comes crashing beneath her.