Ooohkay, I have a lot of thoughts on this show, which is funny because I have a lot of issues with it but I also have a lot of meta about it. Who knows how many parts to this there will be. Whichever part comes first will have a hint of some other parts of my analysis, because no piece is complete without the rest, but I’d have to publish a novel to do it all at once. To start, here’s my analysis of one of the most crucial relationships in the show – Evan and his mom, Heidi.
When the world sees Evan’s “Dear Evan Hansen” note*, thinking it was Connor’s suicide note, they’re horrified by how badly it implies Connor’s parents treated him. But those were Evan’s words. What does that say about Heidi? Heidi is the only one, besides the Murphys, who knows it was Evan. And it makes her realize how distant she’s been. She has the same reaction that the rest of the world had towards Connor’s family, but towards herself. As the “you are not alone” line from You Will Be Found plays after Alana shares the note, images of the letter and people’s reactions to it swirl around, and Heidi is briefly in the center of it, looking up at the images. We’re seeing her react to it, really seeing her son for the first time since his father left. She’s being confronted with how far she’s wandered from being the parent she’d intended to be, and how much that’s hurt Evan.
A person’s childhood and parenting shape who they are. Examining Evan’s mother and father, it’s clear how he ended up with the issues he has. Heidi is so exhausted and overextended from working hard just to keep herself and her son afloat and trying to get them a better life by going to school that she doesn’t have anything left for Evan emotionally. Understandably, she needs him to be okay so that she can focus on work and school. In many ways, he is her whole world. Everything she does, from spending so much time at work, to going to school, to looking for ways to get Evan into college, is for him. She is trying. When she hears about Connor’s suicide, she’s concerned about Evan’s reaction to it and tries to reach out to him. She asks him regularly if he still has enough pills and reminds him and encourages him to do the assignments his therapist gives him. She loves him dearly and is doing the best she can, and it’s not her fault that she’s only human and can’t be everything Evan needs.
That said, she also isn’t doing as well as she could. She hasn’t set aside a regular night, perhaps every Saturday or Sunday night, for them to have dinner together. Instead, as Evan points out, she randomly takes nights off without asking him or letting him know about it beforehand and expects him to drop everything and spend time with her.