…[Olivia]’s entire character arc has been one of inadequacy and unhappiness. No matter how hard she’s tried, she just couldn’t feel satisfied with her life. It’s not until she begins a relationship with Peter that things begin to feel whole. The brilliance, then, in “A Short Story About Love,” is not that the writers are saying Olivia needs Peter to be happy. When she has that last conversation with Nina, she makes a choice: she is giving up a life of memories that have left her feeling alone and sad in order to have ones where she was happy. This means she’d have to sacrifice all of her moments with Nina.
Why is this good? Because the writers respect the fact that this is Olivia’s choice. She has agency. She has the willpower to choose whatever it is she wants, and then they have Nina support her. I don’t even understand Nina’s motivations at this point, but Olivia is not shamed for choosing a life that makes her happy. She loves Peter, and that makes her feel like life is worth living. It’s such a life-affirming message, and it’s done in a way that doesn’t feel forced or ridiculous. It is goddamn beautiful.