Last week’s episode was a bombshell. From the intervention which ended in Cassie’s relationship with Nate being exposed, to Rue letting Laurie know that she no longer had her drugs or her money. It was an episode worthy of an Emmy for the entire Bennett family on the basis of them portraying what it’s like to live with, and in Rue’s case struggle with addiction daily.
This week’s episode starts to look at the recovery processes, in a way it almost feels full-circle. When we first meet Rue in Season 1 she’s clouded by her summer sent away, the moment that led to it. Here we see it again but this time they can’t afford to send her away, in the final scene of this episode we see her mother, Leslie pleading on the phone with the in-patient rehab clinic to let her be admitted, “Please don’t do this, please don’t do this to us. My daughter is going to kill herself”.
Levinson continues to write Rue’s character as an act of love. We see her struggle immensely under the weight of her actions and words fuelled by addiction, but remorseful to the point of visible representation, as depicted in her struggle to eat the Jolly Rancher, something which she cannot do until she has begun her apology tour. We also see how families of addicts struggle just as much as those who are addicted. Forgiveness isn’t easy but the Bennett women forgive time and time again. They love Rue, they won’t give up on her.
But in all the moments of reconciliation, we are seeing in the Bennett household alongside Rue’s sponsor Ali, we are also seeing the fallout of her actions elsewhere, and finally we get to the heart of the CD which incriminates Cal Jacobs.
The Maddie/Nate/Cassie/Jules affair (and we have to remember that despite being written out of this, Jules is a large part of the inner workings behind Nate’s motivations) is something which we finally get to the heart of and I was surprised at how Nate was written this week. Intentionally scaring Maddie to get what he wants, despite knowing full well that she’d never deny him anything, not really. Being nice to Jules, I guess he’s breaking the cycle of Cal Jacobs. And finally, inviting Cassie to move in with him??? I’m convinced Levinson is attempting to begin Nate’s redemption tour and personally, I’m not on board with it.
Nate is inherently not a good person, don’t think he’s doing Jules a favour by handing her that CD because ultimately he still craves control over the women in his life and this is his way of letting Jules know ‘you owe me’. I think giving us insight into his relationship with his mother this episode was a great way to build character, I think even when your mother knows that you’re a liar and an abuser it’s hard to claw your way out of that.
Focusing on Cassie, who has doubled down so far on her actions that I think she’s started to believe that she was never in the wrong. I think she knows she’s out on her own. Sydney has been acting as if bailiffs are at her door this season, fighting for her life and insisting that her character in her own words has done ‘nothing wrong!’ Despite at the end of this episode weakly telling Nate, ‘I ruined my life for you’. The differences in Maddie and Cassie’s individual relationships here with Nate are so apparent, we see Nate close the door to his room effectively tying himself and Cassie together, whether she knows it or not she’s not as calculated as Maddie and therefore I think she’s in deeper with Nate than she realises.
Maddie, she’s going to be okay.
Kat, let’s not go there. Justice for Kat’s character development. I’m sorry but Levinson’s writing of Kat this season has been lazy and whilst I know they are teenagers who say and do stupid things, I think this was a low and I don’t know why Levinson has Barbie Ferreira in his Burn Book.
He’s giving the fanfic girlies more content with the only bit of sunshine in this shit storm being Lexi and Fez, let me power up my Word doc. But also we’re getting warning signs that something bad may be on the horizon for Ashtray and Fez, with Custer telling Faye that he’s cooperating with the FBI over the murder of Mouse (I hope Ashtray does him like how he did Cal in Episode 2).
I could honestly write a think piece on each character’s individual actions this week - everyone is messy apart from Gia and Leslie but even then they did flush a dealers stash down the toilet so holding my breath for when that’s addressed in Season 3, if Levinson’s forgetfulness concerning important plot builders is anything to go by.
Mostly, I'm upset that Maddie didn’t beat Cassie’s ass like how Santana beat Quinn’s in Glee.