In an episode semi-focused on Nate, he and Maddy question if they deserve good things, and they may not be alone in pondering that.
|Directed By||Sam Levinson|
|Written By||Sam Levinson|
|Introduced This Episode|
|Elliot’s Cousin||Ziayla Pizarro|
I Don’t Know If I Deserve To Be Happy – Kat, Ethan, Maddy, Cassie, Nate, Theo, Samantha
There is just something about Cassie. She is ultra-feminine, soft-spoken, easy to talk to, and in many ways, the perfect person to balance out Nate. He even wonders where his life would have gone if he met her in middle school over Maddy, and between marriage and a baby, it seems he could imagine a better life than his dad provided him.
However, he’s stuck with Maddy in some ways. For while they may not be together, she foresees them getting back together, and Cassie standing in the way of that creates a threat to her wellbeing. Now, is this saying Nate is who she truly wants? No. She knows they are toxic. But she is drawn to that darkness, that drama, the chaos, and might even want to get pregnant. Why? Well, with her working as a babysitter for a rich person named Samantha, and Samantha’s kid, Theo, being pretty cool, the idea doesn’t seem horrible in her head.
After all, what everyone seems to want is what Kat and Ethan seem like. The perfect couple, the one so pure and affectionate. Yet, what they don’t know is, while Ethan is in bliss, Kat? Well, she seems to be bored. Bored and with the insecurities she has, perhaps feeling undeserving of Ethan and the love they have. Which she doesn’t dare to mention to him, since the last thing she wants is a pep talk. If anything, as Monica Hernandez said in her New Years’ video, “I don’t need to feel good about this, I need to not have this be an issue.”
You Have Nothing To Worry About – Rue, Jules, Elliot, Elliot’s Cousin, Ali, Leslie
Rue hanging out with Elliot isn’t something Jules is fond of. What doesn’t help is that Rue does so behind Jules’ back, and on top of that is secretly doing drugs with him. Jules can’t outright say that is happening, but she senses it. She even can sense a potential crush there that Rue outright denies and, even when we see Elliot and her alone, doing drugs, or her listening to him make music, there doesn’t seem to be that kind of relationship.
But, alongside Jules suspecting something, so does Elliot’s cousin since Elliot doesn’t really bring many people home, friends included, so that makes Rue seem pretty special. Yet, despite outsiders thinking something is going on, both Rue and Elliot maintain there is nothing there beyond a mutual love for weed and coke.
Which for Ali, that’s a problem. Granted, Elliot sees it as a problem as well, since he doesn’t think he brings the best out of Rue, especially since he enables her drug problem. However, Rue isn’t trying to get better and has become dependent on drugs to socialize in any meaningful way. But, despite her commitment to addiction, Ali stands by her side, trying to be the father figure Rue sometimes appreciates having. Though, things get weird when Ali insists on meeting Rue’s mom, Leslie, since he is getting a tad uncomfortable with being a grown man driving a teenager home and her mom not knowing his name and face. So, they meet, and Leslie seems to like Ali, even calls him handsome.
A Need to Be Concerned – Faye, Custer, Cal, Nate, Fez, Ashtray, Lexi, Cassie
Cal is pissed. Someone hurt his baby boy, and Nate refuses to speak about it. So, he starts going through who was at the party and ended up at Lexi and Cassie’s house. Now, because she has mixed feelings about Fez, Lexi keeps her mouth shut. For, on the one hand, he is this drug dealer who just snapped into action and beat the hell out of Nate. Yet, Nate deserves every ass-whooping destined to him, and Fez was so sweet to her. In fact, he was a bit of an anomaly since most go for Cassie, and Lexi, at best, is someone people are cordial with.
Unfortunately, though, with talking about going to the cops, their phones being searched, and more, Cassie gives up Fez, and with a gun, Cal decides to go see Fez at the shop he works at. Mind you, he doesn’t do anything, and a good thing too since Faye is now living with and hanging around Fez, at Custer’s request, and would have been a witness. Plus, even though Ashtray hates Faye living with them, he stays strapped to defend his brother so, if things went down, there would have been at least one dead body.
Luckily though, Cal isn’t that stupid and good thing too. After all, Nate jogs his dad’s memory about having sex with Jules, video tapping it, and said CD of the encounter being missing. Which, if there was a murder investigation, could pop up and blow up their lives. And with Nate believing Maddy has that video, that is the main thing that coerces him to keep his and Cassie’s budding relationship a secret for as long as he can.
Though getting back to Lexi, it seems she wants to take the initiative for once in her life, and if it wasn’t for Cal stepping in and just feeling awkward, maybe she would have said something to Fez which could have progressed what could be further?
Collected Quote(s) & .Gifs
I feel like everyone’s looking for a cause and effect. Sometimes shit’s just is what it is.
I can’t tell if that’s a statement or a question.
Questions & What Could Happen Next
- How were Nate’s teeth intact and white after all of that?
- You think Leslie may develop a crush on Ali?
- Do you think the teachers and administrators are aware at all of what is happening? We don’t see or hear them, which is weird considering how much this show has happened during a school year.
- What was Elliot’s life before Rue? We don’t see or meet any adult in his home, just his cousin, who, in the credits, is not even given a name. They are just noted as “Elliot’s Cousin.”
- How long until Rue lets it slip to Lexi that she saw Cassie with Nate, and that gets to Maddy?
- Can you imagine Fez starting to ask about Lexi to Rue and her getting to play matchmaker?
Kat And The Self-Help Brigade
When it comes to self-doubt and insecurities, the culture has shifted. Everyone wants to be body positive and reprogram others to love themselves. The problem is, a lot of the people who speak on why you should do so, they have all you wish you could attain. Be it money, certain physical features, relationships, and more, listening to people with your ideal life is hard. It’s like the person in the penthouse apartment, with parking, an in-unit washer, and dryer, with the landlord paying for water, heat, gas, and electricity, telling the homeless person who can’t find even a room to rent that they should be happy to be alive. Or, it could be, to avoid the emotional labor it requires, friends telling you to not talk like that or giving you compliments.
None of that changes anything. In fact, it makes it worse to talk about it just because no one really wants to give you space for negative feelings. At least, anyone, you don’t have to pay to listen to you, which is the least desirable option for some.
The Question Of What You Deserve & What Can Make You Happy
Whether you are a horrible person or not, there are things you may question if you deserve for a multitude of reasons. Do you deserve love, despite your mistakes? What about friendship, even though you often are introverted and often feel like a fly on the wall? It sets up the ability to settle for what is available rather than go after the ideal. It’s why Maddy, despite Travis’ interest in the last episode, is still hung up on Nate.
Could Travis be the perfect man for Maddy? Probably not. But why even go through the honeymoon period with someone who likely will be the same trash kind of guy, just with a different voice and body? It’s a pessimistic perspective, but when expectations are low, what is pessimistic to others is being a realist to you. And even in the case of Nate sneaking around with Cassie, it’s the closest he can imagine to getting his ideal.
Remember, it isn’t just Maddy who likes the chaos, drama, and a toxic situation; Nate does too. So dragging Cassie into his mess gives him both that pure heart of Cassie and the pending blow up when Maddy finds out. He gets to live the blissful dream while having his insatiable desire for that nightmare he secretly enjoys always around the corner.
Ali and Rue
It’s sad, yet wonderful, how Ali and Rue’s relationship is. Both use the other as a stand-in for what they don’t have actively in their life. Because of his relationship with his children and their momma, Ali seems to use Rue as a replacement. It isn’t known if his daughters look like her, but she is a Black girl without a daddy, and he is a Black man without his kids, so sponsoring her, giving her tough talks that he thankfully has never had to give his own kids, it’s his way of showing the universe he is grateful to be alive. So if he has to guide this youngin’ to a path away from self-destruction and take on the emotional toll that comes with it, it is part of his debt to pay, and he will pay it with passion and a strong ethic.
As for Rue? While no one likes to get lectures, especially teenagers, there is no doubting she wants Ali in her life. Maybe not to the point of making him proud and being clean; even Jules doesn’t have that power anymore. However, I would say seeing him, hanging out, is more than a routine for her at this point. Unlike any man her mother has dated since her dad died, he is her father figure. He doesn’t accept her for who she is but knows she can be better than what she presents. He listens, can relate due to his own struggles, and maybe, while she might binge on drugs now, she sees Ali as a means to see that, when and if she decides to stop, she can have a life after all of this. He is that being that lets her know it is possible.
Getting To Understand Elliot’s Needs
With Elliot’s cousin noting he doesn’t bring people around much, so comes the question of what makes Rue special? She is clearly a hot ass mess who almost OD’d in front of him the first time they met. So, what’s the attraction, platonic or otherwise? Is it that they enable each other’s drug use? Perhaps her availability? That she is weird, easy to talk to when she is high, and brings a bit of calm for him? Heck, could it be that, between the tattoos and maybe being introverted, there is a part of him that likes that someone is going out of their way to bike to his house to hang out while he plays music?
With Elliot being new, I hope we get an episode focused on his life to see his side to things.
Ashtray Down For His Brother
Shout out to Ashtray. While he is mad Faye is in the household; after she nearly kills a hotel manager, and Custer isn’t sure what to do with her, he doesn’t stop being Fez’s brother. He may give him the silent treatment, but when there is a threat that could keep them from ultimately reconciling, he gets ready with the strap and to do what needs to be done.
Lexi and Fez Potential
While mainly a Nate episode, we get to peer into Lexi’s life. We learn she has often been meek and quiet, never really speaking up, and being firm in her position. This includes with Rue using drugs, which has seemingly led to her taking on one of Rue’s overdoses as her fault. So with Fez, you can see the fear there. He is attractive, approached her, has a genuine interest in her, and didn’t just seem to focus on the quiet girl he could easily get in bed. That means something to her.
Then, on the flip side, as we noted in Fez’s episode, it is questionable whether Fez ever had a girl before. Yeah, he is a nice guy, but he is also a drug dealer who was likely overexposed to sex growing up in his father’s strip club. Also, who knows if he was molested or anything like that. So, when it comes to the girls he meets, it could be they just come off a little too intense for where he is at. Hence why Rue and Faye he can deal with, since, while addicts, they come off pretty harmless.
So with Lexi, I’d submit Fez getting used to Rue might have opened the doors for him being willing and able to talk to Lexi. Since it isn’t like she is an utter stranger. Lexi has been Rue’s friend since pre-school, so they have that mutual connection and, I’m sure, which would be so awesome, Rue could play matchmaker if either asked them to.
Also, on a side note, isn’t it interesting how Fez and Nate, despite their issues, seem to want the same thing in a girl? Someone who, considering the chaos and stability in their life, can offer them the complete opposite. I mean, imagine if they got with Lexi and Cassie, respectively, and met up at a family dinner.
Cal and Nate’s Complicated Relationship
Sometimes I think, Nate doesn’t hate his dad as a person; he hates what his dad does and his dad’s secrets. If his dad would just tell the truth, he could accept his dad is gay or some form of bi. He might even be able to accept his dad is a freak. He’ll be embarrassed by it, yeah, but he could come to see that as a flaw regarding someone he loves.
And there is a weird beauty to that. Despite their issues with one another, you recognize if there was honesty, they could let go of the façade and potentially have a decent relationship. Yet, because of their need to put up a front, they can’t move past the impasse.
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