As Penny dishes out a whole lot of TMI and odd advice, Matilda faces yet another instance of her family underestimating her abilities.
|Directed By||Rachel Lee Goldenberg|
|Written By||Marissa Berlin, Vivienne Walshe|
Bad Gal Barb: Barb, Nicholas, Tallulah, Genevieve
Under the guise of sticking up for her mother, Bar steals a teddy (a bra) and then runs off to hang with Genevieve and Tallulah. Two people who decide it would be a fun idea to tease Barb’s mother, Linda, by catfishing her. Mind you, it seems Barb’s dad is in her life, but whether or not her parents are not together, it is hard to say since, whenever Barb talks, Tallulah navigates the conversation away from her and makes it about herself.
But, before things go too far, as with their last bit of excitement, overthinking they took pills to make them loopy, Nicholas shuts it down. Especially since Linda called, seeming rather nervous, for she didn’t know where Barb was and Nicholas covered for her. An act he almost regrets.
Nicholas’ Influence: Penny, Tallulah, Alex, Nicholas
Penny video chats with the family, and it is around the time of a hysterectomy, so naturally, it is a bit odd. Mostly for Nicholas, who she doesn’t say too many nice things about but, generally, Penny is a bit off the rails. Examples? Well, she pushes Alex to reveal he has a bigger penis than Nicholas to help her understand why Nicholas dates him. Then, with Tallulah, she pushes her to have as many children as she can and with Tallulah enamored by this strange woman on television, who knows whether Tallulah may follow Penny’s advice. After all, we don’t necessarily know who are Tallulah’s influences and whether they could counteract Penny – at all.
The Possibilities Are Endless: Matilda, Genevieve, Drea, Nicholas
It’s becoming increasingly clear that Genevieve, despite growing up with Matilda, doesn’t necessarily have a high opinion of what Matilda is capable of. Lest we forget, she is the one who drummed up the band over whether Matilda could give consent. Now, in this episode, she is questioning the possibility of Matilda getting into Julliard, as well as her ability to make it out in New York.
Now, as Matilda has shown, she is high functioning, came a long way, thanks to her dad, and while she does get overwhelmed at times, she seems to know ways to handle herself. Also, Matilda has shown herself to be fearless. Leading to the need to ask how much of what Genevieve thinks Matilda is capable of is really just her projecting her own fears? If not this need for Matilda to be there so Genevieve can feel a bit more normal?
Which, I know, sounds strange, since Nicholas is by no means normal, but Nicholas was a guest who just now became fully integrated into Genevieve life. Plus, he is a grown man compared to Matilda. So we’re left to wonder if Matilda’s ability to be herself, explore, have intercourse, and even be close to her friends, like Drea, is why Genevieve is consistently trying to limit her? For maybe, just maybe, Genevieve realizes if Matilda can do all of this, what’s her excuse?
How The Show Deals With Matilda Having Autism
While we got to know Penny a bit better and see how dark she can get, what gets the most attention this episode is Matilda. Once again, it is the handling of someone with autism in terms of what they are capable of and can do which is of interest. Now, granted, Matilda is high functioning and we don’t necessarily see her struggle much. If anything, she comes off as eccentric as Genevieve sometimes.
Which, in many ways, might be the point. To our knowledge, Genevieve is atypical yet is more fearful, takes less initiative, and yet here is Matilda. She pursued a guy and maybe didn’t get him, but got to have sex with someone who was also, by high school standards for many, attractive. Also, she got into Julliard, and while the show hasn’t addressed the how and why, nor has it really poured too much time into Matilda’s talent, that is beyond anything we’ve seen Genevieve do.
And I don’t wish for this to come off as a bashing of Genevieve since likely her focus is just protecting her sister. However, there is something to be said about her usually leading the charge on what Matilda can and can’t do. Making it so, as Matilda continues to prove her wrong, and likely members of the audience, she can further expand what it means to be autistic. Note: Someone who is autistic, but high functioning, but nonetheless, considering how we’re reminded how her father’s commitment got her this far, even if a fictional character, that provides hope.