After episode 3, the good and bad, many try to move forward but it can be difficult when physically violated, emotionally invested, or having given into your desires.
|Introduced This Episode|
|Ms. Gonzalez||Alexandra Castillo|
This content contains pertinent spoilers.
Your Privilege Is Shown – Jay
After stealing Dom’s wallet, getting suspended, and selling his grandfather’s records, while Jay isn’t the favorite person at his dinner table, he is okay. His grandfather is willing to go to bat for him and make the whole zero-tolerance thing a race issue, and while his dad feels different, they clearly will be fine.
Owen, on the other hand? As noted in the first episode, he doesn’t have Jay’s privilege. Jay lives in this nice house, gets private lessons, and Owen lives in a walk-up, has a school-issued saxophone, and his life is far from glamourous. Hence why, after the punishment was dealt, Owen was forced to cut himself off from Jay. Mind you, Owen’s mom played a strong role, but it isn’t like he is moving mountains to check-in like Jay has.
Can’t Have A High Without Coming Down – Dom, Sabine, Francine, Joey, John, Sid, Leila, George, Meera, Omar, Ms. Gonzalez
For Leila, while George is firmly on her s*** list, as is Joey, she was looking forward to auditioning for Meera’s production. However, Joey and especially George snickering in the back, it throws her off to the point Meera seems rather uninterested. Mind you, Meera’s possible boyfriend, and support for her play, Omar, tries to be positive, but how much sway he has is in question.
As for Sid? His essay is deemed phenomenal for being so raw about his feelings on the terrorist attack and his sexuality. But even with that being written in the essay, he doesn’t want to talk about it. Granted, he is at the point of exploring his sexuality through Grindr, but considering he is asking for names and seemingly wanting intimacy, not just sex, it seems the app may satisfy urges but not needs.
Which brings us to Dominique. Dominique is seemingly killing it at school, and outside her long-standing tiff with Joey, which almost leads to a fight, she is doing good. And even when it comes to her beef with Joey, seeing the bruises from what Luke and George did have her ease up. Especially considering, through her church, she may have an internship through the program “Sisters Thrive” that focuses on mental health and substance abuse – making Joey someone who could be a potential person in need.
However, discovering Joey is going through something doesn’t change that relationship overnight. If anything, what changes, or has changed, is Dom’s relationship with John and her family. With John, while they aren’t official, since he is graduating soon, they are clearly seeing each other. Not to play down Dom feeling like they are playing chicken after their date, but once they talk they cool – and he even has her meet his mom, and they KISS!
But, that high leads to a crash when Dom learns her older sister, Sabine, not only has a ruptured disc but lost her job as a home health aide. With that, Dom feels the need to step up, and it makes you wonder if that obligation means setting dreams aside?
Trying To Face What Happened – Joey, George, Tim, Luke
You could say Joey tried so badly to play down what happened to her by just pushing through it. Hence, when it comes to George and Luke anyway, she could talk with them, joke, and things were relatively normal. With Tim, however? Things haven’t recovered, despite how it seemed like he wanted to talk. One could even say Joey blames him for not stopping what happened.
Yet, it isn’t until, multiple days later, when she uses the word rape to describe what George did do you realize she isn’t just going to move on. In fact, considering she was having trouble sleeping, it likely wasn’t an option.
Rooting For Dominique With All Our Heart
Whether it is the internship, her relationship with John, or hoping Sabine’s situation doesn’t mean Dom can kiss goodbye all the good that is coming to her life, you just want the best for her. Especially since, of all the girls who you could consider leads on this show, she is the only one whose life seems to be getting better.
How It Handles Joey’s Rape
With that said, I appreciate the process of Joey coming to terms with what happened. It being all at once, a snap decision, I think, is how we often see rape and sexual assault handled. When it comes to Joey, you can see it was more complicated for her. Be it because there was consent before the rape took place or the difficulty reconciling that the people who did it were her best friends. Never mind, the days following, their actions didn’t change.
For example, Luke still seemed sweet, considering he asked for Joey’s opinion on whether he should cut his hair a specific style, and George, while still an ass, remained the guy she always knew. Now, with Tim, things definitely are weird, and with her mentioning George and Tim to her mom, he could get in trouble. But, that is what will make this situation interesting – how to handle Tim, who was present, and considering how Joey has constantly been slut-shamed, will it only be Dom who comes to her defense? What, if not who, will she lose in telling her truth?
On The Fence
Still Feeling Disconnected To Many Characters
While “Grand Army” is an ensemble, it is hard to not feel Leila, Jay, and Owen, and even Sid doesn’t have the same oomph as Joey or Dominique. Not to discount how some likely feel seen by them, but Sid’s journey feels like a story at a different pace and tone than everyone else’s. Leila’s story, with her being a freshman, and coming off like one, helps bring a certain level of diversity but doesn’t draw your attention.
Then, with Owen and Jay? As much as you have to appreciate the show presenting Jay’s privilege yet pointing out that it doesn’t save him from perceived racism, it doesn’t make you want to attach your face to the screen. And with Owen physically absent, it almost pushes you to feel the show could have worked by helming Dom and Joey as the head, and then delta out how their lives, and people who share their skin tone and status experience Grand Army High School different.