“I May Destroy You” begins not with the crime central to its marketing, but a reminder of the person who preceded the adjectives placed on assault survivors.
|Genre||Comedy, Drama, Romance, Young Adult, Mystery|
|Introduced This Episode (Character | Actor)|
This content contains pertinent spoilers.
Arabella, the semi-famous writer of “Chronicles of a Fed Up Millennial,” is due to release her follow up but is struggling to do so. Be it the non-commital man in her life, Biagio, out in Italy, or the multitude of distractions at home, she has gotten a few pages but certainly not a full-length book, never mind draft. However, as one of her friends, Simon, has her come out before she is supposed to meet her agent, something happens. It isn’t clear for, between the coke and tequila, things are a bit fuzzy. But with visions of a white boy slamming himself into someone, and a deep haze going on, clearly something happened. There is even a mark on Arabella’s forehead to prove it.
It Seeks To Be More Than Advertised
“I May Destroy You” could have quickly become a show about a Black woman who was assaulted and speak for those who have held onto that suffering and maybe not have spoken out for a multitude of reasons. Which, in part, it still can be, but it doesn’t seem like that’ll be the sum of the show or Arabella’s story.
For alongside Arabella being assaulted, we have the possibility of exploring how Black creatives deal with white gatekeepers. Through Alissa, we can explore Black women with anxiety, depression, and the burden of often being expected to bear the weight of taking care of family. That is alongside whatever it is Kat is going through that would have her open her relationship up to another woman.
And while the guys are surely going through something as well, it isn’t as prominent to speak on that.
You Can Get Into Simon and Kat’s Relationship Drama
While you do have to appreciate a side story not focused on the impending triggering tale Arabella is going through, there was a worry it could fall flat. After all, most side stories, in shows focused on trauma, are iffy. Primarily the issue is they are underdeveloped and don’t become more than a slight reprieve from the main storyline. However, following that issue is how the story just doesn’t garner much in the way of interest.
But, in the case of Simon and Kat’s relationship, things could be different. Mind you, Simon seems sleazy, but with him and Kat having an 8-year relationship with one another, there is stuff to dive into there. Never mind, considering his friendship with Arabella, and his connection to the assault, there is a lot to unpack. For on top of Arabella being assaulted there is the question of by who, and whether or not Simon has answers to that mystery.
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First Impression: Optimistic
It’s hard to say, or fathom, if this is a one-season show or if it will have multiple seasons. Mind you, the show is inspired by Coel’s own assault, so it is definitely a passion project. However, how specific to her situation, or universal to that of people who too have been assaulted, isn’t clear just yet. But, what is, is that the puzzle pieces that need to be put together to know what happened will be just one story amongst many.
Hence the optimistic viewpoint. Sexual assault isn’t just something that affects that one person, and as much as it drastically changes their life, and that of their community, things don’t stop when it happens. And what “I May Destroy You” gives the vibe of is we’re not going to get an overtly privileged take on what happens after being assaulted nor have Arabella be this outright victim. A middle road, which isn’t too often focused on, is going to be explored. And once you add in Arabella being a Black woman, working to middle class, and outside of college, there is hope we get an underheard voice. Perhaps one which will help other women feel heard, seen, or maybe brave enough to speak up.
After all, while the #MeToo movement, amongst others, have largely focused on the plight and survival of white women, this, by no means, doesn’t mean rates amongst Black women, or other women of color, are lower. It is likely far more complicated than that.