In the season finale of “I May Destroy You,” Arabella processes how to handle seeing her rapist and getting the justice she deserves.
|Director(s)||Sam Miller, Michaela Coel|
This content contains pertinent spoilers.
Scenario 1 – David, Tariq, Terry, Theo, Arabella
It isn’t made clear which of the three scenarios are real, or if they are all just scenarios running through Arabella’s head. But, let’s run them down real quick: Scenario one involved Terry distracting Tariq, David’s lookout as he drugs women, while Theo steals his drugs and Arabella allows herself vulnerable enough to seem roofied. However, then Theo injects the concoction into David, and they follow him home.
Now, in this scenario, and strangely in the others, nothing happens to Tariq. Despite his part in the assault, no harm comes to him. In fact, each time, he gets Terry’s attention and even a lap dance in most of the scenarios. However, in scenario one, Theo chokes David, with Arabella’s underwear he snatched, and Arabella beats David until he pretty much is dead.
From there, she hides him in her bedroom, and then a restart happens.
Two More Scenarios – David, Arabella
In scenarios two and three, things get weirder. In the second scenario, as before, Terry is distracting Tariq, but this time things are set up where Arabella is on coke to counteract the roofie. Which, with being someone who doesn’t understand how the two drugs would interact, goes a bit over our head, but it does lead to another moment where Arabella fakes being roofied and then confronts David.
Which is when things get weird. For they begin with David talking dirty, when it comes to Arabella faking it, and then things going very misogynistic. But, next thing you know, David is having a breakdown, and they end up in Arabella’s room. There he mentions the various kinds of rapes he committed and how strange it is for someone to be nice to him and have an intimate moment that isn’t coerced. And in his vulnerability, with him begging not to be abandoned as the cops come, Arabella hugs him before letting him get taken away.
Leaving one last scenario, which is simple. In the final scenario, the two have consensual sex. Granted, in a strange way, since Arabella is on top of David’s back and thrusting like she has a p***s. But, it gets stranger as we see scenario three David walk away and scenario one David crawl from under Arabella’s bed and leave soon after.
The Truth – Arabella, Terry
From what it appears, the ideas presented aren’t executed. David isn’t murdered, there isn’t an attempt to have him arrested, and of course, Arabella didn’t get to rewrite history and have consensual sex with David. Leaving you to believe we spend most of the episode focusing on ways she could see the situation playing out but, ultimately, her deciding to spend the day hanging with her flatmate and finishing up her book “January 22nd.”
And, on top of the joy which is finishing the book, and perhaps ending a literal chapter of her life, Terry gets her first commercial. A cell phone commercial that isn’t degrading or anything which could cause shame. It is one she stars in, with her hair as we usually see, and it’s a celebratory moment for all.
You Get Your Cathartic Release If You Need It
Scenario one feels like what some may need if they felt connected to Arabella and needed to live vicariously through her. For taking down her rapist, beating him, and getting revenge, it is what some people need, wish, and desire. Especially if the justice system failed them.
An Imperfect Ending
In some ways, Arabella running through the scenarios, but ultimately deciding to move on is the imperfect ending. She doesn’t get to hurt or see her rapist arrested, nor try to take her power back by screwing him. However, in many ways, writing has always been Arabella’s therapy and putting to page what happened, perhaps illustrating all she wanted to do to him in words, it gave her a release.
One that may have been beyond a cathartic release for with writing being her joy and getting to finish that book, David no longer had a hold on her. The lack of justice no longer created a block that suffocated her to the point of feeling like she was in a padded room. Which, as shown by her sigh of relief, and seeing her smile and run freely on the beach, it became clear she is free and that “End” not just being the end of the season, perhaps show, but truly the end of a tumultuous and traumatizing chapter.
Even without binge-watching the season, “I May Destroy You” leaves you at a loss. For trying to process what Arabella wanted to do, what you wished happened to David, and how you may feel because of the trauma you experienced, it creates this choking feeling. Yet, as you see that Arabella let go, it gives you hope and pushes you to realize, while thrashing and trying to figure out a way to move forward someday, that day will come. It may take you a bit to form who you need to be for yourself, and perhaps others, but the day will come.