As Arabella tries to gather what happened the night before, Simon finds himself in hot water
|Introduced This Episode|
This content contains pertinent spoilers.
The Audition – Terry, Arabella
While Arabella is in a daze, with prior plans to hang out with Terry, if not it being her regular routine, they go to get something to eat. However, with Terry asking about how Arabella’s phone got smashed and whether drugs were taken, it begins triggering Arabella. Someone who has been trying to suppress the idea the night before was anything more than a her doing too much. Which for Terry, though red flags are popping up, it isn’t her place to say what is or isn’t happening or has happened.
So, she goes to her audition, deals with the microaggressions and insensitivity of white women, and returns to learn the weight of the night before has hit Arabella.
Putting The Pieces Together – Arabella, Simon, Kat, Alissa
Now, as for what happened exactly? That’s still up in the air. Simon, the only person Arabella believes has a grasp on the situation, his story is very sketchy. Why? Well, with him trying to keep his six-month relationship with Alissa under wraps, he is a bit dodgy. Though, what makes things worse, when Arabella finds herself at Alissa’s flat, Alissa notes she was spiked, leading to Arabella realizing she might have been too. And then Alissa goes off on Arabella since she figures Arabella was doing detective work on Simon rather than what happened to her the night before.
The Truth Hits You Hard – Arabella, Terry, Alissa, Kat, Kwame
With her friend Kwame, the one we usually see on a gay dating app, Arabella goes to the police, where she tries to focus on being spiked, but the investigation forces Arabella to admit to herself she was assaulted. An idea that is hard for her to deal with, especially since Simon was there and should have made sure nothing happened, right?
Though it isn’t just Arabella who has a bone to pick with Simon. Terry questions why she wasn’t invited, since she did know Simon before Arabella, and with things getting so sketchy, she is ready to cut him off. Add in Kat checking in on Alissa, without Arabella saying a word, you know the drama is about to begin, and Simon is going to get all the smoke.
We didn’t mention Terry in the first episode since she didn’t say or do anything noteworthy but with the beauty campaign she auditioned for, there was this feeling that hit. Maybe in the form of these white women being gatekeepers and trying to pressure Terry into taking her wig off? Heck, it could have been their ignorance about not asking a Black woman if her hair was hers? Either way, as Simon and Kat emerged with something aside from Arabella’s story, and made you take note, Terry did the same as she surely speaks to Coel’s experience as an actress. Especially in the UK.
The Drama Alissa Will Bring
From the jump, Alissa made a few things clear: She has anxiety, deals with depression, and one of the reasons she can’t have a stable relationship is because she likes drama. So, here is to the drama we know is going to happen for just how she went off on Arabella says multitudes about who Alissa is. Specifically, when she has no desire to be on her best behavior.
It Hitting Arabella All At Once
There are layers to Arabella’s assault beyond just the act. For us, one of the first things is that Arabella was assaulted by a white man while a Black man, a friend to her, didn’t protect her.
Now, this isn’t to say “I May Destroy You” is going to go deep into race and its complexities. However, to ignore why Arabella seems to feel so betrayed and left so vulnerable by Simon would ignore a notable part of the show.
Though, the bigger part is, of course, Arabella coming to the realization of what happened. At first, it seemed, similar to Alissa, she was downplaying the idea of being spiked and what happened after. But, as questions were being asked and she felt coerced to defend her perception of reality, it hit her, and it wasn’t a gentle wave but tsunami. One that leaves you, like Kwame, trying to piece what you know as you deal with your own feelings about Arabella’s assault, and maybe the triggers that lead you to recount your own.
And it is really a testament to Coel’s writing how she can bring so much within a half-hour and yet make it also feel like we’ve barely begun.