After Arabella’s breakdown in the last episode, there is a noticeable shift in her attitude. One that is starting to rub some people the wrong way.
|Director(s)||Sam Miller, Michaela Coel|
This content contains pertinent spoilers.
Us (Me) Against The World – Arabella
With Biagio’s rejection, paired with her case being given up on, Arabella pushes back. She has no desire to be a victim nor complacent. So anything which tries to define her, limit her, or feels like a threat to her, it is met with an aggressive tone.
This includes a doctor who, thanks to some language that Arabella doesn’t find politically correct, getting told off a bit. Also, a handful of strangers who, as Arabella becomes very anti-white men, are dismissed, even when complimenting her.
No One Is Safe – Arabella, Terry, Kwame
Though it isn’t just strangers and a doctor, with Kwame speaking on his hookup with Nilufer and him revealing he is queer to her, this stirs some things up in Arabella. Mostly in him not disclosing that information until after he had sex with her and some of the questions we brought up in episode 8. Which, of course, sends her into a flare-up that Terry tries to placate, while maintaining her relationship with Kwame.
However, it is becoming clear Kwame is growing tired of Arabella and her need to be big, known, and empowered. Especially through social media.
When The High Comes Down – Arabella, Terry, Kwame
But, after a rather gnarly series of thoughts, which leads to some on her live feed worrying about her, Arabella decides to see her therapist. Someone who, with being a Black woman, seems to be able to break through to Arabella in ways her followers and friends can’t. Thus allowing her to understand, and accept, the disassociation and deflection she is dealing with.
After that session, she faces the clothes she was assaulted in, a picture of a child she may have aborted, and the fact she forced Kwame into an uncomfortable situation. But, for her healing to truly begin, it seems she needs to face “Ego Death” one more time in terms of the place, and actually dealing with her ego that nearly took her to a dark place. One which may not have pushed and enabled silence, but could have led her to becoming vengeful and malicious all to avoid any sense of victimhood.
Understanding Arabella’s Mental State
What “I May Destroy You” has consistently made clear is there is no one way to deal with rape or being assaulted. There are so many paths to take towards healing, and none of them are wrong. However, as this episode shows, in dealing with your s***, you can’t lash out on others. Everyone is dealing with something, and whether they are dealing with the same thing you are, it doesn’t necessarily give you the right to unleash a verbal sword.
Mind you, some people do deserve it, but it can be hard at times to differ those who deserve to be educated, chastised, or given some form of forgiveness. And this goes for both sides. Arabella clearly needed more of a community and sense of validation than Theo’s group could offer, and at 15,000 people watching her live streams, many co-signing what she says, that gave her a high.
But, as her mental health specialist noted, that high didn’t create any means to get better in the long term. Rather, it was providing a cathartic release. One that wasn’t bringing Arabella peace or to a better place. If anything, it was increasing the tax on her mind to the point she was spiraling and thrashing about. Almost, in a way, showing you the drowning you’d expect if the last episode continued for longer.
Trajectory – Plateau
As Arabella changes gears in how she handles being raped, things switch up. Arabella is no longer searching for a new normal and presenting someone you feel sympathy or empathy for. She is lashing out and challenging how you feel when someone isn’t exhibiting the type of personality that draws in your desire to feel or want better for them. Which makes you address your own need for people to play the victim and empower themselves through means that maintain your own sense of comfort.