Fortunes shift this episode as Eric finds someone who gets him and Otis? Well, we’re reminded that he is his father’s son when it comes to being an ass.
Images and text in this post may contain affiliate links which, If you make a purchase, I may earn money or products from the company. Most affiliate links contain an upward facing, superscript, arrow.
The Return of Eric & First Possible Love: Eric
Likely due to his sexuality, Eric had long left the church behind. However, with meeting a man, with nail polish, going to a wedding reception, something changes for him. It isn’t 100% clear what but he finds himself wanting to go to church, and with the sermon being about loving yourself and loving one another, he decides it is time to properly come out to his family. Well, not with the words he is gay, but with his style and headdress, it is assumed they got the idea.
I had to double check whether the pastor we saw was the man on the way to the wedding reception, and he is not. So I’m a little lost as to what led to this change. A part of me wants to say that maybe Eric decided to look into what made him feel safe and loved before Otis came into his life, so he decided to go to church because of that. Also, there is the idea that if that man, with his nails and everything, would still listen to gospel, still had faith, why shouldn’t Eric?
Thus pushing the point of how important everyday representation is. Though that man was only looking for directions, he might have arguably changed Eric’s life in ways he didn’t know he could. But, with that note, you do have to wonder if anyone at church even said anything to Eric for him to lose faith? Since I’m starting to think he anticipated some BS, because that is usually what we see in the media, so he decided to leave before his memories got tainted.
Sometimes Apologies Aren’t Enough: Jackson, Maeve, Otis, Ola, Eric, Adam, Eric’s Dad, Mr. Groff, Sean
One of the things which triggered Eric coming into his own is a school dance. Something which ends up being a big thing for many characters. To begin, Maeve is convinced by Jackson to go and in one of his rare sweet moments, even if it was embarrassing, Sean finds a way for her to afford a nice dress. The kind you’d expect from an 80s teen movie. However, after getting that dress, things go downhill when it comes to Sean’s involvement.
First off, he peer pressures Jackson to drink once again, and it leads to Jackson becoming a drunken mess. Also, he decides to sell drugs at the dance and attributes to a scene in which a kid threatens to jump off a prop and hurt himself. Oh, and he also takes Jackson’s car when Mr. Groff kicks him out and is just an ass for the rest of the night.
Speaking of Mr. Groff, he and Adam have another row, and this sends Adam a bit into a tailspin. No worse than before but it does push the idea, if this show were overly dramatic, he’d probably do something drastic. However, all he does is threaten Eric, as usual, and act like a jealous ex again.
Segueing to Eric, after coming out at home, he decides he is going to go to the dance because it is something he enjoys. This time, unlike the last, Eric’s Dad decides he isn’t going to let the world decide how to treat his son, so he drives him to the dance. Thus setting up a talk which makes it clear his father may not care about his son’s sexuality at all, he just doesn’t want him to feel othered.
You see, Eric’s dad is an immigrant and experienced some form of discrimination. So, naturally, he doesn’t want the same for his son, he wants a better life which doesn’t include the struggles he went through. However, taking note his son is brave enough to face those troubles, rather than blend in as he did, he finally tells Eric what he needs to hear. A scene which Adam sees and inspires him to confront his dad and say he hates him.
Leaving only Otis. We learn Ola wishes to join Moordale since her school has gone to the trash and she happens to run into Otis while leaving with her dad. One thing leads to another and despite Otis taking a pretentious feminist viewpoint on themed dances, they end up going together. But, between Maeve giving Ola a vibe, and Otis deciding to call Maeve a lioness and Ola a goat, one within his league, it seems those two are over before they begin.
Luckily, while Otis doesn’t get the chance, or make an effort, to apologize to Ola, he does to Eric, and they make up. However, no sooner after than does Jackson reveal to Maeve that he paid 50 to Otis to get the skinny on her. Leading to those two being done business-wise, and maybe their friendship as well.
So much to unpack. Let’s go easiest to the more difficult. Adam’s character has become a bit stagnant. Unlike everyone else, it doesn’t seem like he is growing or revealing more of himself. All we get is self-hatred, trying to lash out, and not even making his family more interesting. I thought maybe his mom talking a bit more would help but she seems oblivious to what is going on, if not willingly ignoring it. Also, with no signs of his sister coming about, I guess we’ll have to wait until the finale, or season two, for Adam to become someone to take note of. Though, considering his long term fascination with Eric, and the idea there might be other gay kids beyond him and Anwar, maybe Adam coming out will be his attempt to assert himself to viewers
Switching to the Ola situation, I’m just annoyed. Granted, it is probably because I find the character more entrancing than many on the show, but Otis should know better. He calls Maeve a lioness or panther and decides to call this girl, one who he asked out, that is his date for the night, a goat? Otis can’t be that stupid right? Though I don’t know what’s worse, him not trying to put effort into an apology or, like with Eric, him doing so because he knows he should, yet hasn’t changed the way he feels. He is just upset about the consequence.
But let’s face it, Otis’ life isn’t the way it is not because of his mom, dad, or anything but him not willing to put in a real effort. Which is why I find his situation with both Maeve and Ola so frustrating. Especially how he treated Ola it has been noted he has read a lot of feminist literature, sprouts nonsense about dances to cover up his lack of social grace, yet says this girl is like a damn goat? This girl who genuinely likes you, is able to express that, is comfortable in her person, and despite how weird you can be, let’s you do you? Even when it came to Otis not dancing, she didn’t push or get weird with him, she recognized it wasn’t something he enjoyed. Heck, even when he came on the dance floor she didn’t push him to dance with her or make fun of him, she just synced up with how he moved so they both could have a good time.
But, at the very least, while Otis’ apology to Eric was kind of meh, the conversation Eric had with his father was so beautiful. Particularly the point that his fears for Eric don’t come from a place of him being religious or anything like that. It’s because his immigrant experience he fears will mirror Eric’s experience of being a homosexual man who is flamboyant. And the way he expressed that fear seemed so poignant to me.
Perhaps it is the idea that, between homosexual people and immigrants, there is a need to assimilate for safety. Gay people will present themselves as adhering to gender norms, be closeted, and things like that for safety. Those who are immigrants, they learn the language quick as possible, acknowledge their culture privately, and smile at locals so they don’t seem threatening. And while I’m not well versed on what life is like being an African immigrant in the UK, I doubt it is vastly different than when they come to the US. So you can understand why, after the work Eric’s dad did, he wouldn’t want the same pressure and fear for his son. Yet, he recognizes this freedom Eric has is also dangerous for he is adding another layer that makes him other.
The best way to probably explain it comes from a scene in Paris Is Burning when a character talks about the strikes against them. One of the first being a Black male, then being gay, and I believe there was a third one. The point is, Eric’s dad learns to admire his son’s bravery for he lacks the fear his dad had, and probably still has, and recognizes that may not have came from him but is all Eric.
You Can’t Have It All: Jackson, Maeve, Otis, Eric, Jean, Jakob
The fallout from the Jackson reveal only ends up affecting Otis. For not too long after Maeve drops off Jackson with his moms, they have a fight, mostly his white mom and him, so he goes to Maeve. Someone who is quite taken by him being vulnerable and all that, since his mom lays into him about her sacrifices and what not, so he gets forgiven. As that happens, Eric and Otis, now back to how they used to be, are just looking for a late night snack with no mention of Ola or the Maeve situation. All that is clear to them, mostly us, is that Jean is back to her old ways.
Yup, after trying to psychoanalyze Jakob, saying more about herself than him, and having sex, Jean takes the cowards way out. Perhaps showing both Jakob and Ola that they got out before dragged into that family’s madness.
Like mother, like son. While Maeve is always talking about sabotaging herself, either on purpose or accident, it seems instead, her former best friend and his mom, that is their MO. Yet, for Jean, there is a bigger desire to give her a break than Otis. Granted, Jean has mostly been relegated to the house and hasn’t been given the same opportunity to mess up like Otis. However, considering she moved to the area only 14 years ago, had a kid, was cheated on, divorced, and largely seems isolated, I want to give her a pass. Especially since, as seen by her trying to diagnosis Jakob, and being completely wrong, it is clear the therapist needs therapy. Probably won’t get it, but you can see her reaction to the past is getting in the way of her future.
Speaking of future, you really do have to wonder who planned Jackson’s and why? Clearly his white mom is the dominant one in the family, so how did this boy go from not liking baths to waking up 4:30 in the morning to train is something to put a magnifying glass to. If only because there is this uncomfortable thought his white mom (I have no idea what her name is, like Eric’s dad) may have pushed him to either live vicariously or take advantage. For clearly his other mom doesn’t say much. She is on the level of Adam’s mom who isn’t really down for a back and forth which will lead to results.
- Eric and his dad’s conversation which got to the root of why his father has been hesitant about Eric fully expressing himself.
- Otis and his mom both being trash.
- Adam is stuck in a ditch, wailing his arms, and throwing rocks at other characters as they pass him by with hopes he can get a reaction out of them. It is sad to watch honestly.
On The Fence
- How things may go for Maeve when it comes to Jackson, and her mess of a brother Sean.
Follow Wherever I Look on Twitter, Like us on Facebook and Subscribe to the YouTube Channel.