We Are Who We Are: Season 1/ Episode 2 “Right Here, Right Now #2” – Recap/ Review (with Spoilers)

We revisit the same day covered in the first episode, but now from Caitlin (aka Harper’s) perspective.

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Director(s)Luca Guadagnino
Writer(s)Paolo Giordano, Francesca Manieri, Luca Guadagnino
Aired (HBO)9/21/2020

This content contains pertinent spoilers.

Recap

My Relationship With Danny & Mom – Danny, Jennifer, Caitlin

When it comes to Danny, Caitlin’s younger brother, things are how you expect when it comes to two people who have attached themselves to one single parent. Danny isn’t necessarily a mother’s boy, but he is invested in her culture, the language of Nigeria, and as he pursues faith and understanding, it causes friction. Said friction mainly with Caitlin since, in her freedom, Danny doesn’t become worried but appears jealous. Hence him not making a move when some Italian guys are getting aggressive with Caitlin but rather blaming her need to be “the center of attention.”

As for Jennifer? Well, what more can you say about a mother/daughter relationship when said daughter tells her dad she got her period before her mom? Hell, bypasses telling her mom altogether?

Sam, Dad, and Craig: The Men of My Life – Sam, Richard, Craig, Caitlin

While Sam is Caitlin’s boyfriend, it seems their relationship is based on convenience and familiarity versus passion, at least on Caitlin’s part. She even tells her dad, Richard, she gets bored of him sometimes. Yet, with Sam wanting and liking her body, and her wanting to explore the male form, having access to a sense of validation and someone to touch that’s real? Well, it compensates for lack of emotion.

Not to say she doesn’t love Sam, but she definitely isn’t in love with him. Though, what is love for a young person who has two great male role models and is still trying to figure out what they want to be? This makes Caitlin lucky to have Richard for a dad since, whether he figures she is a tomboy or could be more, he supports her.

As shown in the episode, he doesn’t care if Caitlin boxes with him, presents themselves in more masculine attire, or decides to switch it up from day to day, moment to moment. All Richard wants is for his kid to be happy and feel loved.

You could say the same for Craig, who acts like a brother to Caitlin. I mean, even during his morning routine with some lower-ranked soldiers, after doing what he has to do, he checks on Caitlin, gives her sweet kisses on the forehead, and acts in a manner you expect of Danny. Which could make you wonder if any of what he does is because of Richard, considering Richard’s mentorship could do wonders for Craig’s career. However, it seems to be a genuine connection, so, likely, Caitlin isn’t being used.

This New Kid – Fraser, Caitlin

There is a world of difference between your father accepting you as is, because you’re their kid, and the world at large. Heck, even with friends, having someone that knows all of you, not just the parts you’re comfortable with, is the kind of intimacy that’s frightening. Especially if they aren’t just watching but an active participant.

This is what makes Fraser different, weird, and potentially scary. His stare isn’t so much leering, but almost like a mirror figure. If not the way someone would look at their platonic soul mate. Meaning, while there is a sense of longing and shock, there isn’t anything lustful about it. Rather, it’s like the shock of seeing your home after a long journey and everything still being as you remember it.

Things To Note | Question(s) Left Unanswered

  1. Will each episode go back and forth between Caitlin and Fraser?
  2. Anyone else think they made Richard a Trump supporter just so he couldn’t be perfect?

Review

Highlights

Caitlin/Harper’s Relationship With Her Dad & Craig

Coming of age stories for Black girls are sparse, and them getting on platforms like HBO are even rarer. So Caitlin’s existence, in terms of representation, is noteworthy. Especially when you add in how she is both protected by some of the men in her life, as well as allowed to exist beyond what they maybe want and see for them. Take Craig helping Caitlin into a harness, imploring her to do so even, like everyone else. At that moment, you can see Craig wanting Caitlin to be free, a kid, and just like everyone else.

Now, is this to say he knows what changes she is going through? Who knows? However, consider the man who would jump in another man’s face would also let her do something he sees as dangerous for her, but would rather her do it the right way than not at all? There is a love there which is hard to describe if you don’t have it in your life.

Then with Richard, it’s just beautiful to see a Black father bond with his Black daughter. Especially to see a bond so strong that she isn’t embarrassed about how she feels, what she is going through, or how she dresses. Caitlin being just as willing to dress in a masculine manner as tell Richard about Sam and her period almost comes off foreign. Yet, for many girls, this is their life. Specifically, for many Black women, this is their relationship with their fathers, and it makes the fact none of the writers are Black yet have these strong Black characters really speak to how universal you can make something yet still provide enough so certain cultures can see things specific to them.

Understanding How Fraser Will Play A Role In Caitlin’s Life

One of the hardest things to allow another person to witness is you in progress. To have someone with the capability to critique you, question you, and side-eye you while you are discovering yourself, getting better at something, or in pursuit of a goal is a form of vulnerability not tapped into enough. Which is why Fraser and Caitlin’s relationship will likely be so intense. He sees her, as a whole, and accepts, potentially loves her, in a way that has nothing to do with sex.

That can be a bit of a mind screw. Particularly due to intimacy being learned through watching your parents, siblings, and members of your family, alongside whatever shows or movies you watch. It is something learned through observation and then practiced with another person. But rarely is intimacy learned beyond relationships and sex. It is assumed that chemistry and the intimacy that comes with it, that precedes or is part of getting into a relationship.

So for both Fraser and Caitlin, exploring what it means to be intimate with someone without the expectation of kissing, sex, and a relationship will likely be new and confusing. Especially considering neither have parents in a lovey-dovey relationship. Rather it seems their parents are in a relationship out of obligation, or for the sake of appearances, than because they truly love and adore their partner.

On The Fence

How The Supporting Cast Will Be Developed

With how things have been developed with Fraser and Caitlin, so comes the question if “We Are Who We Are” will go the “Skins” method and focus on each individual, or interlace them with Fraser and Caitlin maintaining their roles as the leads? For when it comes to characters like Sarah and her wife, you want to see and understand them more. Meanwhile, for others, like Danny, getting an idea who they are through interacting with Craig and Caitlin seems like more than enough.


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