Let me breathe first because, whew! There’s so much to unpack in this show. I’m not big on small talk so I’ma just dive right in.
The first episode follows Arabella, played by the amazingly talented Michaela Coel, who created, wrote, directed, and stars in the show, as she struggles to complete the draft of her second book. She’s tempted by all types of distractions and finally caves by going to a bar with her friends.
Higher than ten kites, she gets date raped. The rest of the episodes throughout the season are of her trying to remember who do it and, also, how to cope.
To her publisher, her behavior is erratic and unacceptable as she keeps stalling with her draft. But, she is hella traumatized. Her “relationship” with her douche-bag of a boyfriend fizzles. She joins a support group, tries painting and a few other things to cope with the pain.
One of the things she does to numb her feelings is by having sex with a guy, who ends up violating her in a major way when he removes his condom during sex, without her knowledge or consent. This adds to her already deep trauma.
We learn in the second to the last episode that she finally remembers who date raped her. Over a period of days, she goes back to the bar to jog her memory because a perpetrator always returns to the scene of the crime.
This is when it gets gooder LOL!
Michaela’s brilliant ass gives us THREE ALTERNATIVE ENDINGS! They were the perfect blend of transmutation and the shadow self.
To transmute is to change from one form to another. For instance, turning our pain into power, our trauma into triumph, our lessons into blessings. Like, how Mary J. Blige took all of what she went through with K-Ci and her ex-husband Kendu and transmuted those into heartfelt songs. Or how Beyonce’ took the lemons from Jay Z’s philandering and literally made Lemonade (one of her best albums, in my opinion).
Everyone has a shadow self. A dark side. ALL OF US!! But, most of us keep it hidden, suppressed. our persona (ego self), the face we show the world, is usually not the real us. It’s the “nice” us. The politically correct us. You’d be amazed to see how people truly are behind closed doors, away from the world, hidden.
The beauty happens when we can incorporate the shadow with the light for a blend of melodious harmony. No one is all bad just like no one is all good. One cannot exist without the other. Where there is dark there is light. Up, down. Front, back. Left, right. Easy, hard. Polarities are all around us.
But, because we’re taught to pretend and hide those things that are deemed “bad,” or go against our society, our culture, our family, we judge those who outwardly portray what we assume should be hidden. A sexually liberated woman, for example. We like sex but can’t talk about it.
Sex is natural. Sex should be enjoyable. Sex connects and bonds. Yet, we don’t talk about it. Can’t talk about it. We’re taught that sex is bad. Then we wonder why priests molest young kids. They’re sexually frustrated. Suppressing our sexual desires is unnatural, except, UNLESS, your desire is to violate kids then, in that case, suppress that shit.
When we suppress our negative energies and anger instead of transmuting it and channeling it another way, we blow up from bottling it in, which can result in abuse, violence, and even murder.
Have you ever been so mad that you could spit fire? Have you ever imagined smacking or punching somebody in the face? Or worse? Would you admit it if you did?
Have you ever seen the movie Enough with Jennifer Lopez? The one where she left her abusive husband, learned how to protect herself and killed him in the end? We clapped like hell. Why? Because there’s something within us who (secretly) loves revenge. If it weren’t for laws, rules, and regulations, many of us would be acting like we’re in the movie The Purge. TV shows and movies provide a great escape because they get to act out our shadow selves while we stay on the right side of the law.
So, when Arabella tricks her rapist into fake date raping her so that she and her ride or die friends could set him up by injecting him with the drug AND then fatally beating him to a bloody pulp, my initial reaction was that of excitement but quickly turned into disbelief. Somehow it seemed over-the-top, unreal. Turns out, it was. Then came the second alternative ending. I was like OMG! THIS IS DOPE!!!
In this scenario, she imagines the rapist opening up to her, sharing his trauma, his backstory. The why behind his behavior. WHAT THE FUUUUCCCCKKKKKK!!! I’d never seen anything like this before.
Those who know me in real life know that I am a Human Vault, Keeper of Secrets. People share all of their deepest, darkest secrets with me. And, because of this and my gift of clairsentience, I’m able to understand why an astute businessman with a loving wife and 3 kids, who all sit in the third pew at church every Sunday, cheats. One of my sayings is “You can’t understand where a person is coming from unless you know where he comes from.”
Arabella comforts her rapist as he cries in her arms about coming from generations of abusers. The imagined ending ends with police arresting him AND, following close behind, is the beat up, bloodied version of himself (from the first alternative ending) that was tucked under Arabella’s bed. Carrying in his hand was a clear plastic bag that housed an ultrasound and soiled clothing from a miscarriage she had. All symbolic of her releasing the pain, the trauma, the baggage that was keeping her STUCK.
She finishes her book and publishes it independently, alas transmutation.