‘Everything’s Gonna Be Okay’ Season 1, Episode 5 Recap: “West African Giant Black Millipedes”

Image courtesy Freeform.

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“West African Giant Black Millipedes” tackles some tough and important topics while still leaving its sense of humor intact. It’s also an episode that establishes Matilda as the agent of her own story, giving her an arc usually experienced by a neurotypical teenager on television. Kayla Cromer does outstanding work in this episode as Matilda experiences rejection and heartbreak for the first time while also establishing her sexuality. It’s a great episode that is a conversation starter, and even better, it’s the start of a multi-episode arc, giving the show time to fully explore the ramifications of the events that occur.

The show opens with Alex and Nicholas preparing for a party where Nicholas will meet Alex’s friends for the first time. Alex is nervous while Nicholas jokes around, making fun of his lack of social skills at an American party. Once the evening gets underway, they all seem to be getting along, with Alex’s friends jokingly asking who Nicholas likes better. Alex, however, is still stressed, which his friends call him out on. The night is going well until Connie makes an awkward joke about her brother, who died of an opioid overdose. Alex had told Nicholas not to mention the topic, and Nicholas pretends this is the first he’s heard of it. This backfires when Alex’s friends wonder why he didn’t mention it. Alex cracks, telling the group that he did mention it to Nicholas. But now things go from bad to worse, as it appears Nicholas lied for no reason.

Rosie, Alex’s other friend, removes Nicholas from the now very awkward situation. She applies makeup to Nicholas’ face as he asks her to tell the others he’s a good boyfriend for Alex. On the couch, Alex admits that he told Nicholas not to mention he’d heard of Connie’s brother’s death in an effort to make them like Nicholas. Connie, now realizing Nicholas lied to protect Alex, has a better opinion of him. The group laughs in delight as Nicholas enters, now in drag with Rosie’s help. He performs a full drag number on the piano as they cheer him on.

Meanwhile, Matilda, Drea, and Jeremy are outside a house party. Matilda confidently rushes in while holding a bottle of schnapps as Drea and Jeremy wait outside, clearly uncomfortable. She approaches the first person she sees, looking for Luke. It’s his house, and he invited her to the party. She spots Luke and makes a beeline for him, even dancing in an effort to look “cool.” He asks her if she wants a drink, which she declines while drinking directly from her bottle of schnapps. Luke is playing a video game, and while he concentrates she remarks, “This is a real party,” before asking if anyone will be smoking marijuana. Her vision of the party seems to draw on the many clichés of popular teen movies, which makes Luke laugh. He gets up to get another drink, and Matilda comes with him.

Luke, trying to let Matilda down easy, tells her he thinks she’s great and fun, but doesn’t want her to get the wrong impression. Oblivious, she asks what he means. Luke tells her he likes her as a friend, and it seems he genuinely does care for her in that way. Matilda asks him if he thinks she’s “pretty and nice,” and when he responds that he does, she bluntly asks, “So what’s the problem?” Luke, stuck, offers the excuse that he’s just busy with school and soccer. She accuses him of leading her on, which he says he wasn’t trying to do. Matilda, stung by this rejection, says, “Some people feel like they have to be nice to me because I’m different, but actually they don’t like me. Is that what you’re doing?” Luke, now very embarrassed, leaves Matilda to use the bathroom.

Matilda drinks even more, pushing herself through people to get away while taking swigs from her bottle of schnapps. She ends up drinking near a trailer parked outside and kicking it, and a boy inside tells her to “take it down a notch.” Instead, she lets out a blood-curdling scream of frustration. Concerned, Zane asks her what’s wrong. She sadly says, “Luke broke my heart, and I can feel it breaking.” Zane goes back into his trailer to give her some space. Matilda starts to cry and rock back and forth. But she pulls herself together and enters the trailer.

She asks him if he thinks Luke was telling the truth about soccer, saying, “Do you think it’s because of soccer or because I have autism?” He responds with, “Soccer’s never stopped Luke from getting girls before, so definitely autism.” Matilda rants about how all she really wanted was to have sex, frequently mentioning her “budding sexuality.” Zane seems deeply uncomfortable, especially when she asks him if he finds her pretty. He says he does, and she gets even more indignant at Luke’s rejection, repeating over and over that she’s pretty. She sits next to him and kisses him, which catches him off guard. He pushes her away, which confuses Matilda since she thought “all teenage boys were horny and just wanted to have sex.” She asks him to kiss her, and after some hesitation he does.

Outside the party, Drea and Jeremy are still waiting. Drea is experiencing a sensory overload and asks Jeremy to squeeze her to calm her down, which he does. He tries to kiss her, and she says, “Not now.” A moment later, she says, “Okay, now,” as they kiss. Immediately following, she tells him this was a one time deal and she doesn’t want to date him, which Jeremy seems perfectly okay with.

Matilda is still making out with Zane, who takes his shirt off. She asks if they are about to have sex, and when he responds in the affirmative, she takes off her tights. Due to her sensory issues, she only wears boy’s underwear, which he tells her doesn’t bother him. She also grabs a condom from her purse and gives it to him. He seems nervous, and after a few moments where Matilda has to correct him they eventually do have sex. Matilda, never one to censor criticism, says, ” I think we can get a lot better at it!” as they both get dressed. She sees this as a chance for them to improve over time, where he definitely sees this as a one-time deal. It also appears that he is regretting the entire thing, perhaps because of Matilda’s autism or the fact that she had had a few drinks. He asks her not to tell anyone about it, and she agrees, not seeming to understand why he’d want to keep it a secret.

At school, Genevieve and Tellulah are talking by their lockers. Tellulah, ever dramatic, tells Genevieve her period is late, hoping for a reaction. Genevieve points out that she’s never had sex, and Tellulah gets the line of the episode when she dejectedly says, “I know, but could some have fallen in?” She lists the many reasons she could be stressed and have a late period, including the threat of gun violence and the pressure to perform on social media. It’s a great monologue made better by Genevieve’s dismissive reactions. It soon comes out that something is bothering Genevieve, and Tellulah asks her to spill the secret.

It turns out Matilda told Genevieve about how she had sex with Zane, and both Genevieve and Tellulah are horrified at how it happened. I loved how the focus wasn’t on Matilda’s autism being the reason Genevieve and Tellulah are worried; instead, the girls are worried because she was drunk and upset when she had sex. They get to their lunch table, where Barb is devastated to learn she was cast as the donkey in the school play. Tellulah, wanting to one-up her in the drama department, tells her about Matilda. Genevieve says not to tell anyone, since she knows Matilda doesn’t want it to spread around.

Tellulah is on a rampage, calling Zane a predator and telling the girls they need to tell everyone what happened to protect other women. As Tellulah talks, it seems Genevieve is getting angrier on Matilda’s behalf. They toss out some revenge ideas, all of which are terrible yet hilarious, with no one suggesting they actually tell someone in authority. Tellulah comes up with an idea, telling Genevieve and Barb to follow her. They approach Zane with Tellulah holding a blue drink. She tells him to drink it, and he and his friends (including Luke) burst into laughter. But the fun and games stop when an angry Genevieve yells at Zane, asking him how he could do that to Matilda.

Luke, still protective of Matilda, asks what she means. Genevieve tells the group that Zane and Matilda had sex when she was drunk and crying (Tellulah adds, “And autistic!” in order to up the stakes even further). Luke is angry as Zane denies it, and the situation escalates further when Tellulah calls him a rapist as other students look on. The episode ends on a cliffhanger, with Nicholas getting a call from the principal of the high school telling him to come in to talk about Genevieve.

Everything’s Gonna Be Okay airs Thursdays at 8:30 p.m. ET on Freeform, with older episodes available to stream on Hulu.

Julia

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I am a nursing student and dedicated fangirl from Boston! When I'm not at work, I'm rewatching old favorites like Supernatural and Lost or discovering my new obsessions (too many to count!). I'm a huge Disney fan and my happy place is the Happiest Place on Earth! When not fangirling, I can be found reading, writing and listening to a true crime podcast. You can find me on Twitter @juleswritesblog for more nerdy nonsense and occasionally rants.

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