‘Everything’s Gonna Be Okay’ Season 1, Episode 6 Recap: “Harvester Ants”

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This episode of ‘Everything’s Gonna Be Okay contains discussions of sexual assault. RAINN partnered with the show to offer resources during the episode, which we have repeated here. Support is available 24/7 at RAINN’s National Sexual Assault Hotline. Call 800.656.HOPE (4673) or visit http://online.rainn.org to get help.

The second part of Everything’s Gonna Be Okay‘s exploration of autism and consent is an excellent episode of television that raises its own bar for storytelling. Far from providing easy answers, “Harvester Ants” offers various perspectives while still generating laughs. Kayla Cromer shines as Matilda, and Josh Thomas’ writing allows for a full discussion of the issues presented while respecting Matilda’s agency.

The episode opens with Nicholas getting ready to meet the principal in the aftermath of the last episode’s confrontation. He has Alex on FaceTime for moral support and confesses that he’s intrigued about why Genevieve hit a boy. He’s nervous, which Alex states that he knows because Nicholas is wearing a blazer. Nicholas hangs up as he rushes out of the house.

The principal’s office is silent and awkward, with Zane and his father sitting on one side and Genevieve on the other. Matilda is sitting outside, nervously playing with her bracelet to stay calm. Nicholas arrives and enters the office. The principal states that if Genevieve apologizes, they will roll back the suspension. But Genevieve refuses. Zane, obviously worried more will be said about the incident with Matilda, reassures the principal that Genevieve does not have to apologize. But Zane’s father, angered and not in possession of the full story, insists that she does. Nicholas crouches next to Genevieve and asks what’s going on. Genevieve tells him that Matilda asked her not to make a scene, and Nicholas asks for a minute alone with Genevieve.

In the hallway, Nicholas asks Genevieve for “something he can work with.” After some hesitation, Matilda tells Genevieve that Nicholas can know what happened with Zane. They reenter the office, with Nicholas stating “she’s definitely not going to apologize.” The principal asks Zane and Genevieve to leave, and Zane and his father show just where their priorities are by asking if Zane can rejoin the BattleBots club. The principal allows this, which Nicholas is gobsmacked by. As Zane leaves, Matilda says hello to him, which he ignores.

Nicholas confronts Zane’s father on his lack of interest in the situation, revealing that Zane, an eighteen-year-old, had sex with an underage, drunk Matilda. He quips “Drunk, underage, crying, autistic. So the optics here, they aren’t great.” This is the first Zane’s father has heard of this, and he is furious that his son is being, in his view, unfairly maligned. The principal is uncomfortable, calling the situation complex. But Nicholas stands up for Genevieve, pointing out that she’s so small she couldn’t even hurt Zane. In fact, she hurt her hand just trying to punch him while having no effect on him whatsoever. Zane’s father shifts to blame Matilda, saying that his son has no problem getting girls and that Matilda “must have caught him at a weak moment.” Nicholas is uncharacteristically speechless at this.

Outside, Genevieve and Matilda sit on the bench as Matilda rocks nervously. Genevieve tells her she doesn’t have to be there. Matilda states that she’s mad at her, but will stand by her because they’re family. Matilda points out that now everyone in school knows since Genevieve told her friends. She also insists that she was fine with the whole situation and wants to know why Genevieve didn’t believe her. Inside, Nicholas insists that Genevieve should not receive any punishment. He threatens to go public with what happened, and Zane’s father rather disturbingly notes that since Zane and Matilda are only one year apart in age, the situation would at most be a misdemeanor. But not wanting this to go any further, he advocates for dropping the charges against Genevieve. Nicholas emerges victorious, strutting in the hallway in front of Matilda and Genevieve.

Back at home, Matilda confronts Nicholas, asking if Zane is in trouble. She insists she asked Zane to have sex, unintentionally but hilariously commenting on his abilities when she states “I wasn’t specific about whether or not it had to be good.” Nicholas says he was worried because she was drunk and crying, to which Matilda asks him if he’s ever had sex while drunk or crying. He deflects, saying “let’s not look too closely at my choices.”

Matilda keeps asking for a solid definition, but Nicholas notes that everything about this situation is gray. She asks if it’s because she has autism. Nicholas admits that her lack of ability to read social situations scares him when it comes to her having sex. But Matilda says she’s high functioning and doesn’t understand why she is being treated differently. She leaves, saying she needs a break.

Nicholas follows her to her nook, where she describes a graphic rape scene from a movie she saw. She thought that was rape, and Nicholas wholeheartedly agrees that it was. Matilda says that sex with Zane wasn’t anything like that, an admittedly low bar to clear based on the content of the scene. Nicholas fumbles with his words, saying that there’s a “rainbow of rape” in a spectacularly bad choice of words. He means that there’s the violent rape Matilda describes at one end, and the huge gray area they now find themselves in. Matilda is more confused than ever and says she wishes she could just have the rules. She asks him point-blank if he thinks she was raped, and he cannot answer.

They head to the kitchen, where Nicholas makes microwave cake as Matilda waits for an answer. He says that he wasn’t there, but if she is fine with the situation then he believes her. Genevieve arrives, and Matilda asks her if she didn’t have autism, would Genevieve still believe this was rape? Genevieve says she thinks it sounds bad, and Matilda explodes in anger. She says she used Zane to tick a box, not the other way around. She also says they ruined her first time by getting involved. No teenager wants their parent to know about their sex life, and now Nicholas and Zane’s father know about hers. She storms off.

Nicholas joins her, where he suggests that next time Matilda calls him if she isn’t sure. Matilda notes that this would make her eccentric. Nicholas says that if a boy doesn’t know her well enough to know that she’s “super eccentric” and doesn’t love that she’s eccentric, then he doesn’t deserve to have sex with her.  Alex calls, and Nicholas worries that he will have to cancel their trip to Mexico to be with Matilda. Matilda insists she’s fine, and she and Genevieve tell him to go.

In Mexico, Alex and Nicholas get in a fight about a prank Nicholas pulled. Alex is angry and stressed, and Nicholas won’t apologize. Alex snaps that he should have stayed home after the Matilda incident, and Nicholas calls him out on it, saying Alex was the one who wanted him to come. Nicholas apologizes, but Alex dramatically says he wishes he hadn’t met Nicholas. Now, Nicholas is crying and Alex is apologizing.

Back at home, Drea is sleeping over with Matilda. She asks how it was having sex with Zane, and Matilda diplomatically replies that she won’t answer until she has more experience to compare it to. Drea confesses that she kissed Jeremy, which prompts Matilda to respond “but he’s a loser!” Drea notes that she’s a loser too, but says she mainly did it for the chance to see if she liked kissing a boy. She admits she is now more confused since she doesn’t know if she doesn’t like kissing boys or just Jeremy in particular. The two revel in the fact that they are now women. In the epilogue, Genevieve wanders the halls of their home while reciting slam poetry.

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

Jules

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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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