Thursday, August 5, 2021

Recap: Things Get Awkward in ‘Everything’s Gonna Be Okay’ Season 2, Episode 5 “California Banana Slugs”

This show continues to leave me a little speechless every week. Sometimes it’s good speechless, like in the case of Drea’s scenes in this episode, and sometimes it’s just a “okay what even WAS THAT” kind of speechless. Either way, Everything’s Gonna Be Okay continues to push the envelope on what teen television can be and what representation can look like, and this week was no exception.

Spoilers ahead for Everything’s Gonna Be Okay Season 2, Episode 5. You have been warned.

The episode opens with Alex at his dad’s new apartment. They’re having dinner, and Alex is venting about his frustrations with Nicholas, such as he doesn’t listen and says Alex is dumb for complaining all the time. Eric, fresh off his divorce, is skeptical of the relationship and tells him that people don’t change and he should just break up with Nicholas. Alex isn’t sure how to respond and just takes a drink.

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The next morning, Nicholas is up on a ladder changing the smoke detector batteries, and Alex is on his way out. Nicholas begins to try to apologize but is failing miserably, so half-sarcastically he pulls up an article on how to apologize on his phone. The first step is acknowledging the mistake, which Nicholas starts to do before saying Alex should have just told him he was upset. He fumbles the second step, taking ownership, but manages to sort of finish the third step, committing to change. He promises to try harder to be less robotic with his empathy. Alex seems to be less mad, but only kinda.

Genevieve is surprised by a present, as it’s not her birthday or Christmas. It’s a present from Oscar, a record. She goes to the garage to look for a record player. Meanwhile, Matilda and Drea are texting a guy as Nicholas comes in with Genevieve singing a ridiculous song: “Drea! Matilda! Drea! Matilda! They’re not lesbians but they are together!” Drea’s laughing, but Matilda is utterly mortified. And then Drea does something pretty big – on screen, on television, she says she identifies as homoromantic asexual. (Asexuality is rarely if ever represented on television, and usually it’s only alluded to, never explicitly confirmed. Drea stating this so clearly is a huge, huge deal, but more on that later.) Matilda announces that they have invited a 26-year-old named Ian over for a no-strings-attached hookup. Nicholas tries to put his foot down and says no, but Matilda insists she is 18 and she can do what she wants. Genevieve then realizes what’s going on and asks if they’re doing this together, to which Drea brilliantly replies, “I’m asexual, Genevieve. What would I do in there?” No, Drea will wait somewhere else in the house while Matilda engages in casual sex. Everyone seems weirded out by this except Matilda. Even Drea seems skeptical.

The scene changes, and Nicholas is trying to stop crying. Genevieve starts to ask him if he wants to talk about it, but he just tells her to play the record while saying, “Parenting is hard.” Genevieve starts the record, and Drea joins them to listen. Just then, Matilda walks in with Ian, who is fairly cool with the Drea situation as Matilda explains it. And then comes the most awkward silence ever recorded in history. Even Duke, Drea’s service dog, is uncomfortable. Ian brought some wine, and he and Nicholas drink some, but when Matilda tries to talk with him, Drea interrupts them, saying they’re only supposed to have sex, not get to know each other. Nicholas suggests they go into the bug room and finish their wine while Drea and Matilda work things out.

Nicholas introduces Ian to a spider, whom he says is named Stephanie, and it’s at that point Ian is sure he’s going to be killed in this room. Nicholas laughs and assures him he doesn’t have it in him to be a murderer, but that he also doesn’t really want him here. He’s protective of Matilda, and he’s pretty sure either Drea, Matilda, or both of them will be hurt by this. And, at the same time, he doesn’t think his concerns come first.

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The record continues to play, and everything continues to be very awkward. With their wine glasses empty, Matilda decides it’s time and leads Ian into the bedroom. Nicholas thinks it’s strange and doesn’t want anyone to be sad, but Drea makes the assertion the only sad one is him.

EVERYTHING’S GONNA BE OKAY – “California Banana Slugs” – Matilda doesn’t want to do it on the lawn! Nicholas thinks parenting is hard. Genevieve gets a present. Drea explains her feelings. This episode of “Everything’s Gonna Be Okay” airs Thursday, April 29 on Freeform. (Freeform/Kelsey McNeal) JOSH THOMAS

Deep Conversations

Genevieve and Oscar talk on the phone for some time. They agree not to have any silences and keep trying to keep each other talking. Genevieve asks what he’s thinking about right now, and he says the time his mom caught him kissing a balloon. He asks the same, and Genevieve says she wishes she was using a landline so she could twirl the cord as they talked, and also Michael Jackson, for some reason.

In the living room, Drea asks Nicholas why he became an entomologist. He tells her that as a kid, he was obsessed with Australian Christmas Beetles. When he turned 17, he realized he hadn’t seen them in some time and when he went to look for them, they weren’t there anymore. He wanted to find out whether it mattered if the Christmas Beetles disappeared, but had to move back here to take care of Genevieve, and Drea and wasn’t able to finish finding the answer. Meanwhile, Oscar asks if Genevieve can go out, and she responds by asking him back why he’s asking. There’s a long silence. They both confirm they’re still there, and Genevieve says it’s not the end of the conversation regarding whether they might go out.

Nicholas tells Drea that he researched asexuality, that he kept looking for explanations but all he could find was that it means a person doesn’t want to have sex. And Drea confirms that that’s about it. Nicholas validates her identity, and then goes on to say he doesn’t get it because for him, sex and love are so intertwined. Drea expands on the definition, saying she feels the same romantic feelings, but sex just isn’t involved. She just wants to be near people and hear them talking. Nicholas replies maybe if he liked hearing people talk more, he’d get it.

(There’s perhaps only one show I can think of that has talked about asexuality in this concrete of a way, and even then this is one of the first examples where a character doesn’t have to go through pain or trauma to come to this realization. I admit I was skeptical after the first few episodes of this season, but this episode, and this conversation, solidified the importance and excellence of this show.)

Oscar and Genevieve agree to a date. Oscar offers to take her somewhere and show her stuff, to which she responds that she likes things and stuff. They’re going out on a date and, to quote Genevieve, isn’t that something.

Nicholas pets Duke and asks Drea if she’s just letting Matilda have sex with men even though it hurts her so Matilda will keep liking her, and Drea admits that’s true. She says having sex with men makes Matilda happy, and Drea wants to make Matilda happy, and that if she can make Matilda happy, she’ll love her. Nicholas isn’t quite sure about this plan, but Drea says the alternative is they break up now and she’ll be sad now, so she might as well try to be happy while she can.

Ian leaves Matilda’s bedroom, takes the rest of his wine, says goodbye, and leaves. Nicholas and Genevieve are flabbergasted that he took the rest of his wine with him, but Drea sees it as perfectly logical considering it’s his wine. Freshly showered, Matilda comes out into the living room to complete “their ritual.” She burns sage and the two of them chant, casting any energy Ian may have left in the house out. “Rack off, Ian!” they yell, and Genevieve and Nicholas join in with the cleansing and happy dancing. Matilda stands still as Drea sages all around her head, and the episode comes to a close.

Everything’s Gonna Be Okay season , episode 6, “False Black Widow Spider,” premieres Thursday, May 6 at 10/9c on Freeform.

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Emily
Emily is a a graduate of Simmons University with a Bachelor's Public Relations and Journalism and former Disney World Cast Member. An avid fangirl and media connoisseur, when Emily is not thinking of her next article topic, she is planning for her next convention, chatting about the latest book she has read or binge-watching her favorite nerdy shows on Netflix. Find Emily on Instagram and Twitter at @emilycoleyeah

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