So, that was heavier than I was expecting. I decided to watch these episodes after two episodes of Jessica Jones. And then, well, I wasn’t going to also watch the second one, I mean, I did, eventually, but well…yeah, I needed to watch something not about rape. (This is, by the way, a story point I knew hit eventually, I’d heard it talked about, but it didn’t know when, or the circumstances.) ANYWAY!!!
Season 1: Episode 7: “Drawing The Line Part 1”
So, to begin with, this is a very good episode of television, even without the gut punch of the ending. We have, basically, three stories being evenly balanced.
Ben is not talking to Felicity because of the situation with his paper. It’s nice for Ben that he’s getting a sense of boundaries, and all, but it’s also, like, I hate him? So I want him to stop being such a dick about it. Felicity, in turn, is whining to Noel about the whole thing, and Noel is talking (in hypotheticals, FOR REAL) to the other RA’s about it, and how he can’t take having feelings for this girl and having to listen to her talk about this other guy. They suggest he tell her that he can’t be her sounding board. He does, she’s hurt, but eventually gets it.
Elena loses out on a scholarship she was counting on and is in panic mode. Blair (OMG I LOVE HIM) decides to help, by preying on Felicity’s lack of boundaries and getting her to look at Elena’s admissions file. They then find a scholarship specifically for young black women who want to be doctors at New York. What a stroke of amazing luck! At first she’s mad, but then realizes, with help from Noel, that her dreams are worthy and she should fight for them.
The third story is about Julie and Zack. Their relationship is becoming more intense, both emotionally and physically, but Julie wants to pull back physically. After a night of Julie scoring Zack’s movie and then partying, they go back to Julie’s room, and, clearly have sex. The next day, Felicity find Julie, having stripped her bed and deeply upset. After asking what’s wrong, Julie describes her night, explaining that Zack was aggressive, that she said no and he didn’t stop.
Season 1: Episode 8: “Drawing The Line: Part 2”
What I like about this episode? The focus is very much on Julie and her dealing with the fact that she’s been raped. (Possibly not for the first time? Way to drop that bomb and then do nothing with it, show! Unless you do later.) However I do not like that Felicity makes it all about her. Way to be the worst Felicity.
Anyway, as Felicity encourages Julie to trust the system when it comes to her rape, taking her to the hospital and scoping out the counseling center for her. She also tells Noel, which is very Felicity of her, but also seriously, not her call. Anyway, together, these two well intentioned busy bodies attempt to get Julie to report Zack.
Meanwhile, Zack is coming to grips with the fact that he raped someone. In (yet another) perfect encapsulation of dude obliviousness when it comes to rape culture. Julie was into it, he didn’t attack her. When she tells him, finally, that she is reporting him, that she’s going to fight for herself, well, it’s pretty moving, especially when he says that he’s going home he knows that he has a lot to grapple with.
But nothing beats Ben. The moment where he talks about being abused by his father and coming to grips with it not being his fault, so Julie needs to realize that she did nothing wrong either, it was incredible.
I hate him a little less now. (As described below)
- It hit me that both Felicity and Noel grow up to be spies. This feels important, somehow. (It is not actually important)
- Why I Hate Ben: He tries to turn Blair against Felicity. What the hell man? She’s a nut job, but she deserves friends!
- Why I’m Coming Around On Ben: He’s very kind of Julie about everything, actually listens to her. We learn that they didn’t have sex because she said she didn’t want to and he punches Zack in the face.
- Greg Grunberg, who’s character name I can’t seem to remember, is an utter delight on this show, with his weird invention/business ideas. Also, I’m thinking he never leaves Ben, his and Blair’s apartment.
- Felicity looks darn cute in her Dean and Deluca uniform. Also, I hope she starts standing up for herself more. She’s way less annoying when that happens.
- Amy Jo Johnson is a BEAST acting wise in these episodes. She’s really, really, good.
- Crystan Says: “All I want is for Jake and Elizabeth (Keri’s character on The Americans) to meet up and be badass spies together. Also, you will hate everyone on this show at some point. And Felicity continues to be a door mat. (GREAT) And his name is Sean (his name is GREG GRUNBERG!)”