I’m flattered! Thank you :)
I’ve just finished watching the first episode. SPOILERS AHOY
Funny that I should write an essay about the show’s brilliant ability to address the complexities of sexuality and consent, only to have the new series opener involve a non-consensual sex scene that is abruptly brushed aside.
Don’t get me wrong - as always, the scene was more complex than that one sentence made it sound. One of the parties was possessed, but also unconscious, the other party under emotional duress and only initiating the act as a sacrifice play to save lives (and possibly souls). There’s also Jess, the third party, forced to watch this non-consensual act take place and feel some (undeserved) burden of responsibility for it, which would be traumatic in its own way.
It could be that this will be dealt with later, as with the acknowledgment that the sex Alisha and Curtis had was non-consensual, a series and a half or so after the fact. I certainly hope this is the case.
Now, there are also some things in the episode I enjoyed. One, the long-time-coming acknowledgment that Rudy has had same-sex encounters in the past. Granted, we all more or less knew this was true, and also granted, Rudy hasn’t really acknowledged this properly himself, but it’s a start. Two, the subversion of expectations when Rudy tells Alex that his father used to tell him, “Women are like tractors.” The audience waits for what is bound to be a stunningly offensive explanation. Instead, Rudy says, “And I never understood it.” Three, I love Jess. Just about everything about Jess, including the lovely Karla Crome, is fantastic. I love her defensive sarcasm, her emotional outbursts (“BELIEVE IT OR NOT, THE WORLD DOES NOT REVOLVE AROUND YOUR COCK!”), her deadpan deliveries. Her throwing coffee on Alex, and then, when he’s all “ow, ow, hot, hot coffee!” she responds with a dry, “It was warm coffee.” Four, I foreverlove long-suffering Rudy Too, and five, I’m pleased that they seem to be returning to some overarching plotlines that connect back to the storm itself and the onset of super-empowerment (the Power Support Group is great). I do still have big issues with Finn, and this episode made Abbey seem Saltine cracker-bland, but my hopes are nonetheless enduring.
One final, self-indulgent complaint: I realize that Alex was introduced after Seth, and I don’t recall them having any significant interactions, but it annoyed the shit out of me that the crux of this episode was Alex being forced to have sex with people to relieve them of harmful powers. If Alex had so much as mentioned the situation with the accident-prone woman to the main group, they might have said, “Oh, well, if she’s offering money, she could just buy Seth a round trip ticket from Africa and clear that right up, no dubiously consensual sex necessary!” I get it, Seth’s off the show, much to my chagrin, but, as littleletknown and I were recently discussing, if your conflict could easily be resolved if the characters just talked to each other about what was going on, then it’s probably weak writing.