Virago: Part the Eleventh — Answers

First chapter: Fire & Rain

Previous chapter: Expiration

It was eerie being inside a near stranger’s house alone. Kelsey winced as she heard the linoleum squeak beneath her sneaker. She made her way towards the living room and tapped on the walls to bring up Barbara’s wall app. She was stunned when nothing lit up. What sort of archaic shit was this woman into?

Kelsey idly glanced towards the candles. The woman had multitudes of those in here. Candles were thought to summon spirits when used correctly or to honour perished loved ones.

She lit some of the candles nearest to her. They were all in a row. She looked at the window. Luckily, this room only had windows facing the backyard. Nobody should notice from the street. Kelsey closed her eyes and calmed her mind. She wasn’t exactly sure what she was trying to do here. She half-expected the house to somehow give her some guidance, or maybe some part of her would explain what the hell was going on.

The flames leapt towards the ceiling with a whoosh! Kelsey’s eyes flew open, worried that something was going to catch ablaze. She looked around the room, but it was silent and still. Until a shadow appeared in front of her. It didn’t have a face but it had the form of something once human. Kelsey chewed on a hangnail. Who was supposed to speak first in this sort of scenario, anyway?

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Tea & Review: Fargo – The Principle of Restricted Choice

Two episodes in, the third season of Fargo already feels a good deal different from its predecessors. Like Seasons One and Two, this one takes place in the same Midwestern setting and, as I noted last week, contains character archetypes we’ve become familiar with. Yet despite these commonalities, Season Three feels apart somehow. It’s not just that it doesn’t seem to have the obvious plot and character connections the previous installments did; its distance from the original film, both in tone and time, in a way makes it feel more urgent.

Season One was so preoccupied with proving its worth as a successor to the movie that it, in a sense, had to occupy that same 90s temporal realm despite taking place in 2006. Plus, the need for audiences to understand how it was connected to the preceding story added a layer of detachment to the whole affair. Meanwhile, Season Two was a prequel whose outcome was, in the grand scheme, more or less inevitable. In comparison, Season Three comes off as both contemporary and more intimate.

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Tea & Review: A Suitable Girl

A Suitable Girl debuted at the Tribeca Film Festival on April 22nd 2017.

A Suitable Girl

Directors: Sarita Khurana and Smriti Mundhra

At the beginning of A Suitable Girl we come to the juxtaposition between two very stark moments in time.

As an audience, we are given a montage of images: an evolution of little Indian girls growing under the watchful eye of their families.

But the narration offers us what is to be their future. It is a blunt, sweeping attempt to angle us all in the proper direction: marriage.

There will eventually come a time where she will marry and leave her family behind.

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Tea & Review: iZombie- Eat, Pray, Live

After watching “Eat, Pray, Liv,” I think a part of me would actually be totally okay if Ravi (Rahul Kohli) and Peyton (Aly Michalka) end up going their separate ways. Yes, they might love each other but that doesn’t mean two people actually work together.

For his part, Ravi just couldn’t stop himself from one bad decision after another. His well-intentioned effort to be kind, understanding, and compassionate, combined with his sense of moral superiority, comes out as a patronizing attempt to forgive Peyton for sleeping with Blaine (David Anders).

Unfortunately, Ravi makes the fatal assumption that Peyton seeks his forgiveness. It’s here, in the most subtle and unobtrusive way, iZombie touches on that nasty pest of sexual entitlement which thrives in a patriarchy. And more importantly, it demonstrates that this pest infects even the kindest, most well-intentioned, thoughtful and loving of people (e.g. unsuspecting Ravi). It is undiscriminating.

Sexual entitlement is the persistent belief (which we all have likely perpetuated at one time or another) that women owe men both sex and sexual attention. That women owe men a smile on the street. That women owe men their number at a bar. That woman, as in the case of Peyton and Ravi, owe men an apology for sleeping with other people.

Yet the notion that Peyton makes an apology to Ravi is preposterous. Ravi has no claim on Peyton’s body. Ravi is not her keeper. Ravi is not her partner. Ravi is not Blaine’s keeper. Ravi is not Blaine’s partner.

 

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Tea & Review: The Leftovers – Don’t Be Ridiculous

Throughout The Leftovers, Nora Durst (Carrie Coon) has been portrayed as the central character most obviously affected by the Sudden Departure. While others have had more minor losses or been affected by the event in more indirect ways, Nora lost perhaps the most important people in her life: her husband and two children.

In fact, her loss was so profound that she has been contacted and harassed by researchers and conspiracy theorists who believe that people like her are focal points for whatever force caused two percent of the world’s population to disappear.

Early in Season One, Nora was hiring prostitutes to shoot her in the chest while she wore a bulletproof vest, clearly an odd coping mechanism that enabled her to feel the nebulous pain of loss in a more concrete way.

Later, after being hugged by Holy Wayne, she seemed to get over this fixation.

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Tea & Review: Harlots – Episode 3

In episode one, the second bidder for Lucy’s (Eloise Smyth) virginity was, of course, Lord Repton (Tim McInnerny). In episode three, he’s here to collect his winnings. Summoning Lucy to a country estate, the Lord and Lady (Fenella Woolgar) tellingly distance themselves from civilization.

The Reptons’ style of foreplay includes asking Lucy to hunt a doe while the kinky couple peppers bullets in Lucy’s direction for their own amusement. Her disorientation and breathy panic– mixed with the cracking of bark under siege of gunfire and the Reptons’ giddy shrieks of delight– savors of a most dangerous game. A game for which she is woefully unprepared.

Though paralyzed by the anxiety of being prey, Lucy’s prospects of survival are made worse still. She fails to appreciate her own unpreparedness. A shortcoming for which Margaret (Fenella Woolgar) may be partially responsible.

Believing Lucy to be special, Margaret has puffed her daughter up over and over. Internalizing Margaret’s words, Lucy tells Kitty (Lottie Tolhurst) and Fanny (Bronwyn James) that they, unlike her, are common whores. She informs Repton’s footman that he’s too lowly and too poor to share her company. She introduces herself as a “famed courtesan” to the stableboy, Jem Curran (Alex Jordan). And the list goes on.

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Tea & Review: Fargo – The Law of Vacant Places

The first two seasons of Fargo, building off of the original 1996 film, meticulously established a set of recurring archetypes: the idealistic yet overwhelmed cop, the resentful loser with a dark side, the dangerous and philosophically minded outsider, and several more mythically mundane figures.

In Noah Hawley’s Coen-flavored stories, the characters embodying these archetypes have collided in unique and often shocking ways, either by destiny, happenstance, or the fact that they exist in a world governed by “truth” rather than reality. It’s even possible, If one takes the otherworldly elements of the series a bit too literally, to interpret each season’s ensemble as vessels for the same group of immortal souls, eternally trapped by their own shortcomings in some kind of cosmic tragicomedy.

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Paper Dolls : Book Two : Afterlife – Chapter One – Part One

Chapter One – Part One

The funny thing about you being dead, twice mind you, is you get a lot of perspective.

When I first died. I mean, when I first thought I was dead I couldn’t quite cope with where I was in life. Everything, everything I had ever known had gone up in flames. The Past became my Present. My Future, or at least the future I had hoped for was gone.

There was no back button. There was no way to undo our actions.

If you’ve lived the life I had lived up until that point – you might feel like: what was the point then?

You try to make up for a broken childhood. You try to re-make yourself in a better woman who you thought you could be. But what does that do for you? What?

I can’t even say I died. Not yet, anyway. That’s later of course, but you’ve seen that. Or at least, part of that.

But when life or a combusting, anti-matter explosion kicks you in the stomach you don’t slither off into the darkness and give up. No, that’s not how you were trained. That’s not what you know how to do. Giving up is not something you do. You fight. You get up. You shake your fist at the goddamn sky and say you’re gonna make something of your life.

Granted, this was before I had been thoroughly exposed to any form of popular cinema so I had no strong archetype female to compare myself to.

When my eyes opened and I saw the brown world below me my heart lodged itself under my tongue.

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Tea & Review: iZOMBIE – Zombie Knows Best

The first thing any sane person could think after watching iZombie this week is that Robert Buckley as Major Lilywhite on teenage girl brain is a revelation. What joy! What grace! Writers gave him a sweet set up, and Buckley spiked perfectly.

Aside: Of course, the feminist voice in my head whispers the question, “why do we find men playing women funnier than the reverse of women playing men? Is it that we believe women are sillier by nature, and therefore ripe for the mocking?” To be fair, perhaps there’s more material to play with. Females are generally afforded a greater expressive license. We’re free to exercise wider range in vocal pitch, a speed of speech, and gesticulation. Not to mention, it’s usually women that start linguistic trends that are then adopted by men. So, having thought this through, I’ve determined that I may laugh free of guilt at the comedy gold of Major on teenage girl brain.

The episode follows a nonlinear narrative as we delve into Clive’s (Malcolm Goodwin) back story. We find that during the time he served on vice, Anna (Caitlin Stryker) and Wally (Mataeo Mingo) were his neighbors and a relationship begins with a chance encounter in the hallway between Clive and an endearingly cheeky Wally. It later includes the arrest of Anna’s abusive husband by Clive, making room for him and Anna to grow closer.

After another time jump through flashbacks, and nestled in a cozy family dinner, an intimate friendship has indeed emerged between Anna and Clive. It’s full of romantic potential, but the could-have-been never was. We already know the tragic end which Anna and Wally must meet.

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‘Girls’ in the Friendzone

When I was in high school, all my girlfriends and I would have DVD marathons of Sex and the City. We thought it was the most “relatable” show on TV as we struggled with boyfriends and the garden variety of school issues. We’d see ourselves in the various characters. I was unofficially dubbed Carrie because we were both writers. But I preferred being  Miranda for her sharp tongue and wit.

By the end of the Sex and the City, I really hated Carried. I thought she made some horrible life decisions. It really angered me that this was supposed to be the mirror that reflected our own lives. When in truth it did quite the opposite.

We were teenagers in the Bay Area. Some of us had jobs. Some of us were artists. We didn’t buy expensive shoes. Our social gatherings never rotated around brunch.

The closest thing we had to that was Lovejoy’s teahouse on Church street in San Francisco.

By the time GIRLS came around in 2012, I was intrigued. I was drawn in under the assumption that this was a “realistic” version of what I had missed in Sex and the City. My hopes were that GIRLS was delivering a version of life turned to art that I had only seen in shows like Buffy the Vampire Slayer. 

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