This week, we adjust Dawn’s Evil-o-Meter; ponder romantic musical chairs and binding ceremonies; and discuss possible queer subtexts and racialized representations.
Dark Crystals and Medium-Evil Moms
Sarah: Should we circle up?
Sarah: So! Do you think Faye’s mom is more evil, less evil, or same amount of evil based on this week’s episode?
Phoebe: I think medium evil. Like she is clearly evil as she killed her father in law, but also saved that girl to protect Faye. So medium. And you?
Sarah: Yes, I concur – I think she’s complicated-evil, for the same reasons you mentioned. I definitely think she really cares about her daughter, but it seems possible she does not care about anyone else.
Phoebe: Except maybe herself and getting her powers back, as she also seems to be using the Elijah look-alike (aka Diana’s dad)
Sarah: Yeah, it’s interesting that he’s getting cast as kind of the henchman—the grandfather refers to him as not the sharpest wand in the box.
Phoebe: Ha yes indeed. Also, what do you make of the crystal? And the lack of wands (slash Harry Potter reference)?
Sarah: Well I’m on board with the crystal and lack of wands I think – I don’t have too many witchery preferences so if they want to go all New Age-y geostone, I’m down. What about you?
Phoebe: I concur. I am enjoying all these different types of witchery afoot … Seems more Vampire Diaries witch style, which makes sense I suppose.
Teenage Dreams (of Big Giant Jerks)
Phoebe: Also, what do you think of the opening sequence— the post-sex scene where Nick says he wouldn’t brag about Melissa (the girl he just slept with)…who is the only apparent witch who is not white.
Sarah: I have so many feelings!
A) What is he talking about, Melissa is super-hot
Sarah: B) On the other hand, his character is supposed to be an asshole it seems so, good way to make us hate him.
Sarah: I’m curious about all the self-esteem issues the show is raising surrounding Melissa and Nick—as evidenced by Faye’s later comment at the party that she’d have to check her self-esteem at the door to hook up with him.(Said cluelessly with no intent of hurting Melissa, since their hookups are on the DL)
Phoebe: Right so true … That whole storyline was interesting. Also, why is he so awful? That is unclear to me, except that he is insanely obnoxious. But also, I concur that his initial comment was a surefire way to make us HATE him. But I also think it is so weird that in a town with almost exclusively white people, that comment was directed at someone who is coded as not white …
Sarah: Yeah that will be important to keep an eye on as the episodes progress to see if that’s a recurring thing or more of a one-off line.
Chemistry, Magnetism, and Subtext
Sarah: Also, what do you make of Faye’s interest in bugging/befriending Cassie?
Phoebe: I don’t know … Faye is so hard to understand. I am so confused … perhaps she is actually good, but wants to be evil. Or rather, she is like this interesting teen angst gray area.
Sarah: I kind of think there may be a queer reading in there.
Phoebe: Pray tell.
Sarah: Well, it’s early yet, but their dynamic is reminding me of Faith/Buffy
Sarah: And it that pairing there was a lot of subtext-queer-reading possibilities in terms of both their rivalry and attraction (platonic or not) to each other. In this case though, Faye’s the one who’s interested in some kind of connection with Cassie; Cassie totally hates her at the moment. But I think that could change.
Phoebe: I see what you’re saying and I am intrigued … But I also think it might stay one sided, as Cassie and Adam have that crazy magic tension.
Sarah: Oh yeah I meant attraction but not necessarily overt in Cassie’s case.
Phoebe: Also, again with the magic = sex with Adam and Cassie and their almost post-magic kiss!
Sarah: Speaking of Cassie and Adam’s chemistry, are you feeling really bad for Diana? Even though I like their flirtations, I am.
Phoebe: Yes, but also I feel like something is afoot. Like she knows … And we learned that fate is hard to control. I feel like I foresee her trying to control their relationship or something. But I do feel bad for her, but I also don’t trust her completely
Sarah: Ahh that’s interesting! What makes you think that Diana’s untrustworthy?
Phoebe: I don’t know … But I definitely feel that way. Like she is too good and too nice and wants this binding business too much.
The Ties That Bind and the Magic That Drugs
Phoebe: Speaking of which, what do you think the whole idea about binding? And making it their power together wherein they are inseparable … It feels a little anti-individualist, which is kind of cool and intriguing.
Phoebe: Also, unrelated (but another point), it was good to find out why Cassie’s mom could not save herself from the fire (ie that all that generation were stripped of their power).
Sarah: Yeah, I agree on both counts! I think the binding ceremony is intriguing also because it seems like while the kids think it’ll make them stronger as a unit and less strong as individuals, the grandfather’s reaction seems to indicate that that’s not the way it works. They may not get more in control of their powers, but less so.
Phoebe: Also, what were Faye and blonde curtain guy (what’s his name?) doing at the fair?
Sarah: Some kind of herb potion that’s a metaphor for pot I thought? Based on how they were reacting.
Phoebe: Indeed, I thought so too … But I felt like it didn’t change anything and then nothing dramatic happened … Unless, perhaps Faye’s power was increased and hence her pushing that girl to her death? But they seem to blame the bigger magic power to Cassie’s presence, so perhaps not.
Sarah: Ooh yeah I didn’t think it was supposed to have a huge effect necessarily, just that it was to show them being rebels. But I do like that theory that it may have also made Faye less in control of her powers, since that would hold up.
Phoebe: Also, I just realized the first person to die is the class president and she is also African American. This episode did not treat anybody who is not white well at all
Sarah: That is a good point about Sally. Where there are TV characters of ethnic/racial minorities, it seems like a lot of shows are either pushing them into tiny roles or doing other problematic things with the characters or both.
Phoebe: I concur!
Phoebe: I <3 the way magic is equated with drugs … It is described as seductive and almost addictive by the principal to Diana's dad.
Sarah: Ooh yeah. And also that seductiveness reminds me, it seems like maybe Dawn has a wild past too? Faye seemed to allude to something about that when she said Dawn would have to live vicariously through her revealing outfits. So that would go along with the idea of Dawn, Diana's dad, and co. as kind of magic/drug addicts and teens generally out of control.
Phoebe: Yeah it seems like they were out of control or rather controlled by the magic
Sarah: It'll be interesting to see what direction the show takes it in, because it could end up pushing a pretty conservative agenda (teens are out of control with their desires!) or the opposite (teens have natural desires and should be taught to use them responsibly!)
Phoebe: Hmm interesting … But I feel too that the parents clearly have those same desires
Sarah: Which would put the show in the second column.