We’re not good people. We’re criminals.
After a season that’s felt like it’s creeping along with little focus, everything sort of came together last night. For the most part, this worked – if only because we could sigh some relief that finally Tanya gets caught, finally Ray figures out the Mike-Francis situation, finally Jess connects with her daughter, finally Ron freaks out and finally Ray and Jess come back together. But even as we could enjoy the pace of something finally giving, I wondered why we had to cram every climax into the penultimate episode. It’s an annoying form of narrative that leads to uneven storytelling. Nevertheless, it was fun to see some shifts.Most significant of course is the movement on the Ray-Jess storyline. Ronnie’s collapse at the dermo-ball actually seemed appropriate seeing as he’s been a man on the edge all season long. I thought the cliched crazed speech actually worked in this context! Especially as a counter-point to Jess’ equally crazy exclamations about not knowing what happiness is and her sense that she would die with Ronnie. Ronnie?! Really? The woman is desperate!
That being said, her desire for nostalgia seemed spot on and made me wonder if she was trying to reach back to who she once was not to catch that self, but rather to choose a different path in a time when she had a choice. If that’s the case, running back to Ray might be an even bigger mistake than staying with Ronnie and, in fact, a little time alone might be the best course of all.
And my hunch is that’s where we’re going – the reunion felt like it will be short lived once Lenore springs out from her corner. And it felt like we were shoving that reunion into the end of this episode quickly so that we could enjoy its catastrophic destruction in the next. I’m ok with this trope – so long as they take it somewhere interesting for Jess’ character. I’d like to see who she can become given a third season of self-analysis and alone time.
What intrigued me, though, was how the danger of this lurking Lenore makes us worry about Ray and Jess – not about, as Tanya put it, the fact that they are all criminals. After letting out her deepest inner pimp self by beating horny Patty with a belt, Tanya is surrounded by witnesses who are likely to be too afraid to do anything against her…but the fact remains, any DA would be able to mount a quick case against our threesome with all the threads they’ve left dangling.
Tanya gives us an interesting view of what a pimp could be – we have the stereotypical television view of the guy with the hat who beats on his clients and employees…but Tanya shows us the ramp up to that character – all the moments he lived through to find his ruthless self. As we’ve watched Tanya slip into a more and more wretched self – further and further into the dehumanizing capacities of pimp-dom – I’ve realized how the pimp role is even more gendered than the prostitute one. We don’t expect to see women who are crazy, violent and authoritative. As the series has progressed, TJ’s male hooker role has become infinitely less complex and interesting than the ladies in all their pimp-osity.
But how will it all end? Thoughts, Moth Chase friends? How do you like the pacing? Where do you hope we end up?