The episode begins with an excellent sequence in which Rose walked up the stairs at school to her locker, and the students around her react. The camerawork, sound, and acting in this sequence are top-notch! It builds on the tension as things start getting weird for Rose as she notices people noticing her. Rose is, after all, the shy wallflower that doesn’t get noticed, or want to be noticed. And now she’s become the talk of the school, as a result of being seen at the movies with Claire (see last episode). It falls on best friend Kenny to inform Rose that she has been outed and try to console her, but her retreat to the washroom cuts his efforts short. When Claire comes to Rose’s rescue in the washroom we get a wonderful exchange as Claire attempts to get Rose to see the good points of being out. I thought the reaction of Rose was perfectly in character and having her vomit was a great idea that I never would have thought of. Writer/director Jason Leaver again shows his incredible talent for writing smart and funny scenes that are true to character and realistic. I’ve also always wondered why Claire was crying in her debut in the washroom in season 2, and the explanation is perfect (I’m using that word a lot…because it fits!) We also get Claire’s best line ever, “Even better!”
The next scene involves Vanessa telling Kenny about her predicament. Here we see that Vanessa really does have feelings for Rose. Vanessa’s words that she’ll be okay no matter what are ominous. The final scene with Vanessa and her parents…I don’t know what to say here. It shows how scary it is when people have made up their mind about something and ignore evidence to the contrary. Vanessa’s parents are so sure that anything gay has to be evil they do not see they are destroying their daughter. Even if they are not going to be willing to accept that being homosexual is a natural condition, they could approach the situation in a more understanding way. We know from last season that Vanessa has an older brother who has been ostracized from the family, and it looks like Vanessa will be the next “former” LeMay. I don’t see Vanessa at this time even being sure about her sexuality. As she says, she isn’t gay, but she’s certainly not totally straight. This means she would probably identify herself as bisexual. Having categories of sexuality seems strange at this point, and it seems like Vanessa is being forced to “pick one”. I’ve heard of sexuality described more as a continuum that a set of categories and this is probably a better description. But our society likes the categories, at least for now. Vanessa’s parents aren’t even allowing her permission to try and figure out what her sexuality is, and that’s their biggest offense.
I know there are people in the real world in the same predicament as Vanessa. The sad and strange thing is that those of us who are straight don’t have the difficulties of the characters in this episode. We don’t have to “come out”, we don’t have to figure out our sexuality, and we don’t have people attacking us for who we love. As I check the news lately it looks like more places in my United States of America are trying to pass discriminatory laws against non-straight people, while more courts declare such laws unconstitutional. I’m sure eventually equality will prevail, but I fear the road will be rough for a while.