Bam! The third season of [[Being Erica (TV Series)|Being Erica]] has just clicked into place with this third episode.
You know I’ve been concerned about the new decision to take Erica’s (Erin Karpluk) therapy to a group dynamic. Well, tonight’s episode showed exactly what can be achieved with this new format – Erica bounces from a difficult situation in the present day, back to a point in her own past, then is taken on a journey into Adam’s past to gain perspective from his experiences. Then it’s back to Dr. Tom’s (Michael Riley) office for a debrief.
The thing is, the entire episode was intricately layered. I mean beautifully done. It’s one of the darkest Being Erica episodes I’ve ever seen, but possibly one of the strongest. You might have guessed from the title, Two Wrongs, but the episode is all about anger and revenge and takes Erica to some of the most hostile actions we’ve ever seen.
It all kicks off when Julieanne (Reagan Pasternak) and Erica discover that former colleague Brent has stolen their author, and taken The Purple Door away from them. Erica tries diplomacy first, but Brent sneers off her ‘professional courtesy’ request. This leads Julieanne to suggest destroying Brent’s career with a video of him, drunk, doing a nasty impersonation of his boss.
Here’s where the layering is brilliant, and you’ll only ‘get’ it when you watch the episode right to the end. Erica’s parting shot to Brent is “What happened to you?” and we realise that Brent has become so hateful towards Erica and Julieanne that he’ll stop at nothing to destroy their business. And yet, despite Erica recognizing that in Brent, she can’t see that by trying to get him fired, they’d be taking that path themselves.
Of course, there’s a bit of a journey before that epiphany! Erica goes back in time (with Adam!) to visit her brother Leo (Devon Bostick) at university – a weekend where she’d previously blown him off to spend some time with a guy she’d just met. She soon discovers that Leo was being bullied horribly, something which led to him wanting to quit uni. The Leo storyline has been handled in such a complex way that what happens in this episode fills out the missing details – Leo’s taking horrific abuse from a crowd of boys in his frat house, which in the original timeline forced him to leave, which causes massive tensions in the Strange family, until Leo died in a barn fire. What Erica finds out in this episode makes his death even more tragic, because there was a burden on him that she didn’t know about.
As I said, dark and very upsetting to watch. And Erica’s reaction is somewhat understandable. Horrified, she clubs the ringleader in the face with one of his own trophies (symbolism!), breaking his nose. This prompts a minor fight, but when Adam, Leo and Erica get outside, both the Strange’s want to go back in – or send Adam (Adam Fergus), as a kind of Irish Terminator, back in – to beat the living daylights out of the guys who made Leo’s life hell.
At this point, Dr. Tom steps in. Things were getting slightly out of control. He sends Adam and Erica off to a point in Adam’s past, where he was an enforcer for a loan shark and beating people was his day job. The point is made by watching pastAdam breaking a man’s hands. The point is that Adam quickly became desensitised to violence and his cruelty grew with every violent thing he did. The action switches to Dr. Tom’s office and Tom shares his perspective on the violence that defined his past.
The whole storyline in Two Wrongs is harrowing and exhausting, but the points that are being made are put forward intelligently. And having the separate scenes in Adam’s past and Dr. Tom’s office deepen the points that the writers are trying to get across. My only criticism is that Dr. Tom (as our moral compass) doesn’t provide any clues as to how people like Erica and Julieanne can protect themselves against people like Brent. Do we perpetually turn the other cheek, or do we find another way to get our own back?
I’m hoping that the next few episodes show how Erica and Julieanne’s new publishing company will deal with Brent…but on their terms.
- Side note: We found out tonight that Erica’s mother is suffering from breast cancer, which is a bombshell that’s about to drop on Erica soon. Normally I don’t like drip-drip subplots, but while Erica’s engaged in her new business venture, it makes sense for this story to build until it’s ready to burst into her life.
- On a purely superficial note: Erica’s sister Sam is incredibly hot. If the Strange Sisters are planning to release a 2011 calendar, I’d happily buy a boxfull. If you too are infatuated with Samantha Strange, the actress you need to stalk is Joanna Douglas.
- Kai Kai Kai!!! Big, big, massive WTF ending as Kai Booker makes a shock reappearance right at the end of the episode! What does this mean? Has he given his therapist the slip again? (I looked ahead…it sounds a bit like Doc Brown returning from the future at the end of the first Back To The Future).
- Thank you, Jana and Aaron!: Every episode of Being Erica that I watch, I feel this tremendous surge of gratitude toward the showrunners Jana Sinyor and Aaron Martin. I have never seen a TV series that manages to capture so many things I’ve felt and encountered in my own life and to offer solutions and suggestions for dealing with them. It’s like self-help in fiction form. And I’m not the only one who feels this way – I’ve read loads of comments from people on Twitter who say “It’s like this show knows what I’m going through.”