Thursday, January 23, 2020

REVIEW: 'Everything's Gonna Be Okay' - Alcohol and Drugs Invade Genevieve's Birthday Party in 'Giant Asian Mantises'

Freeform's Everything's Gonna Be Okay - Episode 1.03 "Giant Asian Mantises"

Matilda wants to get white-girl wasted! Genevieve's low-key birthday party leaves Nicholas, Alex and Matilda banished to the guest house. In the main house, Tallulah turns things up a notch. Nicholas is stuck being the responsible adult.

In 2019, the television industry aired 532 scripted shows across numerous outlets. The way people consume content now is different than it used to be. It happens according to one's own schedule. As such, it's less necessary to provide ample coverage of each episode in any given season from a show. Moreover, it is simply impossible to watch everything. As such, this site provides shorter episodic reviews in order to cover as many shows as possible. With all of that being said, here are my thoughts on the next episode of Freeform's Everything's Gonna Be Okay.

"Giant Asian Mantises" was directed by Silas Howard with teleplay by Josh Thomas and story by Jess Meyer

It's absolutely astonishing just how quickly this show has established a sense of sentimentality in its storytelling. Many shows strive for that core emotion but it frequently feels too manufactured or saccharine. Here, it is truly genuine and effortless. This is a family that loves each other and wants the best for each other even if they take things too far from time to time. It helps that it's such a confined world so far as well. This episode takes place entirely at the family home with Tallulah, Barb and Luke being the only outside characters to come in. There is a great deal of power to that specific choice as well. There are two largely separate storylines going on throughout this episode. Nicholas, Alex and Matilda are in the guest house drinking while Genevieve, Tallulah and Barb are in the main house trying to have a more memorable evening to celebrate Genevieve's birthday. They are essentially taking place in the same physical space. However, they both come to major resolutions that better shine a light on these characters and their respective maturity levels. Nicholas can absolutely be trusted as a guardian. Sure, he is tentative when it comes to taking any true sense of responsibility. He doesn't know how to handle the issue of alcohol. He doesn't want to reach into Tallulah's bag and grab it right away. That's what Genevieve wants from him to do though. She doesn't want it during this hangout with her friends. It's not a party. Nor does she want it to be compromised by a substance she isn't ready for. Nicholas just wants to be perceived as the cool and fun guardian. He isn't a parent who has to be rigid with the children in his care. He wants to come across as a great guy. He feels he has earned that title. And yet, being responsible means having to do some unpopular things knowing that it's for the best. He knows that these girls are too young to be drinking. Of course, he doesn't stand in Matilda's way when she wants to consume it later on. She even manages to coerce Alex into partaking as well. That may show that she is more mature because she knows exactly what she wants to do and the perimeters in which she can allow herself to do it. Her approach to recklessness is very calibrated. But it still produces the same result. She is still crying on the floor drunk because she struggles with feeling like a burden in the wake of her father's death. All of this may just be words coming out of her mouth when she doesn't have full control over her faculties. It's still very amusing to watch as she essentially forces Alex to throw up with her. He eventually does too. This can all be seen as a bonding experience. The other party wants to have that as well. Tallulah believes she can still create a fun high by raiding the medicine cabinet. Of course, that just leads to the young teenagers thinking they are high when they have really only taken high blood pressure medication. They aspire for recklessness and freak out when they believe that things have gone horribly awry. But that just allows Nicholas to have a stern reaction where he understands the severity of how horribly this all could have gone while making sure that they experience the embarrassment from it for a little while longer. It is awkward but it is insanely rewarding and funny as well. But again, the show is going for that sentimental vibe. That is present in abundance during the final scene where Nicholas reveals that their dad left behind a gift for Genevieve's birthday. It's a gift that Nicholas can add to as well in order to better reflect the person Genevieve is and who she is destined to become. That is sweet and so powerful. It's a celebration of identity while allowing the people to make mistakes along the way too. However, family is never too far away to ask for help when it is needed. At the end of the day, the three siblings can always reliably be found sleeping next to each other in their father's bed. That is a source of consistency for them that they each strive to maintain for as long as possible. Matilda may always be planning for the future while Genevieve is susceptible to pressure from her peers. Moreover, Nicholas is constantly self-involved and fears what others think about him. And yet, they are making this family unit work because they understand each other so perfectly. Even Alex is starting to adapt to this crazy new family he has become a part of even though he should be studying instead of drinking.