Thursday, April 8, 2021

REVIEW: 'Everything's Gonna Be Okay' - Nicholas Befriends Drea's Parents While Alex Grows Annoyed in 'Jungle Centipede'

Freeform's Everything's Gonna Be Okay - Episode 2.02 "Jungle Centipede"

Matilda makes her girlfriend socially distance, and it's atypically weird. Nicholas makes new friends, but Alex is not a fan.

In 2020, the television industry aired 493 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.

"Jungle Centipede" was written by Vivienne Walshe and directed by Silas Howard

This show does a phenomenal job in externalizing the internal anxiety that these characters frequently face. They are understandable and relatable impulses as well. Nicholas knows that the polite thing to do would be to talk with Toby and Suze when they stay in their vehicle during Matilda and Drea's socially distanced date. However, he panics over such common courtesies. He doesn't want them to think he is an ungracious host. But he also feels compelled to be inside the house and sensitive to Alex's sudden turmoil over his parents getting divorced. He wants to do the right thing. He has anxiety over that though. A friendship eventually forms between the two sets of guardians. Nicholas is completely charmed by Toby and Suze. Their relationship is so different than the fun-loving world he frequently occupies. It's a difference between straight and gay culture. The two worlds can coincide and inform each other though. Things are certainly lost in translation. But this relationship can still be one of ease. The only tension comes from Alex not liking them. He doesn't want to interact with them on a daily basis. He's annoyed. It's easier for him to escape to the pool. That appears to be his safe place this season. It brings him comfort to the point where he doesn't have to think about anything else going on in the world. And yet, no one can have that freedom to completely escape. They have to engage with the world even when so much is locked down as a result of the pandemic. Nicholas may like Suze and Toby because they offer different interactions than the ones he has had with his family for weeks now. It's a change of pace. It's one where he can be carefree. Meanwhile, Alex is the one who focuses on the stress of it all. Of course, he lashes out in private ways. He doesn't want to be unpleasant with these newcomers to this world. He was raised to be polite. He can only keep things bottled up for so long though. He has to focus on the dead bird and remove it from his vision as soon as possible. He yells once Toby's drone gets stuck on Genevieve's head. He explodes. It's a huge deal for him. However, it's not noticeable as anything off-putting or unbecoming either. He sees it as behavior he must apologize for. Nicholas doesn't care though. He forgets the specifics of what happened. He has that luxury. He doesn't face this internalized pressure. Part of it comes from uncertainty over how to feel about the imminent divorce for Alex. He no longer needs his parents in order to function in life. Moreover, he is only included in so much of this new family he has become a part of. Genevieve kicks him out of the bed when she wants to have a private conversation with Nicholas. That implies that this space isn't entirely his to also occupy. That is striking. It's nothing done out of malice. Genevieve has concerns about Matilda. She too has anxiety that she is trying to express towards the world. After a certain point though, she has to be completely direct with Nicholas about what's going on. Matilda isn't queer. She is using social distancing as an excuse for not touching Drea. She has certainty about her sexuality now. She doesn't want to end this relationship though. It's cruel to keep teasing Drea along. And yes, it does lead to heartbreak once more. That was inevitable. However, it's addressed quickly after this realization was made. It is disappointing to some. It is hurtful to others. People are entitled to their different reactions. They need the time and space to process all of this. The show gives that to all of its characters. Plus, it provides methods for staying grounded even when these issues pop up. Alex doesn't see a healthy marriage between Toby and Suze. They are a boring couple. He doesn't want them as friends. He and Nicholas are forced to interact with them because of Matilda. They do exactly that. They help Matilda express herself in a genuine way too. They have her back no matter what. But again, it all pivots around these awkward conversations that must be had. They are uncomfortable. Nobody wants to have them. They must though. That agony is apparent in every specific action and creates a comedy contained to a small world that still has big things to share about the human connection.