Thursday, April 15, 2021

REVIEW: 'Everything's Gonna Be Okay' - Alex Asks Nicholas to Be More Emotionally Open in Their Relationship in 'Emperor Scorpion'

Freeform's Everything's Gonna Be Okay - Episode 2.03 "Emperor Scorpion"

The family burns letters to Dad on the anniversary of his death. Alex tries to help Nicholas with his feelings, and it surprisingly works, sort of.

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.

"Emperor Scorpion" was written by Marissa Berlin and directed by Silas Howard

It has been exactly a year since Nicholas, Matilda and Genevieve's father died. That was the inciting action that set the central premise into motion. The show relaxed into that premise comfortably and confidently. The family mourned for a little bit. However, that hasn't been the central thesis or emotion of the show. In fact, it's been awhile since their father was even mentioned. And yet, the family believes they must honor him in some way during this anniversary. They believe they have to be sad. That is certainly a prominent emotion. But it's also the emotion that they have felt for the entire year. They don't feel any additional pressure to be more sad on this particular day. That's their basic understanding of emotions though and how they should act here. It's a striking conversation. One where the family itself can't speak openly about what they are feeling. Instead, they break off into two distinct groups where those conversations occur. Alex wants Nicholas to be more emotionally open. So often, Nicholas deflects when it comes to talking about his own feelings. That can make him come across as annoying and selfish. In fact, that created friction previously. He can sometimes react horribly and think it's funny to do so. But again, it's a way that he has figured out to cope with his emotional uncertainties. He doesn't always know exactly what he's feeling. He doesn't have anyone to confide in either. It takes a lot for him to be vulnerable. He eventually gets to that place with Alex. It's still a struggle getting to that point though. In fact, it feels like a celebration when Nicholas is able to express one thought within him. That's enough to earn sex. It's not the end of the conversation though. It's just further examination of how he often feels as if his emotions aren't as valid as the people around him experiencing the same thing. Matilda and Genevieve had stronger connections with their dad. As such, they should have the more prominent reactions on this day. Similarly, Nicholas' mother had the more personal relationship with his father. That means she should be allowed to vent more about it. This reveals that Nicholas is incredibly supportive of his family. He allows them to express themselves however they want. It can still be a crutch though. One that prevents him from developing and dealing with these feelings as well. It's scary when he has to confront his mother for the mean things she says about his dad. He feels that but doesn't think it's necessary to tell her about it. It's enough to end the phone call immediately when he does. However, they quickly return to normal the next day too. Him expressing himself in this way doesn't threaten to tear these relationships apart. It's giving him space to feel his emotions through all of this as well. He can become more accessible as a result. Now, it seems unlikely that this will change him or his behavior. It's something Alex asks for from this relationship. He gets it despite how tense it seems for a moment. These relationships are evolving. It's complex for Matilda and Genevieve as well. They are still figuring out who they want to be in life. They are close but they also feel like they are disrespecting their father if they talk about other things on the day he died. They mourn this loss. They recite beautiful letters to him hoping he is watching over them. It's sweet. But it's just as genuine and valid for them to talk about sexuality and what they feel about their respective futures. They don't need to have everything figured out right now. They don't have to share everything with everyone they care about. They have each other. That's enough to suggest a deepening sense of self that is completely loving and accepting. Sure, they are annoyed about being straight. That still provides them with a way to bond. Again, it's such a simple story overall. But it's powerful because of the conversations it provokes from these characters in the pursuit of offering more emotional depth to all of them. It's incredibly effective without losing any of the fun spark either. The lives of this family may be contained to their house this season as a result of the pandemic. However, that doesn't change the multitude of nuances that form their individualities. None of them are perfect. None of them have all of the answers. They rely on each other for support as they feel uncertain with themselves. They push each other to confront any issues that arise. It all comes from a place of love. That continues to be the best quality of this show. The imperfections and teasing amongst this family allow the show to tell engaging stories in the best way possible.