Thursday, August 3, 2023

REVIEW: 'Heartstopper' - Nick and Charlie Confront Their Bullies While Elle Proudly Displays Her Art at an Exhibit in 'Sorry'

Netflix's Heartstopper - Episode 2.07 "Sorry"

Elle keeps big news from Tao, Ben pressures Charlie to forgive him, and Isaac opens up to James. Nick invites Charlie to a tense family dinner.

"Sorry" was written by Alice Oseman and directed by Euros Lyn

It's insane how some parents would rather kick their child out of the house instead of supporting who they are. It's all about control. They want to force their heteronormative sense of perfection onto them no matter what. Darcy is amazing. She is a loving and supportive friend. She has found a community that champions her exactly for who she is. When she fears she won't have enough money to pay for a suit for prom, everyone chips in to help make it a reality. They see her in the garment and are wowed. This is what she deserves. She looks stunning. She should be able to strut like this at prom with Tara as her girlfriend. Her mother has an extreme reaction of absolute vitriol. She despises how her child behaves. It doesn't conform with her understanding of femininity. Darcy is so bold and confident. However, she has always kept her friends away from her family. She braces herself every time she returns to that depressing house. This isn't the first time things have exploded between her and her mother. Darcy is willing to share her texts with Tara now. Tara sees how demanding Darcy's mother can be. Darcy has to choose when to appease her and just go along with the suffering. Her spirit is being dimmed. She has this brightness that deserves everything. Tara's family isn't thrilled by Darcy sleeping over all the time. They also accept it as typical teenage behavior. It's encouraged while still drawing reasonable boundaries. That's how a regular parent should respond. It requires leading with empathy. Darcy's mother has none of that. The suit immediately becomes an argument. It's a heated discussion where both sides firmly stand their ground. The dialogue and visuals fade away because this is so typical between them. This is how every conversation ultimately goes. Darcy doesn't want anyone else around that energy. She's protecting her friends. Her mother doesn't have a right to know them or what's going on in her daughter's life. She has given that away by her disinterest. She wants the perfect straight daughter. Darcy doesn't provide that. Her confidence is so succinct elsewhere. This one aspect is traumatizing. It's enough to send the prom into turmoil. This massive action is taken. Darcy has tried her best to handle this by herself. Her friends may not have the answers for how to handle the situation either. They don't even know the extent of the trauma being done. That's sad too. Darcy walls off corners of her life. She's happy elsewhere. This one situation simply drags her dowe to the point where everything is now disrupted.

Similarly, Nick's father isn't interested in his children's lives. He only visits a few times a year. The break between visits was short for Nick. They had a brief meeting in Paris. Stephane actually fulfills his promise to attend a family dinner during his trip to London. It's yet another situation where Nick feels anxious over coming out. His father doesn't have any right to know. Nick doesn't owe him that information. This action is ultimately more important for Nick. It's something he needs to do to feel happy and content. It doesn't matter how his father reacts. He will disappear afterwards no matter what. Coming out is something Nick needs to do so the world understands who he truly is. He wants to be proudly dating Charlie. Going to prom together may cause some conversation. It's the sweet and wholesome result the two of them deserve at this point. Nick agonizes over why his father doesn't care. It would be so much better if there was a simple explanation. That doesn't exist. Meanwhile, David is a small, pathetic man who bullies his brother to feel better about himself. They don't have a relationship where David can genuinely try to help Nick come out to their father. That would require David to understand the importance of this action. Instead, it's nothing more than a piece of information used to target and belittle Nick. That doesn't hurt Nick anymore. He has survived much worse. His relationship with Charlie has grown stronger because of it. A simple hug is all it takes to recharge their souls and affirm what support actually means. Charlie offers that. Sarah does as well. Charlie wants his parents to leave this dinner having a better opinion of Nick. They see the value Nick and Sarah provide. They are loving souls who make Charlie's life better. Charlie has been through a lot as well. Ben pesters him once more. He stalks Charlie so he can apologize. He understands he did some bad things in the past. He still wants to believe his relationship with Charlie was good. It was a bright spot in an otherwise dark world. He too feels the pressure to conform by parents who wouldn't accept him if he was anything other than straight. He liked Charlie. And yet, he controlled him. That has left Charlie with lingering doubts and fears. He always has the nagging thought that he doesn't deserve anything better than what Ben offered him in secret. Charlie and Nick have the confidence to joke about being really good platonic friends. It isn't true. It's something they laugh about knowing how strong their connection actually is. It can withstand that discomfort for a moment. Charlie and Nick are amazing together.

Charlie still barely eats though. Nick starts researching eating disorders. He sees the evidence left behind on the plates repeatedly. It doesn't mean anything to people who aren't around Charlie a lot. When Sarah makes that comment though, it immediately alerts Nick to something more being off. It may be the latest example of Charlie putting on a brave face to make others feel good. He doesn't care about Ben's feelings after everything that happened. Charlie was assaulted. He genuinely wants Ben to become a better person. His life will be better without Ben constantly appearing in it. Ben is transferring schools. He feels time is running out to confess his feelings towards Charlie. That isn't good enough. He isn't strong enough to accept himself either. Resources and support are literally just a few feet away. Ben still leaves. He turns his back on the community. He just can't accept it. He remains stuck. That's the burden he carries. Others have grown as a result of these friendships. Elle fears how Tao will react to her acceptance into Lambert for Sixth Form. She doesn't want that drama before her big exhibition. He's joyously dancing around his room because they are finally together. She may be leaving him like he fears his friends always will at some point. He also has the confidence to know people shouldn't make decisions based on how he'll react. He will have opinions. And yet, the friendship between Elle, Tao, Charlie and Isaac has already been deemed a safe space. They helped each other through dark times. That is still needed sometimes. The dread of losing that shouldn't destroy the happy celebration of their individual talents. Elle deserves this praise and attention. The future is uncertain. If this relationship is meant to last, then Tao and Elle can make it work. They can figure something out. It just takes a genuine form of communication. It also requires an understanding of what they are feeling. Isaac tried to make a romance with James work. He went through the motions of developing a crush. Those feelings never developed. James still frames the conversation around Isaac just needing to find the right person. Meanwhile, Isaac finds acceptance by meeting an artist who identifies as aromantic and asexual. Simply knowing that option exists offers renewed vigor within Isaac. It's the beginning of the conversation and not the end. All of these characters relate to that. It's simply a matter of gaining the confidence to speak to it amongst the people who will support and cherish them regardless. It's freeing to know one's true self despite the ugliness that still exists in the world. Plenty of happiness can be found. The latter should receive even more nourishment. It provides limitless potential for people who have been abused into thinking they don't deserve the same as everyone deemed perfect because of their heteronormative cisgender identity. Support and happiness is out there waiting for those willing to accept those gifts and acknowledge how amazing they can be. Those concepts can be found in so many different forms as well. The same framework doesn't have to apply to everyone to create a uniform understanding of bliss.