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S01.E08: Line Spectrum Border


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(edited)

BBC1 is airing two episodes per week while HBO is airing only one episode per week. If you enter this thread before the US air date, you may encounter spoilers!

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Reeling from a demoralizing development in the investigation, Arabella hatches a risky plan to 'spark joy' - and persuades an averse Terry to bankroll it. Still navigating the fallout of his own assault, Kwame challenges himself to explore the full spectrum of his sexuality.

Original UK air date: 6/30/20
Original US air date: 7/27/20

Edited by ElectricBoogaloo
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(edited)

Damn, a lot of shit hitting a lot of fans. Between Arabella's trip to Italy and Kwame's internet hookup, wow.

Arabella really shouldn't have gone to Italy to see Biagio. The fact that he was ignoring her calls should have been a pretty big warning sign that he was not going to welcome a pop in. I know that running off is tempting when get shitty news (like that the investigation into your rape yielded nothing and has been closed), but Biagio is not who she should have gone running to. The last time they spoke, he was furious with her and blamed her for being raped. Do you really think that's the kind of person who's going to be happy when you show up on his doorstep unannounced? Terry was right - he is not the supportive kind of person who Arabella needs right now. I didn't fully believe Arabella's explanation that she was there to apologize in person. She wanted to fuck her cares away for a few days.

Oh, Kwame. I understand wanting to have a safe sexual experience, but propositioning your straight friends? I wasn't surprised that they flat out said no. That girl he found online was quite a peach, wasn't she? Apparently it's okay to say the F word and the (made up substitute for the) N word, but you're not allowed to have consensual sex with a female if you aren't exclusively straight. It wasn't honest of him to misrepresent himself, but if this was just a hook up (as opposed to the beginning of a long term committed relationship), does it really matter where he is on the Kinsey scale?

One detail from the conversation with the police is that it's been NINE months since Arabella reported her rape.

Edited by ElectricBoogaloo
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  • 4 weeks later...

Arabella's monologue at the support group meeting was powerful. AFAIC, Michaela Coel better get all the awards for this show.

In Britain is it considered okay to use "female" as a noun? Eh.

What are the odds the person who raped Bella while she was roofied hasn't done it before or since? They've just never been caught, apparently. Yet.

How could Kwame not have realized that what he was planning to do to that woman was similar to what was done to him? Sexuality may be on a spectrum but that doesn't give you permission to take away someone's right to fully informed consent. Maybe he should've just found himself another glory hole. That would've been cheaper than paying for the date.

Oh geez, that mess between Bella and Biagio. I imagine if the situation were reversed and he had just hopped on a plane over to England and let himself into her apartment with no warning, she would've been seriously upset. Acknowledging boundaries is a huge issue for her,  both her own and other people's.

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Apparently it's okay to say the F word and the (made up substitute for the) N word, but you're not allowed to have consensual sex with a female if you aren't exclusively straight. It wasn't honest of him to misrepresent himself, but if this was just a hook up (as opposed to the beginning of a long term committed relationship), does it really matter where he is on the Kinsey scale?

I don't think the show was suggesting that Kwame shouldn't have sex with a woman despite considering himself gay, or that she was hypocritical to be upset about it. Instead, perhaps she would've opted not to have sex with him (or go out with him at all) if she'd been fully informed of his situation. I think he knew that and that's why he didn't tell her beforehand. It was the dishonesty and the feeling of being used as an orifice-specific backup plan that was the problem, IMO.

Re the "ninja" usage, that's not made up or new. It is (or was) a thing, though mostly as a joke. Witness:

 

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On 7/24/2020 at 4:15 PM, Joimiaroxeu said:

How could Kwame not have realized that what he was planning to do to that woman was similar to what was done to him? Sexuality may be on a spectrum but that doesn't give you permission to take away someone's right to fully informed consent. Maybe he should've just found himself another glory hole.

 

What Kwame did is in no way comparable to the rape he experienced. That woman wasn't entitled to his sexual history. Sharing your sexual history can be helpful to the other party, depending on the situation, but it's not a violation of anyone's rights if you decide not to share it.

That said, while I don't think Kwame was violating anyone's rights, I think the best thing for him to do in that situation would be to tell her beforehand that his only sexual experience had been with men. There are perfectly valid reasons why a woman wouldn't want to have sex with a man in that situation. It might make her feel like an experiment. And she'd be running the risk that the guy would be completely turned off by her body, which could be an ugly scenario.

But that woman wasn't being reasonable. She was a mess when it came to gay men. She was using the word "fag" in the context of a cigarette, which is no big deal in England, but then she got into the "some fucking gay guy might be offended," and "appropriating female identity." She understood why she shouldn't use the n-word, but she had some really weird issues with gay men. (And she wasn't enlightened enough about race to realize that telling your date repeatedly, "I'm really into black guys" probably isn't a great idea.)

 

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These character have no trouble finding hookups but maybe aren’t as good at understanding the character of the people they encounter.

It’s easy for Arabella or Kwame to find willing sex partners as they’re attractive and have enough charisma to physically connect with people.

But beyond the hookup, they’re not having really connecting or even being friends.

Arabella has fond notions of her Italian trip and “friend” but she’s completely wrong about how he regards her.  She only has their previous encounter to go by but no signals from him that he would want to see her again.

Kwame is surprised by his date’s attitudes on race and gay men while hanging out together after they have sex.  It seemed like he couldn’t climax until he remembered being assaulted on his Grindr hookup.

He wanted to know if he would like being with a woman but his date has some despicable notions and then becomes hostile.

So immediately after he leaves, he’s on his way to hook up with a guy again.  O much for experimenting.

 

Would it be fair to say Arabella and Kwame aren’t good judges of people, at least not yet?

Or at least not of their random sex dates?

 

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It occurred to me that the episode's title "Line Spectrum Border," is very likely a reference to Arabella exhibiting a lot of the characteristics of Borderline Personality Disorder. One could say that her actions are on the spectrum of BPD-associated behaviors.

For example:

- The way she clung to Biagio, despite him giving her no indication that he'd want to see her.

- Her need for constant drama.

- Her recurring lack of empathy.

I feel terrible for the trauma she's experienced, but so much of her behavior is just indefensible, and her manipulations are really hard to watch.

 

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On 7/28/2020 at 10:25 AM, Blakeston said:

It occurred to me that the episode's title "Line Spectrum Border," is very likely a reference to Arabella exhibiting a lot of the characteristics of Borderline Personality Disorder. One could say that her actions are on the spectrum of BPD-associated behaviors.

For example:

- The way she clung to Biagio, despite him giving her no indication that he'd want to see her.

- Her need for constant drama.

- Her recurring lack of empathy.

I feel terrible for the trauma she's experienced, but so much of her behavior is just indefensible, and her manipulations are really hard to watch.

I wondered this too! Arabella is showing a lot of the same traits Rebecca Bunch of Crazy Ex-Girlfriend did, and Rebecca was diagnosed with BPD.

I kept thinking how terrified I’d be in Biaggio’s place. Some dude shows up unannounced and is in my apartment and then breaking the door down? Lots of women don’t come out of that situation alive.

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It's occurred to me that a lot of the power of the show is demonstrating how frequently one person interferes with another without their consent, and how it's always wrong.  And Michaela Cole's is fantastic because Arabella is often on the wrong side of the equation.  It's about 50-50.

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  • 5 months later...
On 7/27/2020 at 8:08 PM, scrb said:

Arabella has fond notions of her Italian trip and “friend” but she’s completely wrong about how he regards her.  She only has their previous encounter to go by but no signals from him that he would want to see her again.

In the pilot episode when he was helping her with her luggage as she departed, he told her that he was busy in February but had time in March. Then she wanted him to come to London that time and he said no, for her to come back to Italy. That wasn't the first time she'd visited, either, as in that scene he also complained about how she always brings too much luggage. I vaguely recall some dialogue in another earlier episode between her and Terry that indicated she'd visited him multiple times.

That said, she really should have known after his freakout at her on the phone that he was done with her. Particularly since he then ignored her calls. Terry was right.

The initial part of the discussion about substituting a word reminded me of the big argument in Dear White People (and there, the opposite sides were taken by the involved parties).

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