Part Two : Bad Boys are Dumb
Do not read until you have finished all seven episodes unless you want the finale completely spoiled!
I discussed internalized misogyny and asked the question, “Do women learn to hate each other because we see it in entertainment ALL. THE. TIME?” That question brings us to the most frustrating issues at play in this misogynist mess.
EXTERNAL MISOGYNY & VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN
Creator Brad Ingelsby is the series creator and sole writer credited on all episodes. His go to plot device is to treat women like shit. He has created a world in which almost all the men are abusers and all the women are victims. This is a world where violence against women is simply the norm and is easily glossed over. That is not a feminist world. This is not a feminist show.
There are so many examples of this but here are a few of the most egregious.
DYLAN HINCHEY. Why does this character have to be so aggressively abusive? His parents seem to be some of the few decent people in town, so what the hell happened to him? I realize a detective show relies on “unexpected twists.” Ingelsby is trying to divert our attention away from the true killers’ identities with the whole Dylan, Jess and Sean burn Erin’s journals sub-plot. That useless red herring meant to cast suspicion on “innocent” characters only gives Dylan more opportunities to abuse women. WITH. NO. GOOD. REASON.
Dylan and Sean stalking Jess and then chasing her down, going so far as to drag her by her feet from under a car…?!? It is simply disgusting. There is no rationale for these actions. They burned the journals to cover up the true paternity of Erin’s child so that Dylan’s parents could keep the baby? HUH? If Dylan does have that level of concern for both his parents and the child he thought was his, why does he have to express it with violence against yet another woman? Perhaps because violence against women is the only language spoken in Easttown.
Dylan was verbally and emotionally abusive to Erin when she was alive. He stood there with no discernible feeling whatsoever while his current girlfriend, Brianna, kicked the shit out of Erin, the woman he thought was the mother of his child. Later, when Brianna tries to show loyalty and support for Dylan, he refuses to accept it. Instead, he uses more verbal and emotional abuse to intentionally hurt and cut her out of his life. There’s no good reason for it. It’s another “Make Dylan look suspicious” moment that becomes one more example of unnecessary cruelty in the show. This is a teenager. This is how he treats women. The verbal abuse will certainly escalate into more physical abuse in his future. I guess that’s just what they teach the boys in Easttown.
Which brings us to…
Again, SPOILER Warning!
STOP NOW TO AVOID SPOILERS
Ryan did it. Ryan “accidentally” killed Erin. He’s what, 12 years old? Here’s what Ryan has apparently learned from his father, John.
Lie to women.
Keep secrets from your mother.
Cheat on your spouse.
Cheat on your spouse AGAIN by committing incest with your teenage cousin.
Impregnate teenage cousin.
When teenage cousin expects you to do right by the child you made, eliminate her.
Ryan is a child who discovers his father’s infidelity and decides that he is the one to do something to stop it. He doesn’t confront his father. He doesn’t tell his mother. Instead, his first instinct is violence. He chooses to blame the teenage cousin, not his asshole father. He steals a gun, intending to threaten and further victimize Erin, a girl who has already been abused by almost every male in her life.
Ryan “didn’t mean” to kill his cousin. It just happened. Oh, woe is the poor innocent boy just trying to keep his family together. BULL. Like Dylan, Ryan is already hardwired to only one setting when dealing with women – violence. There is almost some great commentary here on how boys and girls are raised and treated differently from birth. There could be some statements made about patriarchal oppression, and yet, the tone of the show’s finale doesn’t feel to me like that’s the intention. I got the sense that we’re supposed to feel sympathy for Ryan. Really? I don’t. The only one I feel sympathy for is his mother.
Lori is another sad victim of patriarchal entitlement and internalized misogyny. Even when she finds out that her husband is cheating on her AGAIN, “she still loves him.” She’s willing to follow the asshole’s lead and pin Erin’s murder on her innocent brother-in-law to protect the cheating asshole and her disturbingly violent son. Ok, yes, lots of mothers would protect their children, no matter what they’ve done. However, I’d like to think that the truly strong mothers would want their child to LEARN A FUCKING LESSON. Sadly, the only lesson she’s teaching both her son and daughter is martyred subservience. In a jailhouse visit, John asks her to take in and raise the child that he conceived with his teenage cousin! And she does it!
NO. The answer to that question is a resounding HELL NO. She does not want this child. He is not her responsibility. No matter how selfless and nurturing this woman may be, she will resent this child. How could she not? How can it not cause her unending pain and torment every time she looks at him? How can that possibly be the best outcome for the kid? How can John be so utterly selfish and controlling? Let the kid go to the Hincheys if they want him! Let him be adopted by any number of other families who would be overjoyed to raise him. Asking Lori for this kind of sacrifice strips her of all autonomy and independence. It makes my head explode.
Pretty much all of the women in the show are controlled by the men in their lives. On the surface, Mare appears to be an independent career woman, but she’s clearly not over her ex and they remain in a somewhat dysfunctional co-dependent relationship. The last point I’ll touch on for now… IS MARE FUCKABLE?