Messages about a scandal
The last thing a TV show as convoluted and morally confusing as this one needs is a #MeToo story. And I’m not just talking about a scenario involving sexual misconduct, which we technically already had this season. I mean the one that involves the downfall of a public figure and the corresponding discussions on the cancellation of culture, believing women, the court of public opinion and the court. I knew the writers couldn’t resist this subject, as they were doing all they could to represent a more socially conscious generation of teenagers. But after watching this scandal involving Davis unfold (which may or may not be the last time he’s explored on the show, knowing how plot points are quickly dropped) I’m not sure he there is something particularly incisive or new to be gained from this subject that has not already been publicly discussed in the media in the past four years, let alone from the perspective of these flip-flops and teachers. ridiculous who have the most confusing code of ethics!
Likewise, it’s predictable at this point that Keller would secretly record Lola’s drunken spiel about Davis’ transgressions, then spend half the episode talking about how irresponsible it is to expose her on Gossip Girl. We’re only in two new episodes, and my brain has been destroyed listening to these ridiculous adults going back and forth about what’s right and what’s not, accountability and “obstruction of justice” , while making the worst human choices possible! However, Jordan, Wendy, and the new group of teachers they recruit for reasons I don’t understand end up pushing her to speak out against the allegation that Davis coerced a woman named Lauren into having sex while she was drunk.
Aki warns Julien that her media mogul father has a scoop that could affect her, but she assumes it will be more of a Lea Michele / Ellen DeGeneres-level pullout. When it’s posted on Gossip Girl, she immediately confronts Davis about it. He explains that Lauren is just a disgruntled assistant to a former artist he worked with named Riley and that he never had a relationship with her. This scene is incredibly squeaky – this episode has a LOT of cringe – because Davis is recycling all the language and explanations we’ve heard from accused men since the rise of the #MeToo movement. I also think Luke Kirby deserves to play a character with a better arc than this.
Speaking of recycled language, Zoya accuses her father of not believing women when he suggests that they shouldn’t exclude Davis from their lives without any proof he’s guilty, especially after he just offered them a free accommodation in a chic apartment. In this scene, nothing that comes out of Zoya’s mouth, especially about the low percentage of false rape allegations and the challenges victims face in court, is wrong. It’s more than she looks like she’s reading a Wikipedia page or doing a PowerPoint, that’s how Zoya expresses all of her political views. Despite being technically on the right side of the matter, Zoya seems utterly arrogant and unfriendly to Julien’s predicament as a daughter who has a crappy dad.
In a scene that seems straight out of Succession, Aki’s father Roger, a character who appears to be Malcolm McDowell’s failed audition for Logan Roy, tells Aki his newsroom killed the story because they couldn’t verify the claims . Julien, visibly in a hurry to believe that it is false, shares this news with Zoya, who does not understand why a teenager would want to believe in the innocence of the only parent she has. She also expects Julien to hold his adult father accountable, which isn’t something you can do when you’re a literal kid ?? So Zoya takes matters into his own hands by telling Gossip Girl that Davis owns a second apartment (which isn’t inherently overwhelming) and how he treated his father terribly. She completely ignores the fact that this woman’s accusation is being released without her consent and that she should probably let events unfold without further intervention from anonymous strangers. But it’s Zoya!
Meanwhile, this show really tries to make Aki’s fractured relationship with her dad one thing, mainly, I think, because his dad is played by an iconic actor that they want to make the most of. Honestly, I don’t care if Aki gets along with his father or Obie with his mother, for that matter. However, their shared experience of being raised by austere, wealthy parents is a way for the two of them to bond and overcome this unexpected obstacle of Obie being briefly uncomfortable with Aki’s sexuality. This leads to a big “fuck you” moment where they ditch their parents in a fancy restaurant for working class food, a slice of pizza. On the way home, they both agree that their parents deserve to be exposed for their bad behavior, as if the world isn’t already aware that the rich suck. Obie sends pictures of her parents’ tax returns to Gossip Girl because, as we all know, people really care that billionaires pay taxes. I also love the way Gossip Girl went from little high school bullshit to WikiLeaks.
That same night, Julien and Zoya both attend a concert for Davis’s label where a crowd of protesters shout outside, “Cancel Calloway!” I hate the general assumption that the word “cancel” is something that activists or socially conscious people seriously say. Anyway, after receiving the phone records obtained during the investigation of Lauren d’Aki’s claim, Julien grabs Zoya to search his father’s office for his old Blackberry. In a bizarre ending to the facts, we find out that Riley is actually the woman her father assaulted, and Lauren lied. Hopefully this will be explained later. But I don’t know why a female character has to lie in a story involving sexual assault when women are constantly accused of lying about it in real life. This “twist” seems a bit lazy to me.
When Davis comes home from the party, he’s ambushed by Julien and Zoya with the lyrics, which gives me war flashbacks to one of the worst movies I’ve ever seen, Promising young woman. This scene is also terribly acted out by Jordan Alexander, who can emotional as well as a cardboard box. His head is also partially dazzled, which is very annoying.
Of course, it’s only when Julien and Zoya are on the same page about her father being a trash can that Zoya can offer her sister the slightest bit of compassion and support. So I guess that means we’re back on this dysfunctional brotherhood roller coaster that we can never get off!
â¢ I found the subplot about Max’s erection problems hilarious during this episode. Like, okay ???
â¢ Monet and Luna are back, to my partial excitement. Luna has proven to be the most fascinating and well-played character, while Monet still feels like a staple villainous girl from a series in 2005.
â¢ It should be noted that Jia Tolentino Trick mirror finally appeared on this show thanks to book influencer Audrey. I’m surprised he didn’t show up sooner.
â¢ I’m interested to see how Keller will fare after being fired from her primary role of snitch by the teachers. I hope to see real internal bickering among professors and not just these bogus intellectual debates about “justice”.