Reprisal Season 1 Episode 4: On the Principles of Horsehound Recap

Burt Watches Fire: "I love the smell of napalm in the morning." -- Lieutenant Kilgore, Apocalypse Now
“I love the smell of napalm in the morning.” — Lieutenant Kilgore, Apocalypse Now

Episode 4 opens on darkness and the sound of automatic weapons fire. Gradually, Burt Harlow’s face is revealed, lit by flickering, orange flames. He sits on the back of a truck and watches a large fire in the distance, on the order of several buildings. There’s a man with a gun several feet away. Burt notices the flames are slowing down and goes to the man with the gun, who is wearing a 3 River Phoenixes jacket and surrounded by a dozen bodies.

The camera pulls out to reveal that they are at the old racetrack and this is the night Katherine Harlow was left for dead. The man with the gun is Joel Kelly. He was the third man on the scene that night, along with Burt and Bash, and the man who drove the truck, but he was a Phoenix, not yet a full Brawler.

Burt goes to Joel and jostles him out of the trance he seems to be in. Now Burt begins to create the legend we heard Matty and Johnson tell Ethan in episode 3.

Burt, speaking about the slaughter of the Brawlers: “This was necessary, ’cause now I need you for what comes next.”

Joel: “And what’s that?”

Burt: “Why’d you come to us, Joel?”

Joel: “You found me.”

Burt: “Yeah, outside of Houndsville in that dog s–t knuckle ring. They called you Joel the mover, the bare-knuckle champ rumored to have sailed the world. But you know when I found you? When I saw what you did to your opponent. That’s when I found you. A lost man with a grievance against the world, a grievance against himself, and a man that needed a family. Like me, like Bash, like every single one of us. And when we tell them what the Ghouls did to us, they’re gonna remember what it’s like to be a Brawler, and to have a family. And those who were not with us, they’re gonna see what we’re capable of. They’re gonna watch us rise and burn and consume and prosper… So, Joel the mover, you can leave. Or, you can put those Ghouls’ masks on those Brawlers’ heads and join us. And you join family.”

Bash brings the masks over and tosses half to Joel. Joel hands his gun to Burt, who takes it and sits back down on the truck. Bash and Joel begin pulling Ghoul hoods over the dead Brawlers’ faces. Katherine’s car pulls up.

This is the point where the pilot begins.

In the present day, Joel watches Lyla play outside of their trailer. He calls his contact with the Ghouls, Jukes, to arrange a meeting.

Molly gets very bored in the motel and has too much time to think. She obsessively cleans the room, then goes to the office and chats up the clerk. She discusses her love of reading mysteries and Colin’s lack of interest in doing anything but drinking and dying, then asks where the bus station is.

Doris has coffee with Earl and Cordell while the Custodian cleans up the mess that was Bolo and friend. They discuss their future as a team. Doris explains a little about the Bang-A-Rangs, their income and her past. She just wants Earl and Cordell for the robbery portion of the event, and some support, while she does what she needs to do. Earl and Cordell agree that it sounds doable, but stress the importance of Ethan, her inside man, and the work he’ll do. Tomorrow, Earl and Cordell will give Doris a firsthand look at how their operation works.

Joel the mover meets Jukes in one of the Ghouls’ trailers. Gary and Konstantinov are there, but Jukes sends them out before he and Joel start to talk. Jukes tells Joel that the Ghouls believe Burt’s dead and the Brawlers are hiding it. Joel admits nothing. He reminds Jukes that the Ghouls aren’t paying their 60% tax. Instead of pushing for them to pay it, he offers to drop it to 35% and return some territory.

In return, the Ghouls have to let the current conflict drop. Jukes says they would have sent the Phoenixes right back if they’d been turned over. Joel thinks Jukes has lost control of the men under him. But he knows they’ve pushed the Ghouls too hard, financially, for too long. Jukes asks if Joel believes the old story that it was the Ghouls who ambushed the Brawlers, all those years ago. Joel, who knows it wasn’t the Ghouls, responds by telling Jukes to stop whoever’s selling Scratch to Meredith or the deal is off and he’ll burn the Ghouls down.

Meredith was right. When he sees her, he thinks about Lyla’s future. If he ever was clear headed, he isn’t now. He just blinked, twice, in front of enemies who have been counting up offenses and, like Katherine Harlow, waiting for years to get their payback.

Switching to white collar criminals, Big Graham’s lawyer Davie practices Dutch in his car using instructional recordings as he drives to Donuts and Duvets. He tries his Dutch on a gas station owner by explaining his murder plans for Doris and Molly.

The Phoenixes stop by the Ghouls’ compound to pick up Meredith’s motorcycle. Gary tells them she still owes him money. Matty apologizes for the original fight, but Gary won’t back down. Matty points out that Burt won’t be happy to hear that the Ghouls are trying to rip off his little girl, on top of not paying their taxes. There’s some threats and peacock strutting, which leads to assurances that the whole thing will deteriorate into a gang war and they will come for each other eventually.

This is the part that Joel refuses to see. Even his own people are accumulating grudges and tired of routine. They need an outlet, not to be tucked into bed early on school nights.

The Phoenixes bring the motorcycle safely back to Meredith, who offers them all rides once she has it running. Then she reminds them that it’s Cop Night at the Bang-A-Rang.

Reprisal S1Ep4 Joel at Ghouls'Reprisal S1Ep4 Meredtih Gives Joel Scratch

Cop Night is an opportunity for the cops to blow off steam. Matty explains that the Brawlers let all of the cops into the Bang-A-Rang a few times a year. That and some additional financial arrangements guarantee the police will cooperate with them the rest of the time. The officers are given the run of the place, and allowed more freedom than normal customers are given.

Police Captain Adler thanks Joel for the good time, then informs him that some of his men spotted Burt and trailed him for a while before they lost him again near Route Dixon. Joel is glad for the confirmation that Burt’s still alive. Adler offers to have his men search the area for Burt, but Joel just wants them to continue to keep their eyes open.

Then Adler asks if they have any of the really good stuff, by which he means scratch. Joel finds Meredith in her dressing room and tells her he needs whatever she’s got, because they don’t let cops pay for anything. Meredith lies about it at first, but eventually hands over her entire stock, calling Joel a hypocrite as she does. After he leaves, she’s upset about the loss, probably because she doesn’t have the money to cover it with her dealer.

I’m not sure where she got the idea that Joel has integrity. I guess she confused his need to keep his daughter safe with consistent morality or being a good man, period. Many people do. Loving a very small number of people is very, very different from being good or moral. Joel wants to avoid a war. As long as Lyla survives, he doesn’t care who gets screwed over.

Adler runs into Matty and Ethan in the mens room. He recognizes Ethan from somewhere, probably a Wanted poster, but assumes it’s because he arrested Ethan at some point. Matty must not have had his daily dose of chaos yet, because he tells Adler that Ethan is wanted for murder in Detroit, willing to bet Ethan’s future on the certainty that Phoenixes and Brawlers are untouchable for life. Adler mutters something about not knowing anything about Detroit, and leaves. Ethan is angry with Matty for testing how far the police will go.

Molly asks Doris what she has planned for the day. Doris says she’s going to run errands, which even Molly can tell is a lie. Molly gives up on Doris and tells her that she’s planning on making her way back to Detroit to come clean with Big Graham, help clear his name and take over the restaurant. She explains that Doris is leaving her to sit home alone, just like Colin did. Doris has all of her plans and Molly has nothing, so she’s taking the restaurant. She knows a lack of ambition has always been her problem, so now she’s going to do something about it.

She’s going to tell everyone that Doris killed Colin and kidnapped her, but she escaped. She’ll tell the police that she doesn’t know where Doris is, so that Doris can get away. Doris asks if Molly is going to admit to the police that killing Colin was her idea. Doris’ point is that she and Molly have been in this together, but Molly thinks that if they’re in it together, then Doris ought to share her current activities. Doris hugs Molly and tells her she’s better off not knowing.

Reprisal S1Ep4 Davie in CarReprisal S1Ep4 Cordell Doris Earl in Truck

Earl and Cordell arrive to pick Doris up for their day of sharing. As soon as the truck pulls out of the motel lot, Davie pulls in. He asks the desk clerk about Doris and Molly, but the clerk doesn’t know their names. Davie doesn’t get the cooperation he’s looking for from the clerk, so he takes all of the room keys and checks the doors one by one until he finds Molly, once again alone in her room.

Earl and Cordell take Doris on their daily rounds of observing the criminal enterprises they’re considering robbing. They explain that they don’t rob anyone who’s a decent, honest person. Only fellow criminals, like the shady auto mechanic who’s also running a smuggling operation that brings drugs into the community. There’s also a fish vender who smuggles stolen jewels inside of large fish. Half the fish rot before they can be eaten, which is a huge waste.

Despite Cordell’s belief, Earl is certain that the jewels are not brought in from other galaxies. TBD.

The Piano Devil/Reverend Paulie fixes pianos but also runs a fake religion that’s really a cult. He convinces his followers to cleanse their sins by knife fighting to the death, then runs a gambling ring on the side for his friends to bet on who’s going to win.

Earl and Cordell carefully watch their marks until they thoroughly understand their schedules. Everything depends on understanding the schedule well enough to predict the right time to move and collect the most cash with the least likelihood of getting caught.

Doris calls Ethan and asks him to carefully observe how money flows in and out of the Bang-A-Rang vault, so that he can tell her the schedule. Ethan has no idea where the vault even is and isn’t very committed to finding out. He only agrees to her request because he feels like he has no choice.

This is not the kind of commitment Earl and Cordell are looking for, but they can’t see Ethan on the other end of the phone line and don’t realize how out of the loop he is.

Davie records Molly’s current version of the story of Colin’s death. She asks if it’s enough to clear Big Graham’s name, but that’s not what he’s interested in. He’s much more concerned with how he’s going to kill her.

In Dutch, he says that coat hangers would make good weapons and that he’ll kill her painfully slowly. Then, in English, to make sure she understands what he’s saying, he tells her how much he and the gang loved Colin and supported Colin’s extramarital liaisons. Davie always thought Molly was worthless and stupid. He couldn’t understand why Colin would marry her. He laughs at her while he talks.

Davie makes the mistake of turning his back on Molly and treating her like she’s helpless and brainless. While he’s distracted with slowly fashioning the wire hanger into a weapon, Molly has grabbed the hotel room iron. She hits him in the head with it. The first hit doesn’t phase him much. He condescendingly reiterates that he’s going to enjoy killing her.

Meredith flags down Ethan in the hall for a little casual conversation. She wonders what brought him to the Brawlers. He plays it cool and asks why she wanted her own bike. (She wanted something of her own, I think.) He asks about the long ago gang war. She was young, but she remembers how it felt- dark. That’s why she’s always wanted to leave. Ethan asks where she wants to go, but she avoids the question.

Can’t have the Brawlers knowing where to find her when she does manage to leave.

Wonder what she saw during the gang war. Something that haunts her.

Doris tells Earl and Cordell that she’d like to start on her plan this week. She invites them into her motel room for tea and a planning session. Earl likes peppermint and Cordell asks for rooibos, for those keeping track at home.

Molly has found her talent and it’s murder by small appliance. She and the room are saturated in Davie’s blood. She’s still holding the iron. Cordell is impressed with her ability to spread bits of body parts around the room. Tea is postponed for a while.

Reprisal S1Ep4 Molly After the ThingReprisal S1Ep4 Queenie Speaks with Joel

Joel gives Lila the wooden carving of a horsehound he’s been working on. Lila has to make a presentation of its characteristics before she accepts the gift: “On the principles of horsehound. Principle number one: the name horsehound is derived from the function of both a horse and a hound. For, like a horse, it will ride proud and be fearlessly ridden by Daddy… And at the same time, like a hound, it will hunt the Great Beast… The Great Beast is all that’s bad in the world, coming together as one and trying to pollute the good.”

Lila is interrupted by the arrival of Queenie, who says her principles sound terrifying. Lila asks if Queenie is still, “making the friendly ones dance?” Queenie says that she isn’t sure what Lila means by friendly ones and she doesn’t make them dance, but yes.

Horsehound is supposed to be allergic to the sun, so Joel puts some white chalk on it to simulate sunscreen. Lila is satisfied, and Joel sends her inside with Bru to get dinner.

Queenie asks Joel if he discussed the reduction in the Ghoul’s tax with Burt, since he didn’t discuss it with her. She says, “If we start making concessions, we appear weak.” Joel feels that showing some flexibility with the other gangs will preserve peace and ultimately preserve the Brawlers’ position on top. Queenie thinks he should leave the Brawlers, if he’s so afraid of a fight that he can’t maintain their position of strength. Or if he thinks the Brawlers can’t survive without him, he could send Lila to Rita, where she’d be safe.

Earl and Cordell bring Doris and Molly to Bernice’s house to clean up. Bernice lets them in, but she is not happy.

Molly takes a reverse Psycho shower, which is very, very satisfying. For once the man entered the woman’s space, was fridged halfway through the story, and his blood was washed down the shower drain. The relatively innocent woman successfully defended herself against him, and this can continue to be HER STORY. And she didn’t have to be a femme fatale to accomplish it. She’s still just sweet, unassuming Molly, who’s good with an iron in a crisis, but not so good with words.

After her shower, Molly tells Doris that she understands now that she can’t go home, so she’s coming with Doris and the others. There’s nothing they can do to stop her. Is that okay? Doris agrees.

Earl tells Bernice that he and Cordell are going out of town for a while to do a job with Doris. It’s something big, big enough that… Bernice stops him right there. He’s gotten her hopes up too many times. He keeps saying he’ll quit after the next big score, but it will never be enough. Bernice wants them out of her house tomorrow.

She asks if he ever thinks about their son while he’s out robbing and shooting, or does he just keep moving so he can forget what happened? Earl starts to tear up and tells her it isn’t like that. He walks out of the room. She gives a sarcastic reply- “Of course it ain’t.”

Earl and Joel have some similarities in personality, but Earl has lost the child that was precious to him. It’s made him even more careful and methodical. But Doris isn’t as prepared or experienced as he thinks she is. Is his trust in her a rare mistake, a need to shake up his life or just a case of thinking he could overcome her issues with his experience and it would be worth it for the pay off?

Earl finds Doris on the porch and asks who Molly killed. She tells him who Davie was to her. He decides they can leave their personal lives out of their business dealings, though he might like to ask Burt about dragging her behind a truck. But he does think she should have told them that she had people after her.

Doris agrees that she should have told them about Big Graham. Earl freezes for a second and asks if she means Detroit Big Graham. Cordell has joined them and they look at each other, then burst out laughing. They’ve already robbed Graham six times and aren’t afraid of him. They look forward to taking him on a 7th time.

Before they go to bed, Earl tells her that Monster Ring used to be a bit bigger. That’s a story for another time, but he understands that after the day’s events, Molly’s part of the team now, too. He welcomes them to the team by giving her a pair of monster masks.

Monster Mash plays us out as Bernice oversees their departure the next morning. Their luggage includes tools, flak vests and weapons. Cordell and Molly sit in the back seat together, a match made in criminal road trip heaven. Katherine drives, leaving Earl to navigate.


Commentary

As always, Bernice (Tamara Austin) deserves more to do than scowl and scold Earl. At least she was given a little backstory this time and a nice house in a good neighborhood. She’s done well since the loss of their son, but hasn’t moved on anymore than Earl has. I don’t know that it’s even fair to expect parents to move on from the loss of a child, to be honest. Maybe she and Earl are doing as well as can be expected, just by being functioning members of society, in their own ways.

Doris tells Earl about her husband’s death in this episode as well, and we learn that Lila’s mom, Rita, is estranged rather than dead. Burt, Meredith’s father and the father figure to all of the Brawlers, is MIA, but now Joel knows for sure that he’s staying away of his own volition. Burt’s brutal rejection of Katherine was mentioned, reminding us that this is the second time in her life she’s lost everything. Ethan’s deadbeat mom wasn’t mentioned, but she’s always hanging over his head.

It’s a reminder that the characters in Reprisal have all suffered huge losses. They’re all broken, angry and lost, whether they show it all the time, like some of the Brawlers. Or hardly at all, like Molly did before this episode or Meredith, who shows it in her restlessness and impertinence.


Using Style and Substance to Subvert Tropes

If you judged this show as style over substance, it’s because you’re looking in the wrong places. It’s subverting one trope after another, which is why it feels hollow to anyone who’s normally comforted by movie/TV tropes that prop up the dominant portions of society.

In Reprisal, the white men often fail, while the men of color succeed. The women plan and use common sense, while many of the men spiral. The people at the top seek to hold onto their wealth or power at the expense of others, but the ones at the bottom eventually have little to lose, which makes them bold.

Those that bought into the system are being brought down by their obsession with aggression and dominance. This is what happens after the dominant men are done shooting at each other in a real or metaphorical gang war- they’re weakened or dead. There are cracks in the system, leaving openings for everyone else to step into the vacuum and take advantage.

Joel seems like an exception to this, but he isn’t really trying to change the system. He just wants to tweak it a little bit so that it will benefit his daughter while she’s young. He hasn’t thought through what will happen to her in a few years, when she’s old enough to follow in Meredith, Katherine and Queenie’s footsteps and become a pin-up. There is no other place in his world for her, which is probably why her mother doesn’t live with them.

He also hasn’t thought about what Lila’s absorbing while she’s living in the compound, right now. The question she asked Queenie shows that Lila is already very aware of the other women in the compound and the fact that they’re being exploited. She knows that if the women want to be a part of the Brawlers, they have to remove their clothes for men and “dance”, so in that sense, Queenie does “make” them. Some may also be dancing to pay off debts or be virtually unable to leave for other reasons, just as Ethan and Meredith can’t leave.

Then there’s the issue of the bedrooms that line the Bang-A-Rang club walls. Those aren’t meant for sleeping and those women aren’t only earning money by dancing alone, at least not standing up. How much of their pay do they get to keep? How much choice do they have about which sex acts they perform, with who, and when? They definitely aren’t respected. We’ve heard the way Mattie and Johnson talk about them, as if they don’t have human feelings.

Reprisal does have some things to say about these tropes, too, it just hasn’t gotten there yet.


Masculinity, the Smell of Napalm and Violent Implosion

The major trope that Reprisal subverts is the glorification of the victorious, violent man. Whether the referenced filmmakers meant to show how destructive this image is or meant to glorify heartless macho men, Reprisal is taking those portrayals, from The Godfather and Apocalypse Now to The Big Lebowski and Psycho, and showing the truth of the effects of their brutality on the men themselves and everyone around them.

In the opening scene, we’re shown Burt’s recruitment method. Mattie has already told us that what cements the loyalty between a newcomer and the gang is their first fight together. Now, we hear it straight from Burt and also find out that he uses fighting as his method of discovering new recruits, just as Katherine/Doris recognized Ethan’s potential when she saw that he couldn’t stop beating the man in the parking lot.

Burt looks for men who are lost, alone, and so angry that they can’t stop fighting. He fights alongside them and finds a way to create a bigger shared bond through a secret, like the one he and Joel share by putting the Ghouls masks on the Brawlers they killed, then lying about who did it. Doris shares Ethan’s secret about the man he killed. Now some of the Brawlers do as well.

Except Mattie’s not great about keeping secrets. His strength is in creating unbreakable bonds and bitter enemies. He’s a different kind of leader, though just as chaotic. He just doesn’t know it yet.

Meredith is certain that Joel sees Lyla when he looks at the the pin-ups, and she does seem to have changed the equation for him. But that isn’t true of every man in this show, as they’ve shown us from the very first moment with Burt and Katherine. Maybe Burt left the Brawlers because making Meredith a pin-up finally made him grow a conscience, maybe not.

Even Joel’s conscience is limited to potentially avoiding extreme violence against women and trying to maintain stability for the sake of his daughter and his own mental health. He has no problem with sexually exploiting women (and men) on a daily basis, in an environment filled with drugs, violence and alcohol (his only issue with scratch is that it’s deadly, so it will get the Brawlers in trouble) and raising his daughter in that environment.

He’s still a violent man in a violent environment who uses violence when he feels it’s necessary to get his point across. He’s somewhat lost touch with just how aggressive he needs to be with some of the other men (and women) to maintain his dominant position, because he hasn’t been seriously threatened in a while and he hopes institutional memories will be enough to maintain the peace.

But he’s also still Joel the mover. The question everyone else is asking is- How soft has he become and how much has he slowed down? He’s shown that he’s willing to be reasonable, and in a contest of dominance, that can be taken as a sign of weakness.

Which is why everyone, in every vassal gang, is waiting to see if Burt comes back. Because Burt is not a reasonable man. He’s a psychopathic alpha dog who won’t accept any challenge to his authority. He will burn everything down rather than allow a challenge to his authority to go unpunished, and they all know it.

When Burt was around, no one dared step out of line, because he’s a ruthless, fascist dictator. Life is terrible under him for almost everyone except the elite men of the Brawlers, but the rules and boundaries are very clear, and he had the will and the firepower to back them up. Bash reminded the Ghouls of this with his display of physical dominance.

Some of the younger men love the romantic version of the gang war legend, but they don’t understand the truth of it. They don’t understand that they will be the foot soldiers Burt or Joel will sacrifice and that even a glorious death still leaves you dead.

They don’t understand that there’s nothing honorable or victorious about the smell of napalm- it’s the smell of a horrible death from chemical burns and it kills indiscriminately. Or that going to the mattresses is the prelude to the men on top deciding to send them out to die for the sake of old arguments. It’s as if they’ve never seen the ends of the war and mob films they idolize.

The younger men who long for the excitement of war love the rush of emotional urgency from feeling like they have nothing else to live for but this fight and this moment, and that they must win at all costs. They haven’t realized yet what Joel and Bru have found, but Bash is still searching for- there is something more to life beyond the fight.

Whether it’s family, friends, brother/sisterhood or a devotion to work or a cause, there’s something more to live for than senselessly throwing your life away in a violent blaze of glory, despite the relentless media assault on masculine minds telling them the opposite.

If you get nothing else from this show, get that.

Both the Ghouls and the Monster Ring provide a contrast to the ultra macho Brawlers.

We’re never given a full explanation of how the Ghouls operate, but it’s clear that they are more equal than the Brawlers. The women are more integrated into the group rather than segregated into being sex workers. The leadership appears to be more down to earth and spread out, rather than in the hands of one cult leader and his second in command.

Members of the Ghouls seem to move amongst each other more freely, rather than the strict hierarchy we see within the Brawlers. Traditional, toxic masculinity which requires competition and winning is still prized, but not to the pathological level it’s reached in the Brawlers. The Ghouls seem relatively relaxed with each other before Brawlers show up and disturb the peace.

Earl and Cordell serve as the counterweight to the gang mentality, with their slow, meticulous plans and their refusal to rise to the bait that’s thrown at them by enemies. They’ve survived a long time without getting caught by anyone, organized criminals and police alike, because they are careful. They don’t get caught up in proving their masculinity or dominating each other. They each have a role to play, as does Bernice, and when there are disagreements, they are aired out and ironed out.

Earl is the leader and front man, but he listens carefully and takes advice. While he’s similar in many ways to Joel, Earl spends the episode coomunicating with everyone in his circle, making sure there’s no confusion, while Joel spends the episode giving orders and listening to complaints that he’s not communicating well enough.

The Monster Ring is about getting the job done, not about dominance and extortion between members. Even they’ve made mistakes and suffered great losses, but they’ve held themselves together through patience, compromise and cooperation instead of violently imploding.

There aren’t really any innocent people or good guys on Reprisal, but the Monster Ring are probably as close as it gets.


And Then There Are the Wire Coat Hangers…

Davie specifically says to Molly, “Oh, there are wire hangers. I think I’ll take your hands first, just so you can feel it.” I believe this is a reference to American Psycho. The quote from that film/novel is, “The things I could do to you with a coat hanger.” The hanger is used to beat and mutilate a sex worker to death.

The main character, Patrick Bateman, is an emotionally numb, psychopathic serial killer. Like Davie, he talks incessantly, both about his murder plans and every trivial thought in his head, so much so that people don’t recognize when he’s actually serious about the crimes he commits.

American Psycho is the height of self-aggrandizing, soulless, cinematic male violence and misogyny. Bateman is among the most repulsive characters I’ve ever encountered, just as Davie and Big Graham are the most repulsive characters in this story, motivated solely by greed and bloodlust, with a thin veneer of affection for their cronies.

They aren’t examples of masculinity, toxic or otherwise. They are examples brains that are so disordered they can’t be fixed, of individuals so dangerous they need to be taken out of human society permanently for the safety of others.

The article I linked to above notes that in American Psycho, the wire coat hangers are a reference to illegal abortions. They don’t seem to understand the point that the world would be better off if Bateman’s mother hadn’t given birth to him.

Meanwhile, Davie wants to cut off Molly’s hands, as a nod to how useless he thinks she is. Instead she kills him with her bare hands, proving just how capable she is. Even after she hits him with the iron the first time, he doesn’t take her seriously. That leads her to become so enraged that she doesn’t stop hitting him until he’s in tiny pieces, too small to keep beating. And she uses a classic symbol of the thankless work women do for men.

Molly has now had the fight that she was too angry to stop fighting; she shares incriminating secrets with the others; and is a lost and lonely soul.

She meets the criteria for entry into the crime ring.


But What About Those Piles of Male Bodies?

People always question why we count up the number of women who die in real life and in entertainment and ignore the larger number of men who die. Take a look at the scenes in this episode and so many like them. When men die violently, they are more likely to have agency, which means they had choices about how they handled their situations. In fact, men are more likely to have instigated the violence. When people choose to fight violently, eventually they’re going to pay with their lives. Overconfidence and refusal to back down are killers, just as surely as knives and guns are.

When women die violent deaths, they are almost always victims, especially in real life. They had no choice about the violence that was forced on them and died in terror and pain. Entertainment unrealistically increases the frequency of violent female perpetrators. In real life women go to prison more frequently than men for defending themselves from violent men, often men they were trying to escape from.

UN Global Study on Homicide: Gender-related killing of women and girls July 2019 Booklet_5

Images courtesy of Hulu.

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