Made for Love Season 1 Episode 6: I Want You to Give a F*** About Me Recap

Made for Love S1Ep6 Hazel & Herb Discuss Fun

In episode 6, the word of the day is authenticity, as Byron tries to figure what will satisfy his craving for connection with Hazel. Hazel tries to bring meaning and purpose back into her life after ten years stuck in the Hub serving as Byron’s muse. Herb hires an old flame who is also a professional investigator to help free Hazel from Byron’s surveillance. After her encounter with Hazel, Fiffany reassesses her priorities.

Recap

We begin with Byron and Hazel on beach date, as seen through Byron’s eyes. Hazel wakes up from a nap and tells Byron how great the real sun feels. He offers her a donut hole, which she eats with perfect calm and grace, the way that Hazel only acts when she’s putting on her perfect hostess act.

While she eats, Byron tells her that he’s changed. Now he just wants to connect with her, not control her. The real her. Hazel gives him a side eye and tells him that donut holes aren’t enough to make her forgive him for ten years of imprisonment in a luxury prison. Then she blips out of existence.

The “real” Hazel that Byron is trying to connect with is a simulation. So is the “real” sun they were enjoying. Byron can’t even keep his simulated Hazel happy when he controls all of the parameters of the encounter.

Fake Tardis dates just aren’t doing it anymore, even for Fake Hazel, Byron’s version of Diane.

Byron calls for Bennett, who was of course waiting in the wings like Cyrano, orchestrating every detail. They go over what might have gone wrong, from flaws in the data they’ve collected on Hazel since she left the real world to Byron’s presentation strategy, but both agree that statistically, Fake Hazel should have responded to Byron’s chivalrous presentation of donut holes and promises he doesn’t intend to keep.

As most men with healthy egos would, they decide Hazel’s rejection was a statistical anomaly rather the result of a flawed plan and reset so Byron can try the exact same thing again.

Hazel wakes up in Fiffany’s van, startling Fiffany and Lyle, who thought Byron had killed her by merging and were about to remove the chip from her brain. Fiffany assumes Byron changed his mind about the merge and Hazel’s collapse was caused by the disruption to the chip’s signal she and Lyle caused.

So Byron must have decided to create Fake Hazel for him to have his own version to interact with in the Hub, using all of the Hazel data he has, rather than killing the living version so that she only exists inside his head. While it’s a relief that he won’t go so far as to murder the human object of his desire, creating a Stepford Wife copy to be his pretend wife doesn’t seem much better. Combining Fake Hazel with Diane is probably exactly how the first Stepford Wives were created.

Made for Love S1Ep6 Byron & Hazel on BeachMade for Love S1Ep6 Hazel, Lyle, Fiffany in Van

Fiffany explains to Hazel that Lyle disrupted the chip’s feed so that Byron can’t see them. They have five minutes to take the chip out before it comes back on line. Hazel is still recovering from her near death scare from the merge confusion, but she manages to tell them no, she wants to keep the chip now. Lyle jumps straight to forcing removal on her. Fiffany takes the psychological approach, discussing what freedom means. Hazel laughs at the notion of entrusting two of Byron’s top henchmen with her freedom.

And with doing brain surgery in a van in the middle of the dusty desert- or maybe that’s just me. It’s a mobile surgical unit!! Healthcare in America really is a sham anymore, kids.

Hazel lists the ways Fiffany and Lyle failed her for ten years, including turning a blind eye to her forced, daily on camera performative orgasms, which basically puts her in the category of sex slave. Missing the point, Lyle tells her those were above his pay grade so he didn’t get to watch.

Guess as Head of Security he supposedly didn’t figure out who had bootlegs of the footage, either, but I’m sure they exist.

Fiffany tries to convince Hazel that Byron stole something from her that was as valuable as the years of Hazel’s life that she can’t get back. Because as we know, Hazel’s life isn’t worth much without Byron to make it valuable. Fiffany means her research and the chip, of course, which Byron didn’t actually steal. He changed the terms of the contract and paid her well for her work. She was coerced into letting him use her work for something other than what she intended, but that’s fairly typical in business and a far cry from the complete control Hazel’s been under.

Hazel: “He took something without your consent? Yeah, sort of like what you’re doing to me right now. Did you, did you get Zelda’s consent when you trapped her in the Hub and put a chip in her brain? You are just like Byron.”

It doesn’t bother Lyle to be compared to Byron. He’d be fine with being a billionaire and will do whatever it takes to get there, including holding Hazel down while she screams through the chip removal procedure. But Fiffany understands what Hazel is saying and knows that it’s uncomfortably close to the truth.

Byron only cares about his money for the freedom it gives him to live the way he wants. He’s not inherently materialistic the way Lyle is. Fiffany also just wants the chip right now so she can use it to make whatever deal with the devil will allow her to continue her research in peace. She wants her own freedom, and for a minute she was willing to compromise the freedom of others to get it.

While working with Byron, Fiffany hasn’t considered all of the implications of her work, such as whether animals want a greater connection with humans or if that would even be healthy for them. Or if it would just lead to more exploitation, the same way Byron immediately saw that one partner in a relationship could use the chip to exploit the other partner.

As a talented scientist, Fiffany has been exploited by one corporation after another, with golden boy CEOs making promises to her about how her work will be used and then breaking those promises before the products reach the market. Hazel’s questions force her to reconsider the entire cycle of exploitation involved, beyond just her own troubles.

Fiffany insists that she’s not the same as Byron and tells Hazel to leave. Hazel fumbles with the latch on her seat belt, so Fiffany presses the button for her, showing that she really means what she says. Meanwhile, Lyle complains that their future is inside Hazel’s skull and Hazel owes them.

What does she owe them for? Performing brain surgery without her consent to put the chip in and then attempting it a second time to take the chip out?

Fiffany helps Hazel out of the van, saying it’s time to stop looking at her and Lyle now. The chip is about to come back online and they can’t let Byron see them with Hazel. They rush to the front of the van and drive off, leaving Hazel alone in the desert.

They get their revenge on Hazel for not letting them take the chip, because they could have shown her how they took the chip off line, but no one even mentioned that possibility. Hazel was too blindsided by the whole thing to think of it. Plus they leave her much farther from home than when she started, in the middle of nowhere, with no water, which is a big deal in the desert.

In addition to authenticity, the other two words of the day are freedom and consent. Fiffany and Lyle are still absorbing what they mean when applied to everyone, not just themselves.

Back on the fake beach, Byron is successful and Fake Hazel says she’ll forgive him. Then she blips away again. Byron calls Bennett, who’s super happy that Byron got the girl. He offers to reset the simulation so Byron can relive the experience, but Byron has discovered that it’s not as exciting when there’s no chance the girl will say no.

Bennett notices that Byron’s biometric feedback levels signal he’s annoyed. So does his facial expression. Byron says that the reason he didn’t implant the chip in his own head and merge, besides his fear of what the technology might do to him, is because while he was lying in the chair he had an epiphany and realized that the world is annoying- it’s nothing like the perfect world he’s created in the Hub.

When Bennett hears the word epiphany, he thinks Byron says Fiffany and says he hasn’t seen her lately. That’s Bennett’s guilt speaking. His epiphany was to get Fiffany to help stop Byron from killing Hazel with the merge. Bennett may be the most enthusiastic and devoted yes man ever, but he’s found the line he’s uncomfortable crossing. Not uncomfortable enough to say no to Byron, that’s crazy talk, but at least to do an end run around him.

Luckily, Byron realized on his own that he doesn’t want to cross that line either. He figured out that he could use all of the data he’s been collecting to understand What Hazel Wants. Having done that with Fake Hazel, he now understands that by leaving the Hub, Real Hazel was telling him that she wants more Authenticity in her life. And Byron, who created an entire fake world so he’d never have to encounter the real world, is sure that he’s just the guy to whip up the “reality” Hazel is looking for.

😭 I’m so proud. Byron has finally become a true tech bro hipster. I knew he could get there if he tried. But it’s 2021, not 2018. He needs to come full circle and Bring Authenticity Home.

Bennett, who pulls double duty as Byron’s Greek Chorus, tosses in that Hazel was trying to tell him she wanted a Divorce just before Byron says the word Authenticity. Both are technically true. That’s what Hazel’s obsession with smell is about. Things that are real get dirty and smelly. If you make things too perfect, you miss out on half of life and the strange, sometimes amazing, surprises and opportunities that can come from challenges and adversity.

Byron has figured out that the Hazel he’s been living with in the Hub all of these years is as fake as Fake Simulation Hazel. But now, he’s seeing Real Hazel again, out in the Real World, and that’s where he needs to go if he’s going to become her Prince Charming again. He fell in love with Real Hazel the first time by watching her from a distance, but then he whisked her away to the Hub before they even got to know each other. He needs to prepare himself for a Real World Courtship™️.

He tells Bennett to reset the simulation, this time to Level 10- with maximized real world variables. “Just make it feel real!”

Hazel reappears and so do a lot of other people, who all seem intent on ruining the date. Byron gets hit with a ball, they get sand kicked in their faces and a dog eats their picnic. But Byron is committed to learning to live with annoyances, so he sends Bennett back to his corner instead of letting him intervene.

Fiffany takes Lyle to an upscale hotel so he can pretend he’s left the real world again and hands him a wad of cash, telling him it should take care of him for a few weeks. Lyle asks what the next step in her plan for them is, but she tells him she’s learned her lesson and is striking out on her own. She’s done helping men. He’s confused that she’s including him with “men”. She tells him that she’s going to the Hub to oversee Zelda’s transfer, then she’s going to give Byron her resignation.

Lyle tries to convince her that they’re a team and she needs him as much as he needs her, then he tries to get her to feel sorry for him. Neither works and she insists he get out of the van. He refuses, so she punches him in the face. That gets him to leave.

Needy men like Lyle can be so clingy. It’s so embarrassing for strong, independent women to deal with. And such a drag.

Even after everything Fiffany’s watched Byron do to other people and what he’s done to her, she still doesn’t see him as a serious threat.

And while Lyle knows his value is in his capacity for violence, he doesn’t have the empathy to understand why the way his shifting loyalties and his use of violence and threats to get what he wants make him the wrong choice for a woman to ally herself with. He doesn’t have the self-awareness to consider the effect of everything he’s tried to force on Hazel, and now Fiffany, since they left the Hub and the fact that he has nothing to offer Fiffany as a partner now that he doesn’t work for Byron. Sometimes, a woman needs a bodyguard, but hopefully she can find one with some loyalty and empathy, not one who’s waiting in line to take advantage of her.

Fiffany and Hazel are survivors because Lyle’s actions are majors red flags for them. Fiffany paid him off in an attempt to keep him loyal long enough for her to get away. Unlike Hazel, who’s actually smart and creative and was an asset to Byron’s business (the real reason he wants her back so badly), in reality, Lyle is just another big male goon, the kind that are a dime a dozen but are told they’re so f***ing special their entire lives.

You can bet Biff would take Lyle’s wrongful termination case seriously. He’d already be lining up other disgruntled former employees to act as witnesses and suggesting Lyle threaten to become a union activist (but only threaten).

Hazel stumbles into Herb’s trailer at 1:00 AM. She goes to assure Herb that she’s okay, but he and Diane are sound asleep. She left him to walk home 13 hours ago, at noon, and although he noticed she was taking a long time, he figured she’s an adult, it was none of his business. All of Hazel’s childhood insecurities are triggered. She’s just gone from being watched 24/7 and knowing someone would always be there if she needed them, back to Herb’s barely there style of caring.

She’s just supposed to know he cares, because fathers care about their daughters, so of course he cares, no matter what it seems like. And that knowledge had better be enough for her, because it’s all he can manage. If it’s not, then she’s the one who’s too clingy and needy, whether she’s 10 and in need of breakfast or 35 and about to die of heat stroke in the desert.

These are not Herb’s problems. He has drinking and sexing to do.

Hazel lets it all out, telling Herb that he’s never been there for her. Bitterly, she lists all of the ways he takes care of Diane that he’s never taken care of her, even though Diane is only a fake sex toy. When Hazel grabs at the doll, Herb throws his body over his fake lover to protect her as if she’s his child and shoves Hazel so hard she flies across the room and lands sprawled on the floor. Then he accusingly asks Hazel what’s wrong with her.

He guilts her by telling her he thought he’d never see her again. She asks why he’d think that, then wonders if he ever asked himself why she ran away with a sociopath. She blames his bad parenting.

The fact that neither of them particularly reacts to Herb’s physical abuse of Hazel suggests this isn’t the first time it’s happened. It also suggests he physically abused his real wife. He gaslights and undermines Hazel nearly every time he speaks to her, the same way an abuser does. Combined with his drinking, which has gone on for decades and we know was severe even before her mother got sick, it’s not really a shock to discover he doesn’t respond well to be woken up for emergencies.

How many of us who were raised by cold, abusive fathers can relate to the way this argument goes? I’m working very hard not to have Herb bring my nightmares back. My husband has woken up to my blood curdling screams when I dreamed my father was in the room with us enough times.

Byron’s outwardly calm demeanor and the peace of the Hub probably seemed like a balm at first, until Hazel realized that Byron and his “calm” are the other side of the same coin. Byron is actually masking barely controlled anger, just as Herb uses his constant comments about Hazel’s behavior to control her, even though he appears to be laid back. It’s always about anger, fear and control.

Hazel needs to find some balance in her life.

Made for Love S1Ep6 Herb & Diane SleepMade for Love S1Ep6 Judiff Introduces Herself to Hazel

The next morning, Herb realizes he really messed up the night before, so like many an abuser, he sets up an apology gift in order to calm Hazel down. Hazel wakes up at 10 AM, complaining that Herb and Diane are getting too frisky with their nun role play at such an early hour. Herb tells her it’s not Diane in the nun’s outfit. And he’s not trying to get Hazel to join a convent, though he’s not opposed to the idea, either.

It’s a joke, but also true. Note that the nun is his ex-girlfriend. Deep down, he’d like to have all of the women in his life under lock and key, just like Byron.

The nun tells Hazel to avert her eyes so Hazel never sees her face. She doesn’t want Byron to know who she is. Herb explains that to go up against someone like Byron, they need to work outside the system. That’s his friend’s specialty. She tells Hazel to call her Judiff, with two Fs.

Just like Fiffany, who we go to next. Are they sisters??

Fiffany meets with Byron in his small, spare office and gives him her resignation. He accepts it with equanimity, removing the sensor implant that allows her to move between cubes from her finger himself. Then he leaves the room to look for a band aid.

And now she’s trapped in his office, just like Hazel was trapped in the home cube for 10 years because she didn’t have a sensor implant. Not only did Fiffany not care about Hazel’s free will, she helped Byron hold Hazel against her will (as well as dozens of dolphins), then implanted the brain chip without Hazel’s consent or even knowledge. She says she didn’t approve of Byron’s plans, but she went along with them as long as they were making her wealthy. Unlike Hazel, she wasn’t trapped and could leave- stealing her research back would have been easier when they weren’t in the middle of a crisis like this, with Byron watching. Fiffany was only held there by her greed.

Made for Love S1Ep6 Byron & Fiffany in Offices

Byron appears on a monitor over the desk. Apparently now he’s in his real office. He tells her he’s putting her in the pasture cube and a door opens in the wall of the office. She steps through, into a seemingly endless grassland. No one else is visible, even though others have been sent there, something else Fiffany was okay with.

It was easy to guess that Byron doesn’t let anyone with insider knowledge of his inventions or business leave if he can stop them. Lyle understood it and went on the run, but thought he might be able to buy his way back in using Hazel.

Since Fiffany was giving Lyle the kiss off, he didn’t bother to tell her not to go back to the Hub to resign, because she’d be sent to the Pasture instead, even though as former head of security he had to know that’s what would happen. That was his revenge on her. Fiffany should have known better, but her ego made her think that Byron would treat her like an equal, or at least a valuable asset that he might want to lure back again some day.

Byron’s policy is simply an extension of Big Tech’s corruption and subversion of labor rights.

Once Fiffany has been put out to pasture, Byron laments that she forced him to punish her, but she left him with no choice. Bennett obviously agrees. He says that a few minutes in the pasture cube will surely scare her straight and asks when he should let Fiffany out.

Byron tells him never. It’s a life sentence.

Bennett didn’t see that one coming.

Byron moves on, telling Bennett to pack their bags, because he’s ready for the real world.

Judiff and Hazel sit in Herb’s living room with a screen between them, as if they are in a confessional. Judiff explains that she investigates and takes down corrupt organizations. There are no churches within 20 miles of Twin Sands because Judiff became a nun so she could investigate them from the inside. They were all corrupt and she took them all down. “One Bishop called me a steeple slayer.”

When Hazel asks about sex crimes, Judiff corrects her: “Abuse, not sex. Sex, when between two consenting partners, is the highest expression of the divine. Isn’t that right, Herb?”

Herb spits out his drink.

What is it when it’s between a human and a piece of plastic? Can the plastic give meaningful consent?

Hazel tells Judiff that her husband is Byron Gogol, but Judiff has never heard of him. All she cares about is that Byron abused Hazel. He took away Hazel’s solitude, a place reserved for God. Hazel agrees- Byron stole all of her hiding places. Judiff tells her that Byron doesn’t get to be God.

Hazel is moved that someone is finally taking her plight seriously and intuitively understands what she’s lost. But she warns Judiff that Byron will ruin her life in order to stop her from helping Hazel. Judiff isn’t worried. And Herb’s phone isn’t ringing yet. He points out that it could be – his phone service is terrible.

Judiff asks Hazel to give her the authority to act on her behalf, since Judiff can’t inform Hazel of her plans and actions without Byron also hearing them. Hazel agrees. From now on, they won’t see or speak to each other until this is all over. Hazel will have to trust that Judiff is taking care of the situation. In the meantime, Hazel should go on with her life. Who cares if Byron wants to eavesdrop like a pathetic voyeur?

Judiff leaves to use the bathroom. Hazel asks when Herb and Judiff dated. He says it was before Diane, when Judiff was on a break from the church. Hazel likes her, since she’s so perceptive and understanding.

Judiff does a little investigating in the bathroom and discovers a bag full of prescription medications hidden under the sink. She finds Diane in the bedroom, but doesn’t know that her rival isn’t human. She starts a conversation before she moves where she can see Diane’s face. Apparently Herb “met” Diane while he was still seeing Judiff.

When Judiff gets back to the living room she plays it cool and tells Herb she’s sorry she didn’t get to meet Diane, since his girlfriend is out of town, then says her goodbyes.

So Herb used Diane as his excuse to break up with Judiff? And somehow Judiff has missed all of the Herb the Perv references around town? Maybe Judiff has been away investigating somewhere else since Herb took up with Diane.

Byron and Bennett are making their way through the real world of Los Angeles, wearing clothing with sports logos and drinking caffeinated beverages. It’s Bennett’s first time drinking caffeine and he’s excited about the buzz. As they get into their car, someone takes photos. Judiff?

Maybe Bennett was raised in an isolated Mormon cult and that’s why he hasn’t had caffeine before. It would also explain some other things.

Herb waves a hand in front of Hazel’s eyes because she’s sitting on the steps, staring, lost in thought. He tells her she’s taking on some of Diane’s traits.

Just how deep do we think Diane’s thoughts are? Is she the super duper deluxe model sex doll who can have a conversation about existential philosophy and smoke a cigarette after the act? If so, why is Herb forcing her to sit on the bed with nothing to do, as if she’s a lifeless piece of plastic, whenever he’s not paying attention to her? Shouldn’t she at least have a stack of books to read when no one’s looking so she can improve her conversational level to stay interesting for Herb, like any decent courtesan would?

I mean, just like Hazel, she’s nothing without her man. If he ditches her, she might as well be trash.

Hazel was thinking about Judiff’s advice to go on with her life and ignore the way Byron is always watching her. She’s ready to do that, she just has no idea what a normal life would look like for her now. Herb suggests she start small, maybe by doing something she used to do for fun before she met Byron.

She takes him to the cemetery where her mom is was buried. Turns out the city put out a request for volunteers to allow loved ones’ graves to be moved to a cemetery further outside of town in order to make room for newer, nicer graves. Herb needed the money and Hazel had gone AWOL, so he allowed his wife’s remains to be moved, since he never visited the cemetery anyway. He’s never visited her new plot either, but he has the address if Hazel wants to visit.

For a moment, Hazel looks distraught, then she sits down next to the grave that replaced her mother’s, Scooby ‘Dirtdog’ Martinez, and takes out a six pack of her mom’s favorite beer. She tells Herb that she used to drink beer with her mom for fun. Herb responds with his usual sensitivity, saying that he still cares about her mother, but he doesn’t need to bother talking to a rock. 🤦🏻‍♀️ 🤯 😱

Yet the symbolism and energy humans imbue inanimate objects with, allowing them to derive comfort from those objects, doesn’t seem to have bypassed Herb completely given his longterm, intimate relationship with a piece of plastic and his willingness to throw his only child across the room to protect said piece of plastic. 🧐

Herb explains that he still talks to his wife all the time, and he still has some of her stuff, including the clothes Diane wears.

Honestly, I don’t know if it’s better or worse if he pretends Diane is his dead wife.

They both confess that they were lonely after Hazel’s mom died. Herb says he felt even worse after Hazel left. He admits that he wasn’t always there for her when she was younger and he won’t always be there in the future. “Doesn’t mean I don’t care.”

Then he wonders how Dirtdog died. Hazel says, “I think he died doing what he loved. Getting his dick wet.” Herb makes disapproving noises at Hazel’s crude response, until she moves some grass away from the base of Dirtdog’s gravestone to show that she read his epitaph verbatim. They agree it’s not the worst way to go.

Made for Love S1Ep6 Hazel & Herb at Cemetery
Hazel’s mom’s former grave.

Made for Love S1Ep6 Herb Sort of Apologizes to HazelMade for Love S1Ep6 Hazel and Herb Agree that Dirtdog Had the Right Idea


Commentary

And so, after spending more than half the season on sex, we confront the other half of the authenticity equation, death. The show has circled the idea of death, but kept it at a distance, vaguely discussing Hazel’s mom’s death in the past. Hazel and Herb have never quite recovered from the loss of her mom and the hole she left in their family, but that’s normal in some ways. It could be that Herb is giving Diane the protection and care, along with the sexual experimentation, he wishes he’d given his wife when she was alive, but that’s h*lla messed up, when Hazel and Judiff are standing in front of him and Diane seems pretty capable of independence.

It takes years and years to overcome a childhood like Hazel’s and become a successful, well-rounded adult who’s actually okay on the inside and not just a facade pretending to be a functioning adult (which will probably crumble in middle age). Her progress was altered by Byron, so now she has to figure out who she is, which parts of her grew while she was in the Hub (because some definitely did) and which parts have suffered from even further abuse.

Byron tipped his hand by chickening out on merging with Hazel and causing her physical death- it’s death that he’s really afraid of (not that I think he should have gone through with the merge). He also kept those VR glasses firmly in place during the marketing video of the house burning down, but then had another idea for a tragedy his company could exploit to sell products.

Byron is obsessed with the threat of death, but, as Lyle said, he doesn’t do his own killing. He hands out life sentences in stifling situations that probably cause a slow death instead, whether it’s physical death, spiritual death, insanity or some other profound form of giving up. Byron’s fear of all forms of death, from creative death to physical death, is leading him to limit his life so much that he’s creating the situation he fears and stifling aspects of himself and others.

But I’m not sure Byron is capable of living in actual reality. He and Hazel have things in common and he does actually get her, when he occasionally moves past his own fears long enough to see her clearly and interact with her like they’re two human beings (which is still in question on his end). It’s hard to know whether to root for them as a couple or not.

For one thing, it’s not an accident that Dirtdog’s death was highlighted. Byron seems incapable of living in the moment and dying doing what he loves, or at least what Dirtdog loved. And that’s going to leave Hazel unsatisfied in the long run.

If the message is “live life to the fullest because you never know how long you have left”, then Byron’s reply is to try to take more and more control of the life and death process while enclosing himself in smaller and smaller spaces, not to live life more fully. He and Bennett may have gone outside for a moment, but the last time we saw them, they’d had a meaningless experience, then gotten into a car- still a small space- while drinking artificial beverages and convincing themselves they’d just done something authentic. Meanwhile, Herb and Hazel sat under trees in their town cemetery in the rain and drank the family favorite brand of beer, discussing their memories and how they still interact with them in a meaningful, sensory way.

They are both looking for love and meaning, but Byron tricked Hazel out of finding it in a natural way ten years ago and has kept her at arm’s length ever since so that her feelings for him haven’t developed the way he wants them to. Deep down, he wants someone to take care of him, but he’s so scared that he can’t even admit that vulnerability to himself. Despite all of his other oddities, he is an American man because of that inability to face his own emotional vulnerability head on.

Hazel also needs someone to take care of her and despite her history of abuse and abandonment, she’s still an American woman because she’s been socialized to automatically put other’s needs before her own. She didn’t even complain to Herb about the desecration of her beloved mother’s grave- instead, she let him make her feel like it was her fault that he moved her mother’s remains, because she left him alone, when an adult child has every right to get married and leave town.

She wasn’t responsible for Herb and his feelings or finances and she had the right to be angry with him. He was on his own, so he got to make the decision, but Hazel doesn’t have to like it, or any of his other decisions. She doesn’t need to be angry forever, but she should at least be able to admit that she loved that spot and he ruined it, like he’s ruined so much else in her life.

Because Herb manipulates Hazel into accepting the blame so often in their relationship, she was also passive for ten years in her relationship with Byron. Their relationship was so unequal that she automatically assumed that she was wrong and he was right, until she couldn’t take it anymore. Once the situation became untenable, she was no longer locked into the paradigm Byron and Herb had created for her and possibilities opened up in her mind- mainly rebellion and death, but thankfully Zelda also thought about escape and passed the chance on to Hazel. Hazel is still working on opening up her mind to further possibilities.

Images courtesy of HBOMax.

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