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Recap: ‘Please Like Me’ Season 2, Episode 7: ‘Scroggin’

Recap: 'Please Like Me' Season 2, Episode 7: 'Scroggin'

The following recap contains spoiler for the most recent episode of “Please Like Me,” as one would suspect.

I think (hope) it’s a safe assumption that anyone reading this
recap has already watched last week’s episode.

Ginger’s
suicide was an emotional shock, but it wasn’t unexpected. Josh Thomas and Matthew
Saville dropped hints leading up to the climactic moment (she was first
introduced while trying to hang herself with the cord of a blow dryer). She
applied her makeup on last week’s episode as a final preparation before the
inevitable. Even though I (along with countless others) knew what Ginger was
capable of, it was still an emotionally draining moment when Rose ran out of
the hospital and told Josh the news.

Fortunately,
this week’s episode was a pause from all of the frantic emotions. It focuses on
two characters (Josh and Rose) as they traverse the Tasmanian landscape. They
strengthen their intimate mother-son relationship, which has seemingly been
strained over the last few episodes.

“Scroggin”
has no discernable narrative structure and it wanders from conversation topic
to conversation topic (Josh’s fashion choices, Mac and Cheese, AIDS, and Josh’s
sex life). It is similar in form and content to Linklater’s Before trilogy, sprinkled with humorous
situations (Rose farting/crying in her sleep; Rose encountering a snake in the
water; Josh and Rose smoking pot).

In one of
the more touching moments, Rose and Josh chat over the nature of suicide and
whether or not it is a cry for attention. Rose always felt that this question
was ridiculous because she wouldn’t need attention if she was dead. This leads
to Rose questioning why Josh never gets angry. Josh responds that it’s not
Rose’s fault that she has a mental illness, so he doesn’t want to hold her
actions against her. Yet Josh momentarily pulls down his defenses and admits a
time when he was angry: Rose attempted suicide for the third time and the
doctor told him that if her stomach wasn’t properly pumped, she would die over
the course of two weeks. Unable to cope with the ramifications of her actions,
Rose cries and tries to make amends.

Debra
Lawrence gives a remarkable performance, allowing her character to display a
range of emotions why also dealing with the emotional baggage of her friend’s
death. Rose’s traits transform from specific quirks into universal qualities (I
know my mother has done and said many of the same things), making her
relationship with Josh all the more complex and nuanced. And she even gets to
sing the theme song over the opening credits (it was a lovely moment).

Most queer films and TV shows
focus on the mother-son relationship as both a loving/antagonistic bond, so by
placing Josh and Rose in the wilderness (away from technology and people), they
are forced to confront their demons and grow to understand one another. The
episode ends with a lovely and cathartic moment during which Rose and Josh read
Ginger’s note: “Rose, you fat bitch, thanks for keeping me company. Take care
of yourself. Ginger” They burn the note as a symbolic gesture before they
return back to their daily lives. It is a wonderful episode that not only makes
the most of its gorgeous scenery, but of its brilliant actors as well.
Definitely one of the best episodes of the season.

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