Y: The last man
Ready. Goal. Fire.
As an adult who can admit when she’s wrong, I’ll be happy to say so. Wow, was I wrong when it came to Roxanne. As, so wrong. In fact, after this week I think it’s safe to say that we could comb through all of what I wrote a few weeks ago about Roxanne being Victoria 2.0 and make a research and a clean replacement, supplanting every description of Victoria for Roxanne. It turns out that it is Roxanne, not Victoria, who has clung to old world ideas about a common enemy all this time.
In my defense, I have a review, if you can even call it that: Roxanne the PriceMax Assistant Manager plays as a completely different character than Roxanne the Law and order Cop (or should I say Roxanne the crook?). She talks differently, behaves differently, even handles people differently – in fact, that last element seems like a whole new skill. We have never once seen the vulnerable woman, Roxanne, embodied for 45 years by Kohl’s sales, slip through the cracks of the facade of Detective Roxanne Benson. (How did she learn to shoot, let alone well enough to teach a group of twenty-something? The answer can’t be that television, can it?) Is it possible that Missi Pyle is just too good an actress? Yes Roxanne if she had been so good at changing her whole personality, she probably would have been an actress herself. At the very least, she would have gotten somewhere with her good-for-nothing boss.
Then again, maybe the killing of several foreigners in defense of your PriceMax Caucasus changes a person more drastically than I previously thought. Written by co-executive producer Coleman Herbert, this episode uses the tricky but effective ploy of walking backwards through one of the show’s major reveal: How did Roxanne pull off such a stunt? For the folks who lost track, let’s recap in a normal timeline.
First of all, most of Roxanne’s stories were true. She had breast cancer. Her husband Eddie has left her, both physically and financially. And his (teenage) colleague (probably) told him to mind his own business when she (probably) told him that their male colleagues were objecting to him behind his back. His PriceMax boss, the manager, lets a male employee get away with a slap on the wrist for overt sexual harassment; then, when she complains, he threatens to fire her – a recent cancer survivor – for shoplifting a season of good deals from Law and order. After the event, she camps in her warehouse; at one point, two women with guns barge in and shoot each other before noticing her. The moment a third armed woman bursts in, thinking she’s found shelter, Roxanne has removed a Glock from the first two and fires before she passes the hall. From the look on Roxanne’s face, it didn’t matter whether the fourth woman was armed or not.
Later, as she attempts to burn the bodies in the parking lot, a horse appears; when she approaches, it takes her to her home in Sainte-Anne. Inspired by all the impressionable young women she discovers there, she rushes to the PriceMax, drags rugs over the bloodstains, pulls a gun holster from a display, and snatches the gun and badge from the decomposing body of a state soldier parked outside. She puts the police car at 80% in the nearby river, decides it’s good enough, and leaves her PriceMax vest in the car with the body. (Yes, she literally drops her badge on the evidence.) Staging a scenario where gunfire (by her) led Detective Roxanne to their door in pursuit of the (non-existent) shooters, she attracts her new herd. at the store, where she sells most of them her schtick. At one point, Kate – the only survivor of the group who seems even a little suspicious of the cops – somehow stumbles upon her true identity. Roxanne shoots her in the back as she tries to run, then rushes over to the PriceMax, crying wolf again.
These aren’t exactly supervillain schemes, but its victims have been vulnerable and traumatized women, almost all of whom were desperate for a new worldview. The Daughters of the Amazons – because this week they’re finally adopting that absolutely squeaky name – have started living a life of their own. I have previously written about how Roxanne’s followers enthusiastically bolstered her supremacy as a cult leader, but that wasn’t entirely true either. What they really reinforced were the rules of their own group thinking, whoever was in charge. This cult grew organically in isolation to reflect the countless cults that came before them, no doubt due to the toxic relationship patterns so many of these women were used to. The recipe for new members:
- Spot a bright but drowning person. Determine what she needs.
- Offer him redemption through transformation.
- Start treating her like she’s already magically transformed, instantly transformed into the version of herself she desperately wants to be. Love-bomb it.
- Convince her that the self she hates so much is by no means her fault, but rather the product of her friends, her family – anyone in her life who existed before the cult.
- Allow her to fit into this mold that you have created on her own.
So when Sam talks to the hero she is – the one that exists in the same universe as his many sins, but yet he loves fiercely, mess and all – she accuses him of holding her back. Sam is “not a gun guy,” while New Hero is a natural. Sam means promises Old Hero doesn’t want to keep, promises New Hero doesn’t have to keep. Worse yet, Sam is becoming a different, if not a new, Sam. He’s not the steadfast, pocket-sized pillar of Old Hero that Old Hero could indulge in without consequences when it suited him. What Sam offers – with overwhelming sincerity; just rip my heart out, Elliot Fletcher – this is reality, as imperfect as it is, and, frankly, it’s a much better deal than what it won. So she turns away to the much brighter new hero everyone tells her she is. The one who beckons her like a mermaid towards the rocks.
There is only one person here on his way to this new world. The evolution I previously wrongly attributed to Roxanne – this refined new take on what consolidates power in this new world – belongs more to Nora. Nora, whose hair has been red and wavy the entire time. Nora, whose jacket has been khaki green the entire time. Nora, who may have been a prime candidate for cult membership in the past, but who in this new age – where the old rules don’t apply and the existing demagogues are very, very bad. to cover their tracks – is much better positioned for leadership. (At least she’s not a chess master.)
And maybe none of this would have happened if Roxanne had simply recognized how precious she could have been to her. Had she invited her and Mack into the fold instead of accusing him of being “angry” and “not our people”. Maybe at some level, Roxanne recognized her as a potential rival. Either way, her rejection – coupled with similar rebuffs from Sam, Hero, even her own daughter, who in typical preteen fashion blames her mother for stealing this paradise from her – ultimately sends Nora on the brink. It’s a classic villain origin story: A chronically underrated and sidelined shard is snubbed one too many times, then turns into something darker. Unlike Roxanne, this former presidential lackey is good enough to pass sabotage off as an accident; a fire caused by juvenile and drunken neglect. Even her stash of supplies goes unnoticed amid the most obvious tension between Roxanne and Sam. All she needs is a little leverage – that cop car, that name tag – and she is suddenly on top.
For now, she’s content to be a Littlefinger, a Grima Wormtongue, giving Roxanne the fame she wants while marrying in the shadows. It’s a pretty generous deal, which, frankly, Roxanne – who suddenly seems a lot smaller – would have to be a fool to resist. “The only thing that will keep you safe are the numbers,” Nora told him calmly, demonstrating in conversation how more qualified she is for the job. “You don’t need the building. You need the people. But to keep them you will need more than “Men suck”. deny the basic needs of people turns out to be a terrible way to maintain dominance, Dear Boss, Nora might just be the right kind of leader for the job.
• Dude, this scene with the PriceMax employee reminded me of my own happy days working as a teenage hostess at a chain restaurant, having me flirt with 30-year-old waiters in plain sight of the managers. Ah, memories!
• I liked Nora and Sam’s little one-on-one, but why couldn’t Sam’s dislike of Nora have the two is she a jerk and worked for a transphobic president? ??Por que no los dos, Samuel?
• Speaking of Sam, his meeting at the abandoned school after he left PriceMax seems a bit… random? An extremely cold black woman appearing out of nowhere, alone, pretending to be the headmistress, insisting that “someday the kids will be back,” then telling Sam exactly what he wants to hear? It seems a little too magical to me.
• Goodbye and good riddance, weird cat toy. No one will remember your meows from the strange valley.