S01.E05: Once Bitten 2017.03.19

7 hours ago, Blakeston said:

It would be one thing if it was just Chloe that acted a lot older than her age - I get that she's supposed to be freakishly precocious (although I'm not buying her encyclopedic knowledge of music, period, no matter how precocious she's supposed to be.)

Her musical instincts made me wonder if Joseph is her father--you know, someone with a knack for arts. I don't really believe it, but I did briefly wonder.

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10 minutes ago, nara said:

Her musical instincts made me wonder if Joseph is her father--you know, someone with a knack for arts. I don't really believe it, but I did briefly wonder.

Didn't Maddie and Joseph refer to their affair being "last year"? They would have had to have an affair seven years earlier for him to possibly be Chloe's father.

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6 minutes ago, chocolatine said:

Didn't Maddie and Joseph refer to their affair being "last year"? They would have had to have an affair seven years earlier for him to possibly be Chloe's father.

Maybe so.  I got the impression that last year was the most recent hookup but that it had happened multiple times.  I could have misunderstood.

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Amabella looks like ones of those kids from Flowers in the Attic. 

It crossed my mind that Gordon could be the culprit too but I didn't consider the size of the bite mark. 

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13 hours ago, Lemons said:

I just saw little amabelle in a commercial. She has a very distinct face, not generically cute like most kids. Yikes, she must have some type of stage mother, amabelle's a little worker bee!

I'd recognize her anywhere because of the exceedingly high hairline on her forehead.

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It occurred to me last night that either the bite happened at school that day or the nanny/Renata/Gordon all suck at paying attention while Amabella is bathing or getting dressed. Granted, we pay slightly more attention because our son is only 3.5, so we're more hands on with bath and dressing time still, but I've definitely noticed and asked about bruising sometimes. (Usually on his knees, usually from chasing or being chased....typical little kid stuff). But I can't imagine going more than a day without noticing a honking chomp on my kid's shoulder!

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11 hours ago, questionfear said:

It occurred to me last night that either the bite happened at school that day or the nanny/Renata/Gordon all suck at paying attention while Amabella is bathing or getting dressed

I remember one scene where she asked her husband where amabell was.  He said she was in her room. And the scene showed just how massive the house is. I was thinking, how do you know where she is, that house is as big as a public museum. 

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On 3/20/2017 at 4:41 AM, stagmania said:

I think we've seen that Jane is deeply ambivalent about her choice to keep Ziggy, and that seems to manifest in self-destructive behavior. Her story about him shaking so hard when he was born and apologizing for bringing him into the world was gutting. She should be seeing a therapist herself.

I don't know that I'd call her ambivalent about her choice to keep him; she seems totally dedicated to and bonded/in love with her child. To me, it looks like she's suffering tremendous guilt for how her decisions and what happened to her affect her son, and PTSD triggered by the possibility that Ziggy may be fooling her with sweetness, while secretly abusing a little girl. She can't believe it, yet she fears it. We see the pretty facade of the abuser in Perry, how hard it is for outsiders to see what's really going on. Jane was coaxed into going to a motel with the rapist. He was probably charming and seemed fine at first. He fooled her, as abusers so often do. So she doesn't trust her own judgement now even though in her soul she KNOWS Ziggy isn't hurting Amabella. (Count me among those who are certain it's not him. I suspect the twins, which may be why it's happening in secret. They've learned from their father not to abuse in public.)

Jane probably feels like she's partly to blame for the rape: she was drinking after all, and she went willingly to the motel. It's the same way Celeste keeps blaming herself for participating in the abuse. This is all so incredibly common from women who have been raped or abused. It's practically a cliche, but this show is doing a great job of illustrating what that looks like from the inside AND the outside. And the rage that comes out when she or Celeste goes off and just screams. Boy, that's so well done.

I keep coming back to how young Jane is. Shailene Woodley is only about 25. If the character is the same age, she no doubt lacks the experience and skills to really cope with and confront what's happened. She's stilted and detached because of severe trauma. She's had no counseling, no support, told no one until recently. From where I sit, Jane has done and is doing an extraordinary job with her kid. She's not at all stilted or detached with him. She's open, loving, affectionate, and supportive.

I've binged the first five episodes and now don't know what to do with myself! Can't wait for this week's.

P.S. I can't believe anyone would blame Amabella for not talking. Her mother, although trying to protect her kid, is insane, and the child is being physically abused. She's not just being called some names on the playground. She's clearly very scared; her behavior mirrors Celeste's. We're seeing multiple stages of abused girls/women on this show. Plus, kids often don't tell these kinds of things.

Edited by madam magpie.

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8 hours ago, madam magpie said:

P.S. I can't believe anyone would blame Amabella for not talking. Her mother, although trying to protect her kid, is insane, and the child is being physically abused. She's not just being called some names on the playground. She's clearly very scared; her behavior mirrors Celeste's. We're seeing multiple stages of abused girls/women on this show. Plus, kids often don't tell these kinds of things.

This. Especially the bolded part. Which may, unfortunately, support the idea that Ed is the creep that some believe his is, and Maddie's daughter (sorry, forgot her name) may well be moving out because of it.

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8 hours ago, madam magpie said:

So she doesn't trust her own judgement now even though in her soul she KNOWS Ziggy isn't hurting Amabella.

I don't see her as knowing in her soul he's innocent and I think that is what she is struggling so hard with. She wants to believe he isn't doing this, but I'm not convinced she truly believes it. She thinks it could be him and that has her so freaked out.

I think that makes her feel almost guilty about having him. Yes, she loves him to her very core, yes she will do anything to help him and protect him, but I feel like there is a part of her that really, truly fears she shouldn't have had him because he is "defective" because of who his birth father is. Not saying she wants to feel this, or that she's right, and I don't blame her if she does think it sometimes, but as you said, she is so young and completely on her own (I do wish she'd shared the truth with someone, anyone, sooner than she did Madeline, but she must have felt she couldn't so she is doing this alone) and I doubt she has a strong background in psychology or understanding where violent behavior comes from any more than the general population. I just don't think that, if she felt deep in her soul there is no way he's guilty she would have shown such palpable relief when the child psychologist told her he probably wasn't a bully. I will say, that scene was so perfectly acted by SW that I felt her relief through the screen. It was too strong to just be "oh, good, someone else sees it to". It was like she was being completely unburdened with something huge, like fearing her son was turning into his father despite her every effort to prevent it.

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10 minutes ago, Mabinogia said:

I don't see her as knowing in her soul he's innocent and I think that is what she is struggling so hard with. She wants to believe he isn't doing this, but I'm not convinced she truly believes it. She thinks it could be him and that has her so freaked out.

I think that makes her feel almost guilty about having him. Yes, she loves him to her very core, yes she will do anything to help him and protect him, but I feel like there is a part of her that really, truly fears she shouldn't have had him because he is "defective" because of who his birth father is. Not saying she wants to feel this, or that she's right, and I don't blame her if she does think it sometimes, but as you said, she is so young and completely on her own (I do wish she'd shared the truth with someone, anyone, sooner than she did Madeline, but she must have felt she couldn't so she is doing this alone) and I doubt she has a strong background in psychology or understanding where violent behavior comes from any more than the general population. I just don't think that, if she felt deep in her soul there is no way he's guilty she would have shown such palpable relief when the child psychologist told her he probably wasn't a bully. I will say, that scene was so perfectly acted by SW that I felt her relief through the screen. It was too strong to just be "oh, good, someone else sees it to". It was like she was being completely unburdened with something huge, like fearing her son was turning into his father despite her every effort to prevent it.

I agree with you about the scene with the therapist and that she was unburdened and that somewhere she's afraid Ziggy is doing this. But I think she fears the latter because she doesn't trust her own judgement, not because she really believes it. The child she knows isn't an abuser. She clearly believes that. If she didn't, she wouldn't side with him the way she has and insist to him that she trusts him. But she also sometimes looks at him like she's studying him, trying to figure out how he's tricking her. She doesn't trust what she knows, but that doesn't mean she doesn't know it. 

I agree too that she feels guilt about having him, but I wouldn't call it ambivalence. I took that story about how he was born shaking as her first fear about the biology, that she'd somehow doomed her son with birth. (I also can't help wondering if we were supposed to think there were drugs involved; healthy babies who just have rapist fathers aren't born shaking, but drug-addicted babies are.) She feels guilt about how what happened to her and the choices she made after have affected him, but I haven't gotten the sense that she ever feels like she didn't want to have him, which I'd suspect also feeds the guilt because she may interpret that as selfish.

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12 minutes ago, madam magpie said:

She feels guilt about how what happened to her and the choices she made after have affected him, but I haven't gotten the sense that she ever feels like she didn't want to have him, which I'd suspect also feeds the guilt because she may interpret that as selfish.

That's exactly how I see it. She feels guilty and selfish in having him but she would never not have him, which she probably also sees as selfish. I think she's way too hard on herself about that because she is raising a very sweet little boy in some very difficult circumstances.

I bet she is reading all kinds of shit into the fact that Ziggy seems to be asking more about his father after being accused of bullying a girl. It's probably just coincidence but I can see Jane thinking of it as some sign that her worst fears are coming true and Ziggy is somehow deeply damaged by having a rapist father.

I do believe she would vehemently defend him even if she thought he was guilty because she's his mother, she will do anything to protect him, and she would know it's not his fault, thinking "he was born this way, it's my fault for having him". So I don't see all her "I believe you" and defending him as proof she knows he's innocent. I've always felt her "I believe you" stuff felt a bit more like she was trying to convince herself more than actually meaning it. Just the way she says it doesn't feel genuine to me.

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29 minutes ago, Mabinogia said:

I do believe she would vehemently defend him even if she thought he was guilty because she's his mother, she will do anything to protect him, and she would know it's not his fault, thinking "he was born this way, it's my fault for having him". So I don't see all her "I believe you" and defending him as proof she knows he's innocent. I've always felt her "I believe you" stuff felt a bit more like she was trying to convince herself more than actually meaning it. Just the way she says it doesn't feel genuine to me.

That's interesting. You're probably right that she'd defend him to the outside world, but I just don't think she'd let him slide privately. She seems to have such an open and communicative relationship with him, and she's pushed him on it multiple times. It seems to me that she doubts herself, not him.

I want to say too that I feel bad for Renata. Laaaawd she's awful, but if she were right, or even if we just believed Ziggy was abusing her child, I suspect many more people would support and defend her. She also adamantly believes and vehemently defends her kid. She didn't zero in on Ziggy until Amabella accused him, and it's only Amabella's word that has made her so zealous. She sees her child being abused and not believed and that people are siding with and protecting the male abuser. Unlike Jane, she doubts nothing; her hubris and confidence are both admirable and staggering. But under just slightly different circumstances, she'd be viewed as the heroic parent, and Jane an enabler. It's a fantastic commentary on point of view.

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12 minutes ago, madam magpie said:

But under just slightly different circumstances, she'd be viewed as the heroic parent, and Jane an enabler. It's a fantastic commentary on point of view.

I don't see Renata as that different than Madeline. I think that's why they are constantly butting heads, they are too similar. They are both bulldogs who will stop at nothing to defend those they care about. If the story were Renata's we would be cheering on her single minded determination to get someone to take her daughter's abuse seriously and freaking do something about it. She has absolutely no reason whatsoever to think Ziggy is innocent.

Here she is, sending her daughter to school. There's a new kid there and the day they meet she gets strangled. Her daughter points to him as the one who did it. Of course he's going to deny it, that's what abusers do. So that doesn't really hold water. She has no reason to think her daughter is lying. Why would she think it wasn't Ziggy? Because his mom said he's nice? I'm sure Perry's mom thought he was a good boy and look how that turned out?

There is a LOT of POV interference here because Madeline is getting the hero edit for defending Ziggy with no proof at all that he is innocent. Hell, she could very well be putting her own daughter in harms way just to prove a point. Sure, we have the benefit of seeing Ziggy with him mom, being a sweet kid, having a therapist say he's fine, which, unless I'm mistaken, Jane hasn't actually shared with anyone. But Madeline met him maybe an hour ago, and only saw him in the car, so she has no reason to think he's innocent other than she wants to stick it to Renata and formed a far to quick attachment to Jane.  But Madeline is one of the protagonists of the story so Renata is considered the wrong one. I do think she is far too tightly wound and is going overboard, but I also think she is right in trying to make the school do something about her child twice getting harmed under their care.

I do wish she hadn't asked her husband about therapy and just taken Amabella to that child therapist Ziggy went to because I think that woman could get tot he bottom of this.

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39 minutes ago, Mabinogia said:

But Madeline met him maybe an hour ago, and only saw him in the car, so she has no reason to think he's innocent other than she wants to stick it to Renata and formed a far to quick attachment to Jane

This is a really good point. Although I think that as she got to know him, Maddie came to believe Ziggy, at first she was acting more to get back at Renata, whereas Renata's intentions seem pure: she wants only to protect her daughter. Renata is incredibly off-putting and mean in many ways, but she's not necessarily wrong here. Which in itself is a fantastic commentary on point of view...not just narrative, but also day-to-day. Renata's tunnel vision is how innocent people end up on death row. It's also how dangerous criminals are brought to justice. The lack of oversight by people who should know better and have an objective approach (ie, the school and teacher, who are awful) allows the tunnel vision to run roughshod over a true search for justice. If Renata succeeds and Ziggy is removed from school, she'll feel vindicated...until the next time Amabella comes home with bruises and Renata has to confront the truth. That, then, creates additional victims and further abuses Amabella.

I also wish poor Amabella could go see Ziggy's therapist. That woman was great and, I agree, would probably quickly sort out the issue. Amabella strikes me as very confused and scared...of the abuse, of her mother, by her friendship with Ziggy. She's six years old and lacks the ability to make sense of what's happening or articulate her feelings, while the adults around her go nuts or do stupid things like make her call out her abuser in a group. Who does that??

I think it's also interesting that the woman in the marriage (Renata) immediately took very seriously the female child's abuse, while the man (I forget the husband's name) brushed it off as kid stuff. For all its over-the-top car crashes and mansions, this show is incredibly nuanced and subtle in its commentary on family, abuse, psychology, and relationships.

Edited by madam magpie.

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42 minutes ago, madam magpie said:

If Renata succeeds and Ziggy is removed from school, she'll feel vindicated...until the next time Amabella comes home with bruises and Renata has to confront the truth. That, then, creates additional victims and further abuses Amabella.

It would really expose Renata's true character to see how she responds if she did get Ziggy punished then found out it wasn't him. I do believe she would, very, very reluctantly accept she was wrong and try to make amends. I don't think she is vindictive so much as, as you said, she has tunnel vision. Once she locks her sights on something I pity anyone who tries to get in her way. But I don't think, I hope, she would not let Ziggy suffer for something he didn't do. Right now, she just has no doubt in her mind that he hurt her daughter.

Can you imagine what Madeline and Renata could accomplish if they were on the same side? I would love to see them work together to go after the school for not protecting their children.

42 minutes ago, madam magpie said:

Amabella strikes me as very confused and scared...of the abuse, of her mother, by her friendship with Ziggy. She's six years old and lacks the ability to make sense of what's happening or articulate her feelings, while the adults around her go nuts or do stupid things like make her call out her abuser in a group. Who does that??

So much this! I know people think she should be punished for accusing the wrong boy if it turns out Ziggy didn't do it, which I think we all pretty much think will happen at this point, but she is a frightened 6 year old. She should be told it wasn't right, but I don't think she picked Ziggy out of any maliciousness but out of fear.

She is very likely afraid of the person doing this to her, she was probably afraid of getting in trouble with her mom and the teacher when she was put on the spot and forced to pick someone. Now she's afraid to say she lied. But she isn't continuing to point to Ziggy. She could have, when questioned, but she said he was her friend. She's just in a horrible place right now and I really do wish she would see that therapist. She needs someone she won't be afraid to talk to, that she doesn't have to fear being in trouble with.

Honestly, I feel like they should just install that shrink at the school because that place is a mess.

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1 hour ago, Mabinogia said:

It would really expose Renata's true character to see how she responds if she did get Ziggy punished then found out it wasn't him. I do believe she would, very, very reluctantly accept she was wrong and try to make amends. I don't think she is vindictive so much as, as you said, she has tunnel vision. Once she locks her sights on something I pity anyone who tries to get in her way. But I don't think, I hope, she would not let Ziggy suffer for something he didn't do. Right now, she just has no doubt in her mind that he hurt her daughter.

I'm with you. I think Renata would feel terrible, actually, and would try to make amends...and Maddie would be nasty and then Renata would respond in kind. But as far as Ziggy went, I think she'd accept she was wrong.

Amabella kind of didn't even point Ziggy out st all initially. She gave a vague little wave in that direction and only settled on him when the stupid teacher went from kid to kid. And when she says she doesn't know who's doing it, I think she's telling the truth. The twins look exactly alike...she may not know. I need to go back and rewatch the first episode to see if the twins are in the direction she points. I think she's being as brave and honest as she can be under the circumstances and that the teacher should be fired. Yes! Bring in the child therapist to clean this up!

Edited by madam magpie.

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20 minutes ago, madam magpie said:

that the teacher should be fired

It cracks me up because they all make such a big deal about how great the school is. With their money I'd be getting my kid out of there and into a private school ASAP. They are handling this horribly. One kid is getting abused during school. Another is being persecuted by the teacher with no evidence beyond a 6 year old pointing her finger. Same teacher forced the abuse victim to point out her attacker. Hell, even the police let you do that behind a two way mirror. I don't care how good the curriculum is, that school is the worst!

Don't even get me started on how the principal? (is that who he was) let Renata crash a private meeting with Jane about her son being accused of abuse. That is totally inappropriate.

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7 minutes ago, Mabinogia said:

It cracks me up because they all make such a big deal about how great the school is. With their money I'd be getting my kid out of there and into a private school ASAP. They are handling this horribly. One kid is getting abused during school. Another is being persecuted by the teacher with no evidence beyond a 6 year old pointing her finger. Same teacher forced the abuse victim to point out her attacker. Hell, even the police let you do that behind a two way mirror. I don't care how good the curriculum is, that school is the worst!

Don't even get me started on how the principal? (is that who he was) let Renata crash a private meeting with Jane about her son being accused of abuse. That is totally inappropriate.

Amen. All of this! Or at least an amazing charter. We've got some real hoity toity charters in California.

Edited by madam magpie.

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Coming here a month late, but I wanted to comment on the whole idea of Celeste's that the boys don't know anything.  It's obvious to us that the boys know, and that Celeste is lying to herself when she says they don't, but I think it's interesting the way the show subtly drops hints in that direction:  all of the kids--with one notable exception--have been shown knowing things about their parents that the parents don't think they know or didn't intend for them to know.  Chloe learned to swear by listening to her mom, and whether or not she knows precisely what they were doing, she knows that mom and Ed were up to something in the kitchen just before she walked in.  Ziggy may not know Jane's secret, but he knows that she's not telling the whole truth about why they moved to Monterey, and he understands that Jane's reaction to mentions of his father go way beyond the ordinary.  Amabella lies in bed listening to her parents talk about her, and Abbie catches Ed and Maddie in a rare embrace.  Interestingly, the twins are the only ones not (so far) shown to have picked up on any secrets between their parents, which seems to point to the fact that they not only have, but that that reveal is being saved for the last.  

Also, as a teacher myself, I am appalled by the staff at Otter Bay.  We just had mandated reporter training the other day, the same day I watched the episode where the teacher promised Amabella that if she told her what was going on, she wouldn't tell anyone.  That line alone had me screaming and pounding my head into the couch.  There's a reason we're called mandated reporters. 

My take on the school, however, is a bit different.  I think that they're trying to show that just because this supposedly great school exists in such an exclusive neighborhood populated by all these hoity toity rich foks, doesn't really make it better than any place else.  I mean, just look at the first-graders' homework assignment--a family tree project that was really more homework for mom and dad than the kids.  Sure they look glossy and pretty, but the students themselves did nothing.  To me the point is that bad teachers and wimpy administrators exist everywhere, and anyone can put on a dog and pony show to give the illusion of being something they're not, even a 5-star elementary school.  Which, when you get right down to it, isn't that the theme of the whole show?

Edited by Kerri Okie.

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20 hours ago, Kerri Okie said:

I think that they're trying to show that just because this supposedly great school exists in such an exclusive neighborhood populated by all these hoity toity rich foks, doesn't really make it better than any place else.

That's a good point, because, while they kept talking about how great it was to get a private quality school without paying private school prices, I kept thinking it seems like any other public school to me. The staff don't seem terribly well trained and the projects are typical. Maybe they do mean it in a labels and prestige kind of way. Like just having the name Otter Bay on your child's resume is going to get them into a better high school? haha, just writing that makes me laugh.

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