****SPOILER ALERT**** this is an in-depth review
****TRIGGER WARNING**** this show touches upon elements and themes of sexual assault/rape and might be upsetting to some readers
Episode 3 “Don’t Forget the Sea”
Let’s start this off with an official Public Apology for Biagio. I was wrong. You are a saint. Last week’s flashback week provided great backstory and a much-needed reprieve from the heavy issues covered in the previous episodes. We travel back two weeks to Bella in Ostia, working on her novel. T drops in to take advantage of Bella’s “expense account”. You gotta love how much some white people will pay the capitalize on the “black experience”. After acquiring a variety of party favors, the girls decide on an action plan. Any party girl on her shit knows basic chemistry. There are hard rules stick to when rolling; deviate and end up glued to your kitchen floor or worse. Bella must be feeling up for the challenge because she crosses party lines with dangerous abandon. When T leaves Bella in the club alone, you understand her frustration but can’t help thinking how careless she’s being about her friend’s safety. They’re alone together in a foreign country, and Bella is CLEARLY wasted. Had that been me, I would have definitely dragged Bella’s ass home with me. Then again, after almost a decade in the service industry, I’m especially skilled at corralling rowdy drunks. Thankfully Biagio randomly shows up to keep an eye on her while T ends up with more than she bargained for.
We know the theme of IMDY is consent and it’s many levels. If someone is dishonest about any detail leading to sexual activities, is it then considered assault, or just inconsiderate? While walking back to their flat, T is wooed by two different Italian men at a bar. While we know that they’re friends, they pretend to be strangers to T, luring her into what she thinks is a spontaneous threesome. But afterward, when the men (quickly) leave, she notices their familiarity with each other, and perhaps feels uncomfortable with the casualness of it all. Dishonesty can always taint sexual experiences. T was longing for sexual freedom and a stimulating encounter, but the seediness of this threesome seemed to be out of her wheelhouse.
Team Biagio all the way! After guiding a very fucked up Bella home, they chill together listening to Daft Punk’s “Something About Us”, a super fitting ode to their odd pairing. Even while wasted Bella is still charming and adorable. The sex scene that follows is just as tender and honest as it is mortifying. Seeing Period sex demystified on your flat-screen almost makes you wanna put that mist back up because Jesus, how can you do that with someone you barely know?? I haven’t seen a period sex scene as detailed as this one and I’m not sure I want to. Still, shout out to Coel for being more comfortable with a “muddy field” than I ever would. We also get a little insight into why Biagio is so intent on “regulating the tings”. His mother and sister both died from a heroin overdose. the fact that he deals drugs for a living conflicts him. This episode showed us why Bella fell for him in the first place and possible cracks in her friendship with Terry.
Episode 4 “That Was Fun”
Anytime someone has spoken those three words to me after sex it was in fact, NOT. For me, it’s on par with “Did you cum?” NO! Episode 4 puts us right back into the work. This week’s issue of consent is a lot less blurred than last week’s and way more infuriating. It’s two months after The Assault and Bella’s publishers are paying for her to work her issues out with a therapist. In fact, it’s the only thing they’re paying for and Bella is stressed, trying to finish her first draft while emotionally numbing herself to unpleasant flashbacks. Her therapist advises against cutting herself off, but Bella powers through with intense workouts and trying to surround herself with friends. She now has an editor, Zain (Karan Gill) to polish up her first draft. When he takes her to a bar, she becomes tense and can’t help being reminded of her last night out. In fact, the experience is so triggering, it eclipses the snide and envious critique that Zain has going on in the background. She’s a Twitter author and he’s a Cambridge snob who doesn’t believe she deserves her Henny House Publication.
This episode features Kwame (Paapa Essiedu), one of my immediate faves from the pilot. He’s honestly adorable and has been so supportive of Bella during this experience. We meet his new flame Damon (Fehinti Balogun), a young black man exploring his sexuality. Since they both lives with relatives, Kwame sets up an encounter with a third individual online. While Damon is open to the idea, the third, Malik (Samson Ajewole), might be a little too advanced for him. The music he chooses for the encounter is deeply homophobic. Damon, who isn’t really accustomed to the harsh words used for gay men possibly applying to him is instantly put off. Malik notices and turns his attention solely to Kwame, who is comfortable in his sexuality and who he is.
IMDY never shies away from a sex scene, no matter how “taboo” it is considered by mainstream audiences. The topic of Malik and Kwame’s (as well as Bella and Kain’s) sexual experience is condom consent. Bella and Kwame are responsible hos, and they expect their partners to be wrapped up at ALL times. I would also go as far as to say that Kwame was showing Damon how to be firm on safe sex practices since some will like to push you into letting your boundaries down. I was honestly surprised Bella pushed through with having sex with Kain, but I imagine she thought she was reclaiming her sexuality. Regardless of her motives, the plan took a left turn. When he removed the condom behind her back, I let out a loud “Oh NO!” Anybody with an ounce of sense knows that’s a huge no-no, and Zain has to be aware because as soon as Arabella finds out he immediately gaslights her: putting the onus of discovery on her instead of being honest about his actions. We’re not told why Kwame doesn’t tell Bella about his sexual assault. Perhaps be believes that because it wasn’t penetrative then it wasn’t really rape. Maybe since he had already had sex with Malik he thought he no business claiming rape. We know that that is not at all true, no means no and that applies to anything- no unprotected sex, no unwanted contact. The scene is entirely heartbreaking and makes you wanna turn away even though you cannot. I’m am interested in how people around him will react when he opens up about this. When dealing with rape, men and women are hardly ever treated the same. I LOVED these two episodes and would like to hear what you guys thought.