There is nothing more frustrating than trying to grasp something we just realized we wanted only to be met with a brick wall.
Brick wall meet Rocky. Rocky meet brick wall.
Episode 7 of Quaranthings the Series is all about emotional obstacles.
—Edited by TheFNGee
The episode opens with Rocky witnessing a sweet moment between Judah and Glenn before transitioning to another similar scene involving food and lots of biting commentary. Mostly from Rocky himself.
I’ve never done this with a review before, but I feel like Quaranthings the Series warrants it in this case. For this episode, I’m going to break my feelings down by character.
I should probably apologize now for the long rant coming.
“Glenn, oh, Glenn!” I lost count of how many times I uttered this out loud. By now, I am sure everyone is aware that Glenn’s role in this series never made a lot of sense to me, but never is this as glaringly apparent as it is in this episode.
I initially wondered if there was a time jump somewhere between Judah’s fever and Glenn’s appearance in my last review. I mention this again now because, while I don’t blame Glenn for his intrusion since Judah hasn’t been fully honest about his relationship with Rocky, I don’t understand Glenn’s cavalier attitude toward COVID. During a phone call between Judah and his grandmother, Glenn reveals that he has ordered rapid COVID test kits. He also promises Lolly that he will have his maid sanitize Judah’s home.
Reasons why this bothered me:
- Why did Glenn come over in the first place if there was a COVID risk, especially without wearing a mask? Is he that desperate for Judah’s attention?
- Why, if the COVID risk is there, would Glenn willingly expose his own family to the illness by returning home?
- As a former housekeeper, I found Glenn’s cavalier offer to send his family’s maid into a possible COVID risk seriously off-putting.
These are the reasons why I questioned a missed two week time jump in the previous episode. However, Glenn ordered rapid tests. Since this means there is a chance for a positive result, I’m assuming there was no large time jump. I found his behavior as selfish and irresponsible.
Glenn has control tendencies, which is most notable in the scene where he tries to manipulate Judah’s food choices. He also has no problem claiming roles that are not his, such as proclaiming he’s the guy Judah’s grandmother thinks is taking care of Judah.
The nail in the Glenn coffin for me is Glenn’s attempt to have sex with Judah before they’re even in a comfortable relationship, followed by his dramatic reaction when he discovers Judah and Rocky have already been intimate. It’s apparent through dialogue that Glenn has been in casual relationships with other men. His anger over being left in the dark about Judah and Rocky is understandable to an extent, but not his anger over Rocky and Judah’s past sexual relationship. (Editor’s note: As a gay man, I think all of us can relate to the Glenns in our lives. He’s strictly a fuck-em forget-em type)
For those who know me personally, especially the friends I watch dramas with, it is no secret that I am a serious advocate for antagonists. Most of the time, I find the villains in dramas to be misunderstood. However, in Glenn’s case, his only redeeming quality was his ignorance of Rocky and Judah’s relationship. I think, in this case, it’s because the show never truly delves into Glenn as a character. He’s simply a device used to emphasize Rocky’s jealousy.
Judah’s grandmother is a character we mostly learn to understand through Judah. Up until this point, I could not relate to her in the least. Her behavior toward Judah and his coming out broke my heart completely. The way she made him feel like a sin broke the tenuous faith I already have in people.
This episode changed my mind and my heart.
In a stunning, emotional revelation, Lolly reveals that her deceased husband was gay. Three years before his death, he asked her for a divorce because he wanted to explore the type of true love he felt he’d missed in his life. Sadly, he never got to experience it. He died alone, his apartment in Paris facing a gay bar. He spent the rest of his days watching what he was too afraid to seek. Lolly feared the same type of loneliness would happen in Judah’s life. She feared what happened to her husband supported this distorted belief she had that no one could love someone like Judah.
When Judah’s mother joins the phone conversation, Lolly also confesses to the idea of sending Judah to a conversion retreat. Lolly’s apology is sincere. Her own life experiences colored her reactions to Judah’s coming out. In no way does any of these actions excuse her behavior, but it did soften my feelings toward her. She genuinely cares for her grandson, and I think she truly feared what happened to her husband would happen to him. She admitted that she was a coward and weak and promised to change and support Judah.
Sometimes acceptance for the people in our lives is not instant. The important thing is to, when it does come, grasp onto it, grow from it, and love harder because of it.
I hurt the most for Rocky in this episode. This feeling has more to do with my own life experiences than with Judah. While Rocky’s behavior until this point has frustrated me, it wasn’t his confusion over his feelings or sexuality that bothered me in previous episodes. It was the way he brushed aside Judah’s feelings because of his confusion. In this episode, Rocky realizes he made a mistake; his jealousy of Glenn is immediately apparent, for which Judah later calls him out.
“Does someone else need to have feelings for me for you to realize I deserve to be loved?” Judah asks.
This question rubbed me wrong. From Judah’s perspective, I could see why he’d come to this conclusion. However, at the end of the previous episode, Rocky returned to their shared home because he’d made the decision to try with Judah. He’d made his decision before he walked in to see the affectionate scene between Glenn and Judah. The jealousy that came after isn’t the catalyst that brought clarity to Rocky. He even admits to liking Judah before.
Rocky also gets bonus points for reaching out to Beshie to ask if Glenn is a nice guy. Despite his jealousy and personal confusion, Rocky realizes that what he needs to be most concerned about is the man trying to enter Judah’s life.
Here we go.
The teenager in me related to Judah’s feelings in this episode. The adult in me didn’t relate to him as much. The maturity I saw in Judah in the previous episodes isn’t as apparent in this episode. I understand his pain. I understand the strong feelings he has over his grandmother’s eventual acceptance. I understand the hurt he feels over Rocky’s rejection. What I didn’t relate to is his dishonesty toward Glenn because of his own rebound feelings. What I didn’t relate to is his crass attitude toward Rocky’s confused feelings.
The Pinned Comment By Production
This comment gets its own section in my review because a lot of what I want to say about Judah and Rocky has a lot to do with this part of the show and what comes after.
There are two things I want to point out before I continue forward.
- I am bisexual, and I am proud of it.
- My thoughts on this part of the show are completely my own.
There is a scene where Judah and Rocky face-off that sets up Judah and Rocky’s relationship for the rest of the episode. Rocky admits that he’s bothered by Glenn’s presence.
Hurt and angry, Judah blurts out, “Bisexuality isn’t just some gray area you choose because you’re afraid to admit that you’re gay.”
To be honest, I didn’t need the pinned post by production to understand what was going on in this scene, even with the cultural difference. I live in the U.S., and I think the same applies here. I get why Judah used bisexuality the way he did in his conversation with Rocky. Being bisexual myself, it was obvious to me what Judah meant by that gray area. It wasn’t that he was opposed to Rocky being bisexual; it was that he thought Rocky was using it as a screen to hide the fact that he was gay. Bisexuality is not a gray area. Using bisexuality as a “safe zone” to figure out one’s sexuality is rather toxic for those who identify as bi. It infers that bisexuality is a place a person visits while at a crossroads in their lives rather than a destination. This is not to say that someone can’t identify as bisexual before coming out as gay. Confusion exists, but this should, in no way, be used to invalidate bisexuality.
However, Judah being so forceful toward Rocky for not knowing what he is did bother me just a bit. I understand that Judah is hurting. In the grand scheme of things, Judah has had time to come to terms with his feelings and sexuality. He’s gone through his own confusion in the past and accepted his path.
Rocky isn’t there yet. Personal acceptance is not something that can be rushed. Figuring out what and who you are isn’t something that happens instantly just because another person opposite you knows what he/she/they want. Judah, more than anyone, should understand Rocky’s confusion, even with his currently clouded judgment. Rocky knows he likes Judah. That’s enough to start the journey towards trying to discover who he is. The key word is “start.” Past text conversations between Rocky and his mother in a previous episode makes me wonder if this journey has already started for Rocky. However, since I am unsure and the show doesn’t make it clear, I am assuming his time with Judah is Rocky’s beginning. It is not apparent to us yet if Rocky identifies as gay or bisexual. Dating women in the past doesn’t make him bisexual. It’s the feeling he had while with these women that needs to be explored.
The way Rocky blurted out that maybe he’s bisexual felt like a confused, forced confession in response to Judah’s anger – Rocky hasn’t had time to figure things out.
Realizing I was bisexual and coming out was a hard road for me. When I first realized I was attracted to the same gender, I was confused. Rightly so. Did this mean I was gay? That didn’t seem right because I was also attracted to the opposite gender. Largely so. Did that mean I wasn’t gay? My emotions, my thoughts, and my attractions were all over the place. It was like being dropped from a plane with a parachute that had two cords to choose from, and it depended on which cord I pulled whether or not the parachute would open: gay or straight. I had no idea there were other choices.
I didn’t find one gender more appealing than the other. Growing up in a small religious town in the south during the 90s, I wasn’t familiar with the LGBTQ+ community. All I had were my own feelings. I hit rock bottom because I didn’t understand that bisexuality is a unique identity all its own that means different things to different people. Where I grew up, and from my family’s perspective, there were only two options. For them, if I admitted I liked the same gender, I was gay. Realizing later that I was bisexual felt like coming home for me. I embraced it. Proudly so.
I feel like Rocky is in that confusing place where he needs to examine his feelings to determine exactly what he’s looking for in his life, and he needs to feel safe doing so.
Two Memorable Moments Worth Mentioning
“There’s so much you have to prove when you’re gay,” Judah says.
Wow. I rewatched this moment several times before moving on to the next scene because I related to this in a very big way. Why is it that life makes us prove ourselves? Why is it that everything we do has to be validated in some way for it to have real meaning? Why do we have to have a dating history to prove our sexuality? When did our own personal feelings become a “public” resume?
Thank you, to the producers of Quaranthings for saying out loud what many of us struggle with.
“Do you need to feel pain first before you feel loved?” Judah asks Rocky, following a monologue of frustration over the people in his life.
I think this is one of those moments where how a person feels about this dialogue depends a lot on experience. Not age, because experiences come to people at different times in their lives. I used to feel the same way as Judah. Why did I have to hurt so much before the happiness came? Now, I realize that the pain, in the beginning, makes the happiness and the Love, when it does come, feel that much more. Love, in any form, doesn’t always come easy. Sometimes the harder Love is to come by, the more satisfying it can be. People often get so lost in their pains and experiences, their own individual search for acceptance, and forget that other people are out there with painful stories. People are like plants grown in different types of soil and fertilized with different types of fertilizers. The end result depends on the care and time that was taken with the plant.
When I was a teenager, I would have related more to the way Judah felt in this episode. Instead, I found myself wanting to tell him to be patient and open his mind to Rocky’s confusion. I wanted to tell Judah that his own past hurts would make everything he gains in life later that much richer.
Despite the fact that both Judah and Rocky have had immature moments towards each other in this series, I like that they both still obviously care for each other. Love is about being with someone despite the flaws, despite their emotional hangups. The flaws are part of what makes a person human.
Quaranthings the Series makes me feel things. Better yet, it makes me think.
I love that.
However, I have to ask: Am I the only one who needs to know if Judah is/was COVID positive?
Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars. [See our Review Guide]