Belly of The Beast is a transitional episode. It’s entertaining to be sure with some powerful themes, but it’s also a bit slower than I would have liked.
I love everything that led to Plum finding herself in the basement of Calliope House. The show has done a terrific job of imploding her career and her personal life (not to mention her self-esteem), that her desperation feels very earned. However, we reached rocked bottom in last week’s cliffhanger, so I kind of feel like the show treaded water in this outing. Bookending the episode with Plum’s fire entrance should have felt monumental, but it’s more of the same after last week’s “I’m ready” realization. Hmm…
However it must be reiterated that Joy Nash is phenomenal (this seems to be a recurring theme every week). Her breakdown with Verena towards the end is a thing of beauty, as we realize just how broken she feels thanks to Dominic’s betrayal (even more so than the assault she endured on the street). There’s so much pain and pathos in Nash’s performance, and it’s a truly unforgettable turn in every way. I smell an Emmy in her future!
The real highlight of the hour is Tamara Tunie’s performance as Julia. The character has been relegated to the sidelines so far, so it’s a real treat to see her take center stage. In fact, her big scene (in which she gets undressed and removes all her makeup) is incredibly powerful. It perfectly epitomizes the show’s message, and is particularly impactful with the reveal of her double mastectomy. Tunie is just astounding here, and I so hope the show doesn’t kill her off anytime soon (I sure got those vibes when she asked Plum to continue her book if anything happens to her). Uh oh.
Bits & Bodies
– Kitty firing Julia was so very harsh. But I’m glad to see that Eladio is on Julia’s side.
– Sana’s story is appropriately disturbing: her mother asked for a divorce so her father dumped acid on her as a result. Ami Sheth’s performance is terrific! I’d love to see more of her.
– I need some backstory concerning Julia and Verena’s relationship. Asap!
– Kitty coming on to Dominic really rubbed me out the wrong way. Thank God he didn’t indulge her.
– The art installation featuring the top 100 videos on PornHub is brilliant, but I’m unsure how to feel about Plum storming out. I got that Sana seemed to be enjoying the women being demeaned because they didn’t “look like them”, but Plum was obviously pissed off.
– “Look who’s awake” is just a perfect line to close the episode.
Digs & Diets
Plum: Wait that’s it?
Verena: I know! On TV it’s always a 50 minute hour and time is always up right before the big breakthrough.
Kitty: (to Elladio) Go get me a pastrami sandwich, fries and a coke. Regular not that diet garbage. Tell them it’s for you. I’m going to need you to sit in here while I eat it.
Julia: (reading) Plum thinks she’s afraid of other people’s opinions, their judgements, they assumptions. Afraid of not being accepted. But really she’s afraid of herself, she’s afraid of what’s inside. Because the minute she stops about that shit, she’s gonna be a beast. Her words are like fire.
Kitty: She wants some pussy. Instead she ate a bullet.
Kitty: I’m eating tums like a cheerleader gobbles cock.
Kitty: (to Dominic) Jesus even talking about Plum gives you a semi.
Belly of the Beast is a slow hour, but the stellar performances make it a worthwhile watch.