Once Bitten

Once Bitten

That was an intense hour. Guilt is dripping all over this episode, guilt and rage, actually guilt, anger and revenge. A lot happened and a lot happened in a blink and miss kind of way, the little momentary flashbacks, or a look or a line. There is so much going on, so with only a few episodes left there is so much unresolved.

Quick recap from last week to get us ready for intense… Jane has “found” her rapist online and has to decide what to do with that. She has also found out that the teacher thinks her son Ziggy is bullying Amabella. We did not see Amabella’s mum react to this, so I am thinking that it will be Renata going postal this episode. Speaking of postal, Nathan is an angry ex-husband and is currently pissed off at Madeline and at Madeline’s husband Ed who is also pissed off right back. Perry is an arse and his angry and violence towards Celeste is getting worse and Celeste hates Perry, no she loves him, no she hates him. And finally my fav Madeline who broke my heart last week when I discovered she is having an affair with the play director. Last week was left in a state of turmoil, ok are you ready?

I spoke about guilt before, well guilt opens this episode. It begins with the guilty mind of Madeline resonating in Madeline dreams with Renata pushing her over the grey cliff face and Madeline and the puppets falling with her, plummeting into the ocean. Madeline is feeling so guilty; she is not in a good place. Her affair with Joseph is catching up on her and the lie she has been living is coming to a head.


The anger, more like rage, the rage is with Jane and the way she has been channeling her rage is imagining shooting her rapist… and hanging out at the indoor shooting range, target practice,  as you do. But randomly so has Madeline’s ex Nathan who is allegedly “obsessed with guns” according to Madeline.  They are both FYI, very good shots. The extra bad thing about this is not only is Jane finding joy in the world of guns… but the girls (Jane, Madeline and Celeste) have decided to go on a hunt for the rapist road trip. The prospect of this, now that we know Jane’s locked and loaded, is enough to make Madeline tell Ed about the road trip of revenge, this is not going to end well.

Renata discovers a bite mark bruise on little Amabella’s shoulder. As you can imagine, she goes off her chops. I was watching with my husband and he said… clearly Amabella is the bully. But who bit her? I thought that was really interesting, because I had not thought about it like that. But he has a point…there is a lot about Ziggy inheriting his violent behaviour because he came from rape so why is it not possible that the little innocent big eyed girl, is not taking after her aggressive bullish mother? I immediately gave her innocence… but maybe I shouldn’t? I am not convinced by my husband’s theory, but it was an interesting point of view. Renata says “you never let a bully win… you have to be a big girl and use your voice in this world.”


Using your voice in this world, Celeste is trying to stand up to her bully.  The confidence that is growing in Celeste is scaring me. Perry is a ticking time bomb and every time she answers back, or questions him I think, this is it… this is the time he is really going to lose it. Then I realise what I am doing and I am making her the victim. I should be saying “go Celeste”. I can’t even watch their aggressive sex scenes; they make me feel so uncomfortable.  It is supposed to be hot right, husband coming home in the middle of the day, dirty quickie. But with him, with their relationship there is nothing hot about it. It was though, funny to watch Madeline, after getting a text from Celeste about her dirty quickie, look over at Ed as if she should be having hot sex on the kitchen bench and he totally misses the moment and refers to his bathroom stench. Moment gone…. But nope she tries again only to have reality kick in when her daughter Chloe catches in the act. LOL.

The bite mark has been escalated (so it should) and of course the natural assumption is that it is the mouth of the alleged class bully Ziggy. Jane receives the school phone call mid beach run and you can see the “over it all” expression on her face. We get this amazing wide shot of the grey-green foggy cliff face of Monterey with a tiny little Jane in the distant, she screams and throws her phone of the cliff down onto the wet sand in sheer frustration with a little bit of rage too I think. But of course she can’t afford to throw her phone away like Renata can. So she scrambles down the pathway to the beach picks up her phone, brushes it off, plugs it back into her headphones and keeps on running. I mean what freaking choice does she have?  Just keep running chick. As she runs off the emotion she is joined by Celeste and then Madeline and together they power through their run all the way to the coffee shop for a debrief. Go girls.

At the coffee shop they are interrupted by Director Joseph needing to speak with Madeline. He is edgy and agitated. They get in his car to chat privately away from the watching eyes of the school mums. He doesn’t think it is over between them, he wants more from her, he wants her to “throw it all away” and give them a chance.  As they drive away – BAM – out of nowhere a freaking ute rolls and slams into their car. It happened so fast and it was so loud it made me jump. There is a eerie squealing sound as the accident plays out in front of us. Madeline wrapped in a blanket bleeding from her mouth, watching Joseph get stretchered away all bloody and unconscious. Time seems to stand still for just a second. Next thing Madeline is in hospital being spoken to by a Doctor and Ed is madly running down the corridor to get to her and check she is ok. She has minimal injuries and Joseph with his myriad of damage is going to be ok. Madeline looks at Joseph’s worried wife with a look of guilt, of guilt and a little sadness.

Jane meets with the principal and the teacher about Ziggy. They are really pressing the issue that there must be something in the past with Ziggy explain his behaviour, that the biting and bullying can’t come from nowhere. They think that the reason might lie in the non-existent father, which I guess they must think is slightly strange that there is no known Dad in the picture and there must be a story behind it? Jane imagines herself be brutally honest and telling them his father is “keen on erotic asphyxiation and raping women”.  It is Jane’s worst fears, what keeps her awake at night. Here is Jane’s guilt, the thought that Ziggy is not just a product of rape but is “marked with his genetic stain”.  The school’s solution is to bring in a teacher’s aide to watch Amabella and Ziggy and monitor the situation. It is not a bad idea. It should prove one way or the other, right?

The more we watch Celeste and Perry’s marriage play out the more frightened Celeste looks. Last week’s strength has They have this pretence of a normal family for Perry and Celeste. I say pretence, because it felt like they were playing happy families; lunch with their boys, a great big nerf gun fight, love and cuddles.  Nothing obvious was happening, but there was the tick tick tick of an unhinged abusive husband hovering just below the surface. Every normal thing they do is laced with the potential for it to go pear shaped. I imagine this is how Celeste feels herself, like she can never relax.  It reminds me of a nursery rhyme I knew as a child. “There was a little boy who had a little curl right in the middle of his forehead. And when he was good he was very very good and when he was bad he was horrid.”


Madeline returns to the hospital the next day to check in on Joseph. His wife is at the nurse’s station and watches Madeline walk past and head down the corridor. I wonder if she knows. I feel like she does or at least she has suspicions. It is just a turn of the head but… Madeline tells Joseph that their affair was more than sex. But that it wasn’t enough for her to want to destroy her life. She gets teary when she breaks up with him again. She is petrified of this little secret getting out and ruining everything. His wife walks in before they really get a chance. So she looks at him and says a stoic goodbye and leaves.

Celeste visits her therapist while Perry is away for business and it is beyond disturbing, it begins with her sitting in the car powdering her bruises to cover them up. She is dressed all demurely in a floral dress and cardigan, her hair in a half up Pollyanna style (not that this matters). I guess she looks little and thin and vulnerable, not the strong woman in her business attire from last week. Her words, the flashbacks, the brutal honesty about the violence in her marriage, it was hard to hear, let alone watch. The therapist sees straight through the veneer Celeste has built and calls a spade a spade – “he hurts you”.  When Celeste says we are turned on by rage and we see their “love-making” looking anything but loving… sheesh. The way that she defends him, defends them and tries to stand up for what they have, it is confronting. She is apologetic and guilty and ashamed that she is even talking about her husband negatively. Everything else they have is great, great father, great sex and it is as if she is justifying that you can’t have those things without the violence. That is the cost of wonderful. Until we see him hold her head into a pillow until she is almost out of breath. She has thought about leaving, but she chooses to stay. The therapist plants the seed that one day her kids will know what is happening and she needs a plan. A plan for what? A plan for what she is going to do the next time he hits her. Drop mic.


Jane calls Madeline as she drives… where?  She tells her, “Friendships are the masterpieces of nature and you are my masterpiece”, what is about to happen? Our girl is on a mission, playing music loud, smoking a joint and a phone call to Madeline to … I don’t know feels like a goodbye almost. She has her gun with her and of course, this is the road trip. This is the one she was going to take with the girls and now she is going alone. Watch out Saxon Baker… here comes Jane. And there he comes, out into the waiting room where Jane is sitting. Everything goes silent or muffled and time slows downs. He does not recognise her. She leans in close, I think to smell him maybe and we get flash backs to that night.

BAM loud music kicks in and we get the end of the episode montage. Squealing guitar solo over Celeste driving away from therapy, Jane racing to her car and screaming away breathing heavily.  Kids being picked up from school, cuddles between mothers and children, Celeste and the twins, Renata, Amabella, Madeline with Chloe and Ziggy. Jane in the car looking pained? Celeste with her boys “Where are we going mummy”, is she leaving? She walks into the airport… and Perry walks through the gate, he pulls her to him and grabs her in a desperate crying, shaking embrace. Back to Jane in the car, what happened, was it him, what did she do… the odometer climbs 50mph…60mph… 70mph… and then the red flashing lights and the siren. FUCK.