“Y Not” (Episode 103)
June 11, 2018
Episode 3 of Dietland goes darker and weirder than ever before while at the same time, speaking truth to power and showing Plum’s life and struggles without a filter, without a censor and in its full colored glory.
Dietland is very well written and very well acted but really, its emotional grip is what draws me in. I am living Plum’s struggles with her … this show grabs hold of me from minute 1 and does not let go of my feelings for a solid hour. Thank God there are commercials so I can breath and relax and think, it’ll be better in the next act.
Read on for our deep dive recap & review of “Y Not” … after the jump (Spoilers – Be warned)!
We open a body literally falling from the sky … right on top of a Manhattan snob’s unsuitable salad. Well, i’s even more unsuitable now. Jennifer has taken to tossing men to Earth from, a plane? Tall buildings? Not clear.
But no time for that, Plum has to meet Verena for their first New Baptist Plan session. Phase 1, according to Verena? Solely getting Plum off of the Y. She explains that you have to slowly taper your body off of the drug after taking anti depressants for as long as Plum has been (9 years). Plum is all, “flushed ’em all yesterday — cold turkey is the way for me!” Verena insists she get a new script and taper off and Plum gives her the most obvious, “sure sure.” Barbara interrupts to steal Verena away for a quick convo about … something. While alone with her thoughts, Plum is casting doubts on Verena as she’s working some skinny entitlement issues and can’t possible understand what its like in Plum’s “extra wide shoes.” When she comes back, Verena hands Plum a complete (but undated) check for the promised $20,000. Its a sign of good faith — all Plum has to do is complete the plan and she can run it to any bank.
The Cafe. After running Plum through the ringer for not yet calling Dominic (Plum is still holding to the “he’s playing me” angle), the talk turns first, to the fashion week show Plum is covering via Facebook Live, and then, to the nasty side effects that may come from quitting the Y. The most entertaining of the side effects are “brain zaps” … what the fuck are brain zaps? Steven doesn’t know either. He urges her to stay on her meds but nope, Plum is going all in. She tells Steven to stop being a worrier and that she’s going to ride our her “Withdrawal-cation” holed up in her apartment.
Back on the street, Plum is making her “going out town calls” which includes Dominic. Surprised he picked up, she scrambles for some banter and he seems … preoccupied. He really throws her off when he asks Plum if she knows Leeta – Plum goes so far as to confirm she knows who Leeta is but denies knowing her well. Dropping it for the time being, Dominic tells Plum to enjoy her time away and as far as being an “insider informant” for him, he warns her to be careful because, an Austen Media employee has been killed.
On the news, Cheryl is breaking the death of Malleck, who had been dropped from … maybe a plane. It seems like it was a plane. Zooming into the studio, Kitty has arrived on set to express how very bad his death may be for Austen Media – they backed him during the rape allegations and media boycott. Not only backed but actually paid for his legal and PR teams. Kitty is positive there will be something in the leaked information about this. She’s uber-nervous and tells Cheryl to get on her sources for what information is out there.
The Withdrawal-cation. As Plum enters her apartment, she has a mild brain zap – which looks a lot like spontaneous dizziness. Not too bad. While Plum watches the Rene Taylor fashion show online, another body is dropped from the sky … this time at a random, tailgate party. Title Card.
The Cafe. Ben is having a stress freak out (goddamn Millennials can’t handle some dead bodies) as the news continues to report on nothing but the “Runway Murders.” Ben wants Plum to sing to him because it calms him – Steven wants Ben to calm himself by doing his job. That being said, Steven heads to Plum’s apartment when he can’t get a message out to her. Once there, Steven tries to convince Plum to get back on her meds and take Ben as a boyfriend – solid plan. Also, he wants someone to dish with about the Runway Murders and his conspiracy theories. Plum throws him out.
Alone again, Plum tells us that the brain zaps are now turning into mild hallucinations and also, she’s getting inappropriate with her “Dear Kitty” responses. Ruh Roh.
The withdrawal kicks into high gear when a tiger from a nature show Plum is watching, zaps into her living room. He’s a friendly sort of tiger and, after making himself comfortable on the couch, asks her to check out a corn on his foot. Being a tiger, he’s also very hungry and makes it clear, he requires meat. Plum takes this all in stride and they get down to some real good conversation – did you know Kurt Cobain and Frank L. Baum were feminists? True story, tigers love trivia … according to this talking tiger, anyway.
Sometime later, Plum is on the phone (oh, bad idea, Plum) while Big T. (that’s what we’re calling the tiger right now) comes over all lasciviously, complaining of having drank all the water and being very … thirsty. Me.Ow! Plum is able to redirect his horniness with an uber-eats order of $147 worth of food. Next, she puts off Big T. by telling him she has to work. Speaking of work, Big T. says, why isn’t Plum working on something more substantive? She says she’s doing her job but he’s unconvinced. Big T. convinces Plum to go take a rest and once alone with her laptop, deletes all of her work email. Naughty Kitty!! Oh, have I mentioned that her entire apartment has converted into a veritable jungle paradise. Commercials.
When we return, Big T. is stroking Plum’s hair as she lies in his lap. She tells him that she doesn’t want to feel anything until she’s Alicia but he insists that feelings are good. He tells her about how good he feels when he’s hunting and how its only second in feelings to mating. Its all very sexual and she finally gives in to his advances … which brings us back to reality and a Plum who has clearly just finished masturbating. Withdrawalcation indeed.
Austen Media. As Kitty prepares for a fashion week party, she is holding court with Dominic and Eladio. Eladio first. Kitty makes it clear to him that she wants them to use the same color scheme and theme as the photos they were going to use by Malleck BUT with photos taken by diverse women. Eladio begins to make the point that they don’t have any photos like that … but, details. Dismissed. Turning to Dominic, he tells Kitty that he’s approximately 83% sure that no connection between Malleck and Austen Media was leaked. He totally made up that number but Kitty accepts it. Next, Kitty interrogates him about Plum – as Kitty sees it, she’s got the biggest red flag as the potential leaker – Kitty even gave Plum the special assignment so she wouldn’t suspect they were on to her. ooooh tricky. Dominic confesses that Plum did lie to him about not knowing Leeta but, he really doesn’t think Plum fits the profile of what they are looking for. WRONNNNG, says Kitty.
“Large girls pretend to be joyful and harmless but really, they’re jealous of people like me. No matter how well you treat them, they fester.” – Kitty
Refreshingly forward thinking pro-feminist stance there, Kitty. *sigh* The worst. Anyway, Dominic runs down the latest on the Runway Murders and he thinks its very unlikely the Jennifers are the ones targeting Austen Media – they are terrorists targeting men. No, Dominic is convinced it’s something else.
The Withdrawalcation. The morning after her “tiger time,” Plum is feeling pretty good until she sees her face is completely broken out in hives. A tiger fur allergy, clearly. Faced with going out into the world, the paranoia and fear on Plum’s withdrawal laden face is palpable. However, arming herself with some concealer and a Big T.-inspired mantra of “Brave like that,” Plum manages to make it not only out of her apartment (sooo much uneaten food in the hallway), but all the way into the world – she even masters public transportation. Which, good for her, but really gurl, you should not be outdoors.
When we return from commercials, we learn Plum’s destination was the Beauty Closet and hopefully a fix for her hive covered face. Also, girlfriend is ready to do some ranting and speak some truth. Well, partial truths – complete sentences are hard when you’re going through withdrawal. When Plum tells Julia she’s not taking anything …Julia responds succinctly,
“Calliope House. Shit.”
Julia tells Plum she can’t stay with her as she has to go the Daisy Chain party but becomes a little more than worried when Plum tells Julia about her phone dying while listening to Spotify and making out with Benny the Tiger. Oh, boy. ” Maybe I can just stay here with Leeta, she’s my friend,” Plum suggests. Also, the rash is now gone on Plum’s face. Julia tells Plum Leeta quit (hrmmm, “quit” doesn’t right?). Withdrawal Plum goes on a bit of a stream of consciousness here admitting that Dominic has been asking about Leeta; he doesn’t believe Julia about Leeta’s whereabouts and also, pondering whether or not Leeta was in love with Plum … like love love in love with Plum. Julia is taking this all in but is quietly screaming internally.
As Plum makes her way home for more Withdrawalcation, Kitty and the oft-mentioned Abra Austen (Kelly Hu) (this has to be the new wife to Kitty’s old wife?) make their way to their Fashion Week party. The ladies make small talk about how Stanley doesn’t like to be the last to know things and whether Kitty considered cancelling the party for fear of being seen as tone deaf. Kitty stands on her Patriotism grounds for not cancelling. Sure, makes sense. The terrorists win if they cancel. The ladies move on to more meditative discussions regarding the human (male) need to dominate and humiliate each other and to keep women down as man fail upwards. These Austen women reach a conclusion that they may just in fact, like each other.
When the ladies arrive at Austen Media, the NYPD informs them that the Mayor has cancelled Fashion week because, you know, the bodies falling from the sky. Kitty wants to argue while Abra takes the car and bounces. Julia comes and saves Kitty from making a stink. Girl bonding time!
At a bar, Kitty is praising the potential of Abra to Julia but also critiquing her for choosing to give it all up to be Stanley’s little lady, “available to run the home and suck the dick.” Kitty, always on her game, turns her sights to Leeta – Julia is smooth as silk when she throws Leeta under the bus for being too chaotic, “had to fire her.” The night is ruined when Julia spies a guy taking their picture from across the car. Kitty is upset because they’ve been caught eating. “Optics Julia. Optics.” ** Watching these two spar with each other is one of my favorite things about this show so far. They are both so good at what they do – manipulate and scheme their way in this morally bankrupt world – its like watching two Chess Masters battle head to head.
The Withdrawalcation. An exhausted and looped-up looking Plum sits in front of her computer watching her Fashion Show link while her mind drifts off. Soon, we have Runway Plum being primped by Julia for her big turn. Dominic is there too, now out of his Benny the Tiger costume (well, he’s still got a tail) and seriously, Plum is living her best life in these hallucinations. After some meat and mating innuendo, Runway Plum proceeds to work her living room catwalk as all the paparazzi snap her photo. Including, Malleck who is very much dead so we know this is a hallucination/fever dream (I mean, there are lots of signs that this is a fever dream hallucination but the dead guy in your living room is really good evidence). For what its worth, Plum is fucking fabulous on the runway. Love her.
Back in the real world, Plum is in her bed, burning from a fever, and Dominic is there. She’s taking her sexed up vibe into this brave new world but he’s being a tad standoffish – perhaps not wanting to take advantage of the obviously out of it, Plum? Plum is clear eyed enough to ask how Dominic is even there and he explains she called him, they spoke, remember? He excuses himself to check something burning in the kitchen while she falls off into sleep. Returning to a now sleeping Plum, Dominic takes this opportunity to … download her entire hard drive on a flash drive?!? The Fuck Dominic?!? Commercials.
Calliope House. When we return, Verena is chatting with Marlowe Buchanan (Alanna Ubach) . Marlowe is a “former sitcom star, turned author, activist, and Earth mother,” according to Plum’s narration. She’s also a confidant of Verena. Ms. Baptist explains that she’s worried about Plum – that she has great potential but is also so impulsive as to maybe take a bad turn down the road. Marlowe makes an off color remark if Verena is worried about Plum maybe … tossing some guys out of a plane.
Cut to “Confession Videos” from some of the recent dead men, including “Hal Jizz” (gross gross gross) and Malleck – who confesses to drugging and sexually assaulting 31 women and girls, some as young as 14. “My name is Malleck Ferguson and I deserve to die.”
Cut to Cheryl on the UNN giving the scoop that Jennifer has taken responsibility for the death of 12 men they are calling the “Dirty Dozen.” Cheryl, who has clearly spoken with a source inside Jennifer, tells us that Jennifer chose Fashion Week for the murder spree because:
“The fashion industry dehumanizes women and fosters rape culture.”- Official Jennifer Statement
Cheryl concludes with the question, not who is Jennifer but rather, “what is Jennifer?” At Plum’s normal convenience store, a gross man makes a gross comment to a woman in line. Unfortunately for him, women are tired of taking gross men’s shit and so like all of the women in the store turn on him and drive him from the store. As all of the women stand around him, he picks Plum as the object of his ire, calling her a staring cow before running from the store. Fucking bullies deserve that they get in the end.
At Cheryl’s apartment? Kitty’s? I don’t know. Unclear. Anyway, Cheryl is a halfway open men’s type button down and Kitty is all Kitty’d up. We enter media res with Cheryl claiming that if UNN had been threatened by Jennifer, she would have told Kitty (and called the police) while Kitty is passive aggressively trying to get under her skin — she thinks Cheryl would have kept this news to herself if it made for a better story, which? Sure. Maybe she would have. But so would have Kitty. **This duality of Kitty’s nature is fascinating to me – how she can so easily cry victim or foul at another’s actions but be completely oblivious to her own …**
Anyway, Cheryl goes through all the stages of dealing with kitty, finally landing on “I’m sorry” … just in time for Kitty to terminate her call to Stanley (and presumably have Cheryl fired though I am fairly certain that was a Kitty Bluff). “I want your source,” Kitty says. Cheryl sputters that she can’t do that before quickly switching tactics to “Jennifer being old news.” Kitty isn’t buying it. No, Jennifer is going to be around “until they believe they’ve freed every woman from oppression,” Kitty says. And that’s never going to happen
“Men would rather destroy the world than let us rule it.” -Kitty
The O’Shea House. So, here is Dominic having a meal with his kids when his wife, Marissa (Christina Bennett Lind), walks in. Kisses and Hugs all around. Wait. What?!? What In the Holy Fuck?!?! Oh, you scumbag! *sigh* Men suck. Suck hard. Moving on, cause this whole thing is infuriating. Anyway, Marissa knows Dominic is working undercover and that he is actively trying to woo women to get to the bottom of his case — she even chides him for secretly wearing his wedding ring on a chain around his neck. Marissa is a supportive wife. Yeesh. Marissa asks how the case is going and Dominic says he might have found an informant.
“Her name is Plum,” Plum narrates as we cut to her alone in her apartment, seemingly over her hallucinations – but, is the damage already done from her trip gone round the bend? Bang bang bang. Steven and Mama Kettle come busting in and Mama Kettle is freaked out. All the Benny the Tiger talk , the Benny the Bengal Tiger is a good kisser talk, the “I started modeling” talk — Mama thought she had a psychotic break. As Mama Kettle prattles on, Plum runs to her phone and finds she has been very busy making calls to lots of characters on this show with calls to Mama and Steven (who she has as Stephen), Dominic and Verena. Also, two missed calls from Kitty. Her most recent call was to (503) 299-9293 (she made two calls to this number). WHO IS THAT NUMBER?!?!
As Plum is still focused on her phone, Mama (who’s name is Connie by the way) and Stephen (I’m not going back and changing the previous entries but I will accept Plum’s phone spelling going forward) have an impromptu intervention about how she doesn’t need Verena’s plan or the weight loss surgery — she needs to keep being exactly who she is, which, not helpful. Stop, Plum says.
“I just want to get on an airplane and not have to apologize to the person I sit next to.”
Going off the Y brought Plum’s feelings back which made her realize why she wanted to get rid of them in the first place. But now, she’s thankful for it.
“I don’t hate myself. The world hates me. For being like this. Every day I walk around in this skin, people look at me like I have the plague. They act like I’m a stain.”
Plum is not done speaking truth. She talks about how people will tell her she’s got such a pretty face but then in the same breath tell her how she can fix her body.
“If this is my life, if this is my body, I’d rather be dead.”
Thoughts. Dietland may be the most quotable show on TV right now. Unfortunately, almost all the quotes speak to a poison infecting our innermost self, our souls, our very selves. More than even the first two episodes, tonight we saw Plum’s very real struggle with … everything in her life. From her withdrawal evidencing the heavy toll that anti-depressants exact on our system to her inner shame that she’s been made to wear like a skin leeching out into her interactions. And on the other side of the coin, Kitty – oblivious to her double standard life of crying foul over the cutthroat beauty industry she reigns over and all the while, clamping the heel of her shoe down on those “big girls” she takes so much pride in belittling and hating. I feel like I ranted enough during the recap so ia m not going to rehash my feelings here so let’s talk unanswered questions.
- Is Verena and Calliope House tied to or sponsoring Jennifer? Originally I thought, for sure! And now? I’m not so sure.
- Are Kitty and Cheryl lovers?
- Where is Leeta?
- What the fuck, Dominic? This better be a long, double con or something – don’t break Plum’s heart, you ass!
This article was originally published by Michael Caputo on PopCultureReview.com