Black and White
Back at Smalls, Nick and Katie are alone. He asks her why she’s not in school and she explains that she vandalized the defense contractor. There’s some awkwardness in the conversation as Nick points out a military is necessary, and she comments that dropping bombs on wedding parties is not necessary. He gives her a scenario where things aren’t so black and white, ending the thought with, “And how many innocent kids’ lives are you responsible for now?” The scene does several things. It tells Nick that his daughter is pregnant. It also shows the guilt that Nick has from his time overseas, but I think the most interesting part of this exchange is the world views both have.
Regardless that Katie doesn’t know that Nick is her father, they are the same blood and may share similar characteristics. However, because Nick has been in these terrible situations, he is able to see the world as much grayer than she does. It proves her nativity and her innocence in a world that truly isn’t what we think it is as kids. I think it also adds to her own worry and stress, as she knows she wants to bring a child into it. How do you properly make the decisions that must be made in a world as such?
“Let me guess, your mom thinks it’s a bad idea.”
Katie is about to run off when Nick stops her. There is a parental look in his eye—this is all new to him, but the instinct is there. He asks her some questions, unaware that Sarah is listening. He doesn’t seem surprised that Katie hasn’t told the boy she’s pregnant and even says, “Let me guess, your mom thinks it’s a bad idea.” I’m going to go out on a limb here and guess that Nick had no clue Sarah was pregnant. Seems a bit hypocritical, but maybe she had her reasons.
Sammy continues to give Ben the silent treatment but smiles when he gives him a video of Ava singing to him, so he can go to sleep. Meanwhile, Patricia asks if they can lend the money to Ava from the Smalls savings. Ron says it’s no secret that the place has been sinking for years. Patricia then tells him that her cancer has returned. There’s silence in the room.
Downstairs, Gabe and his girlfriend are checking the mail when Nick, Katie and Sarah enter. He tries to see if Sarah can get Enzo a new roommate again, but she tells him it’s not possible. Gabe’s girlfriend tries to get him into the apartment, but he seems in a trance. Ice queen seems to know her time is limited. Bye bye!
Another explosive scene is next. Sarah confronts Nick in the apartment, bothered by his question to Katie in the bar. Sarah is unfair in her line of questioning, in my opinion. He broke up with her in high school to join the military, unaware that she was pregnant at the time. She makes a weird comment about seeing horrible things but choosing war. Nick is angry now because he said he should’ve known, but she claims it wouldn’t have made a difference.
The conversation escalates to Nick’s state of being, seeing the bottles of liquor behind him. Granted, these belonged to the tenants in the apartment he’s renting, but this sends Sarah off. She asks how much he drinks, then if he takes pills. The next question is about PTSD. Nick doesn’t remain silent. He tells her that he doesn’t drink often, and he hasn’t even taken more than an ibuprofen despite losing his leg. He explains that he doesn’t know if he has PTSD, but crowds of people do bother him, and if it makes him unfit to be Katie’s father… she cuts him off. Says she never said that, and he demands to know why she hasn’t told her.
Is Sarah being unfair?
This seems like fear on Sarah’s end. She tells him that Katie will hate her and that because she’s pregnant, she can’t have that. Katie needs her. This is all very unfair to Nick. Sarah continues this line of thinking saying that she’s known her for 17 years and he’s known her two weeks. The final blow comes in a scathing line: “Don’t worry Sergeant Porter, you get to be the hero in this story too.” I’m going to assume that neither of them is innocent in this and Sarah is being completely unreasonable. Besides, she has no idea that Nick found out earlier that he might be the reason one of his buddies died, so that line probably hits closer to home than she realizes.
I really hope that she considers what she says to him in the next day or so because it’s not a good look on Sarah at all. I understand she’s upset and that everything feels like it’s falling apart but saying what she did isn’t going to fix it.
Nick waits until Sarah leaves and closes the door to slam the bottle in his hand against the wall.
Sarah goes to talk to Katie and explains her decision to keep her. Unknown to her daughter, she tells the story of how Nick joined the military. Katie was conceived after 9/11. Nick had always wanted to be a firefighter and one month in, the towers were hit. He saw things there that were terrible (and this explains the comment from earlier made by Sarah).’
Pause, please. My Gosh… Nick has been through it all. To be a first responder in 9/11 and then to join the military after what he must’ve seen working there every day? My heart just shattered. 9/11 hits close to home to any New Yorker. We all are connected by that day and anyone who lives locally knows how many lives it destroyed even years later. Its safe to say that Nick never dealt with what happened to him then… add on the terror of war… I suspect this season will be rough on him.
“I didn’t know how to crochet a heart, so I gave birth to mine.” She was about to go get an abortion, when she decided to do something good in memory of the people who lost their lives, even after Nick left. Sarah tells Katie to get up, they settle problems in this house in one way… dancing.
“Sarah has a 10-year-old. Yours?”
This might be one of my favorite parts of the show… the vignettes of the residents in the beginning and the end. Just like we saw in the beginning of the episode, we see each group in the apartment. Gabe breaks Enzo out, tells him he’s coming to live with him. Ron and Patricia cuddle in the bathroom. Meanwhile, Katie and Sarah continue to dance. Ben and Sammy play with a toy basketball, finally bonding, and we finally reveal Nick on the fire escape, sitting alone. He holds a picture in his hands. It says “Sarah has a 10-year-old. Yours?” … does this mean that he’s known that long? The episode ends with this thought.
This episode was just as great as the pilot. It continues to balance humor, despair and happiness in 42 minutes without there being periods of boredom or slow scenes. The actors mesh incredibly well together and flow excellently on the screen.
We don’t learn everything in one episode. Some shows have great storylines, but reveal too little or too much each episode. The pieces we’ve gotten make me want to come back each week to find out what will happen next.
Most importantly? The show gives you hope.
In the episode, there are the comparisons about black and white and gray areas. It’s clear what we see here is rare. I don’t know any of my neighbors this well, but it makes you hope for it. You root for these people because the truth is: this is possible. The Village tells you that good people are out there, and humanity still exists. You wish you knew these people because they represent what makes us America. It tells you that we are better when we are together and that our differences make us who we are.
Love is truly the thread that connects us all and The Village is the perfect reminder that we should spread more of it each and every day.
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