On their way home from church, Sophie and Sian run into Emily Bishop. She’s been taking Rita’s lessons to heart and tells them that she’s sorry she was short with them in the cafe the other day, and that she doesn’t "feel wonderful for dismissing" them like that. Sian says they visited a new church and Sophie says that it’s a church that accepts them even if they "might be different." You can tell Emily’s heart is just breaking because of how she’s loved Sophie from when she was just a little girl and she knows how she’s so beautiful on the inside, and it’s creating this dissonance in Emily’s heart and mind because she’s always had "a quite literal view of the Scriptures."
I’ve been banging on about this as long as you’ve been reading my recaps, but the whole point of narrative is to help people make sense of life. Anthropologists would line up to tell you that exact thing, that before the New York Times bestseller list, story existed in a gazillion different forms with the purpose of preserving history and hinting at structure in the chaos of life. And so this thing here, this Emily/Sophie thing, it lasts what? Six minutes, total, over two episodes. Yet it’s a soul-sustainer for everyone who chooses to wrestle and tangle and bring in line the bedrock beliefs of their religion with their own personal values. That’s one hell of a courageous thing to do in your life, and if grandma-aged Emily Bishop can do it at the same time as teenage-aged Sophie Webster, anyone can do it.
William James says that "the value of religion lies in its usefulness to the believer, not in the truthfullness of its supernatural claims."
And for both Sophie and Emily, Christianity has been useful in terms of peace and purpose. There’s a comfort in believing that Sophie is not willing to forgo because she is gay. And there are principles that Emily is choosing to reevaluate for the same reason. Sophie says, "God made me gay. I didn’t make me gay." And Emily believes her.
And it wouldn’t be a recap if I didn’t say I can’t believe this is happening on television.
The next day, Sophie and Sian are helping Sally prepare tea while Rosie lounges on the couch painting her nails. I love these family scenes where Sian just fits right in. It’s not even a Thing anymore. Sian and Sophie just wanted a place to be, remember? And they found it at home. Kevin ruins everyone’s good cheer by bringing his thunder!cloud to bear in the kitchen and then whisking it away upstairs, shouting at Sally to just leave him alone.
And you know what? Maybe she should! He bailed on their date last night and he’s being the worst thing right now. And, like my Corrie tutor, Paula, mentioned to me: The Webster’s have limited table space. Sian is a much better full-time dinner companion than Kevin, that’s for sure. And so maybe Sally should pull a Jenna Fitch: "You’ve got to move out, Kev. You’re being a bit of a prick and it’s a FOUR-SEATER TABLE. What did you want me to do?"