Now. I’ve been doing some thinking and here are the thoughts I’ve thunk: I hate Tony. When this scene was released as a preview, I air-punched and I watched it twice. I had an almost aching desire to watch Michelle beat the shit out of him in slow motion. It would probably take three full hours of therapy to clear it up completely, but it’s weird because I never loathed Tony Stonem. I never loathed Cook, either. You may loathe me, though, when I tell you I am much fonder of US Michelle than UK Michelle. There’s just something about Rachel Thevenard. I don’t know. Ever since she shoved that hot dog in her mouth and said, “Impulsive. I like that in a girl” I’ve kind of loved her. Also, I’m probably projecting some residual fandom rage onto Tony because of my weird middleman place in the whole lezzorama tantrum that’s been raining down like brimstone around my ears. Like, you know, “Yeah, let’s take it out on him instead! Boooo, you whore! *crotch kick*”
And, I mean, I don’t feel that way about Tea at all. She’s complicit in the whole debacle. Hell, she’s probably more culpable than Tony. But the difference between her and Tony, I think — and, again, this may all be down to Sofia Black-D’elia‘s acting skills — is that Tea is ripped up inside about the whole thing. Remorse and pride aren’t bedfellows, but she shelves the propaganda for the truth: She’s sorrier than she can say.
Michelle wakes up talking to her chlamydia antibiotics like some kind of Cadie. She tells them the story of her and Stanley, about how they were besties, shared hair products and everything, until Tony came along and f–ked them all up. And then she has the bright idea to shag away her pain with her ol’ best mate. That idea lasts for the entire three milliseconds it takes Stanley to blow his load when Michelle touches him. They tear Tony out of all their photos and light them on fire and make a pact to dance on his grave. “Naked?” Stanley asks hopefully.
Daisy finally gives Michelle a full list of the people Tony’s been screwing around with, except for Tea because she doesn’t know about Tea. And Tea comes over to comfort her too. She tries to confess on repeat, but instead of hearing it Michelle asks if Tea is going to try to make it work with Betty. Tea’s like, “I don’t know. I guess. Yeah. Yes. Yes, I am.”
Only, no she’s not. At school the next day, Tony calls Michelle “Nips” because a black eye and a bruised scrotum weren’t warning enough for him, I guess. She gets in his face and calmly explains that if he ever calls her that again, she will serve his balls up in an omelet that she will force him to eat before she breaks his neck with her bare hands. And then she accidentally knocks over Tea’s bag, and out spill the chlamydia antibiotics, and click! click!.
Betty is three clicks! behind because no effing way. But Michelle clears it up for her.
Tea follows Michelle home and tries to apologize, and Michelle says the truest and most heartbreaking thing of all: That Tea is a lesbian! She knows she’s a lesbian! But she betrayed Michelle anyway, even though she didn’t even enjoy sleeping with Tony, even though she knew it would never work, because she wanted something inside his head. She says it’s the first time she’s ever seen Tea cry, and she slams the door in her face.
Remember in Anna Karenina when Tolstoy said that boredom is the desire for desires? Tea makes me think of Russian tragedy in more ways than one, but, really, it was “The girls I sleep with bore me. Is it too much to ask for someone to be interesting?” that really did her in. Tony’s arrogance piqued her interest because she was bored. I mean, that’s true at any age: It is some kind of intoxicating when someone can volley your wit or intellect. And what in the world do you do with that kind of thrill when your frame of reference is confined to 16 years and a small town? It’s human nature to grab at the things that stimulate you, and it’s a hard life fact that sometimes your world only gets bigger after your Id blows it to smithereens. Tea grabbed at everything that delighted her, just like ol’ Anna K. And now she’s lost it all too. Good Lord, I hope she’s not the one who ends up smashed by a bus!
Michelle invites Tony over for a shag. He says, “You love me and I’ll change.” But she’s the one who has changed. She’s a smart girl; her principal told her so just yesterday. She’s a smart girl who learned a sh–ty lesson, but the prize is she gets to kick Tony out of her bed with a promise to axe murder him if he comes near her again. (Maybe Daisy will dare him! Fingers crossed!)
The other smart thing Michelle does is meet up with Betty to take the Chinatown bus to Boston. Betty is running from Tea. Michelle is running from everyone. They hold hands and I think, Impulsive. Michelle likes that in a girl. And then I laugh. Because what could quell a mob of angry gays like sexual fluidity, reversed. Michelle rests her head on Betty’s shoulder and cries. The lights of Eastern Seaboard American City whizz by. And the fan fiction rolls on.