What even is this show? I’m sitting here thinking about it, and I still have trouble making sense of it. Maybe it’s because TV has set me up with unrealistic expectations for everything, from body image to the pacing of relationships, but boy, does this show feel like it’s breaking new ground in the best way possible.
And I’m not even just talking about their OTP work, which, A+ work guys, you’re truly nailing it, I’m talking about the way they’re integrating the team into everything, the way Jai, Susan and Edgar feel like fully realized characters, the way diversity is such a given, and oh yeah, the way they continue to portray Will as the total opposite of toxic masculinity and Frankie like a badass woman who can absolutely save herself.
Which, again, doesn’t mean there isn’t a journey ahead for all of them. There always is. It just so happens that the journey, in this case, is not about a woman becoming a badass or a man learning to feel, but the other way around. Isn’t that freaking refreshing?
So, whatever, I’m done with the general gushing, and now it’s time to get into more specific gushing as we talk about “The English Job.”
I’ll start with the ‘B’ plots, just because they don’t really feel like B plots in this show, and that’s always something to be commended. This week, one of them (though you might even call it the ‘C’ plot) involved Ray and Susan pulling a prank on Jai, a prank that Jai later retaliates for. It’s really all fun and games, and a better use of Ray than anything they’ve done before, with even a touch of real feeling thrown in there for good measure, and it works perfectly.
But we still don’t like Ray.
And by we, I mean the viewers, I mean Susan, Jai, Edgar, Will and most definitely Frankie. We don’t because he did something unforgivable, and the fact that he isn’t an awful guy on a day-to-day basis doesn’t change any of this. He betrayed Will, plain and simple. And Will’s like a puppy who must be protected at all costs, and trust me, everyone on this team wants to protect him.
Of course, that doesn’t mean it’s sustainable for everyone to be an asshole to Ray for 13 episodes, as fun as that would be. And it’s not like that in real life, either. We are often nice to people we don’t really like, for the sake of keeping the peace, or even just because we don’t want to make a scene. That doesn’t mean we’re ready to become BFFs with them, it just means we’re mature adults. And for all that this show feels like a parody of the genre, at times, it’s taken a real mature, realistic approach to human relationships, and that’s what sets it apart from the competition.
CONQUERING YOUR FEARS
The other side-plot of this episode involved Edgar falling off a roof at the beginning, and then having to face that fear at the end of the episode, to save Harry and Megan, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex. (Yes, I really typed that). It was a very normal, run of the mill plot point for a show like this, a character that doesn’t have field experience having to face a fear and just get back into the horse, so to speak. What made it interesting is that the show treated it with heart, and that it allowed it to be a bonding moment between two men.
Will is a softie. This has been very well established. But the thing is, Edgar is kinda one too. He isn’t in-control like Jai, he’s more the type to say what he thinks, even when he shouldn’t say it. And he tried to pretend he was cool, as per the trope requires, but deep down, he wasn’t. Will knew this, and Will, being the emotionally aware guy that he is, gave him time, and when that didn’t work, well, Will gave him a pep-talk.
If the pep talk worked is because Edgar knows that Will doesn’t just say things that he doesn’t mean. He knows Will really and truly cares for him, and I think he might even know this holds true for the entire team. He also knows that he can be honest with Will about his fears, and that Will is not going to mock him for it, because this is a show that has, from the get-go, established that men having emotions is just …a regular thing that happens, and not something to be ashamed of.
This is real. This is life. The show is making it seem like a commonplace thing, and that’s good for people watching, and good for a TV landscape that still, more often than not, requires men to be emotional robots. Good on Will for having emotions, and good on Edgar for having them too. Emotions don’t make you weak, they make you strong. Now that’s a message I can get behind.
YOU AND ME, WE SAVE THE WORLD
Look, I know what the cynics in the room are going to say. They’re going to say: IT’S TOO SOON, how can they be having the we can’t get involved because we work together conversation already? It’s episode five! And I promise, that was my first reaction too, but trust me, our reaction is what’s wrong, not what the show did. No, what the show did was reality.
Because let’s face it, in real life, no one sorta figures out they have feelings for someone and then hides it for six+ seasons, and/or do the mutually pining thing where OMG ABSOLUTELY EVERYONE knows how they feel about each other except the two people with feelings. That shit only happens on TV, and fanfiction, and we’ve consumed so much of those two that we’ve somehow convinced ourselves this is normal, that it happens every day, that this is how people conduct normal relationships.
It really and truly isn’t. In real life, we almost always understand our feelings well enough to know when we have a connection with someone, even if we’re as adverse to feelings as Frankie. In real life, a guy like Will would absolutely not take more than five episodes to be like HEY, SEE THIS THING BETWEEN US? IT’S A THING. In real life, people develop feelings quickly, and then people either act on them, or they don’t, but what comes after those feelings is still a process, still a journey.
These two are just going to be taking that journey towards knowing each other better, towards really and truly loving each other, while not being in a relationship. And that’s because that’s the trope, and this is a TV show, and this show has already given us so damn much that we can’t really ask for more. But the time will come, the time when neither of them are able to deny that what’s going on between them is more than just “a connection,” and then, that’ll be when decisions need to be made. Not now.
Now, I can just enjoy how a show that is really and truly subverting genre stereotypes in every way is also giving us realistic characters, realistic relationships and what’s probably my new favorite OTP on TV. And this is episode five. I know I’ve said that before, but it bears repeating. Episode five. Whoever said that giving people what they want makes a show less interesting? I’m more invested than I was before!
Things I think I think:
- Peggy’s whole ‘watch your tone’ thing was kinda hilarious.
- I kinda expected them to ignore the fake kiss and the instant of almost-real kiss for AT LEAST a season. TV has truly done me wrong in the past.
- “You don’t necessarily make me feel safe” is a bad thing for a partnership.
- And, I love your desire to have emotional conversations, Will, but PICK BETTER MOMENTS.
- Though, to be fair, she would have run away if she could.
- It’s so cute, Edgar thinking he’s good.
- But I appreciate that Will is giving him some space. I really like their budding friendship.
- BETTER THAN RAY.
- BYE RAY.
- “Do you even hear yourself?” We all need a friend to ask this.
- Frankie, dude, don’t tell me you got no feelings when you get like a dog with a bone every time there’s a woman in the vicinity of Will.
- Despacito being everywhere is the REALEST thing in this show.
- Back to Edgar and Will, and if this show can manage to give me bromance + romance I’ll be the happiest girl alive.
- Harry and Megan being a plot point in this episode is my kind of wiiiiiiiiiiiiild.
- Trapped in tight spaces trope FOR THE WIN.
- “I can get ice cream with anyone, you and me, we save the world.”
- Dude, it’s episode 5.
- This is so shocking I don’t even know how to process.
- Other than to say, that you really do want to get ice cream with him, Frankie.
- And if you said yes, I think he’d give it a go.
- BUT ANOTHER TROPE, SHE WALKS IN AS HE’S KISSING SOMEONE ELSE.
- OTP pain already, and it’s episode 5.
- I kinda love it.
Agree? Disagree? Share with us in the comments below!
Whiskey Cavalier airs Wednesdays at 10/9c on ABC.