Huh. I did something during this episode that I rarely do. I mean, I live alone. I don’t often offer verbal commentary on whatever I am watching on TV. But then, during this episode, I said something out loud to the effect of “Stop poking the bear, Wendy!”
But then I had a thought that made me see the show in a new light.
OK, so, I said a lot during the last episode that I want to see Wendy get punished for her actions on this series. That doesn’t have to mean death for anybody. I just want to see her lose. She is walking around with a very righteous and arrogant manner for someone who helps a drug cartel hide its money and whose actions have led to the deaths of multiple people, including her own brother. And yet, she sounds more and more like some stereotypical Karen, getting louder when people anger her, and for much of this episode, she is clearly doing stuff just to provoke Darlene.
And then it hit me: Wendy basically is Darlene if Darlene had grown up in a more suburban neighborhood and maybe gotten a college education.
See, I know Marty isn’t innocent. But, like Darlene’s late husband Jacob, Marty is more soft-spoken and could be seen as the reasonable one while still basically thinking he can work things out when stuff hits the fan. Those traits perfectly describe Jacob. Darlene, in the episode that showed how she and Jacob first met, literally shoved another woman out of the way to get to him, and she’s got a hair trigger temper. For this episode, she put up signs all around town asking for help finding Ben, knowing full well that Ben is dead and all that is to get at Wendy. Wendy responds by deliberately calling Darlene and thanking her for her help making it look like Ben is still alive and just missing.
This would be about the time I said that thing I said out loud. There is no reason for Wendy to do this, other than to give Darlene fits. This is Darlene Snell. She has killed far more people than Wendy has, and she does her own thing at all times. Meanwhile, Marty is cutting deals with Ruth while Charlotte is working with Wyatt to try and keep the peace between Darlene and the Byrdes. Marty seems to understand, perhaps like Jacob did, that sometimes you gotta swallow your pride and work with people who at best barely tolerate you to get by in this business. It’s Darlene and Wendy who seem to get off on pushing the envelope to make people suffer, perhaps in part because both women want baby Zeke for themselves. Granted, Darlene is trying to keep her own business going in the face of various set-backs that occurred only because the Byrdes moved into the area to begin with, but it is noteworthy to me that both Wendy and Darlene seem to be threatening Jonah to get more information in this episode in their own respective ways.
Now, I don’t go out of my way to see what other people are saying about this show, and I am sure I am not the first nor will I be the last to see the thematic connections between the two family matriarchs, but it wasn’t that long ago when Wendy’s own father referred to her as something of a troublemaker. These two women may be coming from different places, but they sure are similar people.
So much so that, by episode’s end when Darlene shows up at the Byrde house demanding answers, Wendy can’t help herself but to brag about things she and Marty have been doing behind Darlene’s back. It’s enough to give Darlene a heart attack, and that’s enough to make Wendy hesitate just until the credits start to roll before dialing 911.
If I want to take this analogy any further, I can point out how Jonah and Wyatt are supposed to be the “smart” members of their respective families, but both of them are willingly with a known psycho like Darlene. Wendy may not be that inclined to violence, but I think it comes down more to the fact that people at her socio-economic level are inclined to use less physically violent ways to get what they want. But really, these are women used to getting their own way, that think they are somehow untouchable, and are acting accordingly.
Ruth could probably school both of ’em if she had to.
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