"Falling Apart": Wordplay and Parallels
It is very interesting to note the parallels and links between the two main
plots of the concluding storylines of Season 1, Episodes 8, 9, and 10. What does
"falling apart" mean? It means disintegration, the integrated object breaking
down into pieces. The two main examples are: fermentation, which is a chemical
breakdown, and Monica's spiritual/emotional breakdown or broken heart.
Mirroring (analogy and opposition) between plot lines:
There are two parallel storylines, one for Monica and the other for Julie S.
These characters are counterparts in the two storylines. Each is a mother with a
loving son, and the two sons trigger parallel plot threads (one bitter, the
Julie S's storyline begins when she gets a letter from her son and detects
his hidden message about the fermentation/breakdown process in winemaking.
(Incidentally, she needs Monica's assistance to create the recipe.) A group of
inmates tries their best to make the winemaking project work. It's the funniest
plot in Season 1.
Monica's storyline begins soon after, when she is informed of Spencer's death.
(In both cases, the women's storylines are triggered by news/information from
the outside.) The news breaks her spirit. A group of inmates tries their best to
comfort Monica. It's the saddest plot in Season 1.
Crossover: actual links between the two plot lines
The two plot lines are linked primarily by way of Monica and Nikki,
secondarily by Julie J. Monica's knowledge and isolation make her both the
beneficiary and victim of her ivory tower. Nikki comes to the rescue in both
storylines—for Julie's wine and for Monica. And Julie J. links the storylines
symbolically in regard to loss and gain: she is one of Monica's primary
comforters, and she's the person who opens Chateau Larkhall for Spencer's wake.
Monica's Ivory Tower: Monica is a well-educated person. She is the one
who taught the Julies how to make wine, because she couldn't refrain from
demonstrating that she was superior in knowledge and experience. We see the same
point in Monica's own plot line: when Helen comforts her, saying "I know, I
know" Monica furiously replies: "What do you know?" Monica also represents the
second connotation of the ivory tower: she is trapped and isolated, thinking no
one outside can understand her.
Nikki's fermentation rescues: First, in the storyline about fermentation,
there are two crises involving searches, and each time Nikki saves the day:
Bodybag discovers that something weird is going on in the potting shed; Nikki
averts this crisis by pretending to make out with Julie S. And in vain, Jim
Fenner searches the potting shed for the watering can; Nikki has already hidden
it in the pile of compost.
Nikki's Monica rescues: Nikki's rescues in both storylines contain
similar, inverted gestures--they mirror each other: hiding the winemaking
project from Bodybag, and Monica hiding pills from Nikki both involve feigning,
concealing a secret plan. Nikki's inducement of vomiting in Monica involves
removing partly digested material from inside, while Nikki's hiding the watering
can from Fenner involves putting something inside partly digested material.
As for the rescues themselves, in Episode 9 of Season 1, the first sign of the
severity of Monica's breakdown is that she breaks off her appeal. At Helen's
request, Nikki persuades Monica to continue her appeal. In fact, Monica only
pretends to change her mind; really she has a secret plan. But at least there
was an appearance of a rescue. Next, Monica has been collecting pills for her
suicide. Nikki rescues her by inducing vomiting in Episode 10, with help from
the Julies. The last (and in a way the greatest) rescue was Nikki's farewell
speech to Monica. Setting Nikki's emotional and spiritual rescue of Monica
aside, in a way it is the culmination of all other rescues Nikki has ever
performed: because of Nikki's speech, Monica finally realizes that the meaning
of her liberty extends far beyond her own life, and in gaining her freedom,
takes that knowledge with her to use it to help others.
Thank you to Bill H. for assistance in translating the above schematic.
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reviews for Bad Girls. To date, Series 1 has been completed.