Tweetable Takeaway: Betrayal runs rampant on The Slap this week but one character risks it all to do the right thing.
Thursdays at 10pm on NBC
By: Rikki McKernan, Contributor
This week’s episode would more appropriately be titled “Betrayal,” although we do get an idea of what exactly makes Aisha tick. As with most of the characters, Aisha is just a shadow of a real person until she gets her own episode. Yes, we know she’s a doctor, mother, wife. She struggles to balance her work and home life. She struggles even more to deal with her overbearing in-laws and her meek husband.
Aisha is not alone in the betrayal boat this episode, nor is she as innocent as we’ve been shown so far. At first, we get a flashback of the night when Harry’s wife Sandy showed up at Aisha & Hectors, bloodied and bruised. Cut to the family pressuring Aisha to testify as a character witness for Harry in court, regardless of her relationship with Rosie. We’ll call that betrayal #1.
Next up it’s Richie’s turn. On a show with such a large ensemble cast, you could be forgiven for forgetting Richie exists (or Uma Thurman’s Anouk for that matter, who shows up again later in this episode). I’m sure you remember my feelings on the subject, so we’ll get back to it. Richie’s on the chopping block when he visits Gary & Rosie and Rosie puts the screws (metaphorically) to Richie about the pictures Connie told her about last week. It’s hard to tell why Richie is so upset by this but when he confronts Connie about it, it’s clear that he wants to be as far away from the case and situation as possible. For some reason. Luckily, his episode will be coming up in 2 short weeks so we’ll find out soon.
And Connie doesn’t end there. When Uma tells Hector that Connie is planning on testifying for Rosie, he panics. As soon as she starts answering questions about the slap, that opens a whole can of worms about their slightly illicit relationship. Well if not illicit, certainly icky. It’s a technical term. Manolis knows about the relationship, too, and advises Hector to get in front of it. More on that later.
Aisha finally gets a bit of screen time when she goes out of town for a medical conference. She chats up an old (and handsome) acquaintance and they share an intimate meal, complete with handholding. They’re acting more like a married couple than we’ve ever seen Aisha & Hector. And apparently the same holds true for time spent in the bedroom as Aisha and her old flame swiftly find their clothes on the floor of the hotel room. She has no problem cheating on Hector – in fact, she doesn’t even hesitate or waver – but when she realizes that her beau is also married, she puts a stop to their affair immediately. It’s a strange line to draw in the situation, but I would argue it goes to Aisha’s mental state. As far as we’ve seen, Aisha and Hector are staying together to keep up appearances or for the sake of the children or just because it’s easier at this point. However well off they began, their marriage is a shell of what it once was.
The morning after, Hector shows up to surprise Aisha and take her home. On the way home, he’s very flattering, he takes her to an art gallery, complimenting her. Watching her. She starts to get suspicious and that’s when it all comes out. Hector confesses to having a relationship with Connie. Well, not a full on relationship but they kissed. In what is probably the first surprise of the season, Aisha pretty much says, “That’s it?” She’s unimpressed and certainly not shocked but she is appalled and not for the reason you would think. She wants to know why Hector would bother telling her if nothing happened. It’s cowardice. Hector wants to assuage his own guilt and keep up the appearance he has of being a good guy.
And here’s where Aisha gets her own jabs in. She lets Hector know that she almost slept with the man the night before. Not only that but in her younger days, she was a hard partier: drinking, doing drugs, staying out all night. Hector saved her from that life. He saved her from becoming like one of her patients who is addicted to meth and is HIV positive. He saved her life. At this point in the show, I’m rolling my eyes a little bit. No matter how good a man Hector may or may not be, Aisha made her own decisions. She made the choice to turn her own life around.
This week the nicest person on the show so far, Sandy, does her good deed of the day. She convinced Harry’s lawyer and the rest of the family not to force Aisha to testify. Sandy tells the lawyer about the time Harry hit her and how Aisha helped her afterward. Aisha is so grateful but she can’t understand how Sandy could possibly forgive Harry for something like that. Sandy defends Harry, saying he feels small, inferior. He feels lesser than everyone else. Back at home, Aisha finds the rest of her family playing a game and starts to cry, literally turning away from her family and her home.
This episode isn’t the strongest of the season so far but it does have a common thread, which is more than I can say for the rest of the episodes. There are still many, many events (interesting ones) that are happening offscreen, while we see the characters reacting to these events after the fact. That distance makes it difficult to care about what’s happening to the characters. The sheer number of characters doesn’t help much with that, either. At least we didn’t get any obnoxious Victor Garber voice over this week, so we’ve got that going for us.
Next week, it looks like the shit hits the fan. Rosie finally realizes that things have gotten out of hand but Harry’s not backing down from this fight now. Rosie continues to pressure Richie about the photos and, once she takes the stand, is put on the defensive.
In Rikki’s perfect world, she’s Queen of Westeros, best friends with Mindy Kaling, and her other car is a TARDIS…a girl can dream, right?