'Dirty John': Debra Newell is anything but a damsel in distress
To go from a wide-eyed woman infatuated with John to a fierce mother on the edge, Debra is no longer someone who needs help
Keep all your assumptions about Debra Newell aside — this woman is nothing like you ever imagined in the latest episode of 'Dirty John'.
From the time we've been introduced to Debra Newell in this cautionary tale of lies and deceit, we've seen her as a victim. In many ways, she was. An extremely successful 59-year-old interior designer, Debra had a booming career, a beautiful family and a wonderful life. However, she gambled it all away when she met charming John Meehan. Debra thought he would fill the gaping hole where love should be in her life and little did she know that it would be the worst decision she's ever made.
Debra's life turned upside down soon enough and we kept wondering why this otherwise intelligent woman lost all her IQ when it came to John. Well, we were all so wrong. Debra always had her head in the right place, 'One Shoe' reveals. The latest episode takes a nose dive into Debra's goddess side but she isn't your typical heroine. This has been a crucial turning point of the show for sure, where the hunter becomes the hunted, but it is even more pivotal when it comes to Debra's character arc.
Initially, it felt like the show forgot about the terrifying side of the story. Our expectations were high on the evil factor and it isn't hard to guess why. The real story is sinister right from the start and in some ways, this adaptation had stripped off that characteristic in the beginning.
The show was almost full of reality show elements and the depth of pulling off a con as Meehan did and the emotional upheaval that Newell must have gone through was missing. Connie Britton, who plays Debra on the Bravo series was all over the place.
Newell appeared like she was high on something, to be honest. It was less happy and more forced than ever — and the naive nature of someone who is getting conned got lost under the melodrama. Now we know that it was all intentional. Debra was definitely high on love — or at least, the desperate need to have a successful relationship. The laughter was just as fake and she didn't even know it. The Debra underneath it all was shoved to the bottom of her heart, because of the first time she truly believed that it was going to be the one.
What else could explain her taking John back, even after she found all the court documents and restraining orders? In her need for a man, Debra had willfully refused to see the truth.
Her eyes opened when she found out that he had never really gone clean. She couldn't deny it further — the truth was glaring at her. This is when you see Debbie change and she does so in the most subtle way possible. She's no different to John — she's still massaging his ego, making him feel welcome and going about her life as she always did.
She may be sneakily planning his murder with Veronica, her daughter but you could never tell — Debra is that good. Perhaps it has a lot to do with the fact that she knows to con a conman, she would have to pull a really fast one on him. To have that presence of mind for a character who was floored with smoothie recipes is really something.
To go from a wide-eyed woman infatuated with John to a fierce mother on the edge, Debra is no longer someone who needs help. She's got murder on her mind and she knows just how to get things done. It will be really interesting to see what John does now.
'Dirty John' airs every Sunday on Bravo.