'I May Destroy You' Episode 4: Will Kwame's heartbreaking date-rape propel Arabella to expose Zain?

If it has to be anybody's at all, it's Kwame's trauma that might help Arabella see the light


                            'I May Destroy You' Episode 4: Will Kwame's heartbreaking date-rape propel Arabella to expose Zain?
Arabella and Kwame (HBO)

Spoilers for Episode 4 'That Was Fun'

While tackling almost every nuanced layer of sexual consent and the many varied levels for violating it, Episode 4 of 'I May Destroy You' shows everyone's beloved, the wholesome Kwame, go through something excruciatingly traumatic. The beauty of Michaela Coel's self-starring dark HBO dramedy is the way sexual assault and processing the related trauma is explored through protagonist Arabella (Coel) and her two friends — Terry (Weruche Opia) and Kwame (Paapa Essiedu).

However, even with Arabella not quite reacting to stealthing the way one would expect, it looks like her close friend Kwame's heartbreaking date-rape incident might force her to expose Zain (Karan Gill) — the guy who took off his condom secretly mid-sex with her.

After Zain tells her he "thought she knew" when he took off the condom, gaslighting her into thinking this was all very normal, Arabella is seemingly okay with it, as long as he pays for the contraceptive pill. She even steps out with him to visit the pharmacy for the same, laughing and joking while sharing a packet of junk food on the way. This is when she gets a call from Kwame, who is rattled and traumatized by what he has just experienced.

Kwame hears the breezy tone of her voice and another male on the phone call and decides to keep his incident to himself, but it's a story that needs to be told. We meet Kwame in this episode as he is stepping into the threeway waters of Grindr — the hookup app for gay people. He and a potential beau who's not quite sure if they are into threesomes, go meet a stranger Kwame meets on the app for a threesome.

Kwame's beau gets uncomfortable as the other two men begin having sex and leaves the stranger's house while they both continue. But once done, when Kwame tries to leave, the stranger pulls him in and pushes him down on the bed, starting to hump him even though Kwame repeatedly objects. It's not just merely nos, Kwame asks this guy, repeatedly, to get off him but to no avail. In the end, after the guy is finally finished, Kwame storms out of the place only to find himself shaken and shivering as he processes what just happened. 

Kwame immediately calls up Arabella, knowing she went through an episode of assault less than two months ago and hoping she would understand his emotions in this state. But while Kwame exhibits all the reactions of a person whose sexual consent was violated, Arabella isn't quite offended by what Zain did to her. Granted Kwame doesn't know this, but these are two very different sides of the same coin that asserts how consent must be continuous. Just because Kwame had sex with the stranger once doesn't mean getting humped was consensual, neither does Arabella agreeing to have sex with Zain mean him taking off the condom was consensual.

While it's a possibility that Arabella hasn't fully processed what happened to her, learning of Kwame's assault might put things in perspective and propel her to out Zain for his sickening behavior. It only makes sense because Kwame was there with her as a pillar of strength and support when Arabella made her statement at the police station and realized the blurry images of a white man thrusting in a cubicle involved her as the rape victim.

If it has to be anybody's at all, it's Kwame's trauma that might help her see the light. And we would love to see some of that! 'I May Destroy You' airs every Monday at 9 pm only on HBO.

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