'Mrs Fletcher' Episode 6 'Solar Glow' sees Brendan's cluelessness earn him a sock in the sack while Julian can't get over Eve
Brendan is so focused on his pleasure he doesn't know he is accidentally choking Chloe, who is giving him fellatio. When Chloe punches him in the nuts to make him let go, he wails, "But you were into it!!" Painting him as clueless and misguided rather than toxic brings up memories of Brock Turner
Spoilers ahead for 'Mrs. Fletcher' Episode 6 'Solar Glow'
Creator Tom Perrotta would have us believe the impossible. He would have us believe that Brendan Fletcher (Jackson White) is so focused on his own pleasure he doesn't know when he is accidentally choking Chloe (who is giving him fellatio). He would have us believe Brendan has no idea about how violent his grip is when he is forcing her to take more than she can.
When Chloe (Jasmine Cephas Jones) punches him in the nuts to make him let go of his iron grasp on her head, he crumbles and wails, "But you were into it!!" as a teary-eyed Chloe says, "I couldn't breathe Brendan! Get out of my room!"
You are supposed to feel sorry for him when he scuttles out of Chloe's room, cupping his balls, with a "poor me" expression on his face. But really? How do you not notice you are accidentally choking a girl?
Porn thrives on images of women nearly choking while giving fellatio -- treating women as nothing more than objects designed to pleasure men, as objects with no human feelings, is the mainstay of male fantasy enacted in porn.
It is why the Brendan prototype, Brock Turner, thought it was OK to sexually assault an unconscious woman and why Turner's father termed his assault as just "20 minutes of action".
Painting Brendan as someone who is unaware of this or who thinks girls are "into it", makes us believe Perrotta is more interested in creating a sympathetic portrait of toxic masculinity than trying to portray it honestly.
In doing so, he fails to capitalize on an HBO-sanctified platform to honestly investigate the pathology behind such behavior. Where do teen boys learn it is OK to violate women? If you were looking for answers in 'Mrs. Fletcher', don't bother.
Julian (Owen Teague), the sensitive, bullied teen, the complete contrast to Brendan, can't get Eve Fletcher out of his mind. He continues to send Eve flirty messages that she nearly responds to before shutting him down via text.
In his pursuit of Eve, he doesn't notice the more age-appropriate romantic prospect in his vicinity - a fellow stock worker, a teenage girl, who epitomizes quirkiness and is obviously into him. Instead, he settles for an exchange of flirtatious glances in the writing class with Eve, which Curtis (Ifádansi Rashad) totally picks up on.
After class, Eve and Julian sit side by side in Eve's car in confused silence after acknowledging their attraction for each other. They touch each others' faces, almost about to kiss with Eve calling him a "beautiful boy" before she says, "I can't. We can't".
But you can see she is close to breaking. Julian too isn't close to giving up on his pursuit with him stirring restlessly on his bed once he's home, eyeing his phone, wondering if he should text Eve again.
But there is something about Eve's behavior that warns us she might not be into Julian per se. It is more about the need "to be touched" as her friend Jane Rosen's (Casey Wilson) husband tells her.
In the dog house, because he has been getting massages with a happy ending at the local "Solar Glow" massage parlor, Mr. Rosen tells her, "It was mechanical," when Eve comes to collect Jane's stuff. After not having sex with Jane for a year, paying to be touched seemed like a good idea to him.
It puts forth the idea that sex is something like food that we need and when starved of it, we'll go looking for it where we can and morals be damned. For Jane (who also hasn't had sex for a year), that reasoning might not work. But for Eve who has suddenly awakened to her libido and her "need to be touched" after her immediate and constant caregiving duties have ended, the reasoning holds water.
She imagines herself going to the same massage parlor for the same services rendered to Mr. Rosen. Her attraction to Julian is a sign of this craving too -- an easy way to satiate herself -- whereas Julian, poor boy, is head over heels in love. It is like watching the emotional version of a car crash in slow motion.
'Mrs. Fletcher' airs every Sunday at 10:30 p.m. on HBO.