'We Are Who We Are' Episode 4: Chaos, sex and freedom get free rein by the pool before Craig packs off for war

Craig has his last moments of ecstasy with his wife in the chaotic makeshift Eden before he is packed off to the orderly hell of war


                            'We Are Who We Are' Episode 4: Chaos, sex and freedom get free rein by the pool before Craig packs off for war
(HBO)
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Up till now, from the start, all the episodes of 'We Are Who We Are' have been called 'Right Here Right Now' and differentiated only by their sequence number. In Part 4, the 'right here, right now' couldn't be more urgent as Craig (Corey Knight) spends his last few moments with his friends before he ships out. 

This strange moment of limbo is both mournful and exuberant. It is stuffed with life because it is so closely juxtaposed with death. The episode begins with a paintball fight, mimicking what Craig will have to face. Sam (Ben Taylor) and Danny (Spence Moore II) are ruthless when it comes to targeting their 'enemy' Fraser (Jack Dylan Grazer), who puts his hands up and smirks when they finally run out of 'ammunition'.

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But Craig, the real soldier, never fires a shot even when Caitlin (Jordan Kristine Seamón) makes off with the flag. Later, Caitlin pouts and complains that he didn't shoot because she is a girl. But maybe the reason is that Craig wants to be vulnerable in this fake war before the real deal hits him hard.

He is a young man, soft in love (and friendship). With his impending deployment looming, he impulsively proposes to his Italian girlfriend, Valentina (Beatrice Barichella), and she, going with the romance and pathos of the moment, says yes. It is possibly the best thing both for Craig and the group, Fraser included, for these last moments spent together. Just before this, they had already bonded over a chaotic water fight, their young supple bodies glinting under the sun and water like young Greek gods caught in eternal motion in the cinematic version of a frieze. The bonhomie built allows simple companionship like sharing a bag of chips possible.   

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Valentina and Craig (HBO)

When Craig announces jubilantly that Valentina has accepted, the whole bus erupts in joy, except Sam who is understandably flummoxed about his older brother getting married on a whim. But he too is swept along in the mad jubilance of life reasserting itself before the war. To call the Hawaiian-themed wedding and poolside after-party in a "Russian villa" as hedonistic is an understatement. A better description would be a scene out of a 'Teens Gone Wild' video, echoing the depravity of generations of young people left to their own devices, going back all the way back to Roman Bacchanalia festivals of Bacchus, the Greco-Roman god of wine, freedom, intoxication, and ecstasy.

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There is song, thanks to Britney's (Francesca Scorsese) golden voice, singing 'Soldier of Love', there is dancing -- of solo bodies and intertwined ones -- and there is sex without any self-consciousness, purely in the moment, in the right here right now.

Fraser and Caitlin circle each other, never out of each other's orbit but on the periphery of others. When another girl tries to move in on Fraser who she finds "different from the other boys," Caitlin guards him fiercely like a lioness, both protecting him and claiming him. It is the possessiveness of someone who has finally found someone who understands her and wants to keep him, like a precious treasure, all to herself.

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The tensions still exist but between planning the wedding and all the alcohol they drink, the hostility is blunted enough to allow for food fights, make-out sessions, and drunken confessions of hate and love. Britney makes out with Sam while she archly observes Caitlin and Fraser as if she is in friendly competition. Danny finds comfort in the arms of Valentina's friends invited to the party, letting go of his inhibitions and Islam as he drinks and engages in sex. Craig has his last moments of ecstasy with his wife in the chaotic makeshift Eden before he is packed off to the orderly hell of war. 

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As he slips out in the morning to go back to the base, leaving behind his sleeping bride and friends, the Bacchanalia has come to an end, its participants collapsed on each other in a heap. As he looks at them, soft-eyed and full of love, he is at a turning point -- where adolescence ends and adulthood begins. The others still have a few years to go, but for Craig, the right here right now moment is tart, sweet, bitter, and sour, all at the same time. 

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'We Are Who We Are' airs on Mondays on HBO at 10 pm ET.

Disclaimer : The views expressed in this article belong to the writer and are not necessarily shared by MEAWW.