HBO’s We Are Who We Are: Right here, right now #2 (Episode 2) Review
*This Review Contains Full Spoilers*
On the second episode of HBO’s We Are Who We Are, Right here, right now #2, we get to see Caitlin’s (Jordan Kristine Seamon) side of things as she experiments with her gender expression by flirting with girls and testing boundaries with Sam (Benjamin L. Taylor).
On the last episode, we learned that Caitlin has been experimenting with her gender expressions as she also walks around the base and town as a boy named Harper. Now, we get to not only see what has made her want to experiment with her gender, but also give us an insight into the dynamic of her friend group as well as her family. Caitlin and her family are clearly going through big changes as, like Fraser (Jack Dylan Glazer), her family also moved to the base from Chicago and Caitlin has just gotten her period. Often times, you would usually see a mother and daughter talk, but Caitlin isn’t that close to her mother Jenny (Faith Alabi) and much closer with her father Richard (Kid Cudi). Her mother actually seems to be a little homesick as she still checks out the Chicago weather and reminisces about how nice the lake would be this time of year.
As for Caitlin and Richard, their time on the base has made them much closer. There’s definitely a strong comfortability that Caitlin has with her dad – especially with her experimenting with being a boy. He sort of treats her like having another son as he allows her to spar with him in their garage, watch sports with him, and even allows her to dress like she does as Harper when they do deliveries in the morning. Even when Caitlin tells him about her period, he’s super supportive of her and makes her feel better. Their relationship is in a similar vein to Fraser and Maggie’s (Alice Braga) – wholesome and supportive. It’s sort of what makes me worried that things won’t stay that way when Caitlin’s gender experimentation becomes more known.
Although he sees her in boys’ clothes at times and treats her like a boy, it’s hard to think that Richard is going to exactly be okay with Caitlin possibly wanting to be a boy and have relationships with girls. Not only is this likely going be a major conflict since trans/LGBT soldiers haven’t been exactly the most accepted within the military, even Maggie and Sarah (Chloe Sevigny) face some secretive scrutiny, but also because her dad is a major Trump supporter. Now, this isn’t to say that these things define him or exactly the beliefs of the military or Trumps supporters, so maybe he’ll surprise me. However, given the fact that these two groups haven’t exactly been the most supportive of trans/LGBT rights, all the pieces line up for a dramatic and heartbreaking breakdown of their relationship.
Things are a little bit better with her friends and current boyfriend Sam as we see how free spirited her friend group really is – although they aren’t without their conflicts. Most of the group, especially Britney (Francesca Scorsese), is very forward about their sexuality and is going through a lot of hormonal and sexual changes. Sam and Caitlin are even exploring their sexual boundaries, but never really finding the right time or place to fully explore them. There’re also some major conflicts based around religious beliefs, I think, between Caitlin and her brother Danny (Spence Moore). However, there’s still this strong bond between all of them that carries this delightful sense of rebellion and support.
They’re a group that always chooses to stick by each other and live life against the rules. The entire sequence of the group using ziplines at night to go across an open field is very uplifting and showcases their free-spirited nature. There is a sort of father-figure/protector for the group in the form of Craig (Corey Knight), a member of the group that’s actually enlisted in the army or at least in training, as he isn’t exactly thrilled about their late night excursions and stop fights from occurring at a beach party. However, he still lets them fly for themselves and it keeps the good vibes going. Now, the big question that still remains is if the group will accept Caitlin as she continues to explore her gender expression? Truthfully, even for the incredibly supportive and comforting nature of the group, I’m doubting that things will stay chill. There’s just this overly masculine and heterosexual nature of the group, especially with Sam, that I get the feeling isn’t going to be the most accepting of Caitlin wanting to explore her gender. Perhaps I could be wrong and there’s even a part of me that thinks things could resolve between Danny and Caitlin a little bit through this as they will be forced to face their past fights, but it’s a little tough to be hopeful.
Really, the only one that Caitlin seems she will find support in is Fraser as we see them sort grow a little closer together. Most of the time spent with Fraser and Caitlin is sort of the same as what we saw in the last episode with him being enamored by her and intrigued by her going around as Harper. There’s an extended sequence of Caitlin flirting with a girl as Harper and some more talk between her and Fraser. He ends up sending her some gifts in the form of boy’s clothes or, honestly, clothes that are kind of fitting for unisex. It’s a gift that’s initially not accepted by Caitlin but could be the start of a strong friendship between the two. The ingredients are already there for these two to develop a connection that symbolizes acceptance and support but will also likely face hardships in the beliefs and views of those around them. Truly the perfect ingredients for a unique coming of age story.
The second episode of HBO’s We Are Who We Are gives a stronger focus on Caitlin’s exploration of her gender expression and plants the seeds for some of the hardships she will face down the road with her friends and family. It’s another showing of the potential this series has to be a complex and unique LGBT coming of age story.