HBO’s We Are Who We Are: Right here, right now #3 Review
*This Review Contains Full Spoilers*
On this week’s episode of HBO’s We Are Who We Are, Right Here, right now #3, Caitlin’s (Jordan Kristine Seamon) friend group starts to fracture as she spends more time with Fraser (Jack Dylan Glazer) and both of their families conflicts come to a head as a festival occurs in town.
We get off on a bit of a weird foot with Caitlin and Fraser just kind of hanging out by themselves and already comfortable with each other for the most part. There’s no real build-up of them getting to know each other, like where they’re from or what their old lives were like, so we’re just kind of thrown into them already being friends. Honestly though, they’re much more into philosophical and meaningful conversations so it kind of makes sense that we just jump past the more casual stuff. Also, that kind of information isn’t as pertinent or important with what they talk about here and see their respective family atmospheres.
The dynamic between Caitlin and Fraser seems like opposites attracting at first as Caitlin is much more laid-back and Fraser is total control freak and self-conscious – which we see to a greater extent when Caitlin is invited over for dinner. However, what really connects them is their curiosity about themselves and the level of comfortability they have with one another. Unlike anyone else around her, Fraser doesn’t judge Caitlin for wanting to be more open about her trans curiosity and supports her efforts. He actually calls her Harper in public and even tries to explain to her was being trans is. Admittedly, it’s not the clearest explanation I’ve ever heard about what trans is since he compares it to symptoms of a fever, but it kind of works and makes sense. Fraser is no distinct expert and so young that it kind of makes sense that his explanation would be a little odd and inconclusive. However, the point about it being a freedom of expression and a part of who you are still comes off clear so it’s a nice bonding moment between the two.
Their comfortability also allows the two to be a little more open about their bi-curious behavior. Caitlin still thinks about flirting girls, although there haven’t been any new attempts just yet, but Fraser has a lot more on his mind. While everyone around them thinks that they are an item, especially since Caitlin and Sam (Benjamin L. Taylor) are now broken up, Fraser says that they are never going to kiss. Personally, I’m not buying. They’re bond is for sure going to grow stronger, especially once Caitlin faces all of the obstacles ahead of her with her friends and family, and the way he’s been enamored with her speaks to how much she means to him. They might not be a thing now, but I wouldn’t count out the possibility in the near future. Fraser is still caught up with his crush on a soldier that works under his mom and he evens gets a big confidence boost when the soldiers shows an interest in the same poetry book that Fraser likes and even remembers his name. However, Fraser’s new connections also spark some problems between him and his mother Sarah (Chloe Sevigny) and show the darker shades of their relationship.
Although the dinner with Caitlin goes pretty standard for an awkward family dinner with Fraser being self-conscious about his recipe and Sarah bring up a slightly embarrassing childhood story about Fraser, but once Caitlin leaves things take a dramatic turn. The way that director Luca Guadagnino sets up this conflict is really great as we just hear the rumblings of it as Caitlin deals with her own problems at home and then are just thrown into the fight. Fraser definitely has his issues as he acts very violently towards Sarah, threatens to kill her, and breaks things all over the house. Glazer does a great job making this anger and hate feel pent up and absolutely destructive when it’s unleashed. However, although it surely stems from his compulsive behavior as he really snaps at single word or attitude he doesn’t like, it’s not entirely his fault as Sarah is the true provoker.
She’s certainly a flirt when she wants to be and clearly enjoys being in control with absolute power as we see her willing and ready to send troops whether they’re ready or not. Coming off an admittedly awkward dinner, she proceeds to claim that Fraser’s frustrations stem from him being jealous that Caitlin likes her better. It’s hard to say exactly why, although it may stem from what she said about taking on so many roles as a parent, but Sarah has it out to get under Fraser’s skin and is a daunting manipulative force. She even tries to frustrate him at the festival by seductively dancing with the soldier he has a crush on, and she really comes off like a pure villain here. Their relationship is really a rollercoaster of emotions though since they could be at each other’s throats one second and then in each other’s arms the next. It’s really scary to think of how volatile things could become in the future and what the fallout could be.
You know who I really feel awful for in this situation though – Maggie (Alice Braga). She’s forced into playing a neutral party in this chaotic living space with Sarah and Fraser just using her to get the edge on the other. Thankfully though, she does get some time away from those two to get closer with Caitlin’s mom Jenny (Faith Alabi). Although she’s apprehensive of Maggie joining their group to the festival, Maggie makes a good effort to get to know her and it ends up paying off as she discloses some of the things she’s lost with her relationship with Richard (Kid Cudi). Things like having to transition to an American lifestyle and leave her Nigerian culture and Muslim beliefs behind have ate at her and she’s certainly not finding any appreciation from Richard lately.
Honestly, Richard’s controlling and dominating behavior really takes form this episode as his heightened masculinity really start to show. He treats every interaction he has like he’s commanding troops and talks down to everyone around him. Not only has this greatly affected his relationship with Jenny as he belittles her efforts, but also the relationship between Danny (Spence Moore II) and Caitlin – which definitely doesn’t get any better this episode. While the exact reasons their relationship is so bad don’t come here, Richard ignoring him to punish Caitlin for making his boat messy and her and Sam breaking up causes disruptions within the group dynamic speaks to how Caitlin has a heavy impact on his life that doesn’t make it any easier for him. Really, he only has Craig to lean on as he further proves himself to be a fitting father-figure for him after he squashed the dark and depressing thoughts Danny has about his life. There’s definitely a lot of conflict coming in the future with Caitlin’s family and friends, especially with Britney (Francesca Scorsese) seemingly trying to slide into Sam’s mind to get some action of her own, and it’s likely going to make Caitlin’s exploration of herself much more difficult.
Episode three of We Are Who We Are adds in more chaos and devastating manipulation into the mix as Caitlin and Fraser become much closer and comfortable with one another. It plants the seeds for a lot of tough conflict we’ll have to face in the weeks ahead that are going to leave some deep cuts within the dynamics of this intriguing cast of characters Guadagnino has created.