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Thursday, March 31, 2016

Why, Oh Why, Do I Keep Watching the Tudors?

So, okay. In the beginning, the Tudors had a terrific protagonist--a sexual, feminist, conniving religious zealot, being manipulated by Cardinal Wolsey and her family until she ceased to be malleable. 
You can't beat Anne Boleyn as a character, although her ending is, of course, a bit abrupt. And she was well-played, by flat-faced, crooked mouthed actress, Natalie Dormier--although, like the other women on the series, she does not ever wear a chemise. 
Then, we should have had someone to latch onto with Sir Thomas More, though as played by Jeremy Northam, he seemed so low-key as to be half asleep. 

Of course, he, too, abruptly leaves the tale. 

Cromwell makes another fascinating protagonist, here shown as nearly a religious hero, though played with such contained intelligence by the curly-mouthed across, James Frain, that he still winds up someone to follow. 

Until--bye bye head. Another swift ending. 

For a brief moment, a terrific heroine enters the picture--an intelligent young woman in some crazy German headgear, who is being sold to a violent, murderous king who, it turns out, cannot stand her--and in fact, declares after feeling her up, that her breasts are to soft for her to be a virgin. 
We can cheer this woman, with no allies, no power and an axe looming over her neck, as she maneuvers her way to not just safety, but a happy household. (Although The Tudors destroys it all by having her willingly lie with the great rutting boar she narrowly avoids as a husband.) 

Then, the series veers into actual (well, not actual, but nearly actual) child pornography, as a sweet, lustful, wild-child (in this production) Queen Katherine Howard dances near-naked in the rain in an open courtyard where anyone in the castle can easily look, and the King watches, too, in delight. And then, of course, as is historically accurate, she rehearses in advance the act of putting her childlike head--totally naked. (!) At which point, you throw up your hands in despair and if you are intelligent, quit--or if you are one of those people who has to finish the book even if it's bad, just to figure out why it's bad, you keep on watching. (Katherine Howard is here played by another actress with a flat little face and a crooked mouth, Tamzin Merchant.) 

By this time, if you have any knowledge of history at all, you are frantically trying to imagine the real Henry of this era, who looked like this, and not like this: 

Of course, at the very beginning of the series, Henry already looked like this, so there you go. 

I will admit that it is sheer stubbornness that keeps me watching at this point. Plus, wondering where the laundresses are working on all those chemises that the woman should have been wearing, throughout the show. 
That, and the fact that finally, they cast a woman with a genuine Tudor nose--the radiant Joely Richardson, who is, inexplicably and against all custom, allowed to part her hair on the side, and who is playing a woman who, in her portraits, had a little pug in the middle of her face. 

Through this all, Jonathan Michael Francis O'Keefe, better know as Jonathan Rhys Meyers, has grown a beard, and devolved into one of those whispering actors, speaking his lines very softly in a fairly good imitation of Richard Burton with laryngitis. 
Thomas Gomez as Wang Khan and John Wayne as Gengis. 

Oh, well. Maybe I should switch learn my history from something more historically accurate, like that fine film, The Conquererabout  Temujin, otherwise known as Gengis Khan. 

Charleton Heston as William Clark and Donna Reed as Sacajawea.

Or I could study Lewis and Clark, via the film Far Horizons. 

Or, as I've mentioned before, learn about the history of Thailand from The King and I

(Real King Monghut on the left, real Anna below.) 

I guess ya pays your money and ya takes your chance. 

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

The Good Wife--Unmanned, and My Inner Alicia

I will confess something. During a very challenging time in my life, when my kid was being harmed by our school system and nobody I spoke to seemed to give a damn, I used to struggle to harness my inner Alicia, the way she gets angry and not scared, the way she puts on her mask, narrows her eyes, and fights, smartly and savagely, for what she believes is right. 

Here's the look, from Monday's show, when she tells her husband she wants a divorce. 

I knew that it is ridiculous to strive to be as dangerous as an actress interpreting a fictional character written by several people who have had time to sit around for days thinking about the best way for her to respond.

Still. When I was so terrified for my kid that I was ready to break into tears at a Verizon commercial, I was helped, immeasurably, by Becoming Alicia. I used her mask to become political--in a literal sense of the word--to organize, to work with allies, to keep my cool despite provocation, and most of all, to be willing to make enemies, without fear, almost with a sense of triumph. 

Yes, Ms. Assistant Superintendent, that was me who wrote that letter to the school board documenting your neglect of the special needs students at this school you are supposed to supervise. Yes, Mr. Special Ed Coordinator, that was me who helped elect a new school board and informed them of your neglect of same. 

Yes, Ms. Principal, I said (in Alicia mode, as though mentioning the weather,) because of your failure to follow the law to support my child's disability, you are responsible for permanent harm to him others at our school. That's on you. I hope that keeps you up at night for the rest of your life. 

So, okay. Here I am personalizing a fictional character. Not a wise move. Like duh. But, honest, it helped. It really helped. 

That's perhaps why it irritates me so much when the writers create an Alicia who says her emotions are divorced from her sexuality, who tolerates a marriage-in-name purely for career gain, and who chooses, as what seems to be her final love object, a twin of her husband. Face to face on Monday night. Look at these guys: eyebrows, nose line, nostril shape, chin, cheekbones, hair line, even hairdo. Jason Crouse, we learn, also (out of left field) has a deep religious faith (Greek Orthodox vs. Catholicism).  And yet, he is a philanderer, and ready to have a heated affair with a woman who is married, no matter how tenuously. 

I am deeply saddened that Alicia choose to sell out Cary Agos.  (who might be Greek Orthodox, as opposed to a Crouse, which is a classically English last name) 

At least, we can celebrate that she has finally asked for a divorce, something that should have happened seven years ago.

Listen, I read once that the average woman takes ten years to leave an intolerable marriage, and when she does, she is often busy making sure her husband has furniture. (!) 
Not his furniture. This belongs to the state. 
So that aspect is likely real. And just because I made someone a heroine doesn't mean she has to act the way I want her to. 

Just like in real life. 

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

The Value of Friends, Critique Groups, and Creative Circles.

I have a friend who lives in West Virginia, in a New Englandish town that is picture postcard perfect save for the squeal of heavily loaded coal trains twisting through town, and the neon-orange acid mine run-off that fills the ditches on either side of country roads. 

The mines themselves are long defunct, so the region bleeds its smartest children. 

My friend's life is complicated--for a time, she was married to her sister's ex-husband, so her niece and nephew were also her step-children. This tends to be what happens when you live in a town of 3,000 people--when the college is in session--where families still run large--my friend was the youngest of thirteen--and where there isn't much to do on Sundays after church except have go to the beauty parlor (women), polish up the car and the fire engine (men) and have affairs (pretty much everybody.) 

Another friend, who is a newcomer to the same town, has had a hard time making friends. Well, think about it. If Mama has thirteen siblings, figure Child has at least 132 cousins,  first, second and third, not to mention four or five brother and sisters of their own. And since families tend to spin the generations quickly there, the youngest aunt and uncle might be near enough in age to be playmates, too. Who has room to make new friends? This friend's children used to come home overjoyed if a native invited them to play. Where you are makes a difference in how you make friends. 

People in Los Angeles, at least in the wealthier areas, have often moved to the area to reinvent themselves. They will not be eager to let you get to know them deeply. You might uncover the playground nerd they know they once were. 

New Yorkers, overwhelmed by the crowd on the streets, may seem cold and distant--until you make any kind of human contact. Then, they will warm up instantly. 

Those in the community where I now live are more like West Virginians. They come from large families. Lots of cousins, aunts and uncles. Their best friend since kindergarten's grandmother was best friends in kindergarten with their grandmother. They may have never left this community where they know everyone, so they have no notion what it is to be an outsider. Every year, the news does stories on how rough it is for newcomers here. Nothing seems to change much. 

Add to that the logistics of daily life--nobody having any time anymore, everybody struggling to make ends meet. Homework. Sports. Music lessons. Middle class parents who feel they must schedule their children every moment--like the best friend of one of my children who could only meet at a classical children's concert, after church, the music lesson and the swim lesson. 

Mix in a school magnet program and religious elementary schools, making sure the children don't attend class with their neighbors. Sometimes, I go to the zoo and wistfully watch the snow monkeys at the zoo, their children scampering around their mothers, who sit in a circle, gossip and eat one another's lice. (And no, I'm not wistful about the lice.) 

But--there are my writer friends. Huge sigh of relief. My critique group, sane, eager to both give and get productive criticism. 
I have said this before and I will say it again--I am so grateful to work with these sane, adult, people who are rapidly becoming dear friends, folk who limit their drama to their work. And believe me, their work is incredibly good. 

There are also two local writers, Sue and Lorie, with whom I exchange work, so that what I first run by my critique group can get another polish. 

There is my dear online friend, Cece, who provides such wisdom and humor and support, and when she is writing, the delight of reading her brilliant pieces, or when she is composing, hearing her delicious songs. 

There are my friends, Marylee and Marylou, who have both been such strong backers of my work. There's Elisabeth and Bryna, who check in now and then, and a small, helpful crowd from She Writes. 

Mystery picture--no explanation.
We're also blessed with a local community of agents, editors and writers who have begun to gather monthly to celebrate and commiserate and possibly tweet about the word in the world. Gratitude and cheers to you, Dawn, for making it happen.

So--hip hip hooray for creative friendship, Critique Groups et. all. Oh, you sane, lovely, funny, interesting people. You can be a part of my circle any time. 

Monday, March 28, 2016

Breitbart Bullies: Adventures In Online News

The comments section is something new to me. In our local midwestern publications, comments tend to be well-thought out. There is some name-calling, but most of the responses actually discuss an issue--even the most heated of issues. Many times, during the discussion, someone changes their perspective based on new information. I have been fortunate to be able to change people's minds about issues that matter deeply to me. 

Ditto comments in the New York Times. In fact, I will often learn something there from an expert who is commenting, and then I get to look them up and learn even more. 

In our own community, we have been politically active for several years around a particular education issue. We found ourselves joined by legions of others with similar concerns, including several candidates for office. Last fall, via voting, we made change not only possible, but likely to happen soon. 

This January, the new officials were sworn in, (cheers, standing ovation.) Immediately, the proverbial shit began to hit the high-powered fan. Five years of intentionally ignored issues boiled over. Local actors leaped on a visible problem without knowing or caring about the much worse underlying issues, things that seriously affect students across the entire district, not just in one school. 

Suddenly, the issues that have concerned us for years are spread across the national news, but with a bizarre conservative slant that has very little to do with what is actually going on. 

So, I diligently went onto these national news sources to explain what is really happening on the ground, just as I have done locally, real conversations with real people that I just don't happen to know. 
I started with Breitbart. Don't laugh, I had no idea. I posted, laying out the local situation. 

I do my research. I look at things carefully. I state when something is opinion. You know what my posts are like, right? 

The post was immediately deleted, but not before I got several responses--all on a par with, "Well, you're stupid and you smell. And you're liberal, too." 

I scrolled a long way down, and did not find a single post that read beyond angry kids at third-grade level. 

By contrast, the posts in local publications seem to come largely from people with a couple of advanced degrees. 

I'm not saying that rigidity is linked with conservatism. I once had a conversation with a liberal neighbor, who opposed John McCain's presidency because, she said, he was tortured. "It permanently damages your brain when you're imprisoned and tortured," she said. "You can never think straight again." 

"Uh uh," I said. "Like Ghandi and Martin Luther King and Desmond Tutu." 

There was a long silence. "Oh. Okay. I guess you're right." She drew a breath. "But he's still mentally disturbed." 

At least she didn't say, "You poop-head, butt-face (female body-part) who dares disagree with me." 

Saturday, March 26, 2016

Who Can Fix Her? Flat On Her Back In The Freezing Rain

this is not her. It could be her.
So, last week, I was driving to pick up a kid from school. And from the corner of my eye, I saw a woman flat on her back in the freezing rain. 

My kid in the car said, "No." I backed up and turned onto the short side street. I rolled down my window. "Sweetie," I said. "Are you okay?" 

The woman was dark, her afro short. She struggled to half-sit up. She yelled at me, something "bitch," something "no", something "hit me," something "Go away." Her eyes were crazy, sad, furious, terrified. I thought, she once was somebody's baby. 

The back of her bright pink coat was wet. I couldn't leave her there. She didn't want us, though, so I stopped talking to her. 

I drove past her carefully and turned the car around so we faced her. I couldn't reach my phone so I used my kid's. (Kid has a phone because of a disability.) I called 911. We waited. 

A white guy, well-dressed, came close to her, talking. She tried to crab away from him, struggled to sit up, snarling. 

I thought, "He's scaring her." I got out. 

The man said, "She's on some trip. I know. I'm in recovery. I know those trips." I thought of a woman I know, from a well-to-do family, bipolar and an alcoholic, in recovery. I thought of another woman I know, raised in foster care, also bipolar and an alcoholic, falling through the cracks. 

I walked next to the woman. "Oh, Lord," she said. "Get away, bitch. Get away. I got to get up. I got to." She scrabbled again, trying to get up. There was a bottle next to her, cheap whisky, open. mostly drunk. 

"I'm a mama," I said. "You've got a mama here now." I wondered if her mama had been kind or brutal or in-between or both. "There's a mama here," I said. 

"He hit me. He hit me in the head." 
Her face screwed up in pain.

The white man walked off down the street. 
This not her. It could be her.

I said again, "There's a mama here." She was so broken. I wondered if anybody could ever fix her. She was a baby once. Somebody's baby. I called the school, where my baby was, and told the secretary we'd be late. "I have to stay until the ambulance comes," I said. 

A short, brown man walked up, coming from the direction of the half-way house, which I know is about five blocks north. He had a scraggly beard, but it didn't look hip. He didn't look hip. He looked nearly as badly off as the woman. He said, "Sandra." 

She crabbed her feet away from him, but she couldn't move. He backed away. 

I tried to think of a lullaby. I tried to think of a spiritual. I've done so much research on the Civil Rights Movement. I tried to remember a song from the many. All I could think of was Amazing Grace. I wondered if the lyrics would seem an attack on her, so I began to hum it. I didn't know if I was making things worse or better. Music reaches places that nothing else can reach. I just stood there and hummed. 

The police car pulled up. It was our neighbor, Officer White. He's brown, too. He's tall, handsome and very kind. We've met his children and his grandchildren. He grew up in the neighborhood. He asked the woman's name. She kept muttering.  The man who knew her said, "Hello, Brother White. She's Sandra Brown. She's about fifty. She's in a bad way." Then, he leaned over her. "Let me get rid of this." He picked up the half-empty bottle, picked up the lid, put it on, and stuck the bottle in the pocket of his coat. 

Officer White didn't say anything about the guy picking up the bottle. He spoke to the woman. "Miss Brown. Can you sit up?" 

"Oh, Lord. Got to sit up. Got to get out of here." Her face creased up the middle, the crease made by how tightly she was holding her mouth. "He hit me. He hit me." She put her hand up and touched her head in the same spot. 

Officer White didn't go near. He called for an ambulance. 

Another police car pulled up. The officer was Hmong, stocky, his face round. I thought I recognized him from when a car slid into mine two years ago. "We need backup on this one," said Officer White. 

"I'm staying," I said. "She needs to have a Mama here." Officer White nodded. We all waited. My child got out of the car and stood, at a distance, and called hello to Officer White. I kept on humming, just loudly enough for Sandra Brown to hear. 

An ambulance showed up. They unloaded a gurney with a hydraulic lift. Sandra Brown was tiny, but limp. I hoped they didn't hurt their backs. I said, "They will keep you safe." I hoped they could keep her safe. I hoped they could help her. The woman I know, the one in foster care, got some help after she was hospitalized, after she tried to kill herself, after she lost custody of her children, after she lost control of her drinking, after she lost her house, after her landlord lost his mortgage, after she lost her husband, after her mother lost her life, after her mother lost custody of her children. She got help, the woman I know. They got her medications stabilized--the one for the kidney disease she inherited from her mother, the one for the bipolarity, the one for the OCD. She got Dialectical behavioral therapy. She got a new vocabulary. She got a lot saner. She got pregnant. She got booted out of the housing for women and out of the DBT and out of the help. I fear for her and her children. We have lost touch. 

I hope this woman gets help. At least we got her out of the middle of the street in the freezing rain. 
And her name is not really Sandra Brown. 

Friday, March 25, 2016

Six Hours Uninterrupted Writing--Absolute Bliss

Last night, the kids went to sleep and I stayed up, writing. Well, really revising. I am working on an outline of a novel I'm revising, rewriting as I go. That sounds so dry. Last night, it felt like feeling a pattern of beads with my eyes closed, with my fingertips, feeling the larger beads flow through the design--the protagonist's arc. 

I'm writing a challenging story, about someone who lives with a giant thumb over their head. They have always had a thumb, so that seems normal. Now, through the creative process--writing an opera--they are becoming aware of why they have put themselves underneath that thumb and why they have stayed. 

We all know those people, in that relationship. We all wonder why they stay. Or stayed. And why/how they can leave. That's what I want to write. 

Naturally, someone under the thumb is not going to be a kick-ass protagonist, at least not at first. But they have to have enough gumption so the reader doesn't want to throw them--and the book--out the window. Last night, then, I could feel that I am conquering this problem. The protagonist is learning, along with the reader, where the comfort with suppression comes from. And then, there is a twist at the end. . . It was one of those times when, as a writer, you feel brilliant and think the work is wonderful. For six hours. 

My days are full of interruptions. I have a special needs kid and others in my family with needs they think are special, too. We have two dogs. Three cats. Assorted borrowed children. A spouse. Meals to make. Mess to pick up (which I avoid as long as possible.) Family drama. 

And this was six whole hours. Six hours of silence, focus. No dog to let out, no child to pay attention to, no cat to feed, no meal to make for special diets. My husband sat quietly behind me, reading, for three of those hours. It was companionable. Luxurious. I stayed up until two am. I am paying for it today. 

But all the tired day long, I kept smiling, touching the memory, like a smooth stone in my pocket,  picked up by the edge of a peaceful lake.

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Even Betsy-Tacy And Tib Can Reach Real Wounds

So, I wrote about Betsy-Tacy and Tib, and their hair-cutting adventure. The children I read to, as I said, all had many, very funny stories about children cutting hair. 

And then, we talked about why they were cutting the hair--because they were afraid they might die, which happened a lot in those days. And the kids talked about someone they knew--grandma, grandpa, cat, dog--who had died. And one little girl, bright and eager, tall for her age, in her hijab with the sparkles on it, raised her hand and cheerily said, "Yeah, about losing people. We only lost twenty family members in the war." 
Not her, but looks like her.

I know this little girl's mother. The family came here as Somali refugees. They are smart and caring and terrific parents and their grief is written on their faces. That child and her sister intimately know family loss once-removed, as my children know that family loss twice-removed, through hearing family members who survived the Holocaust. They talk of their experiences and choke with grief for those they lost--parents, grandparents, children, siblings, cousins. 

Those of us in the west no longer live in a time when graveyards are lined with small stones for an entire family killed by typhus, or diphtheria. Yet, children, all children-- still need a gentle, loving way to cope with fear and grief and loss. The great children's classics have those losses. In Betsy-Tacy, (the very first book) Tacy's small sister, Beatrice, falls sick and dies just before Easter. An entire chapter is dedicated to her death and how Betsy helps Tacy grieve.  

Hurray for literature. 

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

A Break From Sturm and Drang--Maud Hart Lovelace Writes From Life

"Tacy and Betsy," or Bick and Maud

When I think about transforming grief and fear into literature, I also think of the Betsy-Tacy books. A funny transition, right? From Eugene O'Neill to Maud Hart Lovelace? But it's true, though Lovelace turns hers into comedy. 

The odds are good that you haven't heard of the Betsy, Tacy and Tib books written by Maud Hart Lovelace. They run from the meeting of Betsy and Tacy, on Betsy's fifth birthday through Betsy's Wedding via thirteen books and are one of the best classic children's series ever written, largely because 

this is the only series of girl's stories where it is frankly assumed by everyone, parents included, that the heroine, and her female friends and siblings, will grow up to have a career. 
In fact, Tacy and Betsy feel pity for Tib when she winds up "marrying well," and nothing more.
As to transforming fear and grief: I just read aloud a section of Betsy-Tacy and Tib (book two) from the section on hair cutting to a group of first, second and third-graders. This section comes after Tacy becomes ill and nearly dies, with her house under quarantine for weeks. 

Afterwards, in a hilarious attempt to cope with fear and grief, Betsy and her friends decide to create a braided hair memento using their brown, red and blonde hair to do so. 

The three girls openly procure a pair of scissors and three "pill-boxes" to use as lockets, without explaining what they want to use them for, and head up the hill to their special (and secluded) spot.  
Knowing that what they are doing will be tough to "explain," they decide to each cut only one head--all three, then will be culpable, plus three makes it easier to explain.  

Betsy lifts one of Tacy's long, red sausage curls, the one right next to her face, and cuts it off. Since that looks silly, Betsy cuts five more to match--"exactly one half." 

Tib has it easier. She undoes one of Betsy's brown braids and cuts off "exactly half" of her hair. 

The hardest is Tacy's chopping of Tacy's short blonde curls, but she, too, manages her task. The three girls then play, giggling at the sight of one another, until they become so nervous about what they have done that they must go home. 

What follows is a hilarious parade that grows as the girls go from house to house, picking up relatives along the way, all the while "explaining," without being heard.  

At the end, when Tib is about to be badly punished, the girls are finally allowed to explain----they could any of them die at any moment and have nothing to remember each other by. At this, the adults calm down and Tacy's mother grows teary. Tib's capable mother brings the girls in and trims their hair. As she does so, in a final, telling detail, Tacy's mother picks up one of her daughter's sacrificed locks for her own memento. 

Maud Hart wrote almost all her novels based on her own loving family and terrific circle of friends. So the next time someone says you have to suffer from a horrible childhood in order to be an artist, refer them to Maud Hart Lovelace, who not only had a terrific one, but gave one to her only surviving child, a daughter. 

Tib, Betsy and Tacy, or Midge, Maud and Bick

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

The Good Wife, "Shoot" And A Love-Hate Relationship

When I watch TV, it's for either character or story. For example, I'm wading through The Tudors to see how the writers and actors (and costumers and lighting designers) handle an extraordinary, contradictory story about vivid, vital characters caught in an inexorable plot. I mean, come on, how many of us could invent the swirl of religion, politics, medical conditions, love and lust that is the story of the Tudor dynasty from beginning--Henry V's widow, parked in a remote castle, yet boldly (and secretly) marrying her Welsh head-of-horse--to end?  (The death of Elizabeth I.) 

The Good Wife, at its best, has created that same maelstrom of politics, character, religion, love and lust. And if they weren't precisely starting a new Reformation, they were illuminating our times by leaping into the story of Eliot Spitzer and Silda, his miserable wife, pinned to the background by the TV camera's light as she stood beside her (sick) man. 

The Good Wife's idea--to follow this destroyed woman, holding herself together by sheer martyrdom, self-destruction and grit, as she fought to become herself again. At it's best,  The Good Wife has been about Alicia's battle to first find herself (again), then to make a real relationship with her husband, and ultimately, to find a way to exist as herself out in the world.  

In fact, in my memory, one of the best and most telling moments of The Good Wife was a fleeting one, where Alicia bumps into an old, once-dear friend, who has never called since the scandal broke. "We have to get together," the old friend says. "And do lunch."

"Yes," says Alicia, as she turns away, before stopping in her tracks to turn back. "No. Let's not. We know we won't anyway. Let's be real here." The new Alicia is not willing to waste time on pleasantries. She wants to cut to the truth. 

The question is, how to find that truth? 

As a lawyer, Alicia has long since found her way. No one, anymore, questions her ability to practice law. 

As an ethical human being, she is sliding through a world of gray, becoming grayer herself all the time. 

As a woman in relationship to other women, she has lost her one-time friendship with the ethically questionable, sexually variable, Kalinda Sharma--the one with the liquid eyes and the high boots even in a Chicago summer. 

Alicia still has virtually no friendships beyond a growing one with the equally damaged Lucca Quinn, (she of the liquid eyes and the sometime boots.) Though this friendship seems to require the consumption of alcohol. 

Her relationship with Will seemed to that she shared with Peter. Again, she chose a demanding man, a political figure, willing to fight dirty, and one who is willing to have an affair with another man's wife, and one who, when he thinks he has lost this woman, runs to post-teenaged lasses with multiple tattoos and wanderlust. Beware the man who cheats on anybody, but beware especially the man in his forties who falls for twentyish yoga instructors. This is a man who needs to have control in his relationships. If you are dating, and you meet him, run, run, run, the other way. 

Will also was willing to destroy the woman he once loved after he felt she had betrayed him in a business sense. Whatever he was, and whatever relationship Alicia might have had with him, I doubt it would have lasted long. 

So, here is Alicia. She has taken on her husband's political willingness to do what it takes to win. (Note the way she uses ill-gotten information to sway a grand juror in this last segment.) She is still drinking too much. She has accepted a marriage in name only, purely for political gain. She has chosen, yet again, Jason, a dangerous man who she has been warned is a psychopath, and who gives off a cheating vibe. 

And in this last episode, when she learns that, yes, he is cheating, she stifles the pain that clearly she feels, decides to follow Lucca's advice and trust or care for no one, is willing to have a purely sexual relationship with a dangerous man, and starts drinking again. 

Okay. It's real. She becomes a bully. She becomes her husband. It just makes me sad.