In the eleventh episode of Wonderfalls, Jaye gets her most haunting and disturbing message yet, and it has disastrous ramifications once she tries to follow through with it. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to watch Wonderfalls.
Yes, I know there are two more of these left (SUCH UNFAIRNESS), but as it stands, it’s going to be hard to beat “Cocktail Bunny.”
- As ridiculous, suspenseful, and chaotic as this episode is, I’m of the mind that this is one of the most intimate portrayals of Jaye’s struggle in the entire show. So much of “Cocktail Bunny” centers around her own heartbreak and how she then perceives the world around her because of it. Whatever force behind the messages that she gets from the animal knows this, and knows that Jaye possesses a unique ability for empathy and sympathy, once she’d like to pretend she doesn’t have. That’s something we’ve seen constantly since the start of the show. She wants to disavow herself from any association that regards her as a nice, caring, and thoughtful person. That detachment allows her to stay in denial about her own issues surrounding intimacy and self-worth.
- So when Jaye is faced with the fact that the animals helped her get Eric and Heidi back together, she lashes out. In the opening of this episode, she disobeys what the monkey on Dr. Campbell’s desk tells her. It’s so blatant! She’s never done this, and it’s indicative of the toll this has all taken on her life. Perhaps that’s what I loved so much here: Bryan Fuller’s script openly acknowledges the mental effects this phenomenon has on Jaye. Sure, they’re played to be fairly dramatic, but that doesn’t ignore the fact that more than ever, Jaye questions her own sanity. Why is she a part of this? Why are these animals speaking to her when other people are around? What do they expect from her?
- This question fuels Jaye’s terror over what she’s done to Eric. She projects her guilt, fear, and desire onto the message that the cocktail bunny gives her: Save him from her. It can only mean one thing to Jaye because she’s so convinced that there’s still a way to get Eric back. I guess I’m so used to stories like this where things end up well for the main protagonist that I was shocked that this wasn’t the case. This is not a wacky romantic comedy where Eric realizes his feelings and Heidi’s feelings are thrown away. As much as we may not like her character (because drugging someone without their consent is fucking gross), “Cocktail Bunny” shows us that it’s not fair to assume that she shouldn’t have Eric. Of course I want Eric and Jaye to end up together! They have great chemistry! But that doesn’t mean we should ignore Heidi’s role in all of this, nor should we disrespect the fact that Eric made the choice to stay with her.
- Jaye can’t see this, however. She is determined to win Eric back instead of moving on. It hurts to watch because lord, I know how much heartbreak eats away at a person. That scene where she breaks down to Mahandra in the back room is just painful. It’s such a vulnerable depiction of Jaye, and we don’t often get these in the show.
- AND IT ONLY GETS WORSE FROM HERE. For a while, I didn’t really believe that Heidi was going to kill her husband. It was a bit too much, and the information Jaye found online was too circumstantial for my tastes. But then Jaye catches her buying drugs! And the animals keep repeating that Jaye needs to “save him from her.” AND THEY DO IT WHEN HEIDI IS CONFRONTING JAYE IN WONDERFALLS. What was she supposed to think when that animal told her not to let “her” leave the store? And even that is something we’ve seen a lot before. These animals are terrible about using ambiguous pronouns. How was Jaye supposed to know that they meant the woman buying shirts and not Heidi?
- As this all spirals out of control, I was fascinated with how two parallel story lines came to converge. There’s a point in “Cocktail Bunny” where the story becomes downright frightening, and it’s fucking suspenseful. As Jaye is more and more convinced that Eric is about to die, she starts to act in a way that seems horrifying to her family. She won’t tell them what’s really going on, and to them, it honestly appears as if she’s having some sort of nervous breakdown. They’re concerned, especially Karen, and things don’t get any easier when there’s a break-in at Dr. Campbell’s office. It looks like Jaye has been stalking her therapist. We know that this isn’t the case, but how can she prove this? And who is stealing Jaye’s therapy sessions?
- This mystery, though, highlights the huge reveal we’re finally given when Jaye makes it Eric’s hotel room. This is about mistaken appearances. Jaye is so desperate to view Heidi in a negative light that she assumes that Eric is going to die. But Heidi wasn’t ever going to poison Eric and the message WAS NEVER ABOUT HIM AT ALL. At this point, I hadn’t put two and two together yet. I mean, I rarely do, but it wasn’t until Jaye managed to go back to Dr. Campbell’s that I figured it out.
- Beyond being a huge plot twist that Dr. Campbell was the one who needed to be saved, that scene in his office is… my god. It’s so integral to understanding this show and the character of Jaye. I was worried that the monkey wouldn’t actually give in to Jaye’s demand to know why these creatures keep speaking to her. But the answer she does get is not a concrete explanation of the forces in the universe that are at work. Instead, it’s a powerful statement of her character. Why do they talk to her?
- Because she listens. And y’all, that is such a huge fucking thing to say about Jaye Tyler, and it’s reflected in what Karen Tyler goes through in the elevator with Angie Olsen. If you remember earlier in the episode, Karen wanted Jaye to open up about her most recent ‘sode, but she wasn’t willing to listen. Then look at what Karen does in the elevator with Angie. SHE LISTENS. She doesn’t talk. She lets Angie open up, and it works.
- My god, the beauty of this parallel, y’all. Throughout this show, I’ve never really considered the fact that Jaye consistently listens to these messages, acts on them, and helps people out. Is she going to take this message to heart? Will it help her realize she’s not such an awful person?
- Maybe not yet. As positively as this episode ends for Dr. Campbell, Jaye still has to deal with the fact that Eric is not hers. She lost that chance, and he’s moving on. And with only two episodes left (SAD SAD SAD), I really don’t see Eric ditching his wife again, you know?
- This is so sad. And yet IT’S SO FULFILLING TO WATCH. I loved this episode so much.
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