dietland TV TV Recaps

“Dietland” Ep.1.05: “Plum Tuckered”

We’re back with our “Dietland” recap. Episode 5, “Plum Tuckered” is the episode I’ve been fearing since “Dietland” started. Plum’s blind dates. I’ve never personally been on a blind date so the idea is hellish to me in a strictly theoretical way. But somehow the blind dates depicted are an even worse brand of torture than anything I could have imagined. Being stood up sounds pretty terrible but at least you could assume they just got cold feet about hanging out with a stranger. The same is not true for Plum who knows she’s being stood up because of her weight and appearance.

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Desmin Borgen as Aiden, Joy Nash as Plum in “Dietland” Season 1, Episode 5 | Photo Credit: Patrick Harbron/AMC

As usual, I’m getting ahead of myself because the episode actually starts off with some close up shots of latex dicks getting manufactured, in response to latex vaginas on the market it seems. Plum from the future talks a little about Stella Cross over a shot of her own vagina mold boxed up on the shelves of a sex shop, but we won’t learn all about Stella until later. The main throughline of this episode is Plum’s dates, the first of which knocks on her door, sees her, essentially throws a bouquet of flowers at her and hightails it out of the apartment building.

In the next scene, Plum is talking about this in therapy with Verena and I have thoughts. First, I think Verena is actually a really good therapist and I truly believe she’s helping Plum. But on the other hand, I don’t believe Verena has all of the correct life experience to be guiding Plum. She comes from several places of unbelievable privilege both physically and monetarily so I think it’s hard for her to be telling Plum what’s best for her when she’s never been in similar positions. Even the reveal in this scene that she’s in kind of a polyamorous throuple with two of the dudes who hang around Calliope House is tinged with negativity because she has managed to get two men who love her while Plum has trouble even getting one guy to agree to one date. It’s not breaking the show for me, but Verena’s privilege should be addressed more.

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Joy Nash as Plum in “Dietland” Season 1, Episode 5 | Photo Credit: Patrick Harbron/AMC

In any case, we find out that Plum is telling Verena what she wants to hear about the bypass surgery, specifically that she’s having doubts, right before we smash cut to Plum telling Dominic she’s getting the surgery no matter what. She asks his opinion about it because “everyone has an opinion about it” and he gives her the absolute perfect answer about it being her choice and no one else’s opinion matters. It would be even more perfect if we didn’t know he was keeping his family a secret from her. And it gets even worse when he proceeds to outright lie about having a wife and children. Which makes the end of the scene, where they have a flirty exchange about Dominic not writing down the things Plum says, even worse. 

From there we join Cheryl as she interviews Kitty about Jennifer. Kitty goes SO HARD in her support of Jennifer saying the decision to go to print with the manifesto was easy, not because of the threats but more because Austen Media wanted to be a catalyst for an important conversation. She goes on to ask if it’s “really so surprising that after all the abuse [women] have taken they are finally fighting back with deadly force instead of just words?” Cheryl looks pretty uneasy the whole time and gives Kitty a ton of ways to get out of the conversation, but instead, she doubles down at every turn.

When they’re off air, Cheryl is even more questioning about what just happened, but Kitty continues to be super cavalier about sanctioning what amounts to terrorism. She argues that after waiting so long for women like her and Cheryl to be able to join the boy’s table she’ll basically do whatever it takes to stay there while also being able to be more herself as the times change. And she seems to be playing the right hand as she lists off all the positives including sales growth, subscriber growth, and social media growth. She really doesn’t believe there are any consequences because Stanley gave her carte blanche.

Plum is sitting at a bar watching the Kitty coverage and sipping a water when her second date, Aiden (Desmin Borges) shows up. He’s very awkward with her and they actually have kind of a meet-cute that’s full of puns on the words expectations and reservations. He ends up getting into dodgy territory when he tells her he’s never dated anyone “larger” but he mostly makes up for it by admitting he’s having a great time. It seems like the date is going super well until Plum excuses herself to the bathroom. On the way she hears some girls speculating that Aiden must be her brother before Plum sets them straight that he’s actually her date. Unfortunately, when she leaves the bathroom she finds Aiden gone and only a note of apology in his place. She quickly leaves so it looks like he at least didn’t stick her with the bill for dinner but it’s still the douchiest move I’ve seen in a while. 

We’re back with Verena asking what Plum’s thoughts were when she came back from the bathroom to find Aiden gone. She says “Screw you, Verena.” And, honestly, same. I’m still on Verena’s team for the most part because Plum does need to open her horizons whether she has the surgery or not, but I would argue most especially if she does. In any case, Verena is very happy by this reaction and tells Plum as much. Plum says if Verena is trying to keep her from getting the surgery she’s doing a bad job of it.

Verena then blows Plum’s mind by explaining she actually doesn’t give a damn about the surgery either way aside from wanting it to be safer for Plum. And then she says what is maybe my favorite line of this show so far, “what I wish for you is a better connection with yourself no matter what shape you end up in.” This might actually be the most radical thing the show has said. I truly believe that if more people had a better connection with themselves regardless of their bodies the world would be a better place.

Plum finishes the session by talking about how she let her guard down with Aiden which was a huge deal because it allowed her to be hurt. If she keeps the guard up all the time there’s no risk of ever feeling anything which Verena obviously takes issue with. When Plum leaves her session she does some snooping around the house and takes pictures of some photos on the wall before Sana interrupts her, standing creepily behind the stairwell, and tells her there’s no technology in Calliope House. Plum quickly leaves to take a call from Kitty.

OMG you guys, Kitty is SO EXCITED in this next scene. Her social media is through the roof, sales are up and she wants Plum to write another piece that will come out in the following month’s issue. The piece should be about how much she supports the conversation she started about Jennifer. She tells Plum if everything goes well maybe she’ll get a regular column in the magazine and even an office someday. Plum is extremely grateful and equally excited to get started on such an exciting project. I’m sure we all guessed this wouldn’t last. Plum’s third date completely stands her up but she seems mostly just inconvenienced by it, not as angry as with Aiden.

We next see two random dudes driving through a cemetery to a makeshift funeral pyre. One guy walks up to it and sees that it’s Stella Cross, the porn star. She’s wearing a crown of twigs that spell out Jennifer and there’s a dildo clasped in her hands. I’ll tell you something, in the book she just gets shot in the head on the street outside her hotel room. This is much more cinematic and I think it fits in with the style of the show much better. Unfortunately, the groundskeeper’s buddy drops his cigarette and a trail of gasoline lights up from him to the pyre, engulfing groundskeeper as well.

Plum tries to check in at Calliope House after her date but Sana answers the door and tells her she can’t come in that day. A quick cut shows Julia in the beauty closet sobbing as she listens to the news about Stella Cross.

Plum is working in the coffee shop again when Steven comes up to her and they talk about the dates she’s going on. Like Plum’s mother, Steven is not totally sold on Verena’s plan. Before he can object too much he notices the Stella Cross news and turns the TV up. The report mentions her being an adult film actress which Plum had no idea about, she thought she was just a model who sold jeans and makeup. As if learning that wasn’t enough for poor Plum in one day, she gets a call from Kitty’s office asking her to write a story about Stella instead. Our poor, sweet, naive Plum falls down a Stella Cross wormhole and learns that she specialized in gang bang and rape videos and that in the course of her work she literally broke her vagina (yikes).

The next day, Dominic is in Plum’s apartment and she brings it up to him, asking if he knew about Stella. He defers the conversation pretty well and they move on to the pictures Plum found including one of Verena and a woman they both feel is familiar but can’t place. The first time I didn’t get a good enough look at it but on my second watch, I noticed it was just definitely Julia. I hadn’t realized how much light makeup they’re putting on Tamara Tunie in the show. Anyway, Plum talks about how she’s scared and worried now that Jennifer has killed a woman and Dominic promises he’s watching her back. 

Back at Daisy Chain, Stanley comes stomping into the office which, based on everyone’s face, is extremely unusual. He and Kitty go head-to-head and I’ll tell you something, that Stanley is a real condescending dick when he wants to be. He spouts some garbage about how it’s his fault, “I thought you were ready and clearly you weren’t so this is on me.” By the end of the fight, Kitty is demoted.

Another session with Verena who apologizes about canceling the day before. It turns out many of the women are disturbed by the Stella Cross murder. Verena and Plum have a kind of veiled conversation about how Jennifer might be undermining their position with all the violence. After that, Plum admits her third date stood her up and asks where Verena is finding the guys. I’ll be honest when she said it was her dentist I was shocked. Literally, who does that? Plum seems a little put out about it too but her only request about her next date is that Verena doesn’t “just tell him I’m plus sized, tell him that I’m huge.” Verena says she will if that’s what Plum wants and she responds “I want him to know what he’s in for.” These scenes are so great for Robin Weigert because you can see her heartbreak every time Plum says something like this. It almost seems like Verena is trying to get Plum to bottom out before she can offer her a final lifeline.

In the beauty closet, Kitty is railing to Julia about her demotion. Essentially she loses everything; no more Dear Kitty, no more editorial decisions, nothing. Julia starts crying about Stella Cross again and Kitty goes back upstairs to her office where she finds Plum surveying the wreckage. Apparently, Kitty went a little destructive after Stanley gave her the job news. Plum keeps trying to find out what happened while Kitty starts smoking in her office and talking about how Plum was nothing before Kitty. 

She also explains, rather matter-of-factly that she had to suck a lot of dicks to get where she was at Austen Media. She goes even further saying she didn’t mind the literal dick sucking so much as the metaphorical ass kissing that came with the job and then she has the nerve to blame Plum for her demotion and calls her a “basement dwelling malcontent with an ax to grind” which is so harsh. Kitty then fires Plum, which is even harsher. Plum won’t accept it at first and tries to placate Kitty with a story idea. Basically a before and after of Plum and her bypass surgery. She’s very obsequious but Kitty won’t be swayed. “Suck my dick, Plum” are her parting words. This scene was incredible, but even more incredible was Kitty’s outfit (pictured in the gif above).

The final sequence of the episode is perhaps the turning point of the entire first season. Plum goes on her final date even though she’s not feeling up to it after getting fired. It appears to be at some food trucks, one of which has the best name ever.

The guy, Jack, shows up and he’s pretty cute and calls Plum stunning which she’s wary of at first but it turns out he likes “bigger girls”. He also gets Plum to eat (a small miracle in itself) she gets a burger and fries and he feeds her a forbidden rice bowl. By the time they get to the pizza and Jack still hasn’t eaten anything Plum knows something is up. It turns out he’s a feeder and Plum shuts him down as hard as humanly possible. She also calls him a “cuck” which I didn’t love, but angry Plum is the best Plum so I’m overlooking it.

Unbeknownst to Plum, but fully known to us, Dominic has been following Plum around and watches her decimate Jack and leave. He keeps following her as she tramps across town and orders a hot dog from a street vendor. She’s just trying to chow down when she accidentally bumps into a guy and gets some ketchup on him. He aggressively overreacts and tells her to watch where she’s going and calls her a fatass. Something inside Plum gloriously snaps and she throws the hot dog at him and spits on him and screams “stop” at him with a primal fury. In turn, he punches her in the face and she goes down. 

Luckily Dominic is there and he levels the guy before checking on Plum and calling his good buddy Marc Blucas to the scene to arrest him. Unluckily, Marc Blucas makes mention of Dominic’s family which Plum overhears. 

He tries to explain that he is now a PI and that he lied about his family because it’s easier to get someone to trust you if you have more in common. I personally think that’s a load of shit because a man’s marital status has never made me trust them more or less my whole life. It’s clearly not enough for Plum either because she leaves without saying a word and marches all the way to Calliope House, missing the Time’s Square screens with Leeta’s face shown as the possible “face of Jennifer”. When she arrives she tells Verena she’s “ready” and Verena leads her to the basement stairs.

Next week it looks like we’re finally in the next phase of the New Baptist Plan and whatever that might entail! Spoiler Alert: I know what it is because I read the book and it’s awesome and I can’t wait!! “Dietland” airs on Mondays on AMC at 9/8c. Join us on Twitter @ShuffleOnline as we live-tweet! 

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