If you were hoping for a bit of a respite after the final harrowing moments of “Dietland” last week, you’re in for a rude awakening. “Woman Down” picks up more or less where we left off. Plum has escaped from Jack and Calliope House and is back in her own home, but she’s not alright as we find out very quickly.
By Plum’s own words she’s in a dark place and flailing through life after Jack’s assault. She’s back to the all black clothes and her old routine minus the bakery. Essentially she’s just wandering round. On one of these aimless walks she’s accosted and kidnapped by two women who are clearly Jennifer. They take her to a minivan and drive away while putting drops in her eyes so she can’t see where they’re going. One of the women is super bitchy the whole episode and she keeps calling Plum “Princess”.
As the eye drops take hold Plum flashes back to her apartment. She’s crying on the phone to her mom about Calliope House, but really Jack, though she never brings him up. Her mom is super ready to come to New York, but Plum insists she can’t keep coming every time she has a feeling. She does tell her mother about cancelling the surgery which makes her so happy.
"Now you can live…really live the life you deserve." Her joy while Plum is dying inside is killing me. This scene is a heartbreaker. #dietland
— Jen Ponton (@JenPonton) July 24, 2018
After the phone call, Plum is watching TV and ignoring voicemails from Sana. The news story is about Leeta, who is still at large. Plum then starts hallucinating a conversation with Leeta on the screen before she starts seeing Leeta in her apartment. They have a talk about Jack and Plum insists she knew he was a creep to begin with. This is the first glimpse we get of Plum blaming herself for the assault. Leeta wonders why Plum hasn’t tried to find her yet now that she’s out of Calliope House and Plum says it’s because Leeta is a terrorist and also she got “kind of raped”. Leeta insists she left some breadcrumbs so Plum could find her and they quickly put Jack on a list to be “taken care of” by Jennifer. As Leeta says “we definitely maim for ‘sort of rape’”. No matter what happens Leeta insists that distancing herself from Calliope House and Verena is the right move for Plum.
Once Leeta is gone, Plum calls Sana back and says she does actually want to talk. They go to an art gallery and talk about Plum leaving, Jack’s assault and Calliope House in general. One thing I really appreciated about this episode is the very long scenes. There’s not too much bouncing around and the scenes that needed to breathe were really given the time and space they needed to get to the point they wanted to make. So often on lesser shows the characters will just say things without the necessary time it would take to come to those conclusions but “Dietland” always manages to get where it needs to go despite the extra time it takes.
Sana tries to get Plum to report Jack through the whole exchange and Plum insists it’s just as much her fault for not fighting back. They also have a pretty big disagreement about Calliope House and the value of it. Sana is still in it but Plum’s perspective from the outside of it is pretty illuminating. She insists it’s a cult and that she gets that she’s not enlightened enough to be there anymore even though Sana desperately wants her to come back.
"Jack was like a red flag factory." #Dietland
— Gwimo (@EnnuiPrayer) July 24, 2018
Despite telling Sana that she’s been in touch with Steven, Plum has decidedly not spoken to him since their big fight. She doesn’t want to deal with his judgment or gloating about Calliope House or his pity. She decides to call Dominic while she’s lurking outside the bakery before she realizes he’s the one who hurt her in the first place so she leaves a voicemail that says “tell it to your wife asshole”. I’ll be honest, this is the only part of the episode that struck as strange and maybe a little bit like Plum might be a sociopath. Dominic didn’t call her, she’s not returning a voicemail or answering a call from him that way. She called him out of the blue and then leaves that voicemail. That is very unstable behavior. But, again, she is relatively traumatized right now, which is not helped by seeing cute bakery boy Ben waltzing around with a lady. Plum’s voiceover says she longs for her old routine.
During Plum’s next hallucination, Leeta says that Jennifer is good at the big symbolic gesture but not very good at communicating. That’s why they need Plum, “a super smart person but you write like a regular person.” Plum is naturally on the fence because everything involving Jennifer is super dangerous. Leeta quickly points out the hypocrisy of wanting to get a dangerous surgery compared to making a difference in the world. Leeta does manage to find out that Plum has been thinking about Jennifer and their cause. When Leeta is gone, Plum keeps reading the journal until she finds the clues about where Leeta might be. She opens up a secret chat on her computer and says hello. It’s hours before anyone responds and it’s just enough time for Plum to start cutting her own hair which is a bad sign.
The flashback ends as Plum’s kidnapping arrives at its final destination which is still unclear. She calls two of the women she’s with Tiana and Sofia which will get explained later. They drag her through an abandoned mannequin warehouse/factory which if Plum wasn’t already having second thoughts should have sealed the deal.
Movies and TV so far have taught me that few good things happen in or adjacent to mannequin storage.#Dietland
— CabinBoy (@cabinboy100) July 24, 2018
There are lots of women running the Jennifer situation from this warehouse and the women who picked up Plum have brought home supplies like toiletries and food. The one really rude woman from the car says she didn’t like Plum’s attitude in the car, but honestly as far as we were shown Plum slept the whole way to where they were so I really don’t like this lady’s attitude! The woman who appears to be the leader introduces herself as Belle and she says Plum should sleep and they’ll meet tomorrow. The rude one brings her to the sleeping room which is just a bunch of pallets on the ground with sleeping bags. She tells Plum to pick one that doesn’t have a name on it and training starts tomorrow. The sleeping bags all have Disney princess names on them so Plum writes “Princess” on hers because she’s a bad bitch and that other lady sucks.
Dominic comes to Kitty’s office and she’s wearing the first of two incredible outfits this episode. She’s got a white puffy-sleeved wrap blouse with this blood red extra long pencil skirt with a slit up one side. She looks spectacular. Anyway, Dominic has gotten the reports on Stanley and they are even worse than we or Kitty imagined. There’s one for a $2 million payout to the former head of HR whom Stanley hit in the face during a dinner meeting. Kitty insists it would have been $10 million if they’d made it to the bedroom. Dominic then drops the bomb that he’s quitting now that she has what she needs. Kitty really wants him to stay and see it through but he shuts her down perfectly by asking what she thinks HR would say about all the unwanted advances she’s made to him. She wisely retreats and Dominic says it’s too bad they’re on opposite sides now because she and Stanley are made for each other.
Sana and Verena have a pretty intense confrontation in the Calliope House kitchen about Plum and Verena’s very difficult to live up to standards. Sana says that Verena might able to relate to the women who seek refuge in Calliope House but she’ll never truly understand what it means to need that refuge. She also brings up Julia which puts Verena immediately on defense. She insists that anyone who needs help and is willing to follow the rules can stay as long as they need but when they leave the house what happens to them is up to them. It’s a pretty rough note to go out on, essentially sanctioning Plum’s assault as something she let happen to herself.
Verena literally couldn't stand the 'heat' coming from Sana, in her own kitchen. #Dietland
— smusedtobefun (@smusedtobefun) July 24, 2018
Back at Jennifer headquarters Plum is having a hard time with her sleeping bag. It turns out it’s a mummy bag and one of the girls offers to trade since she’s going on patrol anyway. Instead, Plum tags along on patrol though it’s super unclear what they’re actually patrolling. Plum holds a gun for the first time, she says it feels heavy but good. The girl tells her she “better be the real deal or they’re gonna make me put a bullet in you.” Honestly, what the hell? This episode really shed light on the fact that people are keeping Plum super ignorant a lot of the time under the guise of protecting themselves or her but all it does is make everyone more vulnerable.
You guys…Kitty called a board meeting and wore the best outfit that’s ever been created. It’s a beautifully tailored skirt suit but instead of a blouse under the blazer, she’s wearing just this beautiful gold cascading choker necklace with strands that hang down to the first button on her blazer. It’s fully magnificent. What’s also magnificent is the subject of this board meeting, namely Stanley being removed as CEO and Kitty getting his place. She’s provided the reports and insists if the board doesn’t back her up that she can find equal reports on the rest of them. They are all pretty on board except one guy who insists he’s clean. Literally, every single other board member is for it so Kitty is now the CEO of Austen Media I guess. LOL.
— Talita (@SambaJulianna) July 24, 2018
The women of Jennifer are discussing Julia’s offer of money. There is a ton of disagreement and evidently they either all need to accept the money or none of them can. Plum pipes up and the British asshole lady dismisses her out of hand. Belle takes Plum into the other room to tell her how angry she was when she saw her Daisy Chain interview but Plum gives as good as she gets and says killing women and college students didn’t do Jennifer any favors. Belle insists the college bombing wasn’t Jennifer and Plum insists she still wants to be in the organization. She will do what she did for Kitty’s girls and “build activists”.
Julia and her sisters are at Knockers again discussing the Jennifer situation. The sisters say they can’t keep doing this and decide they’re going to the FBI to go into hiding. Julia says they should give Jennifer more time to consider their offer but her sisters are steadfast. I was already on Julia’s team and then one of the sisters squirts ketchup all over the top of their curly fries and I was more firmly on Julia’s side than I’d ever been before.
— Gwimo (@EnnuiPrayer) July 24, 2018
Before we get back over to the main plot this week there’s news footage of a woman’s march bombing in retaliation against Jennifer. Verena is watching the footage and she slams her computer shut with a rageful look on her face.
When Dominic gets home from his shift at Stanley’s, his father-in-law is waiting for him outside. He knows all about the reports that Bobby (Marc Blucas) has been helping him get. Dominic insists he’s done with that and he quit the job anyway. His father-in-law says he knows that because his daughter told him right around the same time she told him she was leaving Dominic. Evidently she’s done with Dominic’s bullshit even though by all accounts he seems like a devoted father and a slightly absent but not terrible husband. I’m pretty sympathetic to Dominic actually especially because his father-in-law is a real dick. On the other hand, he might stick around with Kitty now which would be tons of fun.
Damn. That was cold. Why is a grown woman asking her dad to break up with her husband for her?! Sounds like Dominic’s wife is the real loser. #Dietland
— Alkalina (@Alkalina_) July 24, 2018
Eladio enters the beauty closet where Julia is skulking around again. She says it’s time and they open up a secret room behind one of the shelves. This is where Leeta has actually been hiding, not in Detroit with Jennifer. Eladio says “it’s getting worse, good luck getting anywhere with her.” I tend to agree. Leeta rocks back and forth just repeating mumbles under her breath while Julia tries to reach her.
— Shuffle Online (@shuffleonline) July 24, 2018
Plum has a dream about shooting Jack and she wakes up with a huge smile on her face. She and Belle are out walking around what turns out to be Detroit. Belle explains that they’re able to stay under the radar because they don’t go out in groups and they don’t look important to a cause as big as Jennifer. They arrive at a shooting range and Plum learns to shoot. Belle then takes her to a house in the suburbs late at night and they watch a man smoking outside a house Belle explains that he goes to that house to have sex with an eleven year old and then outside to smoke. Plum’s initiation into Jennifer is to kill that guy and she really almost does before she backs down. It turns out the whole thing was a test. The guy is just a stranger and Plum has failed the test. She’s obviously super worried about that but Belle says she can’t protect Plum because her fate is up to a vote of all the women.
Next week is the finale and it looks suitably bonkers. I think we’re going to find out some more about Leeta and Jennifer and their relationship to each other and Julia. I can’t wait to find out what all has been going on in the background this season and what Kitty’s going to do now that she’s on top!
Featured image credit: Patrick Harbron/AMC