(Continued from Part 1)
The first time we saw Tyra afterwards was in the next episode when Landry went to check on her after she wasn’t in school for two days. She hasn’t told anyone what happened, her mother is away caring for a sick aunt (although her mother probably wouldn’t be of much help anyway) and she doesn’t plan to and orders him not to either. I’ll admit that I don’t know if there’s a clear answer here- it’s her decision whether or not to report it, but… she’s just a kid. A 17 (maybe 18) year old isn’t really set up to cope with something like this all alone. I doubt most people are, but it’s probably even less likely for a teenager. Landry’s position is a difficult one, do you respect her confidence or tell someone and try to find her someone who might be able to help? He eventually asks his best friend what he should do, and again the show sidesteps an insulting trend of shows that handle the topic- making a woman being attacked a catalyst for action on the part of the male characters around her. Tyra isn’t even in the scene, it’s just Matt and Landry talking about what to do with information like this but it’s clear that it isn’t about him, it’s about what will help her.
He eventually ends up going to Tami Taylor, the school guidance counselor (and incidentally the best person I can think of). Again, I’m not sure if it’s the right decision, but it’s an understandable one. He spends some time skirting the details, even leading to Tami asking if “his friend” is really himself- interesting acknowledgment that this is not a gender specific crime- and asking if she’s required to report it to the police before giving up Tyra’s name. Tami went to check on Tyra, and accompanied her to the police station. The show managed to convey the awfulness of that situation fairly clearly- Tyra snapping at the police officer after she’s obviously been asked the same questions a million times, the lousy situation she’s in being responsible for the burden of proof, the dehumanizing process of cataloging her injuries- without insulting her or the viewers. The audience doesn’t need to hear her explain every detail of what happened, we were there. I’m sure the constant repetition is realistic given how frequently real victims must have to go through it, but on television it often strikes me as pandering to that subset of the viewers who actually tune in to hear it.
Basically, Tyra’s reactions seemed believable to me given what we know of her character. They aren’t trying to hold her up as some ideal of strength that every victim must live up to, but she doesn’t strike me as someone who would cope by hiding from the world forever. She’s been allowed to be angry, yelling at Landry for telling Tami what had happened but when she apologized a day or two later, explaining that she was upset and she was taking it out on him, it didn’t completely invalidate the fact that he did talk about something she had asked him to keep quiet, even though she understands why he did. I have to admit that I was nervous when I heard about this development before I saw it, since so many shows have done it so badly, but Tyra is being allowed to proceed mostly in her own way and the subject was handled with a sensitivity that usually seems to be missing on television. Hopefully the show will get a second season so they get the chance to continue the process.