Talikaa stands quietly, wearing her new outfit: a dusky peach number with a big metallic belt. Long skirt, silver collar. She's got a face like a bowl of dog food in some light, exotic beauty in others. Is she a supermodel? Too short. "Wow! That's much better," Chiana says, doing her weird crotchy dance she does, all around Talikaa, putting her hands on the girl's hips, laughing. "Fits great! Looks nice." Everything's fine. Talikaa chokes out a laugh, mirroring her savior. "It looks, uh...sexy." Talikaa asks what that word means, "sexy," and Chiana's face falls. "Oh, a girl as beautiful as you shouldn't...shouldn't have to ask that." She stands back, holding Talikaa's hands in hers, taking the girl in all at once. "Sexy is, um..." She takes the long way around, nuzzling her hair. "...Sexy." Talikaa leans into it. "You like sexy?" Chiana circles, smelling, touching her from hip to shoulder, heads close. "...Yeah. It's my...it's my favorite color." She puts her chin on Talikaa's shoulder and closes her eyes: "Makes you feel good, knowing men want you." Talikaa jerks away, and looks back over her shoulder at Chiana, who circles around back in front, in silent response to her fear. This isn't a conversation, it's a monologue.
"Sorry," Chiana says. To herself. "Most men aren't...aren't like those traders. Most men are, uh...are pretty drad." Monstervision again: "You like men for sex?" Chiana, one last burst of her old ego, retreating to a dead shell: "They're good for other things, but they're great for sex." This last said in a kind of mad ecstasy. The fact that we spend most of our days playing out these lies, telling propaganda in service to the person we think we are. They never figure out the MO here, not really, but it's more interesting to talk about it up front. If you made a list of five things about yourself, anything at all: "Woman." "Teacher." "Scaper." "Foodie." "Intellectual." Or if you're Chiana: "Rape activist." "Healthy sexual being." "Ecstatic." And then pick that list up in five minutes, and see how sad and flaky and thin the paper is: how every single thing on that list is really just ego, just identification with something larger, to give yourself context and power, power over your circumstance and pain. A way to make your messy, awful experience into a story. If that list were a hundred, a thousand, ten thousand words long, it would never approach who you actually are. An infinity of words doesn't make you real, or any more real than you already were before you started the list. Chiana loses her sex drive not because it's her "strongest trait," like she thinks. She loses her "sex drive" because that's what she needs most right now: a reason to think she's possible of getting back her innocence, of enjoying sex the way she used to. It's this lack of hope she's talking to, this fear and abyss they're all fighting. Not the strongest trait, but the one they need most this week, in order to head into Act Three of the season. This episode is stupid in many ways, but it's necessary in more.