Right here, right now: Rough seas ahead for Fraser, Caitlin in episode 6 of ‘We Are Who We Are’

Photo from the TV Series, "We Are Who We Are"
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After Caitlin Poythress’ (Jordan Kristine Seamón) earth-shattering haircut in last week’s episode of “We Are Who We Are” made her inner development outwardly visible, “Right here, right now #6” sees Caitlin forcing the people in her life to confront how she has changed in the past few months. The first person to address the confusion is her father, Richard (Scott Mescudi), who catches up with Caitlin on an overnight hunting trip the two take together.

To get to their destination — a remote island off the coast of Chioggia — they take a small boat across the open water in a scene reminiscent of “Right here, right now #2.” That early-morning delivery sequence was the last time we saw the father-daughter duo happy together, and the show makes this contrast abundantly clear. Gone are the soft pastels and radiant sunlight of the Venice canals; in their place are murky waters and gloomy skies.

After Caitlin wanders off in search of a cell phone signal, Richard spends a considerable amount of time searching for her — an apt precursor for the heart-to-heart that follows. He begins the conversation by interrogating Caitlin about Fraser Wilson (Jack Dylan Grazer): why she likes him, whether they’re dating, whether Fraser is even interested in girls. Caitlin dodges this last part — she might not even know the answer herself — but she assures Richard they’re just friends.

Meanwhile, Fraser continues his quest to get his mother’s assistant Jonathan Kritchevsky (Tom Mercier) to notice him. Every piece of attention that Jonathan has given him over the past few episodes has elated Fraser, and now, Fraser tries to return the favor by buying Jonathan a book that he coyly drops off at his office on the base. 

When Jonathan is out of the room, Fraser immerses himself in the objects on Jonathan’s desk, rubbing hand massagers and dinosaur figurines on his face in acts of bizarre ecstasy. The scene might seem odd to the uninitiated, but as anyone who’s seen “Call Me By Your Name” knows, Luca Guadagnino has an exceptional talent for imbuing totally sexless objects with rapturous erotic energy.

Fraser and Jonathan’s relationship continues to escalate on a trip to the countryside, an outing whose nature no one can seem to agree on. Fraser’s mother Maggie (Alice Braga) voices concerns about the fact that Jonathan is twice Fraser’s age, but his other mother, Sarah (Chloë Sevigny), insists it’s purely platonic. Fraser appears to share Maggie’s perspective, which he accidentally lets slip when he calls the trip their “first date.” Notably, Jonathan doesn’t protest.

Fraser has been quietly searching for a romantic interest ever since he arrived on the base, and though the show has repeatedly teased Jonathan as this person, it also seems to want us to take issue with the age and status differentials between the two. At the moment, they don’t appear to be on the same page; Fraser might be in for a rude awakening if it turns out that “Marta” is more than Jonathan’s friend, or if Sarah is right about the nature of Jonathan’s feelings for him.

The episode’s penultimate scene is a touching conversation between Sarah and Caitlin. Sarah, who sees Caitlin’s new appearance not as a cry for help but as a bold step forward, provides her with information about a nearby endocrinologist who can be a useful resource to help Caitlin answer some of the questions she has about her gender identity.

This heartwarming exchange is quickly frozen over by the event the show has been quietly building toward: the night of the 2016 election. The painfully long sequence that plays news coverage of the aftermath over the end credits strikes a stark tonal contrast with the scene preceding it — one that reminds us of the inevitable tension that will arise when Richard learns more about the person Caitlin is becoming and who helped her on her journey.

Matthew DuMont covers television. Contact him at [email protected].