Right here, right now: Families face crisis of faith after tragedy in episode 7 of ‘We Are Who We Are’

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The ending of last week’s episode of “We Are Who We Are” was a foreboding glimpse into how the outcome of the 2016 election might impact the people on the base. It was a bait and switch. Apart from one brief aside, this week’s episode has nothing at all to do with presidential politics; instead, it’s about a shock that ripples through the base and undoes much of the character development we’ve witnessed over the season’s run.

In the first few minutes of “Right here, right now #7,” we learn why Sarah Wilson (Chloë Sevigny) was called into the command office at the end of the previous episode: Three soldiers were killed in Afghanistan by a bomb. Among them was Craig Pratchett (Corey Knight), the beloved leader of Caitlin Poythress’ (Jordan Kristine Seamón) old friend group. The news devastates the entire base, and it forces the characters to slow down and rethink the direction of their lives.

At school, Caitlin and Fraser Wilson (Jack Dylan Grazer) are shocked when they learn that one of the soldiers was the brother of a classmate, but they don’t realize the true horror of what’s happened until Britney (Francesca Scorsese) runs into the auditorium sobbing. Once she puts the pieces together, Caitlin breaks down, but Fraser’s reaction remains largely the same: surprised, maybe vaguely disturbed, but not anguished in the slightest. 

Fraser carries his relative indifference into a group therapy session held by the school. When it’s his turn to share his feelings, he makes an offhand reference to what happens to soldiers’ corpses when they’re mutilated beyond recognition. His cold-blooded immaturity stuns Caitlin, and suddenly there’s a distance between the two friends that’s almost reminiscent of their foreign, awkward encounters in the first two episodes.

After Caitlin leaves him to go grieve with her old friends, Fraser wanders around listlessly, seeking comfort wherever he can find it. Naturally, this quest lands him at Jonathan Kritchevsky’s (Tom Mercier) doorstep. The last episode left substantial ambiguity about the nature of their relationship, but here, we find some much-needed clarity. When Jonathan answers the door, his “friend” Marta (Brixhilda Shqalsi) is standing half-naked behind him. Undeterred, Fraser tries to come on to Jonathan, but Jonathan reciprocates only with a brotherly hug. The gesture is kind but humiliating, and Fraser leaves the apartment heartbroken and confused.

Meanwhile, Caitlin, Britney and the rest return to the Russian villa from “Right here, right now #4” to drink away their sorrows. Once a resplendent paradise for the group, the villa is now an eerie, lifeless place. They try to celebrate Craig’s life, but the hollow party is a grotesque shadow of Craig’s joyful send-off. Within this darkness, Caitlin seems to be regressing back to her old self — a movement underscored by her tearing up the hormone therapy brochure she received from Sarah.

Craig’s death also has significant implications for Fraser’s parents, Sarah and Maggie (Alice Braga). For Maggie, it means the end of her affair with Jenny Poythress (Faith Alabi). Jenny is shaken by the incident, and it reminds her that life on the base is no fantasy. Although what happened to Craig is in no way related to the affair, Jenny blames herself for being distracted and cuts it off in an effort to restore some perspective to her life.

The most tectonic shift in the wake of Craig’s death is the complete breakdown of Sarah and Richard Poythress’ (Scott Mescudi) professional relationship. Richard openly blames Sarah for what happened to Craig, and his ugly ideas begin to spread, both to the kids and his fellow officers. At the very end of the episode, Sarah, who has also grown tired of Maggie cheating on her with Jenny, decides to eliminate the nascent insurrection by arranging for the Poythresses to be transferred away from Chioggia.

Though her decision is understandable, it will certainly crush Fraser, who needs Caitlin’s companionship now more than ever. In the season finale next week, we’ll see what Sarah’s fateful choice will mean, not only for Fraser’s relationship with Caitlin but also for his already-strained relationship with his parents.

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