Eyewitness: Key Moments in “Bella, Bella, Bella” and a Preview of “Creme Brulee”
[Warning: General spoilers ahead.]
Eyewitness has a lot going on, and three episodes in, it has thrown down progressive ideas on what makes a family, with some lovely quiet moments scattered around a truly terrifying series of murders. Sunday’s episode offers more of the same intricate balance.
We know from the periphery of the story so far that Philip is deeply damaged and has been disappointed time and again by those he loves, namely his mom. His dad is never mentioned, but we can imagine. And then he’s rebuffed and rebounded again and again by Lukas in a head-spinning cycle of yes/no/maybe.
Despite all that, Philip is relatively grounded and centered. Last week, as the boys were dealing with the death of Tommy and his girlfriend in their own ways, Lukas was close to crashing and burning under the weight of the secret of why they died, never mind the others he’s carrying.
He’s on the roof of the school when Philip finds him, and while I don’t think he’s suicidal, he’s not in a great space. Philip recognizes that and offers Lukas a time out of sorts. Lukas asks him how he can be so chill about everything and his response is simple, “I’ve had to be chill for my mom. I can be chill for you.”
And then the conversation turns to the fact that Philip’s mom knows he’s gay. That’s extraordinary for Lukas to hear. The boys wind up in the city and wander the streets, new fake ID for Lukas in hand, and Philip suggests a Q&A game to uncover what they don’t know about each other.
Lukas says there’s not much to tell and Philip doesn’t buy it, so he offers his own–he’s never actually used that condom in his wallet. Lukas visibly relaxes a bit, hearing that Philip might have been down this relationship road before, but he’s not that far ahead.
When they arrive at the club and it’s a gay bar, Lukas storms out and waits in the street. Philip stays for a drink and finally emerges. Lukas goes off on him again, and Philip reassures him that there, nobody cares who he is. Lukas takes a beat and says if his mom was alive. he’d probably tell her about him. He kisses Philip, who chastises him for being so brazen in public and Lukas laughs it off that he’s “Rick Anderton,” the name on his ID. “I like Rick Anderton,” Philip smiles back. The next morning, the wall’s back up as Lukas drops Philip at the edge of town without so much as a goodbye.
Earlier in the episode, Philip and Gabe sit on the dock in an exquisite scene between Gil Bellows and Tyler Young. Gabe introduces Philip to rowing and explains how he built his boat by hand after his first wife left him, still planning for a life of two and anticipating that he would love someone again.
Philip asks him how he knew he loved Helen, and Gabe says a pain in his stomach. Philip teases that it was her cooking, and Gabe laughs that love equals sacrifice. He asks Philip if he’s ever felt that pain, and he quietly nods yes. Gabe changes the subject and quietly tells him Helen’s looking out for him, that they’ve out a down payment on a rehab for his mom.
“Why are you doing this?”
“That’s what families do.”
Gabe is genuine in his affection at relaying the good news, and it’s all over Philip’s face that he doesn’t know what to do with that. Kindness isn’t often directed toward him, certainly not to him and his mom, so he does his default–he bolts to school. Bellows and Young are seriously both so good here.
Later on, Gabe turns his attention to Helen when she lies about the kids ODing and is unable to just coast on it anymore. As she breaks down, Gabe nudges her that she’s a country girl now. And he gives her a lily for her desk, dropping a little random tidbit that the plant is bi-sexual. He tells her to think about that instead. She laughs and they exchange I love yous and for a moment they’re OK. Julianne Nicholson completely nails Helen’s sense of being overwhelmed at this new happiness and normalcy she somehow landed in.
When they go to the school to pick up Philip after the counselor overnight that he and Lukas bailed on, Helen admits that she’s never hugged hum and Gabe says this would be a great first time, but then it’s her turn to bolt after a lead on Bella. She leaves Gabe alone, and he and Lukas’s dad have an awkwardly silent realization as they stand alone in the empty parking lot after the bus their boys were supposed to be on pulls away.
It’s early days for the fathers to put all the pieces together, but it’s a great scene as they tandem wonder about this new friendship that’s still happening even though Lukas’s dad was explicit in warning his son to stay away from Philip.
We also have a sisterly moment of Kamilah realizing, thanks to a another “look the other way” kindness from Helen, that Sita was involved in the bombing. but she can’t bring herself to actually have the conversation with her.
Warren Christie killed it in the final moments of the episode when Kane realized he was going to have to kill Bella and seems genuinely torn about it (but still does it).
This Sunday night, Philip comes clean with Gabe and Helen, just not about the thing they expect, and he agrees to do something stupid and supremely awkward for Lukas, because boys in love are rarely logical. Kane, who is now up to six murders, hides his crazy as he finally meets Helen, and Kamilah juggles her job and Sita’s dangerously misplaced loyalties.
If you haven’t started this show yet, please do. Everybody is doing such delicately layered work. Even if a murder mystery or a teen romance aren’t your thing,
we can’t be friends I promise you the performances across the board are a draw.
[Updated: The series ran one season and every episode is on Amazon Prime in the US.]
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