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Based on 44 Chapters About 4 Men (2016) by psychologist and author B.B. Easton, Sex/Life Season Two continues its commentary on the downsides of a monogamous society and untapped female sexuality. However, it isn’t as compelling as Season One. It ultimately fails to meet the expectations set forth for the protagonist, Billie, and the message the show was seemingly promising us at the end of the first season.
In episode one of the first season, there’s a scene where Billie finds her young son with a butterfly trapped in a jar.
“What have you got there, honey?” She asks.
The boy gazes lovingly at the trapped monarch, “It’s a girl, she’s mine, and I love her.”
“She can’t breathe in there, and she’s going die if you don’t let her out,” Billie responds in a soothing, motherly tone. She then teaches her son a life lesson. Opening the jar, she says, “Let’s see which way she goes,” and they both watch her fly away.
That one scene sets up Billie’s struggle throughout the run of the series, life inside a jar. And it was our first clue what Season Two would be about – which direction Billie flies when she’s released.
But, alas, we never see Billie get truly released. The ending of season one had us believing Billie’s fantasy would finally come true after an entire season of ‘will-they-won’t-they.’ What was Billie’s fantasy? She didn’t have the answer herself until the last episode when her husband, Cooper, watched her via iPhone’s shared location app rushing over to Brad’s apartment. He smiled, apparently knowing where she was and what she intended to do. Having both her safe and loving husband Cooper and her dangerous (and fabulously well-hung) ex-boyfriend Brad became her goal, and Cooper seemed OK with it. I mean, why else would he smile knowing his wife was about to hookup with someone else? Billie confidently enters Brad’s apartment and says, “I’m not leaving my husband. This changes nothing. Now fuck me!”
WOW! That scene had so many hot-wife/cuckolding elements that faithful viewers licked their lips in anticipation of season two—a bold and sexual woman who would no longer be punished for her desires. But we were let down. Season two picks up where that scene left off, although they altered what Billie says to Brad. We then see Brad didn’t take Billie into his arms and fuck her six ways to Sunday. He turns her down because he’s in a new relationship.
Gone are the kinky, non-monogamous undertones, and with them, Billie’s sexual liberation. Instead, we get another season of unresolved sexual tension, and Billie is disempowered. She becomes what society expects wayward women to become: jilted, heartbroken, and weak. They may as well have plastered a big red ‘A’ on her chest, even though she never seals the deal.
Even though the sex scenes are plentiful with some really hot people, what was thought-provoking erotica in season one becomes another soft porn show. Sure, we get glimpses into Billie’s psyche as she theorises adultery as the saving grace of a repressive monogamous culture in her doctorate dissertation. But that plot line seems pointless if Billie doesn’t practice what she preaches.
Even one of season one’s most interesting characters, Trina, who throws lavish swingers parties with her husband, gets reduced to a mere victim of her husband’s deviant urges. In an argument, she tells him that their open marriage was HIS idea and not what she wanted, even though she appeared to be having a great time in the scenes involving her sexual extracurricular activities. Sigh.
It is clear that the series caters primarily to female viewers; male frontal nudity is featured prominently. And the series does continue a new and hot trend in movies and TV where women expect their men to go down on them – no questions asked! Reaching the series finale, though, the writers clearly went for a Lifetime movie-type romantic ending. Everything was wrapped up in a way middle America would approve of. I was left wondering if Netflix mandated that tame and meek conclusion.