This post was originally posted on Medium.
Back in July, I began reading the series Geek Actually. I last left the story where Aditi and Michelle were mulling over a poor working relationship, Christina was in a precarious work/love relationship, Taneesha fended off doxers, and Elli considered whether she’d found her calling. For this review, I’m summarizing episodes nine through thirteen, which is the rest of this season.
In these five episodes, we see the tensions that were stirred up at the beginning of the series become the main issues characters deal with. For Aditi and Michelle, this means struggling to balance their friendship and working relationship. Aditi, as an author, tries to follow her muse and use her voice but does so without regard to the position this puts Michelle in as her editor. Michelle supports her friend’s vocal writings when confronted by her boss but also comes off cold to Aditi when critiquing her work.
Elli revels in the good working relationship with her boss Ruby, who has helped her to identify her tendency to envision a fairytale life instead of dealing with the world around her. This realization also helps Elli to understand her asexual identity. Unfortunately, this good relationship comes to a halt when something tragic happens to Ruby.
Taneesha and Christina are exploring new relationships but Christina’s mix of business and pleasure takes a wrong turn as Vivi continues to put her in uncomfortable situations, which Christina never completely calls her on. The whole relationship turns when Vivi puts Christina in a dangerous sexual environment. Taneesha, on the other hand, is happy to explore a new relationship with Diego, until he weighs in on her doxing and work issues. After having a “your faves are problematic” talk with her brother and Diego receiving eye-opening information from the women in his family, the two give their relationship another shot.
The plot thickens when Elli, after weeks of being M.I.A., shares her sexual assault with her friends. Despite the different issues weighing on each woman, they all rally to Elli’s side and help her get to a better place. Returning home after her trip to support Elli, Taneesha is ready to confront Steve, her co-worker and the figurehead behind her doxing issues. This confrontation takes place about an hour before their job doles out their judgment and resolves the greater antagonization that Taneesha has faced. In the last pages of the final episode, Michelle confronts her boss, a white woman, about her desire to placate a sexist, white male, best-selling author by deflecting from Aditi’s work. Michelle asks her boss to avoid telling Aditi to change her writing so that it “broadens her audience,” which they all know to means “appeal to white people/whitewash the story.” She stakes her job on this strategy and her boss takes her up on it.
I enjoyed my overall experience of reading another serialized series, especially one that focuses on the professional and personal travails of a group of progressive and self-actualized women of color. I was most inspired by the group’s commitment to friendship, especially when one member of the group was in an awful place. The fact that they made sure to check in with each other regularly makes them, as the final episode of the series is very accurately titled, Squad Goals. I look forward to reading the next installment (or season) of this series.