For the past year, DAYS has been exploring a multifaceted gay storyline involving the sweet romance of Will Horton and Sonny Kiriakis, along with the homophobia of Will’s cousin Nick Fallon.
This week, we are starting to see the “explanation” for Nick’s homophobia – he was raped in prison by a pretty scary dude, Jensen. In fact, I just watched the actual moment Jensen spits “You were my bitch” into Nick’s ear while cousin Will watches hidden in the shadows. And it seems that Jensen repeatedly raped Nick until another prisoner – Vargas – stepped in to save him.
I had hoped that DAYS would not tie Nick’s homophobia to sexual assault, but now that it seems to be the case – I guess we can just hope that they act responsibly.
As I type this, I’m waiting for the big scene today that leaves Will shot after struggling with Jensen to save Nick all while Gabi is giving birth to Will’s daughter. In a shed. With Will’s boyfriend Sonny as her delivery coach. Hey, it is a soap. Nick and Will’s cop cousin Hope Brady is on her way to save everyone.
Watching Nick’s face as his rapist relives the assaults is horrible and watching Will’s dawning realization of what he’s overhearing is equally compelling. But I’m still unhappy that Nick’s twisted homophobic crap is going to be chalked up to “prison rape.” Now once again there are some ways for DAYS to salvage this story.
What continues to bother me are the fans who are rooting for Nick to have been assaulted as some sort of retro-vengeance for his villainy? WHAT? And the fans who think prison rape is an underexplored social story – underexplored in the sense of misguided white guys in their 20’s who are scarred by sodomy, not in the sense of sexual exploitation in the prison industry.
Nick’s rapist kidnapped him (and his pregnant wife), taunted him and just shot his cousin who was trying to save his life. That’s going to be a lot to “deal” with, right? DAYS will probably have a big apology scene between the cousins and send Nick to counseling with Marlena Evans. Will & Sonny being incredibly nice guys that they are will forgive Nick and we’ll see what happens. (I’m pretty sure Hope just killed the rapist at the end of the episode so that’s it for him.)
Is it realistic that Nick’s trauma has manifested itself as hatred of men he perceives to be predatory gays? Maybe. Is it realistic that he’s not going to be even further damaged or that there are deeper issues that aided this jump in reasoning? And why are we losing the very real world experience of homophobia to a dramatic storyline?
Nick was a “good” baddy long before this storyline and fusing his homophobia with his resentment of his golden boy cousin Will could make for years of tension, especially as Nick will be the step-father to Will’s daughter. In the real world, homophobia isn’t erased with a “heroic moment” – it dissolves as people get to know LGBTQ people in a real and meaningful way. I have plenty of people that I know who have “evolved” on social issues, but it would be misleading to suggest that homophobia (and transphobia) doesn’t still influence their world views.
As for the prison rape story – sigh. One positive is that I’m reading some really interesting fan commentary on the way in which soaps have explored sexual assault over the years. They seem much more aware of issues such as PTSD, the fact that men can be assaulted, the reality that mot rapes are not “stranger in the park” scenarios.
How about DAYS having Nick discuss if he’s been tested (preferably before he had sex with Gabi?) How about exploring PTSD? How about Nick suing the prison for not protecting him? Or treating him? Or something?
Days also hit a strange note with Sonny’s forced role as midwife to Gabi’s delivery.Yes, Sonny is a gay man but he was acting like a prissy 13 year Sheldon Cooper about the whole “look at her vagina” element of the story. “Look where?” Really, DAYS? Sonny is a pretty sophisticated guy and good in a tight spot so I have a hard time believing that his lack of sexual interest in Gabi’s lady bits would enter the picture – they are trapped on an island, in a shed with their respective loves held captive and neither has a clue about anything medical. Really? Not so much the lady bits.
Let’s see what happens …