We Are Who We Are episode 2 recap – “Right Here Right Now II” matter of perspective

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Summary

“Right Here Right Now II” shifts focus to explore the same events from a new perspective, and trusts its audience to fill in the blanks about its characters.

This recap of We Are Who We Are episode 2, “Right Here Right Now II”, contains spoilers. You can check out our thoughts on the previous episode by clicking these words.


I’d wondered why the second episode of HBO’s We Are Who We Are was titled “Right Here Right Now II”, and how it would function as a direct continuation of the same-titled premiere. As it turns out, the answer is: cleverly. For one thing, it shifted focus away from Fraser and put it instead on Caitlin, who stole the show at the tail end of last week’s episode. But it also rewound time, letting us re-experience the same period couched in this different perspective and witness old events from a new angle.

This is smart since it makes We Are Who We Are feel like less of a character study and more a tapestry of interlocking coming-of-age tales; they overlap, but each is distinct. It’s hard to tell whether this storytelling style is going to persist – one assumes, given the titles, that it will – but its deployment in the first couple of episodes made for a solid two-parter. Both hours retained the same knockabout fly-on-the-wall style but used their focal character to consider the setting in different ways.

Fraser, for instance, is an outsider; Cait isn’t. And it’s in that sense of routine and conformity that she finds herself lost, yearning for a change in the regimentation that she has become accustomed to. The show’s writers, including director Luca Guadagnino, Paolo Giordano, and Francesca Manieri, are deliberately coy about the specific shape of Cait’s anxiety and the exact form of change she’s looking for but are clear about how much she desires that shift.

“Right Here Right Now II” is as seemingly plotless as the premiere, but it’s really about trying on new outfits, figuratively and literally, and seeing how they fit; about how a person, too, contorts themselves into different shapes in the hope of finding their own place in the world. Everything about Caitlin, from her sense of style to her sexuality, seems in flux. Yet it’s the consistent parts of her life and character that help to define her – her relationship with her father, her wide-eyed curiosity, her wariness, her knowing cheek. These things persist in all iterations of Cait that we see, and Jordan Kristine Seamón, who plays her, knows when to play up sincerity and when to lean on mercuriality.

The show’s striking visuals do a lot of this heavy lifting too. It’s always obvious what point is being made, often without any dialogue at all; images are allowed to speak volumes and the audience is trusted to decipher what they mean, what each one says about a character’s headspace or dynamic with another. Cait’s outfits are used as shorthand all throughout We Are Who We Are episode 2, and I appreciated that there was no effort expending in painstakingly laying out what each one symbolized.

The point is that a single person contains multitudes and that several people can all be grappling with the internal struggle of whether they belong, whether they want to, and whom they might belong to. Across these two episodes, We Are Who We Are has clearly positioned the parallel stories of Cait and Fraser so that they can’t help but intersect; here, again, the shorthand of clothing is used to symbolize a potential willingness to open up to someone else rather than keep all one’s conflicts internal. If that’s the direction the show is heading in, and this is the style it maintains, then it might end up being one of the more striking coming-of-age tales for a while.


Thanks for reading our recap of We Are Who We Are episode 2, “Right Here Right Now II”. For more recaps, reviews, and original features covering the world of entertainment, why not follow us on Twitter and like our Facebook page?

Jonathon Wilson

Jonathon is the Co-Founder of Ready Steady Cut and has been Senior Editor and Chief Critic of the outlet since 2017.

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