Finding solutions is the core of episode 8 with the characters confronting their demons head on to prop up a potentially heavy finale.
This recap of Netflix’s Grand Army season 1, episode 8, “Spirit Day” contains significant spoilers.
We recapped the entire series — check out the archive.
The episode opens up with the following text: “There’s no way to mask how ****** up you all are”. At school, there’s an 80s theme day. George, Luke and Tim return to school and Anna greets them. Anna tells Tim that Joey is going to regret all of this. Joey goes into the police station and they tell her that there is no-one that can corroborate her statement so there’s little they can do. She is furious that she’s been made out to initiate what happened in the taxi. The video with the sex toys did not help her evidence. Suddenly, Joey imagines what George, Luke and Tim said to the police.
This is a devastating and audacious moment for Joey whose voice has been made to feel worthless — with the police having little evidence, the stories of the three boys working in balance has made her feeler smaller and powerless.
Digging deep and early relationship problems
While Jay is practicing the saxophone, the teacher asks him what his “sound” is and tells him that he needs to go deep. Afterward, Jay and his friends talk about the potential sit-in. John runs after Dom and gives her three hundred dollars. Dom feels like he is trying to save her and she’s offended and gives him the money back. John sarcastically tells her not to make time for him in her busy schedule and walks off.
Earlier relationship problems for Dom and John but episode 8 positions it that it is out of frustration over their situations — Grand Army has done a good job in ensuring these two characters look well-suited for each other.
An F or expulsion
And the pressure is apparent in Grand Army season 1, episode 8 as Dom resorts to a low that she would not have done before her intensely busy life.
In an exam, Dom is immediately struggling with the questions and she looks at the clock. She uses her phone to cheat and the teacher sees her. The teacher tells her that this is grounds for expulsion — he gives her two choices: “An F or expulsion”.
A bad rehearsal
Leila has got a part in casting. She takes part in rehearsals. Meera tells her she has her emotional wall up and she doesn’t know who she is when she acts. Leila loses her part due to her rehearsal performance. She’s also struggling with her identity in her essay papers as well.
I’m responsible for everything
In therapy, Joey talks about how she’s ruined her life for no reason and that she has to start a new school. Joey then delves into her father and how he has been more involved recently — she felt angry due to him cheating on her mother but recently he sat on the couch in their apartment and cried and they both hugged for a very long time. Joey feels responsible for what happened.
And this where the powerlessness comes into it; because Joey has not had the justice she deserves, she lacks empowerment and is made to feel guilty rather than feel brave.
You made me feel normal
Sid talks to Flora about the situation. Flora is angry but also wants to be there for him because she loves him. Sid explains that being with Flora made him feel “normal”. He tells her that he loves her but Flora is frustrated and asks if he ever did anything with men while they were together.
It’s the end for Sid and Flora and as predicted in previous recaps, it ended up with Flora being hurt.
There are no quick fixes
Leila meets the Rabbi and she’s upset that no-one has accepted her apologies. The Rabbi tells her that atonement is a practice and that she should come to a service with her family. Leila wants a quick fix but the Rabbi explains there is a difference between a spiritual adviser and a therapist.
Episode 8 gives a sense of reality for Leila — in this scene, she realizes that there is no quick fix and she needs to find the courage in herself to change the world in front of her.
There’s no time for a break
While Dom is at a shop to buy hair products, she gets angry at the price and walks out. Her friends are worried about her — she’s burned out and she can’t get a break. Dom reveals how her mother’s friend has a nephew who needs to get married for a green card. The family will get $10k if she goes through with it. Her friends insist she doesn’t do it.
This scene demonstrates how poverty forces families into doing desperate things — it’s easy to understand how poverty cycles work when witnessing Dom’s experiences.
Take the opportunity
Jay talks to his father about the sit-in for Owen while at a jazz night. The sit-in is before the All-State Performance. His father doesn’t want him to risk it before the performance. Jay tells him he was an alternate and he wants to save Owen’s future. The father tells him to take his shot.
We need to talk about it
Sid heads to the family restaurant to help his parents. He doesn’t want to be by himself. The mother doesn’t want people to talk. Sid tells his parents that he’s staying and that he cannot stop being gay. Sid is trying to encourage his parents to talk about it.
We have to stand up and applaud Sid here; for some families in certain cultures and religions, “coming out” can be a frightening scenario — Sid is confronting it head-on, relying on the fact that his parents love him.
Don’t let them destroy you
Joey’s sister Nina has had issues at school with students saying, “You like it rough like your sister”. Joey tells her that she’s sorry and that they won. Nina wishes that Joey would not let them win and destroy her.
Nina’s wish could be seen as wanting Joey to find a way to come out of her shell and face the trauma she has experienced.
While out with her mother, Leila asks her mother if she’s a joke to her. She wonders why she’s called Leila and that it isn’t a Chinese name. She wants to know who she really is and she feels like her parents plucked her from another country and placed her in a foreign one and didn’t think of how it would impact her. This is the first time Leila is seeing what her problems are on the surface rather than burying it — she understands her insecurity.
When Dom returns home, she sees how happy her family is and it makes her think. She agrees to marry the man for the money.
The chapter ends with “There’s no way to mask how ****** up you all are. So you need to be destroyed.”
Finding solutions is the core of Grand Army season 1, episode 8 with the characters confronting their demons head on to prop up a potentially heavy finale.
Daniel Hart is the Co-Founder of Ready Steady Cut and has operated as Editor-in-Chief since 2017.