The Idol Season 1 Episode 3 Recap – What did Jocelyn’s mother do to her?

By Jonathon Wilson
Published: June 19, 2023 (Last updated: March 22, 2024)
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The Idol Season 1 Episode 3 Recap


The Idol still can’t get out of its own way. “Daybreak” reveals plenty of new insights about Tedros and Jocelyn both, but continues to undermine them with insipid dialogue, ideas, and excess.

This recap of the 2023 HBO series The Idol Season 1 Episode 3, “Daybreak”, contains spoilers.

With a character like Tedros Tedros, it’s easy to wonder why anyone would listen to a word he says.

Jocelyn is beautiful, rich, famous, and successful. She’s also severely emotionally damaged – arguably broken. In “Daybreak” we begin to discover why, especially her complicated relationship with her abusive stage mother whose recent death from cancer has sent Jocelyn into a psychological tailspin, but we’re not clearer to understanding how Tedros manages to exert so much influence over not just her but everyone else around him.

The Idol Season 1 Episode 3 Recap

To be fair, real-life cult leaders are often dorks. Tedros at least has a cool look. But I’m not buying it. He isn’t physically intimidating yet has a couple of encounters during which he easily intimidates men in this episode. He isn’t especially charismatic. He’s overtly rapey and hasn’t tried to pretend his intentions are anything other than abusive and self-serving.

“Daybreak” picks up literally the morning after the night before, with Tedros having decided to move his entire entourage into Jocelyn’s house in Episode 2. He immediately starts firing people, demands Jocelyn goes shopping – of course he picks every outfit – and calls Leia “r******d” for having the temerity to suggest that she might need to speak with Jocelyn about where Kanye West’s producer can set up.

We don’t see Mike Dean in this episode, and there’s no reason to believe we will at any point in the future. Tedros isn’t even a good liar. When Leia warns Chaim that Tedros has taken over the house, he and Destiny turn up to essentially interrogate Tedros, whom they know is lying about his background, and he doesn’t even have ready-made answers for simple questions like where he went to school.

And yet Tedros is just allowed to move right in and micromanage Jocelyn’s entire career with very little pushback. Given how the show has presented the development of this relationship, it’s incredibly hard to buy into.

What do Tedros’s cult believe?

Of course, there are reasonable counterarguments. Tedros’s loyal followers are floating around the mansion too. Chaim and Destiny still need to profit from Jocelyn, so if Tedros can help her produce three guaranteed hits, then what do they really care if he slaps her around a little?

“Daybreak” also reveals a little more of the psychology underpinning Tedros’s cult. Izaak and Chloe believe, essentially, that all art stems from pain, and thus that any pain – even, or perhaps especially, that inflicted upon them by others – is worth enduring for the potential outcome. The tasteless case study for the validity of this argument is the death of Robert Plant’s son being worth it to get Led Zeppelin’s “All My Love”.

What did Jocelyn’s mother do to her?

It’s obvious why Jocelyn is attractive to these people, given her trauma surrounding the loss of her mother, but Tedros realizes he has hit the jackpot when, during an excruciating dinner table scene, he forces Jocelyn to reveal the extent of how her mother abused her with a hairbrush.

This was all a control exercise. It was to keep Jocelyn focused, to help her learn choreography, to keep her awake, or to punish her for flirting with men she didn’t approve of — even smiling to herself. She always hit her in places nobody could see it, but everyone who worked with Jocelyn seemed to be aware of what was happening.

Of course, Tedros’s bright idea is to convince Jocelyn that her real problem is she misses the motivation the abuse gave her. He asks her if she loved the music she was making, would she feel like all the pain was worth it?

The Idol Season 1 Episode 3 Ending Explained

At the end of the episode, Tedros sends Jocelyn to retrieve the hairbrush and, while his followers look on, he beats her with it until she screams and cries.

The next morning, she says to him, “Thank you for taking care of me.” She has fully bought in to what is quite clearly an abusive relationship, everyone around her is powerless to talk her out of it, and it’s obvious exactly how Tedros and his cult plan to exploit her.

You can stream The Idol Season 1 Episode 3, “Daybreak”, exclusively on HBO and Max.

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