Hulu’s ‘UnPrisoned’ follows the story of Paige, a single mom navigating a complicated relationship with her father. The story begins with Edwin returning home after spending seventeen years in prison. Paige has moved on with her life and doesn’t want Edwin to live with her and her son, Finn. However, when she sees that Edwin has nowhere else to go, she agrees to have him under her roof.
Paige struggled to find a healthy and loving relationship her entire life but finally finds it in Malcolm. He is charming and kind, and understanding. He knows about her family history and the issues she deals with and becomes her support system to weather all storms. Still, things don’t work out between them. If you are wondering why Paige and Malcolm go their separate ways despite being a great couple, here’s what you should know. SPOILERS AHEAD
Why Do Paige and Malcolm Break Up?
Edwin’s criminal history and spending most of his life in prison indelibly impacted Paige. She spent most of her childhood without her father. Every time he returned, Paige hoped he would change his ways, try to be a better person, and not go to prison again. She was disappointed every single time. With him in prison, she was left to fend for herself. Even though she had foster parents and was looked after by Nadine when Edwin went away for good, Paige felt utterly alone and abandoned by her father.
She took this feeling of distrust into adulthood. Because her childhood had been so turbulent, she looked for something more stable in her relationships with men. However, despite all her efforts to find that stability, she would find herself in a situation that would complicate things for her. Paige got so entangled in this repetition that even when things got simpler, she couldn’t process them as something good happening to her.
Before she met Malcolm, Paige was in a relationship with Bill. He was married but on the brink of divorce. He courted Paige, but he never accepted their relationship in public. She thought his hesitation to address the nature of their relationship was because he was going through a tough time with his divorce. His daughter’s wedding date was coming, but he didn’t invite Paige. She believed it was because he didn’t want to cause any scene with his soon-to-be ex-wife on his daughter’s wedding day.
Despite wanting to see the good in their relationship, Paige was eventually forced to confront reality. Bill treated her as a side piece instead of someone to have a serious relationship with. When she brought up the topic, Bill broke up with her, and Paige realized just how wrong she had been about him. Soon after, she got into a relationship with Malcolm; this time, there were no red flags.
Paige and Malcolm were perfect together. He had everything she wanted in her partner, yet something felt amiss. At first, Paige thought it was because she was in love with Bill. To get that out of the way, she slept with Bill, only to realize that she didn’t really love him. She was latching on to him to fulfill her emotional needs, even when he remained emotionally unavailable. Having slept with him, Paige cheated on Malcolm, effectively sabotaging their great relationship.
Paige comes clean to Malcolm about it, but she also realizes that sleeping with Bill didn’t have anything to do with whether or not she was in love with him. The things keeping her from being in a good relationship were her own problems. She knew that feeling abandoned by her parents in her childhood had resulted in some deep-rooted issues, which influenced the course of all her relationships. She was so used to being left behind by the people she loved that she couldn’t accept it when someone like Malcolm came around and made her feel safe and secure. Malcolm acknowledges all this and advises Paige to deal with her issues before entering her next relationship. Later, he berates Edwin for ruining the good things in his daughter’s life by never being there when she needed him.
Overall, Paige and Malcolm call it quits because she needs to figure out her issues independently. She needs to resolve these feelings she has held onto since childhood. She cannot allow space in her life for something new until she is free of them. She will not be able to appreciate its goodness, so she finds it best not to be in a relationship until she has figured it all out.
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