Netflix’s ‘Feel Good’ is just what the name suggests. A realistic tale of modern love, it follows the story of two women who come to terms with their identity over the course of their romance that goes through rough waters. Created by Mae Martin, it is based on her own experiences, which results in a story that the audience can closely relate to. The ending makes it all the more impactful. If you haven’t yet seen the show, head over to Netflix. SPOILERS AHEAD
Mae is a stand-up comedian and George is a teacher. Mae has always fallen for girls; George has only ever dated boys. But when they meet each other for the first time, sparks fly and soon enough, they are living together. Their honeymoon phase comes to a standstill when George discovers that Mae used to be an addict and Mae notices that she hasn’t met any of George’s friends yet. Both of them have struggles of their own and the story builds upon that, one step at a time.
We follow the ending of ‘Feel Good’ in two parallels. On one side, there is Mae, dealing with her heart-break by jumping back into the addiction that destroyed her life in the first place. And on the other side, we have George, who becomes more confident of herself and is not afraid of voicing her emotions anymore. Throughout the season, their relationship had been a tug of war. There was an imbalance that was caused by either or both of them falling short on their end. They used each other’s problems to hide their own and often pushed each other to the extremes to gain the upper hand in a fight that they never even intended to have in the first place.
After the break-up, both of them get the time to analyse themselves without the influence or the shadow of the other. Without George, Mae has no one to blame her insecurities on. She doesn’t have anyone to blame for her anxiety and agitation that pushes her towards taking pills or running back to drugs. George, too, realises that she has to be able to speak up for herself and be more honest about her emotions, her sexuality, herself. She confronts her friends for indulging in lame conversations but not taking her break-up seriously. She also shouts at her students when one of them uses a derogatory remark.
In the end, George becomes more comfortable in her skin. The inhibitions that she had had at the beginning of their relationship are completely gone now. She has grown through her experience, which is why she is the one to try and break the ice between them. Mae, on the other hand, find herself inching closer to rock bottom. Had Kevin not sought help for himself, both of them would probably have continued on their spree. Mae was ready to make it worse, but Kevin found his bearings just in time.
The revelation that Brenda was serving as his sponsor also shocks Mae. She didn’t think much of her, and seeing Kevin and Brenda rely on each other, she realised that support can come from the most unexpected of places, which is why, she goes back to the meeting, even when she has sabotaged it for everyone else, and seeks help from David, a person that she doesn’t even like very much. Feeling homesick in the end, she calls her mother, another person she wouldn’t have turned to help for had it not been a last resort kind of situation. But George comes for her, and after an awkward talk and some confessions of love, they make up.
In the last shot of the episode, we see Mae and George lying on bed and the same sound intensifying that would ring in Mae’s ears every time she would feel the urge to submit to her addiction. What does that mean for Mae?
The first time the audience hears the sound is when Mae and George kiss for the first time. It feels like the sound of the world drowning away while Mae falls in love. But over the course of the story, it becomes the alarm bell for temptation. Be it the temptation to text George when she’s been explicitly asked not to, or the allure of the cocaine that people freely use in front of her. So, was this sound Mae feeling the touch of love once again? Was it the world fading in the background or some kind of alarm?
Because Mae had already given in to cocaine and broken her sobriety streak, the most logical answer is that this is Mae fighting the urge. She is on Day One of her recovery and perhaps she wants to use again. In the previous instances, the sound would eventually stop and Mae would usually distract herself with something else, keeping her distance from drugs. But this time around, the sound doesn’t stop before the credits start to roll. This only means that Mae has a harder battle in front of her now. But, at least, she has George to see it through.
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