“The Cleaner” Season 2: Episodes 9 & 10

Synopses:

Path of Least Resistance

A self-help guru’s drug addicted son disappears right before the release of her second book, so she turns to William for help. William and his team search for her son and once William finds the estranged young man, he learns her son struggles with gender dysphoria. William tries to get him to confront both his addiction issues and his gender dysphoria honestly and without pressure from his ambitious mother.

Cinderella

While William watches his daughter Lula rehearse for an important ballet recital, he begins to suspect that the star ballerina, whom Lula idolizes, is addicted to drugs. William wrestles with his own issues of being an overprotective father and must find a way to help the ballerina with her problems while not damaging his relationship with Lula.

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I like how the transgender issue is handled in a very human way in Path of Least Resistance. Taylor’s struggle with his emotions, thoughts and coming to grips with it is excellently captured; it is very real in how much it tortured him, and it truly explains how how discrimination and lack of acceptance lead him to resort to meth and alcohol to numb the pain he felt. I could feel the pain of the boy and his father, and the unneeded frustration of the “psychologist” and mother, who seemed to mostly avoid reality and only concerned about their image. It is a bit of change seeing the mom as the one who couldn’t accept her ‘son’ Taylor and the dad was so accepting…

On the family front, it is nice to see how the relationship between William and Ben is developing, after the conflicts they had in the first season. Now Ben is working with his dad at the shop – he even became the ‘stud’ of the shop, ‘collecting’ several girls’ phone numbers – and wants him to be involved and sort things out with his mom. And a part of the story I liked is when William told Melissa he was buying a house for himself: it was good to see him get out there and do something for himself.

It was with mixed feelings that I got to the end of Cinderella. On the one hand, I thought “Hey, who would give their child drugs because they love to dance? There is more to life than one hobby, one career, one talent, so why risking to ruin your child’s life all for its sake. On the other, there is nothing a mother wouldn’t do to help their child attain their dream; when you you love someone, you want to see them succeed at their dream, and you will forego what you think is the ‘right’ thing in order to help them attain that end. So though Callie’s mom can be considered an example of parenting fail, I can see where Callie’s mom comes from and how she could give her daughter pain medication to help her deal with her pain so that she could continue with her lifelong dream and try to pursue a career in the art that seemed to give her so much joy.

On the family front, William worries about Lula and how their relationship will shape up. He is not sure how to deal with her, as he plans to confront her with the downfall of an idol of hers. I’m not usually a fan of Melissa, but she truly acts as a bridge between William and Lula in this episode, and she tries to give William some insight into what his own demons did to him in regards of their lives, their marriage, his relationship with their children, etc.

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