What happens with Rita
“What happens with Rita stays with Rita” is what Tina wanted to hear. She needed to hear what Rita said moments earlier when they talked beside baby Jake’s incubator. The baby is not yours to keep, Rita told Tina. It’s quite natural that she would have a strong attachment to the infant she carried, but he is Izzy and Gary’s baby. End of.
Rita is the only person who could say these things to Tina without ticking her off. Even so, Tina managed to hurt Rita by reminding her, perhaps inadvertently, that she could not know how it feels to give birth to a child. Rita rallied and let Tina know that she supported her but that she needed to get over her feelings and remember that she was a temporary mother for the child of other people.
This was a powerful and nuanced scene between two women who are friends and, themselves, kind of a mother-daughter surrogacy. Tina’s confusion and defensiveness was obvious, as was Rita’s deep affection and her trepidation about raising a difficult topic.
Tommy was glad to see the cavalry arrive. A bit earlier he had said the same thing to Tina but she was not taking it from him. In order to show his love and support for Tina, he had go along with her idea of keeping the baby. He cannot find the right balance between support and uncomfortable truths in addressing Tina’s wishes and intentions. Even if he did, he is her boyfriend and is of the same age. It’s a different relationship dynamic than with Rita. Tina will listen to her, a woman and older, with more deference than she would to anyone, male or female, of her own age. The two scenes nicely counterpointed each other.
Blackflies in summer
Just when maybe Rita was getting somewhere with Tina, in walks Owen. My husband said the Armstrongs and Windasses are like blackflies in a Canadian summer – everywhere, all the time. You can’t get away from them.
All the actors in this story have been brilliant and Tina especially so. Her facial and body language alone convey the torment she is feeling. There have been inconsistencies in what she has said, as there likely would be in such a situation. She told Tommy that she realized the extent of her love for the baby when he became ill then moments later told Rita it had nothing to do with his illness, that she had felt it since he was born. Both statements are true but, of the two, I suspect what she told Rita is truer. With Rita, she can be completely honest. Rita demands honesty from her and returns it even when she knows it isn’t what Tina wants to hear.
Rita’s initial doubts about the surrogacy are proving justified. Standing in the nursery with Rita, Tina said “I always thought I was the least maternal person in the world.” Therefore, she left unsaid, giving up the baby would not be a problem for her. “Now look at me,” realizing that time and a tiny baby change you. Her words to Tommy showed the price of trying to straighten out that confusion, the pain of “hating yourself for loving your baby.”