Monday, the unveiling of Todd’s manipulations was scarily brilliant. Like others, I’ve wondered what happened to turn Todd so mean. But on Monday, that didn’t matter. What was more interesting was how he exposed the underbelly of others. As he explained, it was so very easy for him to bring out the veniality and weakness of his mother and brother.
Adrian watched as Eileen’s willingness to deceive in order to get a taste of more, and better, came out. Todd explained that Eileen was dreaming of a 5 star hotel kind of guy, not the guy-next-door whose idea of splashing out was a B&B. But Adrian doesn’t deserve this, Eileen protested. You’re right, said Todd, he’s a nice guy who deserves better. He neatly turned Eileen’s outrage on Adrian’s behalf back on her. It wasn’t Todd who lied to Adrian and sneaked out behind his back to meet the imaginary Jeff from Dubai. Todd gave her the rope, she hung herself.
Jason leapt to their mother’s defence, giving Todd the chance to tell him he had done the same thing to him with Eva. Dropping a word of doubt here and there about what she was really doing with Tony, and Jason filled in the rest himself. He didn’t trust Eva, didn’t ask her pointblank about his suspicions. Quickly he let himself be talked out of trying to persuade her to stay. You did all that, said Jason. Todd said, no, you listened and then did it yourself.
Neither Jason nor Eileen could convincingly justify themselves or blame Todd. He set the stage, yes, but they were the actors. Todd explained he did it as payback. Months ago they didn’t come to his reconciliation dinner, the night he was beaten up and left scarred. That is perhaps the reason on the surface. The more interesting motivation, to me, is deeper. It’s the ability of the trickster, to find a flaw and use it to cause a person to act in ways that go against their self-perception and even harm their own best interests.
If Eileen had truly cared for Adrian and been satisfied with the bird in hand, she wouldn’t have continued pursuing those in the bushes of Dubai. If Jason had completely trusted Eva and had more faith in his own self-worth, he wouldn’t have so readily believed she was cheating on him. He would have fought harder to keep her. Hard lessons, and maybe not fair, for both of them. Todd plays a wonderful Iago and, like Othello, Jason and Eileen are left knowing they had listened to poison.