Aisha returns to her clinic to tend to an ill, HIV-positive drug addict who skips out before she can pack him off to the hospital. Richie endures a tone-deaf critique of his photographs in class and turns to Gary, the artist, for moral support. While he’s there, Rosie asks about Richie’s photos of the barbeque, which sparks a fight with Gary. He doesn’t want to drag Richie into the legal machinations of litigating the slap: “Stop being Joan of Arc and go back to being Rosie!” he tells her angrily, the first time the viewer has seen that Rosie and Gary aren’t a united front on the crusade to punish Harry.
Aisha attends a conference in Boston, where she gets reacquainted with an old flame, Ajay. She confides in him about her family pressuring her to lie about Harry’s character and bemoans the compromises of everyday married life. He counsels her to keep the peace and lie, a “moral sneeze” as he calls it, and they head back to his hotel room for a steamy session that abruptly ends with the appearance of his wedding ring. (For Aisha, being lied to takes the heat out of an affair.)
Hector picks her up in Boston, a surprise rendered less pleasant by his revealing the dalliance with Connie. She rather bitterly questions his need to disclose this petty transgression—”Oh, Hector Apostolou, the last good man in America,” she says—and then tells him about her relationship with Ajay. She says, “It was your decency that saved me,” the irony of his confession still hanging between them.
Back at the clinic, the drug addict returns, weeping, ready to be cared for. Aisha tells him, “Let’s take it by the hour, until the hours add up to something that looks like the future.” Sandy arrives and releases Aisha from her obligation to testify on Harry’s behalf, saving her from the demands of the Apostolous. When Aisha asks her what she’s going to do the next time Harry hits her, Sandy says he won’t. “He can’t afford it,” she says, revealing her own bit of leverage in the ongoing grapple for power that is the world of this family.
The Slap explores how even self-identified “decent people”—the martyrs and the saints—stumble in their efforts to be good. Manolis calls Connie a “Fury”—in The Iliad, the Furies punish those who swear false oaths, which means Aisha should be on guard. But in The Slap, every quest for justice has a way of unleashing havoc on the rest of the community, even innocents. Stay tuned to see whose false oath, or broken vow, will be punished.
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