‘I May Destroy You’ episode 10 recap: is Arabella ready to put the past behind her?

Michaela Coel, I May Destroy You

The last episode of I May Destroy You was horribly tense, but this time we find Arabella in a much better place. She’s off social media and focused on healing herself, even if that means falling behind on an upcoming book deadline. There might be a positive ending on the horizon, but she’s got to get through a family dinner first. Here’s what happens to all of the main characters in I May Destroy You episode 10.

I May Destroy You episode 10
‘I May Destroy You’ episode 10 is streaming on iPlayer now. Credit: BBC

Arabella: it’s her mum’s birthday and she’ll cry if she wants to

It’s Arabella’s mum’s birthday and the whole family is getting together to celebrate – Bella, her mum, dad and brother Nick. Before the party can get started, though, Bella has some business to take care of. After dropping Terry off at her acting audition, she heads to the park to meet Simon. It’s the first time she’s seen him since the night of her rape and she needs to give him back the jacket he lent her that evening. At first, things are a little tense – not least when the vision in her head of a man stood over her in a cubicle transforms into Simon – but soon the two friends are putting their fight to one side and making amends. Then Simon starts talking about being told to leave Bella on the night she was raped, assuming Terry has told her herself. She hasn’t and Bella’s confused.

With this bombshell marinading in her head, Bella heads off to mum’s house to help make dinner and ignore Terry’s calls. Auntie Lenora, her mum’s pal, turns up momentarily, but Bella either doesn’t remember her or pretends not to. After waiting for hours and cycling through some flashbacks from her youth off waiting for her dad, he turns up and the big family reminiscing session gets underway. It’s not all positive – her dad recalls the time his house was robbed and the next day the thieves came back for his distinctive “burnt clementine” Toyota. The person to blame for the break-in? Bella – although, as another flashback shows, there’s another side to every story. She had just discovered Auntie Lenora wearing nothing but a t-shirt in her dad’s house and with her freshly washed underwear drying on the radiators…

Still, Bella is upset that she caused the robbery by leaving the kitchen window unlatched and heads away from the party to a quieter space upstairs. Her mum quickly joins after revealing Lenora was more than just her friend – but also a “plaything” for Bella’s dad. We don’t see her receiving the news that Bella was assaulted, but you can tell from her quietly emotional face when the pair return to the table that she is fully clued up.

Birthday party over, Bella heads back to Ego Death Bar to meet Terry. Sitting outside, she blurts out that she knows about Terry’s instructions to Simon on that fateful night. Terry’s clearly expecting at least some blowback from Bella about it, but instead, she gets messages of gratitude and love. “Thanks for being a really great friend and looking after me over the last year,” Bella says, eyes glimmering with tears and it feels like another step forward on her road to recovery.

Michaela Coel, I May Destroy You
Michaela Coel in ‘I May Destroy You’. Credit: Natalie Seery

Terry – time to nail an audition

Terry isn’t exactly absent in ‘The Cause The Cure’, but her role is more as a support for other people’s storylines. She pops round to Bella’s to prepare for an audition and then criticises her friend for not working on her book. There’s concern behind her words, but her tone is a little judgemental. “How does not writing help you to write?” she scoffs as Bella procrastinates.

Despite this, Arabella still accompanies her to the audition and, even when she finds out Terry told Simon to leave her on the night of the rape, thanks her for her friendship. While the pair are having an emotional moment at Ego Death Bar, a bartender catches Terry’s eye – could romance be on the cards as I May Destroy You draws to a close?

I May Destroy You Episode 10
Kwame (Paapa Essiedu), Arabella (Michaela Coel),Terry (Weruche Opia). Credit: BBC

Kwame – has he found a keeper?

If Terry doesn’t play too big of a part in this episode, then Kwame plays even less of one. When we do see into his world, though, it feels revelatory. Early on, we find him in a Groundhog Day-style supercut – on the same bus, sending messages on Grindr, getting off the bus to get off in his room, then disinterestedly scrolling through his phone as his latest hook-up gets dressed and leaves.

Towards the end of the episode, it feels like the same situation is about to play out again when Kwame sends a message to someone asking if they want some “fun now?” Tyrone, though, is different from his other lovers – he makes mojitos, cooks meals and isn’t interested in jumping into bed right away. Kwame’s thrown by this and accuses him of wasting his time. “Is having a mojito weirder than instantly fucking?” Tyrone asks, giving Kwame pause for thought that makes him reconsider leaving. When Tyrone asks him to sit with him, Kwame turns round, his sexual swagger gone and replaced with vulnerability as he replies: “I want a hug.” For all the scenes of him getting busy with the men he meets, this feels like his first real moment of proper intimacy.

Michaela Coel
Michaela Coel is the creator and star of the new series. Credit: BBC / HBO

Is Arabella ready to move on?

Over the last two episodes, Bella has made great strides in coming to terms with being raped. We’ve seen her taking steps to move forward with her life, but will she be able to complete the process without knowing her attacker’s identity?

Elsewhere, there’s still plenty of other questions that need wrapping up before the season’s end. Will Kwame break his dating habits and continue to let Tyrone see a different side to him? Will Terry have managed to beat her stage fright and secure an acting job – and what will come of her brief flirtation with Ego Death’s bartender? Is Bella’s roommate Ben just that or is there something more bubbling beneath the surface? Finally, will Arabella finally finish that book!?

‘I May Destroy You’ episode 10 is streaming now on BBC iPlayer – and airs on BBC Two tonight at 10:45pm

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