Episode 2 By The Numbers:
- Crying Meltdowns: 4
- Fights: 1
- Bottles of Wine Consumed: 1
- Incidents of Twerking: 1
“We’re All Broken,” the title of Episode Two of “The Sisterhood,” reminds me of a poem written by Sister Simone Campbell, the Executive Director of NETWORK, which begins like this: “I always joked that the miracle of the loaves and fish was sharing. The women always know this.”
I loved that line because it suggests that humans who happen to be women share some kind of intimate secret that serves to nurture the rest of planet. At the end of the poem is Simone’s favorite line: “Blessed and broken, you are enough. I savor the blessed, cower at the broken and pray to be enough.”
Those words stuck with me long after I wrote them down in my own book about Catholic sisters. “Blessed and broken, you are enough.” For me it conveyed a lot about how Catholic sisters see the world and other people. They are rarely judgmental, no matter how broken something or someone happens to be. The sisters in “The Sisterhood” don’t judge. They should and sometimes we wish they would, but they don’t.
These sisters, Carmelites, are the best and most honest part of this show.
I received a tweet after my recap and review of the pilot episode ran on RD last week from Sister Laurel O’Neal, Benedictine, which read: “Girls=mainly typical or stereotypical products of our culture. Sisters = real deal.”
The Carmelites on the show are indeed the real deal. They’re honest and authentic despite having cameras thrust into their faces and hysterical millennials having meltdowns several times a day.
And yes, there were meltdowns in episode two. In fact, as the data at the top points out, four out of the five young women who are supposed to be “discerning” to be sisters, melted down in episode two. No one is doing well after her first few days in the convent.
Christie (you’ll remember her from episode one as the girl who likes to flirt with Jesus) wails through the opening five minutes because she’s feeling “iffy” about things. The thoughtful prayer of the Carmelites just doesn’t get her close enough to Jesus. “I’m used to being able to see Jesus and having him close to me and I want him back,” she cries before recounting a confusing nightmare involving a very angry cat.
Eseni, the former beauty queen and aspiring model, has a panic attack in church and has to sit down. She misses her boyfriend and she resents her father.
Sister Maria Therese tries to comfort her.
“I was dating this guy who really wanted me to marry him. He was such a great guy and I knew he deserved 100% of my heart… I never regret any of the relationships I had with men in my life.”
Yet another instance of these sisters being the real deal. Most of the sisters I know look back fondly on their romantic relationships with men. Most had plenty of them. Some were even engaged. They love love.
“Deep inside I’m broken,” Eseni wails.
“You are not alone Eseni,” Sister Maria Therese said. “All of us are broken to different degrees.”
Both Francesca and Stacey have their breakdowns during a field trip to visit the elderly women the sisters care for in a local nursing home. Francesca, whose own grandmother has Parkinson’s disease, simply doesn’t show up to volunteer with the patients. She can’t stomach it.
Stacy begins crying as soon as she sits to pray the rosary with a dying woman in hospice.
No reality show would be complete without a nemesis (just ask Scott Disick), and this week we learned that Claire will fulfill that all-important role.
Claire, who has already been discerning to be a sister for five years, is fed up with her fellow castmates. “Maybe it’s kind of obvious but there’s two different levels of maturity going on here,” she says with a roll of her eyes.
That point is proven when, after lunch, the girls stop by the liquor store to get something to take the edge off. As they pass the wine around in plastic cups later that evening they get a little giddy. Claire is not pleased,
“I’m not into drinking,” she says.
Francesca fights back: “Having a drink does not mean you’re not worthy of being a nun.”
Eseni, meanwhile, is distracted. “It finally hit me…I won’t be able to dance,” she says. This leads to twerking. Eseni is an accomplished twerker and she wants to showcase her talent to the other women. Claire is simply not having it.
“I am not comfortable with what that,” Claire says. “I think twerking objectifies a girl and communicates a ‘come get me’ message.”
Eseni felt judged.
Probably because Claire was 100% judging her.
“Would you feel comfortable doing that in front of Jesus?” she asks.
Claire is so concerned that she talks to one of the sisters about the incident. Let’s be honest: Claire is a bit of a tattletale.
“What do you think of twerking?” she asks the nun.
“I don’t know what that is.”
And what follows is the greatest definition of a twerk ever uttered on television:
“It’s a butt move, all about your bottom, but exaggerated and sensual.”
Once again, nuns don’t judge. What was the sister’s response? Is twerking right? Is twerking wrong?
“I would say it is something that you should sit with and look at. What I try to do is not let the conscience be a bias.”
I feel bad for Claire. I think she genuinely wants to become a sister and the producers of this show are editing her to look like the spoil-sport goody-two-shoes.
If there is one thing that I have learned about nuns during the past four years it is that they love a good pun. Make a “bad habit” crack and they are holding in their bellies. And so I should have expected what was coming when the sisters mischievously told the girls they were heading to their favorite local shrine.
Christie is the only one who is truly excited about the prospect. She thinks she might get to have a date with Jesus while she is there.
The trip takes the girls not to a sanctuary, but to the “Holy Cow” ice cream shop where all the nuns are lined up outside in their full habits, delighted by their prank.
I have to say that the show is starting to hook me. I love everything about the nuns, and for the sake of sisters all over the world, I’m happy they’re getting even a modicum of the attention they deserve. And while I can’t say that I like any of the young women on the show, I do want to know what happens next, which is the mark of a well-played reality narrative.
Will Christie get that date with Jesus?
Will Eseni sneak Darnell into the convent?
Will Francesca ever stop crying?
And most importantly, what will Claire do next?????