Monday, September 27, 2021

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Total Bellas Redux: “Bryan’s Breaking Point”

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What an emotional ride this episode is. Though at times we’re treated to moments of joy and pure fun, the show threads in instances of anger, sadness and to-the-point statements. “Bryan’s Breaking Point” proves to be a pivotal episode of the spin-off series. And through tackling love, family and depression, it ends up being the most relevant of the season thus far.

We start off the show with a reminder of Daniel Bryan’s retirement, and an emphasis on the depression we found out about a week ago. So now is definitely the time for you to grab the tissues – for your hay-fever.

Our opening scene is of Nikki and Brie Bella discussing change, and how it occurs. Nicole brings up the fact that Brie has stopped partying and going to gatherings as much. Brianna, though in agreement, finds it ridiculous that her not drinking as much is seen as a bad thing. It’s hard to disagree with her here, to be fair.

We’re then taken to a car ride between the twins where they’re discussing “onomonopeia”, which they both believe is the real pronunciation of “onomatopoeia”… *le sigh* They then look it up and try to fit it in a sentence, which is something they fail at as well. And I shall keep my comments to myself. Cue the title sequence!

After a quick bop to the title sequence, we’re shown a scene of the twins, their mother Kathy Colace and brother JJ Garcia in the back garden of the Cena Express. The group are discussing exercising and end up encouraging mother Colace to go for a sprint, which she does. On her way back she then imitates an over-the-top Nikki and sits back down for a conversation about the upcoming trip to Naples, Florida!

The group are excited to go on a ladies (and JJ) trip, but the idea of “Brie Mode” being on hiatus soon comes to mind. Brie isn’t as excited for the trip as the others and her brother immediately responds by insisting that it’s because her husband restricts her. Brie, innocently sat with Josie on her lap agrees (whilst believing she’s doing the opposite) by admitting that when she takes more than two drinks, a judgemental Bryan is always apparent. Her family insists that her husband should love her for who she is, and before she met him she used to be a “rock star” (yes JJ really did say this) and was more of a party girl. Nikki emphasizes the point and shows tones of sadness when realizing how conservative her sister now acts/dresses compared to her previous years.

Brie fights back by saying that as one grows older, they’re bound to be more mature. And the Brie that they were all discussing is from her 20’s. And though I was definitely on the side of JJ and Nikki, Brie really does have a good point here.

Later on in the day, Brie is sat by the pool with her sister-in-law Lexie. Brianna informs Lexie that her and Bryan managed to buy a house that will have four bedrooms in Phoenix. Somehow Nicole and Kathy are somehow upset about because they believe she needs five bedrooms (a massive difference, clearly). Lexie is very much on board and thinks her current house is cute enough. However she states that when the kids start coming in, things will get crowded. Before the conversation can continue, Nikki and John Cena’s dog Winston starts eating his own poop – and this isn’t even the weirdest part of the scene. After cleaning it up, Brie then kisses him on the lips, forgetting what literally just happened – and now we’ll all remember it. Nice one, Brie!

Following this, Brie and Nikki are in the car and the topic of Brie’s new home is on her sister’s mind. Nicole believes that the property is too small and wants Brie to extend it. In a confessional, Brie says that she’s ready to start building her dream home with Bryan. But the one downside is that her entire family feels the need to give their 2 cents on it. In one of the few flashback scenes that follow, Kathy even asks Bryan to “do it for [her]”, because somehow this is her home…?

Nikki in her own confessional then gives her opinion on the scenario. She reminds us of the fact that although her sister never wanted a mansion, she did want a “big cottage-field home”. And though she’s aware of how much Brianna adores her husband, but she worries that she doesn’t get what she wants in the relationship. Taking us back to the car ride, Nicole tells her sister that herself and Kathy remember exactly what Brie wanted, and are only speaking up so that she can get what she wants from it all. Brie however, believes that they don’t have a clue what she wants. Nicole is then left upset and says that Brie “is not [her] sister any more” – not in the literal sense, of course, but it’s still a pretty tense and unfortunate moment.

The guest house is the setting for our next scene and here we’re finally introduced to JJ’s wife Lola as she is holding on to Winston with Brie, Kathy, Bryan and JJ by her side (whilst Nikki joins them soon). Lola, though her real name is Lauren, tells us that she’s been away from her husband for a few weeks and is only back for her mother-in-law’s wedding festivities.

Nikki quickly brings up the topic of the infamous new house, and immediately the fireworks are set off. Nikki believes that even if he wants a small house, having more room for his mother to stay for a month or for the possibility of triplets wouldn’t be too much of a hassle. The rest of the room, besides the couple in question, seems to agree.

In a confessional, Bryan reminds us that he grew up with “very little money”, compared to Nicole and Brie. He states how content he is with living in a small home, but gets annoyed when the others seem to not allow him to do so.

Brie then takes to the confessional as she corrects the idea that she wants a gigantic house. By “big”, she always meant no larger than a four bedroom home that 2500 squared feet. Back at the house, Brie tells her family that she doesn’t want her children to “consume a lot”. Nikki states that she believes that this is based on how one is raised, and if she were to have kids she’ll make sure that they are humble. Cue the laughter from Bryan – and the awkward tension in the room.

Bryan responds to Nikki’s exasperation by saying that though her boyfriend is “humble”, she is most definitely not. Nicole then asks the group to raise their hand if they believe that she is humble, and the entire room does so, including Brie. Brie then asks her husband what makes her sister not humble and Bryan says that she believes she deserves everything she’s ever gotten. Brie then chimes in and says that although Bryan believes that some people work just as hard as her and don’t earn nearly as much, it’s unfair to act as though this makes her sister not humble. The conversation quickly escalates as the topic moves onto the house and Bryan says that he just wants a simple house without Nicole and co. butting in (except his version was less PG).  Nikki then sees this as jealousy, but Bryan insists that he doesn’t want what she has. Then, as the slow piano plays in the background, a sad Bryan says that his opinion will always be different from everyone else in the room.

The next scene then shows Bryan and Nikki getting ready for a car ride. But before they set off, the two immediately apologise for the previous issue – I love the extensive drama here, by the way. Nicole then goes on to say how a lot of the family has the same habit of cutting people off and inserting their opinions wherever possible. And in a confessional, she speaks about how sad she is that the two fought. She goes on to express her love for her brother-in-law and how shocked she is to have had her first proper fight with him.

Later on, it’s dinner time at the Cena and Nikki Express and the argument from earlier is brought up at the table. Though no real details are shared, Brie tries to gather some peace by sharing a toast. Here she says: “to all of our differences, and if only the world could be like our family and all of us with our different opinions, believes, and how we live, come to dinner every night, just share love.. The world would be a better place.” Very sentimental.

Nicole then says that WWE called to tell her that she’s needed for Wrestlemania and the RAW after Wrestlemania. JJ then chimes in and tops her news by announcing that his wife is currently pregnant, and expecting a child in October 2016 (photos can be found on Lola’s Instagram). The family then share their “hip hip hooray” chant for Lola and the entire family congratulate her. In a confessional, Kathy expresses her happiness that she’ll be a grandmother whilst Nicole says how this news helped change the mood in the room.

In the post-dinner room for the ladies, the topic of Naples is on everyone’s mind and Brie says how she will get into “Brie Mode”. Nikki teases her by saying that she’s only doing it because Bryan won’t be there to stop her, which Brie takes offense at. Brie takes to the confessional to say how it “lights a fire” inside of her when comments like this are made by her family. She says that these comments make her feel like they do not truly know the real her. Touché.

In the men’s room, the argument between Bryan and Nikki is addressed by Cena. Daniel explains everything that went on, but it appears that he’s more concerned with whether or not things are okay at the moment. Bryan responds with a “yes” and explains what happened with the apology earlier on. Bryan then goes to bed as he’s tired, in more ways than one, and Cena wishes him well – sort of the way a dad would to his son.

The next morning is the first day of the Naples trip, and everyone is ready to go, except for some. Nikki notices that her sister and Bryan have been having a quiet discussion the whole morning. And it’s not like any other conversation, it seems way more serious.

Brie shows up in a confessional telling us that after a sleepless night, the pair were talking about Bryan’s health, his emotions as well as a phone call from doctors telling him that he needs to go to Phoenix to meet with them. We’re then shown a scene behind closed doors of Nikki and Brie whispering about the situation. And though Bryan tends to laugh things off, this seems really serious – even more serious than we were made to believe. Nikki explains to us that on top of his father’s death and retirement, he still had hope that he could compete again. However, this call from the doctors is unnerving and setting his emotions back a whole lot of steps.

Bryan then confronts the family and tells them that he needs to fly out that same night. Kathy, hopeful that he’ll be able to show up for her wedding, is left disappointed as he says that it’s most likely not possible for him to do so.

The family then help pack Bryan’s bags and an upset Brie explains his current situation. She says that he told her how he doesn’t want anyone to come with him and that she regretfully has to take a step back to allow him to do what he feels is best. The group then put their bags in the car to head to Naples, whilst Brie remains concerned with Bryan.

During the car ride Kathy brings up her concerns about her “grandma” body whilst JJ says that he’ll be in the pool right by her side with his “dad bod”. Nice. After a few jokes about Lola’s pregnancy are thrown around, the attention is brought to Brie’s planned pregnancy. Unfortunately she has to make sure that Bryan is mentally okay before she can plant a baby seed in her, as being stressed and pregnant is not the healthiest of options. JJ chimes in and tells his sister that the child can help out as it may act like some form of medication. He believes that Bryan’s love for kids will kick in and things will be okay. Brie however, has a different mindset. She understands that Bryan’s depression is based on more of a chemical imbalance in the brain, rather than just a feeling of one in their normal everyday life. She also reveals that the doctors are recommending that he take medication for his mental issues, which is something he isn’t too keen on taking on. God, this episode really is upsetting.

Soon enough, the group arrive at the hotel and are seen settling in. To start the shenanigans, Nikki opens some champagne that she pretends to spray at the others.

Later on in the day the gang get ready to go to the pool and the “nun” Kathy shows up in a long, orange dress – perfect for swimming! Cue the montage of swimming, splashing, sliding and drinking! The group then take Kathy to sit down and cover up her eyes. And to her surprise, mr Johnny Ace pops up giving her a fun dance!

Nikki, after holding back a little, heads into the water, with a very supportive Brie by her side. A bit of fun soon leads to Brie tackling Nikki in the water, throwing her Louis Vuitton glasses in the pool and pissing her off. Nikki then responds with a “you’ve changed” comment and out comes Brie’s anger (in confessional form).

Brie points out the hypocrisy in how Brie gets the same comments when she’s partying and having fun that she does when she’s acting conservative with Bryan. And it’s hard to blame her for being mad.

Later on in the jacuzzi, Johnny confronts Brie about her sister’s attitude. He asks Brie if there’s anything wrong with her as she’s constantly telling Brie that she’s “changed”. Brianna quickly explains what we already know, and Johnny puts it down to Nicole missing her – in general, rather than just her personality altering.

Simultaneously, Kathy and Nicole are sat at the hairdressers discussing how sad Bryan was that same morning.

Coming back from a commercial break, Nicole takes Lola outside to have a little discussion. She tells her sister-in-law that Brie is her “best friend for life” and reminisces on the times where Brie was the “natural life of the party” and today’s fun antics remind her of that.

Brie is seen speaking to JJ and tells him that Nicole is the type to complain about everyone else, purely because they aren’t like her.

Back to Nicole and Lola, Nikki ends the episode by saying that although Bryan is a “good man”, she fears that what Brie is going through isn’t making her truly happy. End scene.

Thoughts: This is a really emotional episode. Times have really changed for the Bella family and Daniel Bryan is at the forefront of it.

Much like last week, Bryan’s depression is the hot topic. And if we thought it was deep last time, this week is a true nightmare. Going into this show I was always aware of the fact that it would take a close look into Bryan’s mental health. However, I never really understood just how serious it would get. It’s incredibly gripping to see that Bryan’s depression is not only impacting him to a large extent, but also his family. His injured sister-in-law, his engaged mother, and his soon-to-be pregnant wife are all feeling the affect of living alongside someone that is going through a hard time. And it’s nice to see that they’re all rooting for him the whole way.

It’s also really nice that Cena is there as a supporter of the situation, rather than an instigator. When he finds out about the issue, his only worry is whether it is actually resolved. He doesn’t seem to care for what really happened – in fact, once he finds out the basics he realises that it isn’t something to be discussed for too long. And then when he gets Bryan in a quieter environment he ends up catering to his girlfriend’s brother-in-law’s feelings rather than discussing the petty issue. Cena hasn’t come across all that well in this series, but it seems as though he really is a sweetheart underneath all of the seriousness.

Another person that really cares for Bryan is of course, his wife Brie Bella. If there’s anyone that has come across the best in this series, it’s her. Brie is a kindhearted, caring woman that always puts her family’ needs before hers. If she wanted, she could force herself alongside Bryan and be by his side like she wanted to, but she didn’t. And if she wanted she could have locked herself up and allowed the getaway to happen without her, but she showed up and ended up allowing everyone to have fun. Brie is a sweet person, and based on this series she seems to have every redeemable quality the perfect mother could want. Little Baby Bella is definitely under good hands.

All in all, this episode, as upsetting as it have been, is an important and intriguing one. Bryan’s depression is relevant and difficult as ever, whilst the Bella family are really going through a problematic period. This show is able to grip us with the lighthearted, cute outlook of the family having fun, and then they thread in moments of importance and sadness to keep us going. ‘Total Bellas’ is a great show, and if you’re not watching, I would recommend catching up right away.

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