(Warning: This post contains spoilers for the Season 2 finale of “Insatiable”)
The second season of Netflix’s dark comedy “Insatiable” launched last Friday, meaning all the fans who have been waiting patiently to see the Season 1 cliffhanger resolved have had ample time to binge the new episodes — and get to the shocking revelations at the end of Season 2: Regina Sinclair (Arden Myren) is the Pageant Killer, Bob Armstrong (Dallas Roberts) is framed for the Pageant Killer’s murders and imprisoned, and Patty Bladell (Debby Ryan), your new Miss American Lady, says she’s going to prove he’s innocent and get him out by finding and murdering Regina.
Oh, and she admits she likes killing and has no intention of stopping now that she’s realized “nothing tastes as good as killing feels.”
So what does that mean for our binge-eating beauty queen if the show gets renewed for Season 3?
“It’s a challenging question for me because on some level, really, I have certain ideas, but also this is the kind of thing that evolves and changes when you get into a writers’ room full of people and putting in print my expectations for Season 3, like, that’s a spoiler-on-a-spoiler, on some level,” series creator Lauren Gussis told TheWrap.
OK, that’s fair.
“What I will say is I feel like it’s not cut and dry in so far as that she is a bad person and likes killing and she’s irredeemable,” Gussis continued. “Listen, I come from eight years on ‘Dexter,’ so, I think, is that a character who is irredeemable, you know? To me, it’s more about exploring the shadow parts of one’s self and how low can somebody go and still come back toward the light? And Patty feels like she’s finally spoken some degree of truth, which is what everyone’s been saying to her: ‘You have to be honest if you’re going to recover.’ And she speaks some degree of truth about what she likes to do but she still hasn’t gotten to the truth that she needs to reevaluate her ethics, right? That’s actually what recovery looks like. It’s reevaluating your ethics and being willing to make amends and make a change. And so, on some level, she’s like, ‘Oh my God. Maybe I’m cured, maybe I don’t have to stop eating now because I’ve spoken the truth.’ But the real truth is that she actually has to be accountable, which she’s still not willing to do, which on some level means that her addiction can just jump burners.”
Gussis says that the show is ultimately about how “somebody who has the insatiability, that the hole is never enough” and “no matter what you’re doing to reach outside to fill that hole… to reach outside of one’s self to fill that hole, if it’s an unfillable hole it’s never gonna get filled.”
“So one has to really find one’s own inner foundation and moral compass,” she continued. “And it’s about her jumping burners and her ultimately, potentially bottoming out in a completely different way and whether or not she’s available for that.”
Gussis modeled her black comedy on films that influenced her from her teenage years, like “Heathers” and “To Die For,” which brings in the “bigger than life” elements to Patty’s story, including what is “emblematic of teenage rage.”
“So is she really willing to face that and rise above it like a phoenix coming out of the ashes, or is it more fun to watch someone spiral in rage? To me, on some level, when she’s healed the show is over,” she said. “That’s the conclusion on some level. So how long are we going to watch?”
Now, where does this leave her now-imprisoned pageant coach Bob, who is clearly horrified by what he’s created?
“We have always looked at this as a ‘Frankenstein’ story. Like, we pitched it that way, from the very beginning, it’s a ‘Frankenstein’ story,” Gussis said. “He finds her, he creates her and he knows that, on some level, he’s responsible because he saw a pretty girl and decided that because her outsides were beautiful, that her insides must be fine too and he was gonna take that and use that to his advantage.”
“And of course he wanted to help her, it’s not one thing,” she added. “But he decided to judge the book by its cover. And certainly in Season 2, he gets hip to the fact that there are some things he missed. Like, even in that first episode, ‘How could I have missed this?’ He knows that she had a weight problem, but in the first episode he says, ‘This wasn’t about your weight, maybe it never was.’ And he tries to get her help, but to some extent, he understands that by putting her on that stage, by putting her in the world of pageants and all that pressure, which is as much as it’s about be the best you that you can be, it’s also about being the best you that he wants her to be.”
While Bob didn’t know about all of Patty’s murders throughout Season 2 — there were quite a few, to be fair, and different people close to Patty knew about different ones — he did know about the first, Christian, and helped to keep it under wraps.
“So he’s given her all this opportunity, he’s covered up for her, and so now this is his coming to reckon with the fact that there are other ways he could have handled Christian,” Gussis told us. “There are other ways he could have handled this young, vulnerable person — but he didn’t, and now he has to pay the piper and what does that look like? I know what happens in ‘Frankenstein,’ it’s classic. And what does that look like in this universe? And that’s what makes it a cautionary tale on both sides. It’s a cautionary tale when either person decides that the outsides are more important than the insides. It’s a cautionary tale of what happens when one isn’t willing to take a look inside, to do the work that’s necessary. It’s an inside job, it’s not an outside job. But we live in a world where if you do the outside job, you still get cash and prizes. That’s the other part of the reality of it.”
“So it’s not a morality tale, it’s a cautionary tale,” she continued. “In a morality tale, she would get her comeuppance. She wouldn’t have won, she would have gotten taken down. She loses the love of many of the people close to her, but she still wins the crown. And then the question becomes what happens when we’re living in a society where that kind of stuff still happens. What message are we sending that that’s the reality of what happens? And Bob has to face all of that. He has to face his priorities, he has to really examine why he helped her and what he’s going to do about it. Because also, ironically, she’s the person who can get him out.”
“Insatiable” Season 2 is streaming now on Netflix.