Ginny and Georgia season 2 addresses key unresolved issue
Ginny's mental health takes centre stage in the follow-up chapter.
This article contains discussion of topics including self-harm that some readers may find upsetting.
From teenage sex to unhealthy parent-child dynamics, Ginny & Georgia is a smorgasbord of challenging topics that are seldom depicted sympathetically on-screen.
The Netflix series centres the mother-daughter dynamic between the titular Ginny (Antonia Gentry) and Georgia (Brianne Howey), depicting its high points and moments of great emotional upheaval, one of which is Ginny's self-harming.
In season 1, the creators touched on her compulsion to punish herself, but didn't explore the reasons behind her troubling behaviour. Thankfully, the picture has been widened in the follow-up chapter, with the audience gaining further insight into Ginny's mindset.
Season 2 opens with a distressed Ginny processing the news that her beloved mother murdered her ex-husband. It's a destabilising revelation, regardless of the circumstances in which Georgia acted, and we see the teenager consider harming herself before her brother Austin (Diesel La Torraca) jolts her back to the present.
After Ginny confides in her father Zion (Nathan Mitchell), he encourages his daughter to attend therapy and it's through those interactions that we achieve an understanding of what's fuelling her distress.
The reasons for self-harm are as diverse as the people who display that behaviour but in the show, Ginny's actions are driven by a need for control, which was sorely lacking throughout her childhood.
Alongside that, the narrative also explores Ginny's full spectrum of emotions, including the shame she's carrying, to which Dr Lily (Zarrin Darnell-Martin) swiftly informs her that while certain coping mechanisms are unhealthy, she is allowed to be more forgiving of herself.
It's also important to note that while Ginny does confide in her father, which is a vitally important first step, and the importance of opening up cannot be overstated enough, it is just the first step in a mammoth journey and not a cure.
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Although heartbreaking, Ginny & Georgia's exploration of self-harm touches viewers' hearts without leaning into hysteria, which is no small feat given the highly sensitive nature of the subject matter.
And crucially, we never see exactly what Ginny is doing, or her scars. Instead, the camera remains firmly on her face, using Ginny's emotions to tell the story rather than employing a voyeuristic lens.
The series also combats the widespread belief that self-harm is always a cry for help. For many, it's a method of coping with emotional pain, hurting themselves in secret, just as the protagonist does.
But as expected, Georgia eventually discovers the truth, which she learns while reading her daughter's journal, which results in an emotional scene between mother and daughter.
After being quizzed by a hysterical Georgia, Ginny pulls down her trousers and shows the physical impact of her trauma, and once again, we're not permitted to see her scars because we don't need to. The concern splashed across Georgia's face is more than enough to convey her heartbreak: "Why would you do that to yourself?!"
Ginny's response captures the conflict that comes with self-harm: "I hate it. I want to stop." She has no desire to hurt herself, but is unable to break the habit, as is the case with any addiction.
And while it would be remiss to ignore the impact that this has on both of Ginny's parents, the overall focus remains on the teenager. The impact of her actions extend beyond her, but the person hurting themselves should always sit at the centre of the conversation.
When creators take on tough topics, audiences can become unwilling voyeurs who are fed sensationalised vulnerability without any sensitivity, which ultimately does more harm than good. But Ginny & Georgia's sensitive, honest depiction of self-harm doesn't fall into that trap, seamlessly balancing drama and education throughout season 2.
And importantly, the show refuses to wrap up Ginny's journey into a neat little bow, which illustrates the non-linear nature of healing – Ginny isn't immune to relapsing – and refuses to simplify a complex issue for the purposes of entertainment.
For information and support, please visit the NHS website. The following services can also help:
Ginny & Georgia seasons 1 and 2 are available now on Netflix. Check out our Drama hub for all the latest news. Looking for something else to watch? Visit our TV Guide or Streaming Guide.
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