Willa

I read very bizarre things about the character of Willa in Succession. After last week’s episode, Vulture said this:

Willa hates Connor, but one reason she stays with him is the privilege of treating people below her station with unbridled contempt. Comfry’s efforts to exchange Connor’s jacket for a VIP cashmere sweater earn her a noxious rebuke from Willa. Connor seems turned on by it, but it’s not for his benefit. She just wanted someone to abuse.

And more bizarrely, Hunter Harris said this:

I love Willa as the nation’s leading Con-head. She has always loved Connor, but this episode she’s really standing up for him: she shuts down Kendall’s insults, she shoos off Comfry. If Connor were to be president — which I absolutely hope does not happen, even in this fictional/just as fucked up America — Willa would be an iconic first lady. Pablo Larraín would be opening Final Draft on inauguration day.

WHAT?

Why is Willa inexplicable to people?

Willa’s deal is, she is an elite escort who was doing that work to fund herself while she got established as a playwright. Then, her top client asked her to go exclusive in exchange for funding her lifestyle and projects. She has contempt for him, but he’s nice enough to her and the deal was obviously pretty sweet, so she took it, despite her reservations, expecting that this, like the escort thing, would be temporary.

Then, despite having nothing material standing in the way of her artistic dreams, her fully realized first project bombed.

Now, Willa is in the slow agonizing process of coming to terms with the fact that her appearance might actually be all she has to offer, and that her day job (Connor’s paid girlfriend) might be her actual career. This is a harsh blow, but what might make it worth it is if she can convince herself that Connor’s political ambitions are somehow realistic and not a national joke, and that she feels invested in what he is doing.

So that’s what she’s currently in the process of doing — trying to persuade herself that she respects him and can do this full-time without wanting to die.

This all seems super obvious; I don’t understand why people continually miscategorize her character. She has one of the more relatable and realistic character arcs (who amongst us hasn’t had a sickening realization that we were perhaps blocked from realizing our artistic dreams less because we lacked the funds or opportunity and more because we lacked the intelligence or talent), and the ‘elite escort’ to ‘trophy wife’ pipeline is pretty well established in real life. Connor and Willa are quite obviously mirror world Trump and Melania.

Anyway, I like Willa. Her life sucks and she hates it, but she’s more self-aware in her misery than anyone else on the show. It’s very sad to watch her compromise and fool herself more and more each week.

2 Comments

  1. Alex says:

    For me, Vulture nailed Willa’s character. More to the point, any “compromising” of herself happened long before we met her.

    Like

    1. Elizabeth says:

      When do we ever see her abusing underlings other than this one time she snapped at Comfrey (who any way isn’t an underling)? I’m not saying she’s a nice person or anything, but she doesn’t appear to be motivated by pushing other people around, we’ve never once been shown that, and it’s not like there aren’t ample opportunities to show it.

      Like

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