Warning: This article contains discussion of abuse and rape.
Social media users are expressing their dismay over the final installment of The Idol, which aired on HBO on Sunday night.
The show stars The Weeknd, real name Abel Tesfaye, as a sleazy club owner and cult leader named Tedros who pursues a controversial relationship with a budding pop star named Jocelyn, portrayed by Lily-Rose Depp.
Initially, The Idol was set to be directed by Amy Seimetz, but it ended up being taken over by Sam instead. It was reported that Abel was unhappy about Amy’s original plans to explore the “female perspective” of Lily-Rose’s character, which allegedly prompted Sam to order several reshoots.
Then, when the first trailer for the series was released last July, it noted that The Idol came from “the sick” and “twisted minds” of Sam and Abel.
An insider told Page Six last week that the apparent scene, which ended up being cut from the final edit, saw Abel’s character Tedros strangling Jocelyn while ejaculating “inside her without her consent.” The source alleged that Sam had been the one to “explicitly” direct the scene while “laughing and feeding lines to The Weeknd’s character like, ‘I own you.’”
But in Sunday night’s final episode, it was revealed that Jocelyn had actually been the one in control the entire time.
It turned out that Jocelyn had purposefully lied to Tedros about the abuse she claimed to have endured from her mother, in order to lure him in and use his status to benefit her career.
While some people have questioned the feasibility of this plot twist, one thing that’s certain is that the show ultimately winds up painting Tedros as the victim all along — in spite of the fact that his character had been exposed for kidnapping and torturing his ex-girlfriend, and the fact that he repeatedly abused Jocelyn.
With all this in mind, several social media users were left annoyed that The Idol ended up portraying Jocelyn as an “evil master manipulator” after setting up the entire show on the basis that she was a victim of abuse.
“It’s not lost on me that Sam Levinson’s finale of the Idol contained an innocent man framed for rape [and] the reveal of a woman lying about being an abuse victim,” one more person wrote. “This feels awfully coded, combined with the gratuitous abuse and obscene sex scenes throughout the show.”
“just seems silly to set up 4 episodes on the basis of a young woman being abused within the entertainment industry just to shoo off the female director and say ‘well actually women lie about abuse let’s not get all feministy here,’” someone else added.
“the weeknd didn’t like the ‘female perspective’ amy seimetz brought to the original version of #theidol, so he made sure to make the most misogynistic piece of shit television has ever seen,” one person tweeted.
“obviously i didn’t watch the idol and don’t plan to ever watch it but OF COURSE it ended with the woman character being this evil master manipulator and the man was the ‘victim’ the whole time,” another wrote.
“*sam levinson voice* sometimes the manipulative predator… is a woman *cannes erupts in applause*” someone else quipped in a viral tweet that has been viewed over 5 million times.
But while viewers have continued to express their anger at the finale, it appears that the cast and crew of The Idol are super proud with how it was executed.
Speaking with Deadline on Sunday night, Lily-Rose stood up for her character Jocelyn as she praised the show’s plot twist.
“Jocelyn is a very calculated and strategic person. She knows exactly what she wants and she’ll stop at nothing to get it,” she said. “Tedros was her muse and that she got what she needed out of him.”
Director Sam, who clarified that Tedros became “the victim” of the series, also added: “Throughout the season, Jocelyn has been searching for inspiration. She’s looking to go to an uncomfortable place, and it’s just ultimately looking for that next song, that next album. Tedros becomes the conduit for that creative unlocking.”