Pete: Not bad, huh?
Alex: Kind of perfect.
Given the previous episode’s cynical take on relationships, one may have the idea that Bent isn’t interested in traditional romance. But Bent actually is. Not in playing it straight, mind you, but in deconstructing and examining it.
The episode opens with what Alex terms a “sex dream” about Pete. (It’s remarkably sexless for a “sex dream,” but that’s neither here nor there.) Pete has wormed his way into her subconscious, and now she can’t stop thinking about him.
However, Alex has a healthy relationship with Ben, and here’s where Bent deviates from traditional romance. Alex’s romantic obsession with Pete isn’t played as a good thing; it borders on unhealthy. It leads her to behave jealously and to insult Pete’s new date, Natasha. “Tile Date” doesn’t make a convincing argument that Alex and Pete would be perfect together, and it’s not meant to; the perfection is all in Alex’s head.
Other rom-coms would paint this obsession as a positive. Bent questions whether the very notion of traditional romance is healthy, all the while revelling in it.
For better or for worse, this is where Bent ended, and it never got a chance to answer that question. It finishes with a near-perfect recreation of Alex’s “sex dream.” Leaving aside the question of whether Alex has some sort of psycho-sexual fixation with kitchens, the scene serves two purposes. Firstly, it provides a resolution for the romantics, allowing them to fill in the blanks with a big kiss. But secondly and more importantly, it’s ambiguous, leaving open not only the question of whether Alex and Pete hook up, but whether they even should hook up.
That’s the beauty of an ambiguous ending. It allows the viewers to extrapolate their own ending. If you see Bent primarily as a rom-com, then of course Pete and Alex gave into their attraction. But if you see Bent as an examination of the circumstances that can bring broken people together, then who knows what happened?
For more information on the Bent rewatch project, please click here.
Well, that does it for my Bent rewatch. This was a fun little project.