'Five Bedrooms' Nails The Complexities Of Coming Out In A Heartbreaking Episode
It’s been the elephant in the sixth bedroom since the series began, with Harry being an out gay man to everyone in his life… except for his mum.
The following will contain spoilers for 'Five Bedrooms' episode six. You HAVE been warned!
This week, as things continued on a good path with policeman Pete, the pressure began to build for Harry to finally tell his mum the truth about his relationships. The episode was messy, things didn’t go to plan and it was tricky. The show absolutely nailed what it’s like for queer people trying to navigate that near debilitating conversation.
When 10 daily caught up with Roy Joseph, who plays Harry, before the series began we spoke to him about Harry’s journey, one which he was adamant was not a “coming out” story.
“Harry knows who he is and he knows what he is,” Roy told 10 daily, “It’s a story of him finding autonomy in his life and just taking charge of who he is, and living it to the fullest and most in an as honest a way as you can.
"HIs mum is a very traditional, classic Indian woman who wants him to marry an Indian girl and give her grandchildren. Really simple stuff. That's all she wants," Roy said.
Episode five saw Harry taking the steps to come out, getting so close and encountering those little hurdles in life that make it more and more impossible until the unthinkable happened.
Not only that, but the brief silver lining of his budding relationship with neighbour Pete was put in jeopardy. But of course, hiding the fact that he hasn't come out to his mum would have a knock-on effect to Pete who seemingly has the rare seamless coming out story.
READ MORE: Roy Joseph Isn't Playing The Token Anything
As Roy touched on when we spoke to him ahead of the premiere, this is not just a story of a man's struggle to come out of the closet -- in every facet of his life, Harry is a queer person of colour who is successful and (mostly) happy in life. It's the close relationship with his mum, the fact that she has no one else but him and the guilt associated with that, which he is struggling with.
Coming out of the closet is a difficult, tricky thing so many LGBTQ+ people have to navigate with very little idea of how their authentic self will be received by their loved ones. For those like Pete, it's a matter of 'We always knew'. For some, like Harry, it's less clear how the conversation will go.
And for Harry, the potential of never coming out is a very real possibility. "She could die," he tells Liz following his mum's stroke, "I can't be the one to break her."
"If I never tell her, that's got to be okay."
Having Harry's story on TV felt so massive, for those of us who have struggled to come out, for those who have dated with people struggling to come out, and for those -- like Liz -- who are on standby regardless of the outcome ready to support.
What the episode got so right was the difficulties on every side of this story, of how being closeted can affect people closest to those struggling to come out.
For those struggling with their own identity, to see someone having to grapple with the very real difficulties of a very real and very difficult conversation cannot be understated. This wasn't an after-school special where Harry was told he could breathe out.
This was heartbreaking, it was aching for anyone who has been or may be in a similar situation. This was the perfect way to show just how difficult coming out can be.
While Harry continues to struggle with finding a way to show his mum his true self -- he's lucky in that he still has his new, chosen family there who'll have his back at every turn.