By Darian Rocco
If you need a synopsis of the show, please read Ash Dragmire’s post here.
When the character of Joana Coelho, played by Vaneza Oliveira, was first introduced, I was slightly annoyed. The character seemed angry and I feared that Brazilian cinema was as limited as American cinema in the depiction of Black, especially female characters. Was this going to be another ABW (Angry Black Woman) character with loud outburst and an inferiority complex? Oh, I was pleasantly surprised. Joana appeared to be above average to high intelligence. She recognized people’s deceptions and put forth a clear plan to get to the Offshore, the island paradise for those that pass the Process.
As the season progressed, Joana didn’t lose her rough exterior. We began to peer into her past as an orphan that survived on the fringes of a fringed society. You would think that one would become feral in such an existence, but it made her become resourceful. In order to qualify for the Process, she has a stolen chip implanted in her. Reading the chip is how one is confirmed for the Process. The relationship she has with the woman that surgically implanted the stolen chip gives a smidgen of evidence that she knows how to maintain relationships with others. The two characters seemed slightly familiar with each other, but not too familiar. It was like one would feel towards a paternal aunt seen four times a year. Nevertheless, it was a peek behind her exterior.
There are aspects of Joana’s personality that reminds me of myself. Coincidentally, this week at work, a group of employees were chosen for a team event. We all had to take a personality test. The model we used was called the DiSC. The purpose is to help us communicate with each other. I was a strong C, which means I rely heavily on facts, am introverted and can be short with pleasantries. Nevertheless, it is never out of cruelness, but a need for personal space. My coworker next to me agreed with my assessment. Curiously, I asked him to give further details. He said that I appear to respond to situations with a black and white approach, but he knows I am able to stretch into gray areas. That made me reflect on my approach with coworkers. I see a strong correlation with my black and white approach with Joana’s rough exterior, stern expressions and need for space. We both use them as defense mechanisms. For me, it helps remove emotions to make better decisions. In addition, I hate for anyone to read my emotions. It represents a loss of control for me. It is my guess that Joana feels the same way. In addition, it helps her get through the process by any means necessary. Getting too close to a fellow Processer, would cause her to make poor decisions and possibly get eliminated. This happened to another character.
Joana gets through the Process and the leader of the Process, Ezequiel, puts her through a special challenge. I believe he saw Joana’s rough exterior and intelligence and sought to make her a special agent to fight the resistance/terrorist. He wanted her to kill the man who hurt her prior to the process. You would think Joana would complete this task with no problem. The writers surprise me, again. She refuses. She is not a killer. She has compassion. Moreover, she will not let her moral compass be moved by anyone, even if that someone has the golden ticket to a better life. The story ends with Joana removing herself from the Process and leading another character towards the Resistance. The Offshore has created a formidable foe in Joana. I am excited about the next season! I hope the writers stay true to the Joana character.
Please comment with any of your favorite character evolutions. What made these characters standout and what made you believe the evolutions stayed true to the characters?