I’m gonna go back and say, “It fits the pattern of abusive homes” here, Walky is clearly playing the combination “Good child” and “Mascot”. Sal is clearly the “bad child” (not really bad, just how her role worked out). Linda is abusive, folks. she’s infantilized her son and alienated her daughter. I could almost suspect there’s alcohol or affairs involved here, but it’s also clear in something else;

Sal is the responsible one. (actually, come to think on it, she was in “It’s Walky!!” too). David…david has been shielded from consequences from day one, while also being prevented from taking risks or encountering them on his own.

thus, his emotional development is STUNTED, as is his other developments. Sure, he’s got high native intelligence (both the Walkerton kids do) but his parents clearly didn’t provide him the mental and emotional tools to actually USE IT, and worse, they’ve blocked him from the natural process of trial-and-error, channelling him into a perpetual man-child who will, most certainly, need a ‘safe space’ if he ever stops being (Deliberately) oblivous.

In a way, it’s actually an inversion of the usual relationship-the Brother is the passive one, the one who seeks attention and praise, while the Daughter is the assertive one who’s toughened up enough to be functionally an adult (early, even) and accepting of consequences.

It’s like Linda didn’t bother to tell Walky ‘don’t touch, it’s hot’ because Sally already grabbed it and burned her hands.

My step-niece was in a similar position when my sister married her current husband. The result has been that said step-niece doesn’t contact her family (except her step-sister-and then, only rarely) and is a fully-functioning adult, while my ‘blood’ niece is 26 with a kid living in my sister’s basement with her husband rent-free.

Sal may be a bit of an ass, but she’s FUNCTIONAL-she has sense, she measures risks rationally, she knows how to survive. Walky DOESN’T, here’s my prediction, if this followed “Rule of Natural Consequences”;

Sally will graduate from college, if she wants the degree, and move into a career. Walky…will go home to his parent’s house, and live there until they die, working an occasional part-time, low-demand, low-skill job until he’s too old to successfully temp, at which point, she might take him in when mom and dad kick the bucket.


because he’s still using the coping skills of an infantilized child, while Sal has a full suite of functional judgement, including the understanding that actions DO have consequences.

Dumbing of Age

Maintained Matthew Leffler


I grew up with fraternal triplets as cousins. There is one they consider the “baby”, and there’s one who’s widely treated as the oldest, even though they were born literally less than two full minutes apart (emergency C-section). I also had two friends who were identical twins, and another two who were fraternal twins. Neither set of twins had an “older” kid except as a joke when we were little. When they were 8, the girl of the set of fraternal twins developed T1 diabetes. After that, her brother started calling himself her “big bro” and taking on more of a caretaker role.

From my experience, it seems to depend a lot on whether the parents treat one kid as younger or otherwise baby one kid over the others, and also on whether one kid has a health issue. In both cases where a “baby” developed, the “baby” had a health issue (CP and spina bifida in one case, diabetes in the other), but also, in the fraternal twins, the kid with CP and spina bifida wasn’t the only kid with health issues, just the one who got babied for it. If the parents treat one kid as younger, the kids will pick up on it and respond accordingly (which seems to be what Walky is taking advantage of here), even if they don’t register it consciously.

Side note: In every family that plays favorites that I’ve encountered, the kid(s) who’s not the favorite always knows who the favorite is. The kid who is the favorite almost always thinks they’re treated fairly. If that aint a great metaphor for privilege dynamics in society, I don’t know what is.

Dumbing of Age

Maintained Matthew Leffler


I think when someone close to her comes out (either Jocelyne or Carla disclosing,) she’s going to be more primed to handle it well this time.

There’ll be a lot of questions, but I think Joyce has had a lot of growth and that will help – her religion is already straining to a near-breaking point, she’s definitely siding with ‘I love you and will support you even if I don’t Get It yet,’ and the knowledge that it’s her one sibling who’s supported her and Becky so thoroughly/the cool girl who helps her just because she can is going to mean Joyce picks a side very quickly.

(That said, it’ll go way better if it’s private, particularly in Jocelyne’s case. A really basic explanation and then Joyce asking questions is going to help in the moment, and that is definitely not gonna happen if Carol’s there.)

(I tend to think it’ll be Jocelyne first, but Joyce knowing about Carla will speed things up dramatically and if it does come down to Joyce finding out with the parents then that’ll help. I tend to think that story’s going to be someday when we get to the holidays? Joyce is definitely not inclined to visit home again any time soon, so Jocelyne won’t show up unless she visits IU.)

Dumbing of Age

Maintained Matthew Leffler


I lost an entire lengthy comment, but: Normally I would say yes, seeing each other as equals is a fantastic and necessary part of a relationship.

The problem is that Walky and Amber both have massive self-esteem issues and see themselves as equally GARBAGE, and their relationship currently has them reinforcing to each other that yep, we are both terrible people instead of ‘There is at least one person who doesn’t think you’re terrible and maybe we can try and feel less terrible together’.

(This dynamic is also present in Ruth/Billie, though lessening on Ruth’s part. It is EXTREMELY WORRYING there, too. I actively worry about Billie because she is definitely Not Okay and not seeking help.)

I really think in another time, Amber and Walky could be great together. But not with this massive web of secrets of Amber’s hanging over them, and not unless they start feeling like maybe they could be Less Garbage.

Dumbing of Age

Maintained Matthew Leffler


Even Lucy’s light hearted iteration has more stink to it then you think, cause it means Amber would be a rebound. FOR DORTHY.

But I think Billie has a point. Just, she thinks she has MORE of one then she actually does. He came to her because, well, she’s right. Other folks would tell him to wait. Which might be a pretty smart Idea. But I DON’T think that instantly translates into no connection to Amber, and she’s some revenge plot. Device.

Walky isn’t a knight in shining armor, or perfect, but that doesn’t mean he’s as spite filled as Billie is.

I feel, Billie, that if we REALLY want to be real here… your relationship started to get better when the spite was toned DOWN. So, stop this highschool gossip game and worry about your OWN relationship

Dumbing of Age

Maintained Matthew Leffler