Rich has been kept from us for some time now. I mean he was gone for two episodes. Then in Mini and Nick’s episodes he has only a few lines. Alo’s episode is the only episode where we had some quality time with him. Even with the screen time he got in Alo’s episode he still seems so far away. So this post is dedicated to diving into the mysterious psychology of Richard Hardbeck.
Many people including Liv seem to be under the impression that Rich is okay. He seems fine. He is not going off the rails. He is not drowning his sorrows in narcotics or drowning himself in sexual encounters to distract himself from his pain. However just because you are not acting out or speaking up does not mean that you are okay. I think that Rich is the type of person who does not like to talk about his feelings, he hates asking for help, and he feels that he must handle things on his own. It is part of his metal personality. The stubborn guy who feels that he must be self-reliant and strong.
Deep down though I know that Rich is an absolute mess. His world use to be Metal and Alo. That was his world, but with Grace he had to make room for her and in many ways I think that Rich/Grace made a life with one another. Breaking up from a serious relationship is a hard thing to get over, but losing the person you love at no fault of your own or theirs—but an accident. That is a hard thing to accept. Even if you were allowed to say good bye and you were able to visit them at the hospital it would be an earth shattering tragedy. On top of this though Rich was never allowed the opportunity to be there for Grace and was never able to say goodbye properly to Grace. This I think weighs on Rich’s heart who prides himself on doing the right thing. I think that Rich is in so much pain, but he has no way to express it. He is trying to be brave and he is trying to be strong while he watches everyone else fall apart. I think he is also trying to stay busy with his school to both distract himself, but also to escape the rest of the group.
Another thing I wanted to write about is the complete lack of concern over Rich. I think that the entire gang has been avoiding Rich like a plague in terms of asking him how he is. They are all pre-occupied with their own individual dramas that I think they are missing something so important right in front of them. Rich’s eyes. Rich’s lack of will to fight or talk about his feelings. None of them thinks it’s strange until Liv confronts him out of an understandable selfish need for someone to suffer with her. However as an audience member who watches Rich closely there are a few things I have noticed about Rich since his return. He has been low energy, he hasn’t gotten angry, he’s been acting as support, and his eyes have a constant glossy/haven’t slept properly for weeks quality to them.
There is something glossy/lost about those eyes. Rich is feeling lost and the memories of Grace are keeping him from destruction. However he is lonely and he despises asking for help. Even in Episode 2 he screams at Alo that no one can help him and he generally doubts other people’s advice. In his episode in Series 5 Alo gives him excellent advice; however, he fights it until he comes to the realization that what Alo said was true. Not because Alo told him, but because he figured it out himself. Rich is a loner by nature. I also think that Rich was scared and looked really upset when he thought that Alo was going to run away. I think that if he lost Alo or Alo left Rich’s entire world would fall apart.
Rich is lost, alone, hurting, and self-isolating/group-isolating. He is trying his best to put on a brave face and trying his best to move on. I believe that Grace is in his head. Not in an insane way. However I do believe that Grace is in Rich’s head. Some of his actions seem to be guided by what Grace would want. Not blowing up at Alo in the bar and trying to help him. Not calling Alo a friggin’ moron when he suggests that they run away. I think Grace is very much with him. His friends are pre-occupied and he’s trying to busy himself. However tomorrow…I want to see anger and I want to see tears. I want to see the the pain I believe lives inside of him finally come out.
Because something is not right…it’s in his energy and it’s in his eyes.
***Gifs are not mine***