On the outside, Everything Now looks like just another good old shiny Netflix teen drama with perfect aesthetics and a beautiful cast of people who everyone wants to be friends with. However, the show dives deep into an eating disorder through the lens of the main character, Mia. Funny, charming, witty, shy, and a little bit obnoxious, Mia is in search of the basic teen experience in every way, even though that’s not what her life is like. In typical fashion, Everything Now begins dramatically when Mia finally returns from the recovery clinic for her eating disorder. It’s been 7 months since she was sent in, and she finally appears to be “healthier” than before. Although this is just a physical representation of her health. What most people don’t understand when they see Mia is that even the smallest thing is a huge trigger for her mental health. Even her parents are incapable of understanding certain things, and her young brother, who wants to be supportive, doesn’t know how to.
It’s the subtle details in Everything Now that make Mia’s character very real. Her inner dialogue is always out in the open for us to hear. We are given a feel of exactly what she’s thinking when somebody triggers her, making it clear that there’s still a long way for her to go. So, when she feels insecure about the fact that her friends have already moved past her in all things teenage, we feel a sense of anxious urgency because it means she will want to get ahead in the race too. Of course, Mia has to treat herself differently than other people; her illness stops her from doing certain things that come easily for other kids her age. The whole thing is a vicious cycle. She feels compelled to do something, then she realizes she can’t and overthinks herself into believing she needs to go back to her old habits in order to get over those feelings, eventually going back to her friend, the eating disorder.
The one point that comes across very clearly, though, is how lonely Mia really is. She looks for any sort of connection with the new girl, not only because she is physically attracted to her but also because she believes her past can be left behind with her. Mia thinks Carli doesn’t know about her insecurities, so she won’t pity her and will truly get to know her real self. What Mia’s forgotten is that her friends know about what Mia has been through; she’s been away, yes, but they still care for her, even if it seems they’ve found other things to prioritize. What Mia feels the most hurt about is all the lying and keeping things from her. Unfortunately, those are the things that might’ve pushed Mia back into her shell, returning yet again to her illness.
A way to escape the world and become truly “invisible”. Eventually, that is exactly what happens because she starts to find out the truth about everyone, and it becomes overwhelming for her. It wasn’t right for anyone to keep secrets from her, but the fact that she had to endure it all at once became a bit too much for her to deal with. The people she used to feel close to began feeling distant, so she tried to keep that connection with Carli afloat. What’s amazing is how Carli pushes Mia to do the right thing, even if it hurts her. That shows a real connection between them. Carli has been through her own share of problems, and so she wants to do anything in her power to save her friend, but she doesn’t want to be a babysitter again, which seems to be a wise decision on her part.
When Mia finds out about her clinic friend’s death, she has no reaction at first. She’s not sad or angry; she’s just stoic, as if she’s just heard that someone passed an exam, not that someone died. But Mia spending a day with Carli and asking her to run away with her to another city makes Carli assess the situation well, making Mia burst out. This is when we start to hear her true feelings. On one side, Mia is afraid of death; on the other, she wants it too. Her illness has made her believe that she is in competition with her body. When she’s eating, she’s losing against it because she can’t be closer to death. Mia grows livid when Carli asks her to stop because she thinks she’s going to turn out like her friend at any time. Her more determined friend, who was doing better than her in fighting the illness, eventually failed. In Mia’s eyes, though, she won because she reached the ultimate goal. Thanks to Carli, Mia goes back to Doctor Nell to be completely honest with him. This is when she’s finally let herself win against the illness. What we understand at this point is that it is a continuous fight that Mia has to endure.
While Mia did not completely heal when she was out of the hospital, it was a horrible time for her there because she didn’t have the chance to make her own choices. Now that she’s seen the dark side and has people to support her, she can choose the right path for herself. Dr. Nell reminds her that her illness is one that thrives on secrecy. It’s when Mia is honest that she’s truly winning.
The last question we want to ask is: did Mia emerge victorious? Well, we can’t really say so, but by the end of the show, it looks like she’s decided to go about it one thing at a time, focusing on herself for once. Healing is never just focused on one part of you; it’s an overall process, and ultimately, Mia understands that too.