“Rain Dogs” gives us two wonderful characters to look at. Costello Jones and Florian Selby are poles apart, especially emotionally, but their pain is their umbrella. They are easily two great characters in the study of human behavior and, more than that, of life itself. The fact is that we do not need words to describe them. The show makes us feel for them to the point where we end up replacing them with ourselves and wondering what we would have done had we been in their position. Their pain becomes ours, and so does their catharsis. The way the show ends does bring us to rest, but it also makes us wish we knew what would happen next. But do we really know what’s next for any of us? We don’t. And that’s exactly what “Rain Dogs” shows. Here’s more of Costello and Florian.
Costello Jones is very brave. Period. She may have been living her life on the bare minimum, but that doesn’t make her vulnerable at all. She lives her life on her own terms and has single-handedly brought up her daughter. It hasn’t been an easy ride. She was molested by her mother, has suffered a lot of hardships, worked as a stripper, moved from one house to another, then to a home, and finally to Sunset Park. All these are more than enough to make a person lose the weight of emotions and be raspy in their conduct. But Costello isn’t like this. What proves the genuineness of her character more than anything else is her daughter, Iris, who serves as her support system.
“Rain Dogs” is one of those few shows where the daughter of a broke parent isn’t prone to hate. And this is clear proof of her upbringing at the hands of her mother. No matter what happens, where they have to go, or the conditions in which they have to stay, Costello makes sure that Iris is taken care of and reassures her that she is everything to her mother. Conversely, Iris always supports Costello, sometimes even taking on the role of a mother and telling Costello the truth that she needs to know and providing her with reassurance as well. One can say that the way Costello’s mother treated her was what made her ensure that she would give her daughter the love that she never received as a daughter. Costello doesn’t have many friends—only two, to be precise, namely Gloria and Lenny. Both of these are her secret sharers, and she can be as vulnerable as she wants in front of them without being misunderstood.
Coming to Costello’s love life, it is a wreck. But this, too, doesn’t make her give up. She loves Florian with all her strength, and it is probably his attitude that she is scared of, which she thinks can affect Iris adversely. In “Rain Dogs” Episode 4, she takes Iris and is almost going to leave Florian’s Bruton house, but changes her mind at the last moment. This is a sign that she knows Florian needs her and Iris just as much as they need him, if not more. To take such a decision despite knowing the hurt that it can bring is a testimony to her inner strength. She is ready to take chances and to take the pain that they cause her, just as it has been most of her life. The kind of life Costello leads makes us wonder just how harsh life can be and how she can be like this even after going through so much. Costello’s life is a book on life itself. While many of us might not be able to feel her pain, the episodes do remind us that being happy is up to us. As long as we have even a few people who we know love us and care for us, life will go on. They will be there in the harshest of times, and we will want them to be there when we are celebrating. But the catch is that we will have to endure their temper and accept when they tell us the truth about ourselves that we do not want to hear.
Throughout the episodes, there are countless times Costello breaks, but she comes back stronger. In “Rain Dogs” Episode 8, Gloria addresses Costello as a most self-centered woman, which is true, but wouldn’t someone who has never really gotten any help from the world and had to survive all on her own eventually become self-centered? Costello had to look after herself so that she could look after her daughter. She had no one else to do either of these, especially not Florian. We do not even know whether Florian is Iris’s biological father. But we have no right to question that. Perhaps it was a perfect ending in Episode 8 when she tries to kill herself only after asking Florian to take care of Iris. This is because she knows she can trust Florian with Iris, even after all that he has done and can end up doing, as he loves Iris more than anything in this world. Ultimately, it is Florian who saves Costello, and they decide to share the same home. We do not get to see them do it, and that’s where the uncertainty of life lies.
Psychotic, a father, and a drug addict; Florian Selby is quite a cauldron. Between him and Costello, he is the one with the tantrums. He yells at people at therapy sessions, pounces on his caretaker at the mental facility, breaks Costello’s laptop, spends all her money so that she is unable to leave him, doesn’t really care for his actions, and is always on edge. Florian isn’t someone you would want to be around. However, he loves Iris and Costello to the point where if anyone even tries to tell him that he has caused them pain, he isn’t able to accept it. Perhaps the only reason he agreed to be taken to the mental facility was because he wanted to be better for Iris. He called Costello every single day from there, waiting for a reply, which never came until it was Iris who called him up and told him that they were in Somerset.
So, there is a soft side to Florian that only surfaces when he sees Costello or Iris, especially Iris. He, too, hated his father, just like Costello hated her mother, and they subconsciously found solace in each other. We can only imagine them talking and sharing their pains, thus establishing a connection. Iris calls Florian “Selby,” which does make us consider that he isn’t her biological father. However, if she has found a father in him, there has to be a good reason for that. And all that Florian has to offer is love, and that’s clear enough for Iris. Florian Selby is someone who doesn’t give us lessons on philosophy whenever we do something wrong or cry but just sits quietly with us, listening to our screams and cries, and passes us a smoke now and then. We give space for understanding only to those who give us the space to be ourselves in front of them. Then even their tantrums turn into gestures that we understand, just like Costello understands Florian’s. It’s hard to tell if we would like someone like Florian in our lives, but we sure wouldn’t mind one. Spontaneity sometimes works better than anything else, and Florian Selby proves it big time.