Directed by D.W. Medoff, Pollen tries to say a lot of things through its metaphysical representations and symbolism. Maybe the story would have sounded great on paper, but due to a horrible execution, the desired result never comes out in the end. Pollen is absurd at times, for lack of a better word, and it is never able to make a viewer invested in its narrative. The issues the film tries to raise are very serious in nature, and we would have liked it if the execution was also strong enough to impact everyone who saw it and somehow bring a change in their ideologies. So, in Pollen recap, let’s try to understand the point that Pollen is trying to make and see if they were able to convey it in an effective manner in the end.
What Impact Does Zach’s Action Have On Hera?
Hera had gone out on a date with her boss, Zach, once before, and she gave her consent to go out a second time. Zach was the most misogynistic and sexist person you could ever come across, but Hera ignored all the red flags and his toxic traits subconsciously. Zach forced himself on Hera, and the poor girl couldn’t decipher what exactly happened to her. She somehow managed to convince her conscience that whatever he had done was purely out of love, and her delusions helped her overlook the trauma. But that was where she was wrong. She should have made sure that she never met him again in her life, but instead, she reached the office the next day and exuded a kind of energy to make herself and others feel like she was in love. She was giggling in front of him as if she had found her prince charming, but it was blatantly clear that the man was only interested in having a physical relationship with her. That wouldn’t have been a problem if he hadn’t treated her with such utter disregard and objectified her so badly.
Hera’s workplace was as toxic as her boss Zach, and there were people who were ready to backstab each other for their own vested interests. Vicky, Hera’s colleague, just wanted a chance to make Hera feel miserable about herself, and she always made sure to let her know that her life was way better as compared to Hera’s. After sexually abusing Hera, Zach met her the next day and pretended as if there was nothing unusual about what had happened the night before. He told her that he had left something for her at her desk, and Hera was overwhelmed as she thought that he also wanted something substantial with her. Hera was shocked to find out that he had left a contraceptive pill for her, and as if that was not enough to traumatize her, he personally told her to take it as he didn’t want any complications to arise. Hera gulped that pill down unwillingly, and the mere act broke her down into tears. She was not the kind of girl who shared her private life with people, and we believe that she kept everything inside her until it started affecting her. Hera’s traumas, which were embedded deep inside her core, started surfacing with what she went through with Zach. She was probably dealing with a lot before Zach brought more chaos into her life, and as a result, she started hallucinating. She would have still been fine if Zach had not forced her to take the contraceptive pill. She felt like she was taking a life, and maybe she did want to have a baby.
Zach, even after forcing a girl and wreaking havoc in her life, unabashedly went about his business. A normal man would get scared that the other party might report them, but not this predator. He had no qualms about his actions, and in fact, he had an affair with Vicky, which gives us an idea about the kind of lecherous intentions he had. Hera and her sister, Demi, clearly had a lot of unresolved issues between them. Demi didn’t approve of Hera’s lifestyle, and even Hera felt that because she was working as a financial analyst, she was better than her sister. Demi had separated from her husband, probably because he was an abusive man (though Pollen never gives us a lot of details about it).
Why Did Hera Kill Zach?
Zach was the worst kind of guy one could expect to be around. He was mean, misogynistic, and drenched in toxic masculinity. He had ruined the life of a young girl who had a bright future, but somehow he still managed to uphold his superiority complex, and he kept feeding his already bloated ego. Hera was good at what she did, but unfortunately, she was stuck among the wrong people. From her colleagues to her bosses, everybody was just trying to take advantage of her or make her feel that she amounted to nothing. Hera was in a very unstable state of mind, and being around Vicky didn’t help her cause. Hera got tired of being belittled by Vicky, and she lost her temper and assaulted her.
The next day, Vicky got on her nerves once again, and she ended up stabbing her with a pen. Hera had lost touch with reality, and the trauma was getting the better of her. Of all the people, she believed that Gabe was somebody who was genuinely fond of her, and he always supported her in every way he could. But he too made an advance on her and, somewhere, tried to take advantage of her unstable state. Hera became self-destructive, and she tried to kill the plant that Zach had given her as a gift.
Zach had the audacity to drop by Hera’s house once again, and he tried to come close to her. Hera felt like she was relieving her trauma all over again, and in the spur of the moment, she stabbed Zach multiple times and killed him. She buried him in her garden, and more than feeling scandalized, she felt very cathartic. Hera felt like somebody had lifted a huge burden from her shoulders, and she felt relieved. Maybe she would never be able to forget what had happened to her, but she was able to deal with her trauma in a better way. Her past no longer haunted her, and she could look into the eye of the tree man and still not get affected or traumatized by it. She apologized to her niece, Corey, and told her that nobody had the right to be violent with her. She told her to fight for her own integrity and speak up against the perpetrator if she ever felt violated.
Pollen Ending Explained: What Did The Plant And Tree Monster Symbolize?
Hera probably wanted to have the baby and taking the contraceptive pill and being abused by Zach had shaken her from within. She developed motherly instincts towards the plant that Zach had given her, and she became as possessive of it as a mother is of her newborn baby. The tree man, on the other hand, was a personification of all the trauma that she had endured in her life, and she had somewhere accepted that she would never ever get rid of it. That is why, even after the tree man abuses her in one of the scenes in Pollen, she sits with him at the dining table and accepts his existence in her life. She wanted to remove any and every part of Zach inside her, and the Pollen coming out in the form of mucus symbolized that feeling. We don’t think that others saw Pollen coming out of her mouth, and she was just hallucinating. Corey could also see the tree man because somewhere, she had also gone through a lot of trauma in her life, and together with Hera, she also learned to deal with it in a better manner.
Pollen metaphorically tells us how we treat women in our society and what they have to go through because of our misogynistic and patriarchal approach. The tragedy was that Hera was trying her level best to legitimize Zach’s behavior, and she kept fighting herself to justify whatever he had done. Had things not gotten out of hand, maybe Zach would have kept abusing her and taking advantage of her vulnerable situation. Pollen also tells us how, through our actions, we make the lives of women a living hell. And I am not generalizing the issue by saying that all men are responsible for what a woman has to go through, but the majority of those issues arise only because of the mentality that a man has and also proudly upholds to.
It was problematic how Hera accepted toxic behavior, and we got proof of it when she told her niece that if a boy was pulling her hair, it meant that he loved her. The abysmal reality is that most of the time, these men do not even realize that they are ruining the lives of other people and giving them traumas that they wouldn’t be able to overcome in their entire lives. They ask the women to be “cool” about it just because, according to them, it is accepted behavior. I am not implying that killing Zach, in the end, was justified, but his behavior brought Hera to that level of insanity. We hope that Hera and others like her, who face similar traumas and problems will never surrender to their circumstances and, additionally, won’t ever let the women around them go through such an ordeal in their lives.