The police keep asking questions about what Maya did, not about what Kevin did. Questions like which parts were voluntary or forced, how much she drank or smoked, how “clear” she was, how loudly she screamed, and how hard she struggled. They also tell her she shouldn’t have destroyed the evidence and shouldn’t have put herself in such a situation to begin with.
The consequences of Maya’s truth-telling seem tragically backward: it’s as though she is the one being interrogated and Kevin the one being protected. Because her culture privileges young men like Kevin, she bears the heaviest consequences for having made the accusation.
Kira shouts and makes phone calls, while Peter holds Maya’s hand and feels powerless. Having grown up in the shadow of Isak’s death, Maya has always tried not to break her parents’ hearts. Now, sitting in the Hed police station, she realizes she’ll survive this ordeal, but that her parents won’t. She feels guilt as she sees in their eyes the realization her parents have always feared admitting: “we can’t protect our children.”
Kira and Peter both live up to their respective personalities in their reactions to the news, while Maya continues to feel responsible for the newfound sorrow she’s bringing on her family. Ever since Isak died, the Anderssons have feared that the façade of safety surrounding their children will be broken, and now their nightmare is coming true.
Before he leaves for the capital, Amat’s friend Lifa hugs him and tells him that he saw some little kids playing hockey in the street. They pretended to be their hockey idols, like Sidney Crosby and Patrick Kane. One of the little kids had yelled, “I’m Amat!” Lifa tells his friend to “kill them all. Show them you’re one of us.”
Lifa means that Amat should represent kids like them who grow up in the Hollow without many of the advantages that wealthier kids enjoy. In that way, it’s not primarily about beating the other team, but rather about showing younger kids that something like this is possible.
As the hockey team boards the bus for the game, a police car rolls into the rink parking lot and stops in front of the bus. David arrives late, in a confused and happy mood—last night, his girlfriend told him that she’s pregnant. Then he sees the police car. When the police pull Kevin off the bus, Bobo and Lyt try to block their path. Kevin looks “vulnerable, defenseless. Perhaps that’s why all the adults around react the way that they do, or perhaps there are thousands of other reasons.” Amat and Benji are the only players who stay quietly seated during the uproar.
When Kevin gets arrested, the players, coaches, and other adults instinctively flock to his defense. He represents the town’s best aspirations, after all, so no one wants to believe that he could be justifiably accused, especially at a moment like this. It’s telling that he’s described as “vulnerable,” since that word indicates how, although he was the aggressor in the assault, he’s also in some ways a victim of the toxic culture that raised him.
Peter, who feels completely incapable of violence, nevertheless wants to watch someone else harm Kevin. That’s why he stands at a distance, watching the arrest. David notices he’s there.
Peter doesn’t have a fighting instinct and has been painfully reminded that he can’t protect his daughter, but he still wants justice. His standing there, however, will send an unintended message to David.