This show keeps getting better and better. I thought this week- "Push Comes To Shove"- was a tour de force for Reese Witherspoon, and maybe for Nicole Kidman too. They are just killing it on this show. They are taking these characters and just inhabiting them so well. I loved Madeline in the book, with her trademark wit and snark, but at the same time she's vulnerable- and Reese is just owning that. She gets that character. But it's not just Reese. Everyone on this show is gelling right now.
In many ways Monterey is a character of its own. Every week we start with the view over the coast and the Bixby Creek bridge, and this week is no exception. Madeline is listening to "This Feeling" by Alabama Shakes as she drives to a meeting with Nathan, her ex. The topic is of course Abigail, who has gone to live with Nathan and Bonnie. This encounter sets the tone for an amazing episode as Madeline and Nathan spar over the idea of having a couples' dinner together, to discuss the "parenting paradigm" re: Abigail. Nathan of course is not as clever as he thinks, mispronouncing the word chasm as chazum for crying out loud. Between this and Ed's later encounter with Bonnie at her studio, am I the only one who thinks this couples' dinner is, um, not a great idea?
The other big thing happening here is the controversy over the Avenue Q play. Renata Klein of course is trying to stop it, in no small part due to her antipathy for Madeline, and she appears to have the mayor in her corner. But Madeline has a trump card- Celeste. So many things cascade from Celeste's choice to get involved. She discovers she misses working, which sets off Perry the abusive husband, and she puts Renata in her place and appears to convince the mayor that it's not in his legal (or political) best interests to oppose the play.
"I mean, I think what draws a lot of people to Monterey is its progressiveness" and "I don't think we want to become synonymous with suppression and prior restraint."
Nicely done, and afterwards Madeline and Celeste share a moment. Maybe my favorite of the episode, where Celeste admits that being a mother isn't enough, she wants more. And Madeline agrees, honking her horn multiple times and screaming "I want more!" Even the director of the episode mentioned in the aftershow how amazing that scene was from his perspective. Like I said, they're killing it.
But... the consequences. Perry gets rough yet again - seriously this guy has a problem- but Celeste is part of the problem. They have a weird dynamic where he frightens her, hurts her- but it seems to turn her on too, in a twisted way. There's more to this story. But they are headed for a clash as she wants to go back to lawyering, and he wants nothing of the kind. And Madeline somehow finds (or thinks she finds) the guy who hurt Jane, so the question becomes what will Jane do? Between the hints of her going to look him up, and her target practice at a gun range, they seem to be hinting at trouble to come. But maybe because I've read the book I think that's misdirection- I think the problem is closer to home?
The other big news here. Madeline had an affair with the theater guy a year ago? Apparently there are feelings there, as he kisses her and she doesn't exactly... resist. As she tells Celeste "I mean, I might have kissed him back. It was like a reflex, you know? Somebody kisses you, you kiss them back." Oh, and "I might have grabbed his ass, I don't know."
"Stick that up your tight ass, bitch," courtesy of Madeline after Celeste's performance with the mayor.
Trivia night is apparently a thing. Madeline comes home to find Ed in Elvis mode and practicing. And our usual chorus of witnesses chime in.
"They came to Trivia Night with their game faces on."
"We're talking about viciously competitive people."
Is Ziggy being bullied also?
I read the book and loved it!! I forgot that they were doing a series on it, thanks for reminding me. Great post!ReplyDelete
I think they are doing a great job brining the book to life. I agree about Monterey being its own character--love all the gorgeous views! I love Reese's portray of Madeline. Great post!ReplyDelete
I agree! And Monterey has been awesome so far- I was a little worried when they changed the setting from Australia but it seems to have worked.Delete
I just watched the first two episodes this weekend and initially I was a little disappointed, because the book does it better, but I'm liking it now. Madeline had an affair?! Well, that's a change from the book. I love Monterey and the Bixby Bridge is beautiful in person. There was some filming going to happen last time I was up there. I don't think it was this, but who knows? Great post, Greg! :)ReplyDelete
The book is so good! And yes Madeline having an afair is definitely a departure from the book- the biggest one so far I think? Not sure how I feel about that...Delete
The Monterey area looks beautiful! I was looking at some of the locations in an article and I want to go to Fisherman's wharf! I wasn't sure how this show would go but so far I'm pretty pleased!
It was a long while ago that I read the book, but I'm loving this miniseries! Great actors, and they manage to amp up the tension with every scene. We can feel that bad things are coming soon.ReplyDelete
Great post! I can't wait for each new week's episode.
I know, it's been a couple of years now for me too. I may have to re- read it. :) I'm curious how I'd feel revisiting the book.Delete
I just finished the episode and loved it too. That scene of them in the car and hitting the horn and screaming was amazing. I am interested to see how this all plays out - even though I read the book :)ReplyDelete
Yes. A great scene. Those two... and I'm wondering how close they'll stick to the book. They seem to have stuck pretty close so far, although I don't remember Madeline having the affair? Still I think it will end in the same place...Delete
Hm... I'll have to wait for the free weekend and hopefully they will binge it. :) Usually how I catch up. I'm glad you are enjoying this one. I wasn't sure about it but now I'm curious.ReplyDelete
I hope you get a chance to watch it!Delete
I have to say, I'm a little bit curious about this show. I don't usually go for stories about mean girls (which, from the trailer, it seems like this has an abundance of) but the cast seems really strong. Unfortunately, I don't have HBO, so if I do end up watching it, I'll have to wait for the DVD.ReplyDelete
The cast is amazing and I definitely know what you mean about mean girls. I'm not usually into that either but in this case I loved the book so much I had to try the show, and it's won me over. The thing about the book was its Australian setting and the way it examined these three women and their roles and it was just such smart writing- or at least I thought so.Delete
OMG mispronouncing the word "chasm"...poor Nathan. Clearly he's no match for Madeline!ReplyDelete
I know! I laughed...Delete
Loving this show too! The location and views are beautiful.ReplyDelete