Tuesday, March 14, 2017

My Review of Feud: Bette And Joan's: "The Other Woman"

Written by Jaffe Cohen & Michael Zam & Tim Minear
Directed by Ryan Murphy

Joan Blondell: "No matter how liberated. Women will what they always do when cornered: eat their own."

And as this episode proves, that also happens with said women also being pitted against one another too. Yes, the hatred that Bette and Joan might have been chemical but as we saw for a brief moment in this episode, they were also banding together as professionals with this movie as well. Then we had Jack Warner and Robert Aldrich dramatically change that.

Along with Hedda Hopper (great performance from Judy Davis, but Hedda is irritating), whatever little truce that Bette and Joan might have had came to a swift end this week. Aldrich had Hopper print a "quote" from Davis about Crawford's cleavage while Joan herself retaliated by going to a rival gossip rag and commenting on Bette being old enough to be her mother.

As horrible as it was to see both Warner and Aldrich (the former with glee, the latter with some reluctance) pit both Bette and Joan against one another, there was a joy seeing both Sarandon and Lange really going at it with this episode though. The dig at Pepsi being pure vodka being the icing on the cake along with Joan's manipulation of both Aldrich and Hedda at different points in the episode.

However two episodes in and I have to admit, it's Sarandon who's pulling me in a lot more. Okay the rehearsal scene during Bette's "Letter To Daddy" song wasn't her strongest performance but the rest of the episode, especially when given some home truths by BD and that last scene with Robert should certainly give Joan more venom in the next one.

Speaking of Joan though, I do think Lange is doing a good job in highlighting her insecurities well enough. We saw in the first episode how she was able to get Bette on side to help manipulate Robert into firing the young actress who would've played the neighbour's daughter and she definitely seemed stung when Aldrich didn't succumb to her advances either. The moment though where she decided to "recast" her husband however was pretty priceless.

Like last week (and I assume for a few more episodes), we saw some more filming for Whatever Happened To Baby Jane along with Joan completely ruining one of Bette's scenes with her outbursts as well. Whatever your stance is about who was the best performer for that movie, seeing the way both actresses try to get into their characters has been a strong point of this series so far.

- Bette's reaction to meeting her "love interest" Victor Buono (Dominic Burgess) was priceless. He's always going to be King Tut from Batman 66 to me though.
- Delving into Bette and Joan's past works we saw bits from Above Suspicion, The Little Foxes, Mildred Pierce and Beyond The Forest.
- Joan Blondell and Olivia de Havilland certainly had similar and differing viewpoints on how women treat each other in the industry.
- Chronology: Not long from where the Pilot episode left off.

Not as strong as the opening episode but saying that, I do think The Other Woman kept things moving along nicely. I suppose watching this show is a good reminder than in some respects things haven't completely changed as Bette and Joan's rivalry was exploited by the studio and media alike.

Rating: 7 out of 10

No comments: