Tuesday, March 21, 2017

My Review of Feud: Bette And Joan's: "Mommie Dearest"

Written by Tim Minear
Directed by Gwyneth Horder-Payton

Joan (to Aldrich): "She did that on purpose!"
Bette: "I barely touched her."

And that's a wrap. Not for the series mind because there's five episodes left to go but for Whatever Happened To Baby Jane as Bette and Joan up their game in more ways than one for their final days of shooting their only movie together.

Before all that though, there's a moment in the episode where both women go out for drinks and reveal some of their childhood memories to each other. It's a striking moment in an episode full of them as both women get a further understanding of the other. I have to admit seeing the way Joan talked about her stepfather particularly shocked me even though I already some of the details. I think Bette's reaction summed it up pretty well.

Along with the drinks revelation, the other thing I liked about this episode was the exploration on the women's mothering skills. Joan found herself signing a card for Christina while also keep a firm grip on her twins and despairing when she was denied the right to adopt another kid. The dynamic between her and maid Mamacita was also given some nice focus on too.

Then there was Bette. She tried her hardest to shield BD from some of the criticisms of the latter's performance as the neighbour on the movie while also opening up to Victor Buono about her other child, Margo. whom we later saw Bette trying to reconnect with during a phone call. Another surprise moment was the maternal streak she showed towards Buono, which also included her getting him out of a very sticky situation with the police.

However back to the rivalry stuff and once again, any moment of civility between Crawford and Davis got put to one side as the two upped their game in antagonising one another, with the likes of Hedda shit stirring on the side. The look both women gave each other though as production wrapped up on the film was rather telling.

- Along with the sexual abuse Joan suffered at the hands of her stepfather, this episode only made the smallest allusions to her own relationship with adopted daughter, Christina.
- Loved seeing Bette calling Hedda out on her role in the feud that she was having with Joan in this episode.
- No Joan Blondell or Oliva de Havilland this week. Hopefully they're back soon though.
- Chronology: During the final few days of filming Whatever Happened To Baby Jane.

Easily the best episode of the bunch so far. Mommie Dearest might not have given us the biggest details on that particular aspect of Crawford's life but the episode succeeded in covering both Joan and Bette's style of parenting as well as showing us that both women really could've been friends had things been different for them too.

Rating: 9 out of 10

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