Wednesday, April 19, 2017

My Review of Feud: Bette And Joan's: "Abandoned"

Written by Jaffe Cohen & Michael Zam
Directed by Helen Hunt

Mamacita (to Joan): "I told you the next time you throw something at my head I leave."

Joan Crawford really was becoming her own worst enemy and in this episode alone, she had virtually alienated any and every ally she could've had. The episode began with her increasingly feeling out of the loop with production of Hush, Hush, Sweet Charlotte in full swing and ended with even Mamacita wiping her hands off Joan.

And the thing is and maybe it's down to Lange's performance in this one, but my sympathy for Joan wasn't really there. I get that she felt left out of the buddy/ally routine that both Bette and Aldrich but the way Joan halted production and generally seemed to throw a hissy fit did her next to no favours with this particular episode.

Joan had gotten to a point where she had seriously overestimated her own clout and when Aldrich basically told her to get her act together and stop trying to make script changes of her own, it should've been a hint. However it took the threat of being examined by a studio doctor, being sued for $100,000 and being replaced by Olivia de Havilland for the lesson to really sink in.

The thing is though while Mamacita was completely justified in finally abandoning Joan, the vase wasn't strictly aimed for her head this time around. That said though aside from one revealing exchange between Joan and Bette about talent and beauty, Joan showed no real insight here and continued to make her circumstances far worse than they needed.

Not that it was plain sailing for Bette either. At different points in the episode, both Victor and Aldrich castigated her for her treatment of Joan while BD herself had managed to marry Jeremy behind Bette's back too but in the end in relation to the movie itself, Bette maintain some professionalism and took her producer role with some seriousness too.

Unlike Joan, Bette was the one who tried to keep production going and in the end, Joan was traded in for a less demanding actress with Havilland. Heck, the episode even ended a little with a not so subtle 'screw you' to Joan as Bette, Olivia and Aldrich posed with a certain drink for photographers while Joan's health ended up taking an actual hit by the time the closing credits emerged.

- History wise, Mamacita might have left Joan a lot later than what this episode indicated she did. However I don't blame her for finally having enough.
- Much as I've enjoyed seeing Kathy Bates as Joan Blondell in the series, has she really been necessary though?
- Nice use of Sweet Charlotte towards the end of the episode as well.
- Chronology: I guess 1963/1964 considering the production of the movie in question.

Abandoned stumbles a bit as a penultimate episode but it's still got some great moments though. The obvious highlight is the beauty vs. talent conversation between Crawford and Davis along with the former losing ally after ally. Just one more episode to go now.

Rating: 7 out of 10

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