Sunday, May 17, 2020

What I’m Watching: Mrs. America

Mrs. America: Season 1, Episode 7 “Bella” (B+)

We’ve been seeing Bella mostly as a supporting player making wisecracks over the course of this show so far, and it’s great to put a spotlight on her. I remember seeing Margo Martindale in “The Riches” and the movie “Paris, Je T’aime,” when my friend left the movie theater laughing uncontrollably at her entirely American French accent, more than a decade ago, and then appreciating her for her Emmy-winning turn on “Justified” and other roles. She really does a formidable job here, playing the part in front of the crowds but serving as much more of a mediator in private, juggling the priorities of those closest to her and assessing what she can truly achieve. Asking Betty whether anyone still calls her a radical anymore was one of the hour’s strongest scenes, and deciding that the gay rights agenda had to tabled was an unfortunate decision she didn’t want to make. I recognized Annie Parisse from “Person of Interest” and “The Following” as Midge, a crucial part of the new administration who was helpful to Bella until it became clear that she wasn’t fully willing to return the favor. As we saw the schism between Bella and Gloria, it was interesting to see Phyllis take a step back as her three closest allies all got themselves elected to official positions in the National Women’s Conference, ready to take down the organization from the inside. Calling Lottie to tell her that they couldn’t accept Klan support turned into a very different conversation, one that demonstrates her desire to win above all.

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