Friday, January 1, 2016

REVIEW: 'Mozart in the Jungle' - Rodrigo Moves in with Gloria While Big Things Happen for Hailey in 'It All Depends on You'

Amazon's Mozart in the Jungle - Episode 2.03 "It All Depends on You"

After one drum circle too many, Rodrigo is evicted from his apartment - though it doesn't take him long to find a new roommate. Hailey and Lizzie help Bradford record his podcast about a famed building for artists. Hailey thinks about her future as one of the tenants recounts some famous performances. The threat of a strike causes some musicians to feel the heat.

There were bound to be major repercussions to Rodrigo inviting the drum circle back to his apartment late at night just so he wouldn't be alone. He still fears that he is losing control of the orchestra. Even though he has laid down the law and tried to be a more stern conductor, the fear is still present that he will no longer be seen as the conductor to get this orchestra to the greatness that's just around the corner. But those aren't his most pressing concerns in "It All Depends on You." Instead, he is evicted from his apartment after the owner is fed up with his constant annoyance. He is forced out which isolates him even more. Fortunately, he quickly finds himself in a new situation that could present a fascinating opportunity for connection.

Gloria opens her home to Rodrigo because it's the sensible thing to do. If she doesn't, plenty of other women would be willing to. She does it to keep her conductor close and comfortable. Rodrigo was able to find some comfort through sex. But that was only momentary happiness. It still doesn't stop him from having a nightmare. Moving in with Gloria probably won't get rid of these fears either. But it will expose him to a part of her life that he hasn't seen before. It doesn't take long before Rodrigo learns that Gloria is a really good singer. It's no surprise that this twist happens. Bernadette Peters is a Tony winner after all. But it is crucial in informing the new dynamic between Rodrigo and Gloria. So far, their relationship has just been about Gloria forcing him to attend fundraising events and worry about promotional campaigns. But seeing Gloria in her home leads to a very tender moment between the two. It's in that moment where Rodrigo encourages her to pursue her passion of performing again in order to make herself happy. It's that kind of advice that can be life-changing to both of them. They just have to be willing to listen to it.

Rodrigo wants to be a great conductor. He doesn't view himself as that yet even though the public's perception of him certainly suggests so. When a younger guest conductor comes in to work with the orchestra, he is so humbled to be in the presence of both Thomas and Rodrigo. Rodrigo doesn't see himself as part of the older generation. He was brought to the Symphony in the first place in order to appeal to a younger demographic. But in that moment, he is caught in between - like he is in so much of his life right now. He wants to be stern but he doesn't want to get in the way of fun either. It's an internal conflict that is even present in his nightmare. He laughs at first but still makes to take this job seriously. He wants the orchestra to bond as a family. And yet, he wants to remain adamant that they can't continue playing softball. They defy his order and he catches them. But he's too conflicted over what to do. Because of that, his greatest fear then happens. Someone is injured.

That someone is Betty. Of course, it is. It seems that Hailey always gets her big breaks at Betty's expense. That's fine once, but now it has happened a couple of times. Sure, it's the only understandable reason why Hailey gets to join the orchestra given that Betty is the only person in the oboe section that the show has spent time with. It's just weird. It still works because at least Betty gets to comment on it. She's frustrated when she injures her finger during this game. It's over something very trivial too. It's just because the pitcher hits her with the ball. They had a playful but contentious banter before that. But still, it was a rather awkward way to get hurt. It's definitely a bittersweet moment for Hailey. She's sad that Betty is hurt but she's also happy because this means she gets to go on the Latin America tour.

This is actually a pretty big episode for Hailey. She spends the day with Lizzie and Bradford as he records a video for his podcast. Why is he recording a video for his podcast? It's unclear. But it does allow for a moment of bonding between Hailey and a famed oboist who lives in this historic building. Hailey even gets to perform for him. That's the happiest she has been in awhile and it's just because she decided to tag along for this journey. And yet, there is also a ton of awkwardness in this episode for Hailey as well - which keeps the episode from fully coming together.

So much of the awkwardness with Hailey is also rather meaningless because of the twist at the end of the episode. Her fight with Alex regarding him leaving for a reality show and her talk about moving out with Lizzie are no longer that meaningful. Her reaction to Alex's news is played very weirdly. It's clearly the show writing Alex off. But it's doing so in a very elongated way. They couldn't just have him leave at the beginning of the season. After how important he was last year, he deserved more of a sendoff. And yet, he really didn't. His relationship with Hailey wasn't all that important. She's a much more interesting character away from him. Her reaction to his news seems about right. He reacts to her lack of reaction in a way to create a big explosive fight scene between the two. It's not how regular people act. It's simply the show doing something to signal to the audience that things are over between the two. And yet, this story could have played more meaningfully if both of them got pieces of life-changing news at the same time. Here, it's awkward because Alex is leaving and Hailey doesn't care. If they both had opportunities that took them away from the relationship, it could have created an interesting conversation. Instead, the end result is largely just lame and completely unnecessary.

Some more thoughts:
  • "It All Depends on You" was written by Stuart Blumberg and directed by Adam Brooks.
  • The sight of a conductor on a trend mill conducting and then falling over from a heart attack was a really unnecessary image. It set up the later scene between Rodrigo, Thomas and the younger conductor. But it was still rather awkward.
  • Cynthia and Nina finally give in to their flirtation and have a hot make out session in an elevator. It continues to be completely unprofessional while keeping things with the union strike story from progressing at a fast rate.
  • That scene in the older oboist's apartment was very weird. It seemed as if Bradford was trying to secretly record this conversation. That was the only reason why it was okay that he was shooting his camera from so low. And then, the oboist motioned for him to capture Hailey's performance. It just didn't make a whole lot of sense.
  • The show really just jumps past how significant even a minor injury can be for an orchestra member. It instead moves directly towards what Betty's injury means for Hailey.

As noted in previous reviews from this series, every episodic review was written without having seen any succeeding episodes. Similarly, it would be much appreciated if in the comments section, the conversation would only revolve around the show up to this point in its run.