Dirty John: The Betty Broderick Story Season 2 Episode 7 “The Shillelagh” Review

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https://fandomopolis.com/2020/07/09/dirty-john-the-betty-broderick-story-season-2-episode-7-the-shillelagh-review/

Betty murders Dan and Linda after nobody takes her declining mental health seriously.

Spoilers

Dirty: John: The Betty Broderick Story Season Two Episode Seven “The Shillelagh,” directed by Alexandra Cunningham, is about the murder of Linda Kolkena and Dan Broderick. The real or fictional Betty has no real excuse for murdering two people, but the television show documents how there were many warning signs. Instead of helping Betty, both Dan and Linda played with her mind. Betty is not a victim, but she could have been stopped. Her friends only try to contain her. Dan and Linda emotionally or legally destroy Betty.

Betty’s gun purchase should have been the first significant warning sign. Instead, everybody decided Betty was acting overdramatic. Betty shows her sons the handgun. She tells them never to touch the gun or tell anybody about it. Ryan informs Dan that Betty now owns a gun, but he still refuses to buy a home security system, even though Betty has threatened to kill him several times. Dan thinks that Betty is just playing mind games with him.

During his bachelor party, one of Dan’s lawyer friends asks him if he is nervous now that Betty owns a gun. Dan flippantly states that all Betty cares about is money. She would never kill the “golden goose.” Dan doesn’t realize that money is just part of why she is so crazed about the divorce. Betty wants the whole marriage back. She doesn’t know who she is without being Mrs. Broderick. She feels like Dan stole her entire identity. Betty worked hard, building the perfect family. Dan’s arrogance blinds him, and he doesn’t report her to the police. If Betty is willing to keep on leaving offensive voice messages even though it leads to her serving jail time, she is not acting logically.

Linda doesn’t help matters either. The new bride has enough after she steals her wedding guest list. Linda takes her anger out on the sons, attacking them for letting Betty into the house when she dropped them off. Dan stands up for his sons, knowing that they cannot control an adult. She and Dan fight over how they are going to get the guest list back. At the end of her rope, Linda breaks into Betty’s house while she is at her job. Betty now assists at a pre-school. She doesn’t find the guest list but steals Betty’s diary instead. Linda bumps into Betty’s cleaning woman as she leaves home.

When Betty comes back, the cleaning woman tells her that a blonde woman who is not her daughter was in the house. She knows its Linda when she can’t find her diary. Betty becomes more outraged. Back at her home, Linda shows Dan the journal telling him how she broke into Betty’s house. She doesn’t see the problem since Betty has broken into their house so many times. Dan correctly scolds Linda telling her that they don’t stoop to her level. They don’t violate laws by trespassing and stealing his ex-wife’s property. He tells Linda to return the diary.

Linda returns the journal after a judge forces Betty to fork over the guest list. If Betty didn’t, then Dan wouldn’t have to pay spousal support. But breaking back into the home to give back the diary leaves the ex-wife even more paranoid. She hallucinates Linda and Dan mocking her journal entries. “The Shillelagh” evokes Betty’s paranoia with an eerie voice-over of her internal hallucinatory dialogue as she stares obsessively at the diary.

Betty’s friends do their best to stop her from doing anything rash. They make up beeper codes to warn each other if they lose sight of her during Dan’s second wedding ceremony. Karen hangs out with Betty during the ceremony. Even though Betty continues to act up, her friends think that her not ruining Dan’s wedding means she is no longer obsessed.

I think that everybody is fooled by the fact that Betty seems to be making some progress. She is going to therapy. The therapist urges Betty to work toward getting her sons back instead of acting on her impulses. Betty looks for a new home to buy. But Dan’s happiness leads her further into manic depression.

After returning from a relaxing honeymoon in Cabo, Dan refuses to engage in any serious talks about shared custody until Betty stops leaving vile voice messages in contempt of court. Instead of changes her actions, Betty wallows in her pain. She steals keys to Dan and Linda’s house from her eldest daughter. Bringing it one step closer to the murder. If only Kim had remembered the keys or had realized she left them, then maybe there would have been no shooting. Dan could have changed the locks or finally called the police.

Betty finally snaps after Linda and Dan decide to try to conceive. Betty feels she has no real purpose after learning that Dan wants to have a child with somebody else. Betty breaks into tears, frustrated, and resentful that her son has to give up Disneyland to spend time with her. She doesn’t realize that the important thing is that her children love her more than a theme park, plus she can fight to gain more custody.

That night Betty lets her rage at Dan take control. She drives over to their house with the stolen keys. Thankfully the episode doesn’t show the actual murder. The loved ones of the victims don’t need to see the glorification of the killing. Instead, Dirty John: The Betty Broderick Story shows Betty telling everybody about the shooting over the phone. “The Shillelagh” ends with Betty sitting in jail. Next week, we will see the theatrics of the trial.

Dirty John: The Betty Broderick Story Season Two Episode Six “The Twelfth of Never” Review

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https://fandomopolis.com/2020/07/02/dirty-john-the-betty-broderick-story-season-two-episode-six-the-twelfth-of-never-review/

Betty represents herself before the judge in the Broderick divorce court proceedings.

Spoilers

In Dirty John: The Betty Broderick Story Season Two Episode Six “The Twelfth of Never,” directed by Shannon Kohli, we see what led directly to the murders of her ex-husband Dan Broderick and his fiancé Linda Kolkena. Betty decides to have Pro se legal representation to control her fate. Dan continues to use legal loopholes to gain the upper hand in choosing the terms of their divorce. Linda is the victim of the mental war that the two Broderick’s are waging against one another.

The most chilling moment in “The Twelfth of Never” is when Linda asks if she and Dan can add some security measures to their home to protect themselves from Betty, who has continuously harassed the couple. She has recorded threatening derogatory voice messages on their voicemail machine, broken into their house, and destroyed their personal property. Within the episode, Betty calls Linda a whore or slut in front of everybody, including her children. The divorced wife has even told one of her lawyers that she would rather kill Dan than become a single mother. Betty once rammed a car into their home, knowing they were inside. Dan and Linda should take the threat to their lives and property seriously.

But, Dan Broderick decides against adding a security camera or sensors to his property. He doesn’t want Betty to know that she has gotten to him. Dan’s hubris led to the murders. If only they had some security in the home, then maybe Betty would have been caught before anything happened. My heart stalled when I saw Dan arrogantly brush off the real concerns of his fiancé Linda.

Instead, Dan continues to gaslight Betty in court. Dan and his new divorce lawyer first argue that they did not know about the Epstein Credits until the divorce proceedings even though we know from earlier episodes that he did. Epstein credits are where the courts will reimburse one spouse from the community account spent on the upkeep of the other. Second and most importantly to Betty, Dan downplays how much she both financially and emotionally supported him during Medical and Law School. He scoffs at the fact that family was on food stamps, not liking to appear weak in the Law community. Dan implies that any financial support she offered was for selfish reasons. Dan forgets the fact that both he and Betty aspired to wealth.

They both enjoy living the high life. Broderick argues that Betty is greedy because she spent more and more of his money as his law practice grew. Dan disregards that much of the money Betty spent went to the children, and even before they were wealthy, he would spend so much on himself, they did not have money for food.

The only fair argument that Dan and his divorce lawyer make is that Betty is mentally imbalanced and should not gain full custody of their children. Throughout Dirty John: The Betty Broderick Story, Betty has threatened Dan and Linda in multiple ways, including stalking Linda by taking photos of her at their eldest daughter Kim’s graduation. She refuses to get professional help. During the trial, she keeps on bringing up questions about Linda even though the judge warns her that they are not pertinent since California is a no-fault divorce state. The fact that Betty spends all of Kim’s high school graduation seething at Linda’s presence, intimidating her instead of celebrating her daughter, makes it evident that she should not gain custody of her minor children.

When the judge rules that Betty will only have custody of the children every other weekend and 16,000 dollars per month, she loses all hope. At the start of the episode, Betty feels empowered after meeting with HALT, a group that helps people who feel crushed by the legal system. One of the leaders encourages her to keep on fighting. Betty meets with a reporter to tell her side of the story, but Dan shuts down the publishing of the full article by threatening to sue the reporter.

During the trial, Betty believes that she has a chance of getting everything she wants. She spends a lot of time preparing for court every day. She goes through all of Dan’s paperwork that she has saved throughout their years together. Other than the questions about Linda, Betty does a great job interrogating Dan on the stand. She makes a moving closing statement about how Dan has dishonored their marriage and the sacrifices she made for their family. All Betty wants to be is a wife and mother. She already feels devastated because her parents refuse to come to support her. When Betty hears the verdict, she breaks from reality.

At home, Betty looks through the photos from Kim’s graduation, smiling away until she reaches the images that she took of Linda. She then stares up to a newspaper clipping, pinned to the wall, that she got in a mail announcing Dan and Linda’s engagement. The words, “You are a fat pig.” are scrawled across the clipping. While it is ambiguous who wrote the message, Betty believes that Linda sent the clipping. Her rage toward Linda and Dan lead her to seek revenge.

Amanda Peet does a brilliant job playing Betty Broderick at the gun store buying the murder weapon. She has a blank, confused look on her face as she purchases the gun, uttering some comments about how she used to be a marksman in high school. The scene has a voice-over of Betty talking about how she has a right to defend her family. She comments on how legally men can protect their property and family with violence, but women are not supposed to get mad. Society wants women to kill themselves instead of “bothering” anybody else.

I think Betty has a point; society privileges men over women. Especially in the 1980s, women are expected to stay passive and compliant with the men in their lives. Women should challenge how society tries to socialize us, but not by killing others. Dan takes advantage of Betty, but there is no excuse for cold-blooded murder.

Dirty John: The Betty Broderick Season Two Episode 5 ” Scream Therapy” Review

Dirty John: The Betty Broderick Season Two Episode 5 “Scream Therapy” Review

With the “help” of her ex-husband Dan, Betty Broderick destroys any civility or common sense in their divorce proceedings.

Spoilers:

In Dirty John: The Betty Broderick Story Season Two Episode Five “Scream Therapy” directed by Maggie Kiley, Betty’s erratic behavior leads to her downfall. Dan Broderick is not entirely blameless in how their divorce proceedings fall apart. Broderick officially divorces Betty in court without giving her any notice knowing she doesn’t have a lawyer to defend her. Dan doesn’t allow his ex-wife to see her children or gives her any alimony. He got a bifurcated divorce from Betty, meaning they nail out all the terms after the legal separation. But Betty only hurts herself through her actions and words.

First, “Scream Therapy” successfully portrays Betty losing all high ground or sanity through a series of edits of Dan handing his secretary recorded tapes of her leaving visceral hateful messages calling Linda a “whore” and threatening their lives. The episode also uses Betty’s POV as she periodically writes in a diary to document her mental decline. She falls further into her obsession with ruining Dan’s life, devastated that he is dismantling her wealthy “housewife” fantasy. She continues to break into Broderick’s home to destroy his property, including Christmas presents and ornaments.

Betty’s friends keep questioning why her responses to Dan are so out of proportion to his actions. Dan offers to pay for Betty to take their children to their traditional skiing resort for Christmas, but she refuses to take him up on his offer. Supposedly, Dan is trying to dictate terms to her, but it is because if she goes on a Christmas trip without Dan, she will have to face that they are no longer together. Betty is correct to stand up to Dan since he has been controlling her life from the start of their marriage, but he offered an olive branch to her. Instead of taking the peace offering, Betty screams at him over the phone and defaces his property.

Dan doesn’t help Betty’s fragile mental state by starting to unofficially dox hundreds or thousands of dollars from her spousal support every time she leaves a scathing voice mail, visits the children without permission, or breaks into his property. Since they have not legally set the terms of their divorce, Dan doesn’t have to support her financially, but he has no right to penalize Betty. Betty’s penalties for one month are so bad that she owes him 1,300 dollars. Thankfully, her friend Evelyn gives her some money to survive.

“Scream Therapy” explores how much Betty truly loves her children. Her friend Evelyn recommends a female lawyer named Hilary after Dan shuts her down for asking why he penalizes Betty. Hilary is tough, but fair with Betty. She uses logic to persuade Betty to attend therapy to gain custody of the children even though Betty wants one-third of Dan’s money before fighting the children. She wants to live a luxurious lifestyle with the children that they had before the divorce. Betty rightfully points out that Dan would not be the lawyer he is today without her. Hilary tells Betty that she will win the argument for more money from Dan if she first regains custody of her children.

The world seems brighter for Betty with her new divorce lawyer. The judge orders Dan and his divorce lawyer to stop filing nuisance claims against Betty. Betty visits one of her sons secretly so she can help him with a school project. Betty’s therapist points out that since Betty was the primary caretaker and Dan works such long hours, she should be able to get back custody if she attends therapy. Betty finally seems to be putting her affairs in order and acting as the wonderful mother she has always been though her stubborn mindset holds her back. She threatens Dan in front of Hilary, saying he will die before she becomes a single parent. I find this bizarre since she has been acting like a single mother most of the marriage.

When Hilary tells Betty that she will get her two younger sons for Easter, she is overjoyed. She decorates her home with all these Easter decorations and hides eggs full of treats all over the house. We can see how much Betty loves her sons when she describes the Easter Wonderland to the boys over the phone. Potentially if Betty won custody even for that weekend, maybe she could have had the mental clarity to act congenially toward Dan to gain custody of her children. But we will never know because Dan picks his sons up from school, blocking Betty access during her court-appointed time.

Betty loses any plot that she had left. One of the young sons, Ben, calls his Mom begging her to behave so they can all come home. He doesn’t like living with his Dad and Linda, but instead of listening to his concerns, Betty yells at her son. She babbles about Linda being a whore, how Dan corrupted his mind, and that she didn’t choose to be divorced. In Betty’s mind, she is still married. Ben correctly tells his Mom that only she can stop herself from acting insane.

Betty refuses to continue therapy because she is worried that if she stops being angry with Dan, she will lose all will to go on. Hilary drops Betty’s case because she isn’t being paid. Dan was willing to pay for Hilary through selling their family home, but Betty won’t go for it. Hilary shows how much she cares about her client by standing up for Betty in court one last time. The lawyer points out how Dan is finding every loophole to hoard his money. Hilary wins some battles for Betty like Linda’s voice being removed from Dan’s home voicemail to stop trigging the divorcee, but because of all the contempt charges, she has to face a few days in jail.

Dirty John: The Betty Broderick Story does a great job documenting both the unfairness of society’s treatment of women who challenge men’s authority and Betty’s mental instability, which ultimately leads to the murders. Dan’s dominating behavior and legal maneuvering cannot be entirely blamed for Betty Broderick’s violently refusal to accept the divorce.

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Dirty John: The Betty Broderick Story Season Two Episode Four “More To It Than Fun” Review

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Dirty John: The Betty Broderick Story Season Two Episode Four “More To It Than Fun” Review

My tv & film reviewer page:https://www.facebook.com/pbennettpopculturereviewer/

Linda Kolkena (Rachel Keller) enters the picture while Dan slowly pushes a frenzied Betty Broderick out of his life.

Spoilers:

Dirty John: The Betty Broderick Story Episode Four ” More To It Than Fun,” directed by Maggie Kiley, is the most linear episode to date. The episode focuses on Dan Broderick’s affair with Linda and his plan to begin divorce proceedings. “More To It Than Fun” is framed by testimony by a divorce & infidelity psychologist whose left unnamed. He illustrates how Betty Broderick felt when her husband gaslit her.

“More To It Than Fun” does a great job humanizing Linda. The Betty Broderick Story could have easily shown Kolkena in the background or not given her any screen time, but throughout this episode, she has scenes that show she was a young woman with dreams. When Dan hires Linda as a paralegal, she practices her typing over and over until she doesn’t make any mistakes. She is so thrilled when she is provided with her own office. At the start of the episode, we see Linda admire Dan from a distance, but she never makes any moves on him. The show does not make her the villain of this story. Dan seduces his paralegal, pretending that Betty is okay with the affair. In truth, it seems like Dan tries to find any excuse to leave Betty since she is no longer any use to him.

The Psychologist makes the perfect analogy describing the victim of the infidelity as a pressure cooker ready to explode as the husband refuses to admit to his affair. To Betty, at first glance, her husband appears to be trying to mend their marriage. He is coming home earlier, acting kinder, and even still having sex with her. But Betty’s instincts are telling her that Dan is sleeping with Linda. Meanwhile, everybody in her life, including Dan, tells Betty that nothing is happening. Betty acts crazed because her friends will not believe her, and Dan continues his suspicious behavior.

Betty tries to fight for Dan by dressing up in a gown and bringing flowers to his law office for his birthday. She hopes her gorgeous appearance will lead to a romantic birthday night. But when Betty comes to Dan’s office, she finds the secretary and some leftover cake, but Dan is not there. Betty waits for hours, but her husband never returns. She storms back to their home and burns the majority of his suits.

That night, Dan wanders into the backyard where Betty, still in the gown, watches his possessions burn. Betty angrily confronts him about why he was out of his office most of the day. He makes some excuse about having had lunch with Linda and other lawyers, then spending the rest of the day at the courthouse. Dan, pretending to be frustrated, asks how he could prove that he is not cheating on Betty when she seems to want him to be doing it desperately. At this comment, Betty breaks down crying.

Dan prepares to divorce his wife, finding ways he can hold onto his money. The Psychologist explains the only way to release the pressure cooker is for the cheater to admit to his affair then show remorse. Instead, Dan talks to his divorce lawyer colleague. Betty doesn’t suspect that Dan will divorce her. In fact, she thinks that he has stopped cheating on her. They are even purchasing a new home together in Playa Vista.

After Dan declares he wants to legally separate from Betty and moves out of the house, any money he spends, including 150,000 dollars on a new home (which Dan never planned to move into), will get reimbursed from their community funds. In other words, Betty will lose money, but Dan will keep all of his.

The lawyer tells Dan to be compassionate toward Betty. Instead, Broderick insidiously holds his plans close to the vest. First, he tells Betty he needs some space away from the family. He moves out of the house, leaving her alone with the kids. Then the family moves into the new home without Dan. Dan drunkenly comes to have sex with Betty one last time. The next day, he tells her that he is moving back to their old home. Betty takes the kids to their vacation home at Lake Henshaw but quickly becomes overwhelmed by a family of rats living there. Dan refuses to come to help Betty, saying she has credit cards to pay for an exterminator.

Betty punishes Dan by sending the kids back home while she goes to her Dad’s 76th birthday party.  She thinks he won’t be able to handle caring for four children. The “punishment” backfires on her. Because she “abandoned” the children, Dan gets full custody of them. Betty remains at the mercy of Dan since she has no legal knowledge and doesn’t know what to do without her family.

When Betty visits the children at their original home, she defaces the property, starting with smashing Dan’s favorite cake all over their bedroom that he now shares with Linda. He secures a court order that only allows Betty to see the children when he is present, so she can’t mess with his possessions. Betty begs Dan to take her back, arguing that they have such a perfect family. Her identity is so wrapped into being Mrs. Broderick that she is unable to see Linda taking her place. Betty presses Dan to admit he was cheating on her when they were together. Dan finally acknowledged that she was right the whole time but showed no remorse.

Episode four masterfully uses the Psychologist’s testimony to explain how Dan’s manipulative actions affected Betty’s mindset. Perhaps if Dan had acted like a compassionate human being toward his ex-wife, she would not have had a mental breakdown and still be alive.

 

Dirty John: The Betty Broderick Story Season Two Episode 3 ” Marriage Encounter” Review

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Dirty John: The Betty Broderick Story Season Two Episode 3 ” Marriage Encounter” Review

Dan Broderick manipulates Betty and the legal world so he can appear intelligent, prosperous, and entirely in control.

Spoilers:

Dirty John: The Betty Broderick Story Episode Three “Marriage Encounter” directed by Kat Chandler flashes between Dan at Harvard Law School and the Brodericks’ toward the end of their marriage just when Dan is opening his law practice. Betty Broderick becomes manic when Dan lies to her and rules the house with an iron fist. He never hits Betty, but he frequently demeans her. During the flashbacks to law school, Dan manipulates facts to appear better than his classmates while using a crutch that nobody else has at their disposal, his wife Betty.

The opening scene reveals that Dan Broderick believes that the law supports lying in order to win a legal argument. The first scene is a flashback to Dan back at Harvard attending a seminar. He explains Frazier v. Cupp, where the Supreme Court ruled that police are permitted to lie to defendants to get a confession without it being coercion. The professor questions if lying to defendants has ethical dilemmas, but Broderick pushes those concerns to the side. He believes that many people lie to achieve their opposing objectives. Broderick finishes his argument by stating that lying can be for the greater good. For Dan the greater good means the win.

Betty is always the tool, or the victim of Dan’s lies for the “greater good.” While in Law School during a library session with a group of fellow Harvard Law students, he bows out of a study group saying he became accustomed to studying alone during Medical School. One student questions how he could have the time to type up all of the cases on his own. Dan shrugs, and says he “makes the time”.  Meanwhile, at home, Betty quizzes Dan on case law while taking care of two children. She types everything up while Dan dictates notes to her. Dan never mentions all the support he receives from Betty to his fellow students so that he can appear like a superhuman.

Tiera Skyovbuyeas (Young Betty) and Chris Mason (Young Dan) do a fantastic job maintaining character continuity with such experienced actors.

Dan’s obsession with perfection starts to affect his marriage. Betty falls out of Dan’s favor because she has her own opinions and knows too much about his past. The troubles begin to pop up when Betty talks openly to one of his colleagues about how they used to live on food stamps. Dan bites her head off for revealing that they were not always wealthy. He claims he doesn’t want to talk about their past poverty because he wants to remain mysterious, but I think he doesn’t want to appear weak. Poverty equals weakness to Dan, which is why he excessively dines at expensive restaurants and joins exclusive country clubs in San Diego.

Betty senses their marriage falling apart. Dan starts spending all of his time at home working, and no longer gives her any affection. She often confides to her best friend Yvonne. Yvonne’s husband, Martin, divorces her and gets engaged with a much younger woman. Betty feels that Martin violated Yvonne by getting engaged before their divorce was official.  She promises Yvonne that none of their friends will attend the marriage ceremony. Betty is shocked when everybody, including Dan and all their friends, attend the wedding.

At that moment, Betty realizes that her marriage is not secure. In a panic, she asks Dan to go to Catholic marriage counseling. He agrees to go though he doesn’t take Catholicism or God seriously. At therapy, Dan says all the right things about trying to be a more present loving husband. But soon, the “real” Dan emerges through his actions.

Dan bullies Betty after realizing she can no longer be pacified with material goods and some kind words. Betty overhears her husband, talking about a beautiful woman. She learns that he is talking about Linda Kolkena the receptionist in the lobby where he works. Linda looks like a much younger version of Betty. Betty becomes neurotic, spying on the receptionist at her work.

Betty knows that Dan has lost interest in their marriage. He has feelings for this twenty-year-old “new model” who doesn’t know about his past financial struggles. Dan can be a mysterious, wealthy, and all-knowing man with Linda. Dan gaslights Betty by acting like her jealousy is ridiculous, then hires Linda as his clerk even though she has zero law training or even a college degree. Betty insists Dan fires her or find another place to sleep.

A couple of weeks after her ultimatum, Betty calls the law office to check if Linda has been fired. Linda answers the phone proving that Dan did not fire anybody. When Dan comes home, Betty yells at him to get out. Dan coldly tells her that she had the wrong impression of the situation. He pays for Betty’s whole lifestyle, including the home she lives in, so if anybody were going to be kicked out, it would be her. Dan betrays that he never saw Betty as a true partner or took her sacrifices seriously. In truth, Betty paid for that home through all the hours she spent working, caring for their children, and helping Dan study.

” Marriage Encounter” effectively cuts between Dan’s law school days and his interaction with fellow lawyers showing how he became this morally grey man. Dan appears charming to the rest of the world but coercively controls Betty through lies and verbal abuse. Editing between the past and present in the television show helps us understand Dan’s personality and the unloving nature of the Brodericks’ marriage. This show impressively depicts the way a husband abuse of his privilege drives his wife insane and ultimately leads to his demise.

Dirty John: The Betty Broderick Story Season Two Episode 1 ” No Fault ” & Episode 2 “The Turtle and the Alligator” Review

Dirty John: The Betty Broderick Story Season Two Episode 1 ” No Fault ” & Episode 2 “The Turtle and the Alligator” Review

Dirty John - Season 2

Dirty John: The Betty Broderick Story Season Two Episode 1 ” No Fault ” & Episode 2 “The Turtle and the Alligator” Review

Betty Broderick designs her life around being the ideal wife to Malpractice lawyer Dan Broderick. Betty turns deadly after the destruction of her “perfect” life.

Spoilers:

Dirty John, the series created by Alexandra Cunningham, has moved from Bravo to the USA Network. The first two episodes of Dirty John: The Betty Broderick Story ” No Fault” and “The Turtle and the Alligator ” premiered last night. The first episode, directed by Maggie Kiley, establishes the tumultuous post-marriage relationship between Betty Broderick (Amanda Peet) and Dan Broderick (Christian Slater). The second episode, ” The Turtle and the Alligator,” directed by Meera Menon, demonstrates what led to Betty Broderick’s identity being centered around her marriage.

The Betty Broderick Story is based on the real-life murder of Dan and Linda Broderick. I am too going to focus exclusively on this fictionalized version of the crime. I will only refer to the fictional characters of Betty and Dan rather than the real people. If you want to know more about real Betty Broderick, Dan Broderick and Linda Kolkena Broderick listen to the podcast It Was Simple: The Betty Broderick Murders produced by the LA Times. There have been three episodes so far, which I have heard. I love the informative well-produced true-crime podcast. I am sorry for the families’ loss, especially the Broderick children who lost three parents.

Amanda Peet does a nuanced job playing an ambitious woman who falls apart during her divorce from the wealthy lawyer Dan Broderick. Peet shows the versatility in Betty’s personality through her emotional fluctuations between an elegant late ’80s housewife–the perfect host who does everything for her family–and the out of control soon to be ex-wife who purposefully crashes into Dan’s house with her car. Christian Slater performs brilliantly as the cold charming Dan Broderick, who uses his legal know-how to destroy his ex-wife. He has no compassion for the mother of his children, who helped him build his career.

“No Fault” centers on Betty Broderick refusing to participate in her divorce proceedings, which only hurts her in the long run. The episode starts with her refusal to sign her divorce papers because then her relationship with Dan would be over. In Betty’s mind, their marriage is still real if they are forced to have contact with one another even if it’s through lawyers. But of course, Broderick declining to negotiate with Dan in good faith only leads to more problems. Since Betty won’t even go to their court dates, her husband won’t pay for her divorce lawyer to incentivize her to go to the legal proceedings. She can barely afford a lawyer and wouldn’t pay anyway because she doesn’t want a divorce.

During the 1970s, when the ERA and the second- wave feminist movement sprung up, Betty bought into the idea that if she married a smart, intelligent man, her future as a wealthy woman was guaranteed. She followed all the rules “You don’t lie. You don’t cheat. You don’t steal.” She believed her marriage could never end.

After Dan sells their old home without her permission, Betty rams her car into the front of his new house. Betty’s actions are a dangerous overreaction, but this is the first time we see that the lawyer is part of the problem. Dan violently pulls Betty out of the car. Broderick has their daughter call the police as he holds Betty down. He tells the officer that he is a doctor even though he has not practiced for years. Dan tells the police she should be committed, without having the medical knowledge to diagnose her as clinically insane. Nobody deserves to be murdered, but we see how Dan helped create the “wife scorned” monster that Betty turned into during their divorce proceedings.

“The Turtle and the Alligator ” documents the early years of their marriage. The Young Betty Broderick (Tiera Skovbyveas) and Young Dan Broderick (Chris Mason) marry when he is still in medical school at Cornell University. Their honeymoon gives the perfect glimpse into the essence of their marriage. During breakfast, Dan tells Betty that he asked the hotel workers to provide them with privacy during their stay. Betty asks who will make their bed. He offhandedly states that she will make the bed since she is his wife.

Throughout the whole episode, Betty has to sacrifice her body and health to prop up Dan. Their agreement is Dan will work hard to become rich so they can have a lavish lifestyle, and Betty takes care of him. She works two jobs while pregnant to support him during medical school. The family (including two babies) goes without hot water so he can have two medical coats. Betty and the kids move to the Boston area so Dan can go to law school at Harvard since he doesn’t like being a doctor. Betty cannot have an abortion since Dan thinks it’s immoral. He promises to support her during her pregnancy with their third child, but instead, he goes on skiing trips to make professional connections for his future law career.

Dan makes sure that Betty’s whole life is centered around, making him happy. She does all the child-rearing and works multiple jobs until he becomes an associate at a law firm. During the first episode, Betty seems greedy for wanting more money, but she has worked as hard as Dan for his finical success. Without Betty paying for everything and acting as his cheerleader during two graduates schools, Dan would not be a top lawyer.

Dirty John: The Betty Broderick Story feels a little more down to earth than the first season. The show jumps around time to help the viewer understand Betty’s state of mind during the murders. Because of this non-linear structure and Peet’s naturalistic performance, Betty’s character becomes more human throughout the first two episodes.

The next eight episodes will further reveal why Betty Broderick killed Linda, and her ex-husband in the eyes of the television shows writers.

Mrs. America Episode 9 “Reagan” Review

https://fandomopolis.com/2020/05/29/mrs-america-episode-9-reagan/6025e38540707747073ee5cbceea1a99a8-mrs-america-recap.rsquare.w1200

By the late 1970s and early 1980s, neither the ERA movement nor the STOP ERA achieved victory.

Spoilers:

Mrs. America Episode 9 ” Reagan” ends with none of the women getting what they want. Virginia is the third state to ratify the ERA in 2020, finally, but since the Republican Controlled Senate won’t budge, we still don’t have the Equal Rights Amendment in the Constitution. Phyllis Schlafly and the STOP ERA movement may have delayed the ERA’s ratification, but Schlafly never gained the power she wanted.

The women activists unravel because their male politician’s allies turn on them. Jimmy Carter disrespects the National Advisory Commission for Women by setting a meeting two years after the National Women’s Conference. The meeting is set, so Bella Abzug and Jill Ruckelshaus can tell him about the Women’s Bill of Rights. Steinem and Jill are outraged because Carter only agreed to a fifteen-minute meeting. The Feminists point out to Bella that the meeting sounds more like a photo op. They decide to publish a press release stating that Carter is not taking the women who helped get him elected seriously.

After Abzug meets with the President, Jimmy Carter’s Chief of Staff Hamilton Jordan fires Bella from her leadership position for her lack of “loyalty” and aggressive nature — the same aggressive outgoing behavior that got her the job in the first place. Bella deflates in front of our eyes as Jordan dresses her down. She begs him to fire her quietly so she can save face. Abzug asks if she can resign from the National Advisory Commission for Women, but the chief of staff snidely tells Bella that he already told the press about her firing.

Gloria Steinem, Jill Ruckelshaus, Midge, Jean O’Leary, Audrey Rowe Colom, and the rest of the women resign from the National Advisory Commission for Women in protest Carter treated one of the Mothers of the second-wave feminist movement. Gloria tells Jordan that the President can no longer expect the ERA movement to vote for him automatically. Jimmy Carter needs to give the Feminists something in the form of policy or political appointments. Both Liberal and Conservative men in authority can be sexist and disrespectful to women, especially older ones who have helped their parties for generations.

The ERA movement weathered a lot in 1979, but Phyllis Schlafly suffers a much bigger fall. At the start of “Reagan,” Phyllis feels like she is on top of the world. She has just taken the Illinois Bar Exam, meaning she no longer needs Fred to bring her legal clout.

Before her political demise, she was at her highest peak of power. Two years prior, Phyllis had hosted a successful “Pro-Family Rally” in Houston to counter-act the National Women’s Conference, so now all of the Republican Presidential Candidates want her endorsement. They know that with Schlafly’s mailing list, they could reach a significant number of potential supporters. She cannot even be brought down when her best friend Alice Macray shows up after not coming to STOP ERA meetings for a year and questions her on the factual accuracy of her newsletters. Schlafly lying about the number of attendees to her rallies reminds me of a particular Republican President.

During the Pro-Family Gala honoring Phyllis, we witness how much she has morally compromised herself so she could have so many supporters. Schlafly has Rosemary Thompson and another STOP ERA member dressing up as Abzug and Steinem to do a satirical dance and song number kicking the two Feminists while they are down. Phyllis gives an inflammatory, sexist, religious, pro-life, and homophobic speech catered to please the Evangelical Christians. Alice Macray silently judges her friend for shifting from merely trying to protect stay-at-home homemakers to pandering to the hateful majority.

When Ronald Reagan’s campaign advisors wish to talk to her, Schlafly has won the political clout that she had always craved. Schlafly endorses Ronald Reagan thinking she would be the first woman to get a Presidential Cabinet appointment. She gives him her whole mailing list. She believes she would finally earn a seat at the table.

In 1981, Ronald Reagan won the election. Phyllis is ecstatic, especially when Reagan calls her personally. Reagan graciously thanks her for the mailing list, saying he would have never succeeded without her, but that he cannot appoint her to any Cabinet positions. The political battle that got her a phone call from the President-Elect made her too polarizing. The Feminist movement would go after him if Phyllis were in the administration. Instead, a Pro-ERA Republican named Jeanne Kirkpatrick became the first woman to serve as a U.S. Ambassador to the U.N.

The series ends with Phyllis Schlafly stiffly telling her husband that she will make dinner. All of her moral comprises, and hard work did not earn her the respect of the men in Washington, D.C. Schlafly walks to the kitchen puts on an apron and starts to make an apple pie. Phyllis transforms back to being a powerless housewife, something that she fought the “right” to be an ironic punishment for a conservative, traditional woman who wants to be in the boy’s club.

As the finale end titles state, the legacy of the 1970’s ERA fight is a polarized country split between Liberals and Conservatives. The genuinely hopeful part of Mrs. America is when Republican and Democratic women work together for the common good. Hopefully, one day we all find a way to all respect one another no matter our political beliefs because we can agree on what is morally right.

Mrs. America Episode 8 “Houston” Review

Mrs. America Episode 8 “Houston” Review

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In 1977, Alice Macray, Pamela, and Rosemary Thompson went to the National Women’s Conference. Alice starts reconsidering her hardline position after spending time among the “enemy.”

Spoilers:

Mrs. America Episode 8 “Houston” focuses almost entirely on Alice Macray’s perspective during the National Women’s Conference. “Houston” is one of the most reflective episodes since we spend the whole-time following Alice. For those who do not know, Sarah Paulson’s character is not based on one particular person. Alice Macray represents an array of Phyllis Schlafly’s friends.

For the last seven episodes, I was wondering why Sarah Paulson would sign up for Mrs. America. The role of Alice Macray has been minor. After watching “Houston,” I have my answer. Alice went through such a significant character transformation in just one episode. She grew agency right in front of us. She shifts from seeing the ERA as evil to being open to hearing their point of view.

At the start of the episode, Macray criticizes her friend Pamela for attending the National Women’s Conferences without her husband’s permission. She learns about her friend’s “rebellion” when they had to drive to Houston because Pamela does not know how to buy a plane ticket, which does not seem to faze her.

Macray transformation starts after one disastrous national interview about why STOP ERA opposes extending the deadline for ratifying the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA). Alice has a hard time reading, so she memorizes the speech that she is going to give at the Women’s National Conference. During an interview, Rosemary Thompson reveals that Macray is the one giving the STOP ERA address. The reporters shift their attention to Alice, who is at first flattered by all the attention, but then struggles to answer the questions without repeating the speech she memorized.

When a reporter tells her the majority of women to support the ERA, Alice is flustered and can only parrot what Phyllis Schlafly has told her. After the interview, Macray finds solace, alone at a hotel bar. Alice connects with an older Christian Southern Woman. She prays for Alice to find the strength to go on with her fight. The two discuss their husbands and children. Macray confides with her new friend that she met Phyllis at a PTA meeting and latched on to her beauty and knowledge. She explains that Schlafly brought her into political awareness. Then the Southern older woman reveals that she supports the ERA, which freaks Alice out. How could a Southern homemaker be a “Libber” Feminist?

Alice, now drunk and reeling from befriending a Feminist, finds herself wandering the halls looking for food. We see this Female Progressive utopia the way she does, as a hallway of nightmares. Soon her viewpoint shifts from a nightmare hells-cape to a safe space.

Alice wanders into a church where a nun is giving a sermon about how Christianity initially let women be leaders in the church. She comes up for a blessing from the nun. Alice questions the nun about her ability to give a Catholic sacrament but accepts the “blood of Christ” and the Eucharist.

This scene is followed by a montage of Alice attending all these Feminist gatherings and taking part, including singing with a group of Lesbians while having dinner. The night ends with Alice finally finding Pamela back at their shared hotel room. They are sharing the room with Black Feminist Republican Activist Audrey Rowe Colom (Melissa Joyner) and her daughter since the hotel was overbooked. While Pamela and Alice bicker about losing each other, Gloria Steinem strolls up. Phyllis Schlafly had instructed them to attack Steinem when they see her verbally, but neither woman says a word.

When Gloria, Pamela, and Alice arrive at the room, Audrey explains that she and the other feminists she’s meeting with have to keep working. Drunk, Alice stares at Gloria in shock as it sinks in that she’s sharing a room with her enemy. Steinem compliments her, saying the color of her blouse suits her. Alice smiles. She is charmed. Later on, pajama-clad Alice watches the ERA women discuss issues.  She witnesses what a real political movement looks like where all viewpoints are considered instead of the tyranny of one voice.

During a STOP ERA meeting, Alice questions why they need to vote against everything the Feminists are proposing. She argues they should not vote against proposals just to be stubborn, especially since she agrees with some of their platforms. She points out that they are not under attack. They ignore all of her arguments. Then during the voting portion of the Women’s National Conference, Alice wavers in her past held beliefs.

When the convention delegates vote on “Supporting Lesbian Women,” Alice joins her group and turns her back in protest against the majority who support placing it on the Bill of Women’s Rights. She looks back with longing as the Feminists celebrate their victory. She even stands to cheer for the resolution that women would be connected in sisterhood forever. She holds hands with Pamela, who stands with her. Macray promises to help her friend deal with her abusive husband.

Alice transforms from a stubborn Conservative woman who believes that wives should do everything that their husbands want to somebody who has compassion for her friend’s suffering. The episode’s last scene in the National Woman’s Conference is Bella, Gloria, Betty, Brenda, Jill, and the rest of the women we have been following holding hands while they sing “We Shall Overcome.” Watching these powerful Feminist Women celebrate is empowering.

Mrs. America Episode 7 Review

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https://fandomopolis.com/2020/05/14/mrs-america-episode-7-bella-review/

In 1977, on behalf of President Jimmy Carter, Bella Abzug led the National Women’s Conference. Phyllis Schlafly, with the support of the Eagle Forum, does everything she can to take over the conference.

Spoilers:

Bella Abzug, played by Margo Martindale (FX’s The Americans), is appointed by Jimmy Carter as leader of the National Women’s Conference. She receives the appointment because her ex-assistant Margaret “Midge” Costanza (Annie Parisse), now works for Carter. However, her fearless nature made her the perfect woman to push for a more progressive agenda. Bella hosts conventions in all fifty states where women nominate delegates to attend the National Women’s Conference. Bella’s conferences will vote on various platforms like equal pay for equal work and LGBTQ rights. Midge and her girlfriend, Jean O’Leary (Anna Douglas), prominent gay rights activist, want Abzug to push to put “sexual preference” as part of the agenda and not involve homophobic Betty Friedan in the conference. The only problem is Phyllis Schlafly, and the Eagle Forum infiltrates the state conferences. These Christian women receive enough votes to become delegates.

Margo Martindale steps up in a big way as the star of Mrs. America Episode Eight “Bella.” At the start, Bella feels down because she was not elected to the Senate after her successful tenure as a US Representative. But Abzug peps right up after Gloria Steinem, and Midge Constanza tells her about her appointment as leader of the National Women’s Conference. We get to see a window into Bella’s personal life. She feeds the skinny Gloria and Midge, a spread of Jewish and Italian Deli meats, cheeses, and bread. Abzug kisses her Italian American husband, Martin, who chats about how he is taking Bella back to Italy. We see Abzug’s sweet side before her brash nature takes over as she sets her sights on her new primary goal for the movement.

My favorite part of this episode is Bella’s struggle with being considered part of the mainstream after being radical for so long. Abzug used to be able to fight dirty when she was on the margins of society. Now that she is so established that the United States president even supports her, Bella has to follow all the rules.  Now it’s Phyllis who is on the fridge using Bella’s own tactics against her.

After Abzug realizes the Eagle Forum has infiltrated her conventions, she becomes more cautious. She pressures the younger leaders of the ERA Movement to be less radical and compromise their goals. Gloria Steinem is furious at Bella for allowing conservative women to win seats at the national conference. For Abzug, the act of rebellion is speaking to those who do not agree with you, but Gloria is tired of speaking in front of “bloodied baby dolls.”

Bella wants to remove the “sexual preference” agenda from the National Women’s Conference because it would be controversial amongst the conservative women and would make it harder for them to pass everything else on their platform. Jean and Midge feel betrayed and storm off the committee.

The most engaging scene of “Bella” is when Abzug comes to speak at the Illinois State Women’s Convention. Phyllis Schlafly, who is supposed to present at the convention, doesn’t go because she has a breakdown after her daughter changes her name from Phyllis Jr to Eliza. Eliza says her mother is an embarrassment for her at Princeton University since it’s a Liberal college. Rosemary Thompson (Melanie Lynskey) is left on her own without a plan.

Rosemary, Pamela, and Alice sneak backstage to record Bella’s speech and protest. Abzug pops up right behind them. She recognizes them as Phyllis’s minions, and lectures them on the fact that Schlafly is the biggest hypocrite ever, is taking advantage of the Eagle Forum, and is, in fact, a Feminist.  They stand up for Phyllis, stating smugly that she is their savior. They do not want to be “working girls.” Bella explains that by virtue of all the skills Schlafly has taught them and the work they now do, they have become “working women.” They will even be paid for being elected leaders of the National Women’s Convention. The women are left speechless, forgetting to record Bella’s lecture.

Bella has Schlafly’s number. She understands how Phyllis is the “most liberated woman ever.” All Phyllis cares about is gaining more power and respect in the public eye. She won’t take on anything that she can’t win, which means that she will do anything to save face. Rosemary and Alice inform Phyllis that Lottie Beth Hobbs has brought the KKK into their fight against the “Libbers.” They tell her that the Eagle Forum fronted by Lottie should release a press conference disavowing the KKK and the John Birch Society. Alice agrees that the perception that they are racist will tarnish their cause.

Instead, Schlafly allies with Lottie Beth Hobbs, saying that they need to do whatever it takes to beat the ERA movement. Phyllis suggests that to stop any rumors about the KKK groups who come to help should not have any buses or shirts labeled with any particular “organization.” Phyllis will get in bed with any evil, immoral, or hateful groups in order to win.

Abzug ends the episode by allowing everybody to come to the National Women’s Conference, including Jill Ruckelshaus, Betty Friedan, Gloria Steinem, Phyllis Schlafly, Rosemary Thompson, etc. Next episode, we will see where all the pieces land.

Mrs. America Episode 5 & 6 Reviews

Episode 6 Review:https://fandomopolis.com/2020/05/07/mrs-america-episode-six-jill-review/

Mrs. America Episode Six” Jill” Review

In 1975, Jill Ruckelshaus, a Republican Feminist activist (Elizabeth Banks), and Phyllis Schlafly fight for the ideological soul of their party.

Spoilers:

Mrs. America Episode Six “Jill” focuses on Gerald Ford’s White House Advisor, Jill Ruckelshaus. She fights to keep Republican support of the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) as the new chairwoman for a national commission “to honor women and urge ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment.” Jill is the quintessential fiscal conservative woman. She supports the ERA and doesn’t believe women should have to put up with sexual harassment, but she is more fiscally conservative than her male counterparts. Ruckelshaus is a Mid-Western mother of five children. She parents and works at the same time. Jill battles against Phyllis, who is uniting the Radical Religious Republicans under the Eagle Forum to make “feminism a dirty word” and turn the party of Lincoln into a socially conservative party.

Elizabeth Banks depicts Jill Ruckelshaus as an elegant beautiful woman with a powerful political mind who uses her charms to win politicians over but is unwilling to compromise. The Gerald Ford administration seems to favor Jill. The first few scenes of episode six depict her being friendly with Betty Ford.  They are only five states away from ratifying the ERA. Betty praises Jill for showing the Republican Party that being a Feminist does not mean you are a Radical or a “dangerous” activist.

The depiction of Republicans and Democrats working together for a common cause is one of the things that I love about Mrs. America. Jill Ruckelshaus and Bella Abzug are from two different parties with very different personalities, but they are friends who work together to pass the ERA. We discover that people from different backgrounds and political beliefs can unite and fight for a singular cause.

Bella Abzug is a no-nonsense woman who can come off as abrasive, so when she and Shirley Chislom ask Senator Wayne Hays to support creating commissions countrywide who would promote the ERA, he is resistant. When Jill finds her way to the meeting, he perks up. She sweet talks Hays and suggests the campaign be under her national commission so that the voices are not all Liberal women. Hays kisses Ruckelshaus on the cheek and agrees to support the cause. As Shirley, Bella, and Jill walk away, the lone Republican half-jokes she is willing to take one for the team. Without Ruckelshaus, the ERA movement would not go far since her savvy nature saves the day many times.

My two favorite sequences in “Jill” center around Ruckelshaus fighting for the cause in any way she can. In the first sequence, Ruckelshaus corners Schlafly at a Republican event. The scene depicts the contrasting viewpoints between the old and new Republican Party.

To give some context, Phyllis Schlafly’s Stop ERA movement is limited to predominately Catholic politically active women, so they only have a niche mailing list. To expand her reach Schlafly recruits women from other religious groups who are not usually politically active.

One of the women that Phyllis reaches out is Lottie Beth Hobbs (Cindy Drummond). She is a right-wing “Red Neck” Evangelical Christian who is the leader of “Women Who Want to be Women”. Shlafly courts Lottie because she would bring 15,000 more subscribers to her mailing list. Schlafly unites the extreme conservative groups under the Eagle Forum to both fight the ERA and elect Ronald Reagan who is the opposite of moderate Republican Gerald Ford, who Jill Ruckelshaus supports.  (Ronald Reagan promises to oppose the ERA, fights against abortion rights, and supports homophobic legislation along with being a firm believer in the “trickle down theory” the economic policy that favors the wealthy).

Jill invites Phyllis to have drinks with her. The two Republican women bond over their similar foreign policy beliefs. Ruckelshaus notes that Schlafly lights up when she discusses the military and foreign policy and wonders why an expert in disarmament would suddenly become invested in “women issues.” They begin to argue.

Phyllis asserts that the ERA is unnecessary because women like Jill can work and raise children at the same time. Jill pushes back, telling her about the sexual harassment that she has had to put up with in the White House and the House of Representatives. Men ask her to smile for them or do not discuss policy until they touch her back. Ruckelshaus argues that the secretaries in the House or Senate have it even worse. The male senators literally won’t pay the secretaries unless they sleep with them. Phyllis offhandedly says that the secretaries “are asking for it” because they are not morally pure. Jill loses her cool, then storms off, not believing that any educated woman could think that way.

My second favorite sequence is when Jill runs around her home doing household chores while trying to keep the ERA as part of the Republican Party’s platform. Jill is not allowed to attend the Republican Convention because Ford is considering her husband, William Ruckelshaus as his running mate. They don’t want her to rub anybody the wrong way at the event because she is so “outspoken.” She wishes William would have stood up for her, but agrees to stay home if it means he would considered for the Vice Presidency.

When Phyllis and the Eagle Forum try to take the ERA off the Republican platform, Jill gets on the phone. She talks to delegates while cooking, cleaning, and even having a princess tea party with her daughters. The scene of her wearing a crown & feather boa while pouring her daughter’s tea and arguing her case is hysterical.

The tea party sequence both reveals how working mothers are like superheroes and how powerful Jill is. Her efforts save the Republican support the ERA.

”Jill” is my favorite episode so far. Elizabeth Banks matches Cate Blanchett’s acting chops in this episode. Phyllis and Jill who are at war with each other prove to be equal opponents making the tension between them palpable. I hope we see more of Jill in future episodes.

Episode 5 Review:https://fandomopolis.com/2020/04/30/mrs-america-episode-5-phyllis-fred-brenda-marc-review/

Mrs. America Episode 5 ” Phyllis & Fred & Brenda & Marc” Review

 

Phyllis and Fred Schlafly debate feminist married couple Brenda Feigen & Marc Fasteau on the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA).

Spoilers:

The main focus of Mrs. America Episode Five “Phyllis & Fred & Brenda & Marc” is the relationship between the two married couples in 1974. Brenda Feigen calls for Phyllis Schlafly to debate her on-air so the ERA movement can win Illinois. They are three states away from ratifying the ERA, but Schlafly has split Illinois, so the Feminist Movement is hoping to beat her at the debate to bring more support to amendment in the region. Phyllis does not like being on the defensive, so she switches the script inviting Brenda and her husband Marc to debate her and Fred instead. This episode reveals the fragilities of both their marriages.

At first, Brenda Feigen and Marc Fasteau seem like the perfect Feminist couple. Feigen kept her maiden name; they split the household chores; both went to Harvard Law School; Brenda founded and runs The Women’s Action Alliance; Feigen works at Ms. Magazine, and Marc is writing a book about Male Feminism. They seem to have a genuinely equal loving relationship, but we soon see there are significant holes in the story they are selling to the world.

Gloria Steinem and Brenda Feigen travel to Washington D.C. to meet with Stanley Rottinger, a Republican lawyer working at the Nixon Administration, about creating an advisory committee on women’s issues. Rottinger wants Steinem and Feign to be part of the committee, but neither of them wants to make any commitment. After the meeting, Gloria and Brenda bump into a Lesbian photographer named Jules.

Jules is a friend of Steinem, so she invites them both to hang out. Gloria has a date with her Black lawyer boyfriend Frank Thomas, so she declines. Brenda is drawn to Jules, so she meets up with her. The two flirt at a bar, then end up sneaking into the Watergate Hotel. Jules kisses Feigen in the pool. The two make love.

When Brenda returns to Marc in New York, she tells him about her passionate night with Jules. Fasteau doesn’t mind because he believes all “Radical Feminists experiment with other women” and the sexist point of view that adultery with a woman is not a threat. Marc says, “It would of been another story” if Brenda had slept with a man revealing that he is not as evolved as he thinks. She promises Fasteau that her night with Jules is a one-time deal, but she’s lying.

Feigen and Jules party at a Lesbian Bar in New York, she appears to be, at the very least, sexually attracted to the photographer. They hang out with Margaret Sloan-Hunter and some other Queer women. Sloan-Hunter tells them that she is planning to move to Oakland. She’s tired of all of her activities like the Black National Feminist Organization, Lesbian groups, Ms. Magazine, etc., but what’s left unsaid is she wants to be part of an utterly Black community. Plus, Sloan-Hunter is not comfortable at Ms. Magazine (I will miss the character Margaret Sloan-Hunter since I think her story is so interesting).

Brenda enjoys her time with Jules, but she is shaken when one of the Queer women shares that she is happy living in the closet, spending her days in the suburbs with her conventional family and the nights in Lesbian bars. Fiegen panics realizing she is living a similar double life. Later that evening, Marc and Brenda have amazing sex, since after sleeping with Jules, she now knows what turns her on and tells her husband. Feigen’s affair with Jules has sexually awakened her, implying that she is bisexual. Brenda becomes more and more freaked out since she does not want to be a closeted housewife living a lie.

The night before the debate in a hotel room in Los Angeles, Brenda discovers that she is pregnant. Marc is excited, but she breaks down. She tells her husband that she has been having an affair with Jules. Brenda doesn’t know if she loves Jules but enjoys having sex with women. Marc feels betrayed but says they can fake being a happily married couple for the televised debate. The feminist couple seems to be on the brink of divorce, but Phyllis and Fred have the opposite situation.

Fred agrees to travel to Los Angeles for the debate with Phyllis since she feels insecure debating Brenda with no law degree. One of the sons plans to take the L-Sat, but during study sessions Phyllis shows a lot more aptitude for the test. Schlafly decides to take the test instead of her son. She tells Fred it was for a “lark” (a joke), but Phyllis takes the test because she wants to fill the holes in her knowledge of law. Phyllis wants to be a lawyer so she can be a better leader and more respected in her field. She is shaken when Brenda, Marc, and Fred bond over attending Harvard Law School before they all go on air.

During the debate, Fred’s actions reveal he is not so comfortable with the idea that his wife wants to be a lawyer. Schlafly makes the argument that the ERA takes away protections from women like gaining sole custody of their children after divorce. She says that there was a case where a divorced couple both got custody of one of their children. Brenda questions what legal case she is citing. Phyllis says she cannot think of the title of the case. Feigen points out she pulled the case out of thin air. She argues that Phyllis should leave debates about the law to lawyers.

Fred does not defend Phyllis when Brenda attacks her over her lack of legal knowledge. He calls Phyllis a submissive wife. This rustles her feathers.  Nobody finds his claims believable. Even though Phyllis supports traditional marriage where the man is in charge of the family, she is a force of nature that does not bend to anybody’s will. Fred feels emasculated when he finds out Phyllis wants to go to law school. He feels further diminished when somebody writes an article about him and titles it “Phyllis Schlafly’s Lawyer Husband…” He has become overshadowed by the fame of his wife. Fred steals back some power by embarrassing her on live television.

The most cinematic moment is when Phyllis and Fred march off stage with a considerable distance between them. Brenda and Marc walk off stage with broad on their faces with the knowledge they won. They cuddle after the debate. We get the sense they will stay together and raise their baby.

In the end, Phyllis Schlafly decides she will go to a law school near their home.  Fred remains ambivalent about the idea. Phyllis’s eldest son John tells her that Fred doesn’t want her to become a lawyer since feels that law is that still belongs to him.

Episode five closes with the revelation that John Schlafly is Gay. Phyllis hints John that he can stop being Gay by explaining to him that she quit smoking cold turkey for Fred. Even though Schlafly dislikes the idea that her son is gay, she keeps it from her husband to protect John.

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