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Feud - Hagsploitation - Review: "Don't Let the Sun Go Down"

12 Apr 2017

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This week's Feud was perhaps uncharted waters. At least for me it was. The Oscar's moment was infamous enough, obviously Whatever Happened to Baby Jane? has a cult following and some pretty widely reported behind-the-scenes drama, but Episode 6 took us beyond this. It was an episode full of things I wasn't aware of, and I'm quite excited that I'll likely feel a sense of uncertainty for the remaining episodes too! I love the original movie, the two ladies etc but my knowledge doesn't really venture past the Oscars - well, I know the major drama surrounding Hush, Hush Sweet Charlotte but I won't say too much because the show hasn't shown such just yet. And of course, I'm very well aware of both women's children writing tell-all books about them both. That's about it though!

I would probably say that this week's episode was my least favourite. Not that it was bad, just that it didn't excite me as much, and at times it felt quite slow-paced. That being said, it was still a pretty damn good episode - if anything, this week had some memorably funny lines (arguably more so than some previous episodes, actually!). Firstly, let me begin by saying that this week seemed very much like Bob Aldrich's episode! He seemed like the main focus, rightly or wrongly, which was both refreshing yet a little disappointing. I've been wanting the show to delve a little more into gender-neutral, shall we say, issues rather than sticking with solely female problems of the era, for a few episodes. This episode in many ways did that - Bob and Jack were just as desperate to prevent the "twilight" of their careers as Crawford and Davis. That was interesting, and it was a nice change from the vilifying of Warner (though let's be honest, he's not very likeable even with his vulnerability). But still, it felt perhaps too gender-neutral. This, at its heart, is a show about two women and the way that Hollywood royally screws them over. Sure, Aldrich is a victim of the system and it needs to be discussed and shown etc, but gimme more Davis. Gimme more Crawford. Heck, gimme Catherine Zeta-Jones / Olivia de Havilland!

Now, speaking our two favourite ladies, they were once again at each other's throats yet thrust together by their own desperation. If you put yourself in their shoes, it's very easy to imagine not wanting to act together again...ever! That's natural and it makes sense, but for these two women isn't so simple. This episode reminded us, as the show does week after week, that they don't have the luxury of passing on projects - they're lucky if they get any to begin with. So when they're asked to work together again, hell can't freeze over because the pair need to work (and so be it together!). It's tragic but then equally they're very fortunate to be in the position they are. Think of all the failed actresses in the 1960s who didn't even get a gig, or the housewife trapped by the patriarchal system in the home. Women during this time didn't exactly have unlimited options in terms of careers (Pauline demonstrated that in episode four). Crawford and Davis are lucky, but the higher up you are, the further the fall. For them this is tragic. It's the loss of their livelihood, their independence...their lives. Crawford heartbreakingly said she would rather be dead than be unemployed, and I imagine those words did come from a truthful place.

Once again though, Feud gave us an episode of glamour, social commentary and incredible acting. I keep forgetting, so naturally, that these aren't the real people. Yes, they aren't perfect representations or performances of the stars, but nobody claims its an impersonation - they're acting. Sarandon is just, so Davis. And Lange oozes with sophistication and Joan-ness at every moment. And they're just the two leading stars, the ensemble is fantastic too. As always though, this episode was wonderfully shot, styled and directed - and I don't know if it's just me, but it really does feel like I'm watching the '60s. So here's to the final few episodes, may they be as fantastic as what's come before!

Also, side note - how hideous is the word "hagsploitation"? Let's not make that a thing again.

Let me know your thoughts in the comments section below, and I shall see you next week for another helping of Feud (plus the premiere of Famous in Love).