Screenshot: Amazon Prime Video

Even though they’re now half a world away from their old setting, Hailey and Rodrigo find themselves in a similar relationship/dynamic as before, with the oboist looking to her conductor for guidance and employment. Once again, she’s assumed a role that’s on the periphery of the art she wishes to make—she’s La Fiamma’s dresser, which means she’ll have to get the diva in and out of her costumes between arias. And while it’s nice that she’s not busking on the street for the airfare home, helping with Alessandra’s comeback isn’t much in the way of career advancement.

But being away from the Symphony has had a significant effect on Hailey—she’s realized she wants to be on the other side of the podium. She gets her first “lesson” from Rodrigo, of course, who’s pleasantly surprised that she wants to pick up the baton. But he’s also immediately supportive, and helps her conduct Sibelius’ Symphony No. 5 in the middle of the palazzo. The foundation for this revelation was laid in the premiere, when she questioned Andrew Walsh’s tempos, but it still feels like an abrupt shift. Hailey’s conductor training could certainly fill up another season, if that’s what Mozart’s thinking, but it also appears to be another vacillation on her part.

Screenshot: Amazon Prime Video

The vocational change could also be the writers’ attempt to finally end Hailey and Rodrigo’s mentor dynamic and establish them as equals. That would be a welcome sight, considering Hailey needed his help even after she’d found a second ensemble to perform with. But at the moment, it serves him better than it does her. There’s a sweet moment when he directs her back “home” to her early woodwind years, but it also inspires his own revelation that, despite his actions and claims to the contrary, the Symphony is his home. Despite his resolution to help Alessandra, it’s obvious that all Venetian canals and roads lead to Manhattan for Rodrigo. And while it’s in the show’s best interests to reunite the Symphony as soon as possible, using Hailey’s epiphany to underscore Rodrigo’s homesickness undermines her arc a bit. Their paths have been intertwined from the beginning, but leaving them tangled up shows a lack of trust in Mozart’s characterization.

Advertisement

“My Heart Opens To Your Voice” ends up being full of revelations across the two continents. Gloria and Cyn are forced to work together in the mayor’s garden to work out their problems, but after seeing the orchestra’s players scattered to the winds, Cyn isn’t bending. She tries to make Gloria see just how callously she treated the Symphony by locking them out and rejecting their counter offer. Cyn’s replaced Rodrigo in this fight between art and commerce; even though she’s not quite as idealistic as he was, she still has a hard time understanding Gloria’s point of view. It might help to see the president wearing something other than designer open-toe sandals to dig around in the dirt. For now, “mutually assured destruction” remains on the agenda.

Back at the home of the “Stevie Nicks of opera,” Rodrigo is struggling to keep Alessandra on track. As a temperamental performer himself, he hasn’t really questioned her abrupt departure from the music world. But when he finally does bring it up, he’s as direct as ever, wondering how she could have left the thing she loved the most. La Fiamma thinks he’s posed the wrong question, of course, telling him that it left her. For as well as she plays the diva part, Monica Bellucci’s vulnerability here resonates more than the vamping and soft-spoken threats to Rodrigo. Longevity is a huge concern for musicians, not just in relevance but ability. Rodrigo’s assumption that she walked away shows just how green he still is.

Advertisement

To writer Will Graham’s credit, the subsequent sex scene feels both surprising and inevitable. Rodrigo isn’t the kind of person to hold back, and neither is Alessandra. But she’s apparently had her eye on him for some time, while he’s always kept an eye on Hailey. Even though there’s only two of them in bed at the end, the love triangle reasserts itself, pushing us into the next act, where La Fiamma will probably only grow more desperate. And as much as I’d like to keep seeing Monica Bellucci, it’s probably best to move things along.

Stray observations

  • Who else saw The Dirty Filthy Stains name and thought of this?
  • If Dee Dee’s balls were popping out while he was standing on the street, how could they have stayed in place during that performance in the school?
  • Assaulting a reporter? Et tu, Mozart?
  • I’m not surprised that banker Erik turned out to be a jerk.
  • Only Gael García Bernal could get away with asking someone “Are you ready to join the struggle?” that way.
  • “I always meant raft.”
  • Don’t objectify Rodrigo with your “El Guapo” stuff, Beppe.

Advertisement