My goodness can you feel it? The release of three seasons of sexual tension? Well, it happened. Hailey and Rodrigo finally had sex. It’s a big moment for the series, one that it had been teasing since the characters’ kiss at the end of season one, and the circumstances surrounding the tryst make it both wonderful and fraught.
Hailey has to try out for the open oboe chair with the Symphony. It seems terribly unfair. She’s been playing with the orchestra after all; She’s a member of their club. To make matters worse, it’s a blind audition. Of course, Rodrigo knows when she plays, and she does so splendidly. Still, it turns out that’s not enough. Rodrigo goes to her apartment to personally tell her the news. Another person got it, and to add insult to injury the winner was a guy with whom Hailey shared flirtatious and ego-boosting banter. She’s impressive to him, and, yet, he was slightly better. Hailey is understandably heartbroken and storms into her building, before coming back out and both apologizing and venting her frustrations. Not only is she without a source of income or health insurance, she needed the job for her reputation. Rodrigo tries to insist she quit Andrew Walsh’s ensemble as opposed to getting fired. She calls him out: “No, I can’t quit because I’m not some magical, musical, superstar shaman. I’m an oboist. I’m a fucking oboist.” She starts cry-laughing, and they go on a walk where they talk about the origin of his play with “blood” mantra and how he actually sees visions of famous composers. (That Hailey isn’t completely freaked out by this is something of a miracle.) He tells her to come work for him, not as an assistant, but to help him with the youth orchestra. She says no. She needs to get out of his “orbit,” she says, adding, “professionally.” She’s right. Her whole career has been far too interconnected with his. But the ”professionally” is an important addition to her statement because she then starts making out with him, and they go back to her place.
There’s a clever cut here. We jump to the next morning. Lizzie comes to the apartment, and we see her astonished reaction before we actually see the events that transpired. She’s both incredulous and impressed, and the interaction between her and Rodrigo is amusing. It’s when Rodrigo has to leave that the flashbacks start. Hailey and Rodrigo each replay the memories of the night before. They both seem struck by the impact they had on one another, and both seem not quite able to wrap their heads around what transpired and whether it was what they needed or what will break them apart.
Rodrigo and Hailey aren’t the only pair solidifying their relationship in one way or another. There’s also Gloria and Thomas, who prove that one thing better than a blow job is hearing Bernadette Peters sing. They make amends over the parental visit. Even though it was never made out to be that big of a deal, it put a dent in their relationship, that is now smoothed over. They make a commitment to one another, not of marriage, but of mutual respect. Gloria asks Thomas to close his eyes, and instead of doing anything dirty she sings Cole Porter’s “After You’ve Gone.”
Thomas, earlier that night, goes to visit Cynthia, his former lover. It’s not a meeting for sex, though Cynthia certainly seems interested in revisiting that history. Really though she searching for answers as she faces down her surgery. She wants to know if she could have been a star as a soloist. Thomas tell her she could have been, and she doesn’t look happy to hear the news. She has been confident in her life choices, but now, with her talent on the verge of being taken away from her, she’s questioning. She goes through with the surgery. Kevin and Bob pick her up. (Bob just happens to be driving the Uber that Kevin calls.) She’s wary of what’s to come, but she has support.
The morning after Hailey and Rodrigo consummate their will they/won’t they dynamic, Rodrigo goes to the audition for the youth orchestra, where every child, no matter what their level of talent, gets a spot. He’s content with his path. Hailey? Not so much. She sits by herself, contemplating, and finds herself visited by a surreal, surprising figure: Nannerl, the older sister of Mozart. Nannerl, lost to history, was a talented harpsichord player in her own right, and warns Hailey not to make the same mistake she did. Hailey asks what that was. “I gave up,” Nannerl says, bluntly. It’s a fantastic coda. Hailey doesn’t want to work for Rodrigo because she needs to find her career independent of him, but by sleeping with him she runs the risk of being fully absorbed by his aura, even though the sex was very much her decision. Seeing Nannerl means she’s closer to Rodrigo than ever before—she’s sharing his most disturbing quirk. But, in some ways, the ghost is almost telling her to run from him. Nannerl’s life was defined by a man’s; Hailey has the power not to face the same fate.
- The Rodrigo commercial was hilarious, but I’m skeptical that any brands are actually angling for a conductor to be their spokesperson. Seems a little highbrow.
- Hailey’s a musician in New York, when it comes to her career just how far away from Rodrigo can she get?
- Shawn’s awe at Rodrigo appearing in his living room was priceless.
- Lizzie announces that she and Bradford are “on a break.” Mazel tov, Lizzie. You can do better. (I’m still annoyed at his documentary.)
- Gael García Bernal and Lola Kirke are a dynamite pair with great chemistry giving excellent performances that I’d venture to say are underrated.
- I thoroughly enjoyed this season, even if there was a bit of uneasiness coming back to Manhattan after the opening in Venice. It opens up a bunch of threads I’m eager to see the writers follow in the next season should it be renewed.
- Despite its odd Golden Globes success, Mozart strangely has never quite had the buzz I would say it deserves. But it’s now had three seasons of wacky, smart comedy and it should be applauded.