Devious Maids 1.03 Review: “Wiping Away the Past”

ontd groupSo let’s talk about sexual harassment for a sec. It’ll be quick I promise; I just need to get this out of my system and it’s relevant, I swear. Especially in a show with the set-up of Devious Maids.  Basically, when you look at it, two of our four main characters were sexually harassed this episode to varying degrees of creepiness; and you’d bump that up to three once you remember that for all their mushy feelings for one another, Val is still working for Remy’s family and he is employing her — that power imbalance alone makes any sort of romantic attachment skeevy in my books.

But, in the show’s defense, they make appoint of addressing the problems with this sort of relationship. When Rosie is given an undisclosed amount of money to help pay for a lawyer who will get her son into the country “as a gift” from her boss, Mr. Spence, the other maids are wary, thinking that Mr. Spence “expects certain things.” The fact that there was an awkward-boner when Rosie hugged him out of glee probably didn’t help, either. When Carmen’s almost-producer that’s interested in signing her expects more from her than just her talent and her voice, she gives in, as it’s the only way she can see that will help her reach her dream.


So with that in mind — the power-imbalance present in nearly all of the relationships on this show — let’s take a look at Sunday’s episode.

Well, first off, there was a lot of advancement in the plot all around. Marisol figured out that Adrian Powell was a grade A creep who buys prostitutes for his friends (and then has his friends sleep with the girl without knowing that she’s been bought) and that Flora, the woman murdered in the first episode started out under than arrangement before she became a maid. And his wife, Evelyn is completely aware of this, actively resents it, and loathes the fact that Adrian is corrupting a long-time friend/crush with his “dirty little habit.” And it’s interesting, I think; I mean, watching the Powells interact at all is fantastic, but this week I was left questioning Evelyn and her motives and why, exactly, she think she deserves Adrian despite his general slime-balliness.  And Marisol, can we see more of her? She’s manipulative and charming and fantastic, and I want her to win at this, to have her son’s name cleared. I could watch her play rich, bitter divorced women for hours, it’s great.

Slightly less great is Val and Zoila’s plot-line. I mean, I love the fact that the show-runners took a step back and went, “Hey, let’s be faintly realistic about this and have our characters be mature adults rather than horny-selfish-children” and had Remy and Val break off their budding romance because they — rather, he — realized that it was causing friction between Zoila and his mother, their employer. I just don’t like the fact that instead of being portrayed as a practical, no-nonsense woman concerned with professionalism and her child’s safety, Zoila was revealed to be a woman who couldn’t get over the fact that a man left her twenty years ago — granted, that man was rich, and left her for a similarly rich woman — and is trying to keep history from repeating with her daughter. It just seems cliché, that’s all.

zap2it marisol side eye

Rosie this week — oh, God, Rosie. I just want to mention how gross it is that when Rosie thinks her boss wants to sleep with her because he gave her an implied-to-be obscene amount of money, instead of just telling him no or trying to have a discussion about it, she feels the need to grab another dude and pretend to be romantically involved to get Mr. Spence off her back. Because apparently having feelings for the maid is fine so long as she doesn’t have a violent boyfriend? But no, really, that’s about Rosie’s entire plot this week. She gets the money to pay the lawyer to bring her son Miguel to America (after being accused of attempting to blackmail the cheating wife she’s working for) and scrambles to deter her boss, and finds out that he has feelings for her.

And Carmen’s plot line this week? I’m … on the fence. She gets her big break into the music industry by snagging the interest of a big-name producer, which is awesome, and her blatant manipulation of Sam to get what she wants — a longer lunch hour, a ride to said producer’s office — is called out and actively acknowledged (even if he continues along in the hopes that she continues to bribe him with dates), and just Sam in general seems like a good guy. Less awesome? The fact that she is pressured by her producer to sleep with him after they agree to do business. It’s problematic, to say the least.

But overall, this was a decent episode. Paced quickly, acted well, it was an entertaining, if problematic, watch. Adraian Powell is shaping up to be a twisted, curious villain and I’m looking forward to see him revealed, just like I’m looking forward to seeing Evelyn expanded on and Marisol come out on top and Rosie to be reunited with her son and — basically, there’s a lot to look forward to, is what I’m saying.

What do you think, though? Am I making too big a deal of the relationship dynamics? Are the Powell just flat, easy-to-peg villains and I’m just not seeing it? Which plot-line are you looking forward to most?

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