Meanwhile at Joan’s house, she comes home looking for her twins, who are away at camp for two weeks. She talks to Mamacita about how she’ll have to soon get used to the silence of an empty house. Joan says one of the things she loved most about having her kids was that no matter what she was doing, she could come home to their “wonderful noise and joy.” She says that that’s the curse of being a professional woman- one day, you wake up with no husband, no career, children out of the house, and “all you’re left with is yourself.” Mamacita tells Joan, in a weirdly comforting moment: “Women outlive men; children leave.” Joan concedes that her new situation is not a tragedy; it’s just a new phase of life. Joan says she’s going to try to embrace the change and learn how to enjoy being alone.
Moments later, in one of the most strangely touching scenes so far, we find Joan in Mamacita’s bed beside her, sharing her sandwich and watching old Western movies.
Later, Hedda and Joan go out for a meal, and Joan discloses some inside info on Bette’s behavior during the final days of shooting. Simultaneously, as she describes Bette’s actions, we see what had happened in reality: Joan had been the perpetrator of all the bad behavior she attributes to Bette in her Hedda conversation.
On the beach where they’re filming, Joan shows up drunk, insists on a dressing room far enough away from set that she has to be shuttled back and forth, and forces the cast and crew to sit around waiting for her in the heat as she attempts to make herself look younger in her remote dressing room. During Joan’s big dying scene, she tells Hedda she was sure Bette would do something to screw with her. But in the end, Bette didn’t mess it up; Joan recounts that she thinks she might have even moved Bette with her performance. In the next scene they shoot, Bette’s performance is so good, Bob remarks that she looks like she’s years younger. Back at lunch with Hedda, Joan admits that she hates the movie, but if it’s successful, she will be able to make money.
Bette calls her out, saying it’s people like Hedda who nurture venom amongst the women in the industry.
Hedda later shows up at Bette’s home, and claims the word on the street is that Joan’s walking away with the picture. Hedda tells her she knows every nasty thing she’s done to Joan, and warns Bette that Academy voters don’t reward poor behavior. She offers Bette an opportunity to tell her side of the story so she won’t seem like the bad guy, and Bette reminds her that she, in fact, wins awards for playing bad guys. Hedda claims she’d wanted to write a story about how Hollywood’s golden ladies were getting along to set an example for other women, but that she felt a duty to tell the truth about their feud. Bette calls her out, saying it’s people like Hedda who nurture venom amongst the women in the industry. Hedda retaliated by claiming she heard B.D. was ruining the picture and Bette throws her out, saying that her daughter’s role wasn’t even big enough to ruin the picture. And though her mother had been trying to defend her, B.D overhears and gets upset.
Meanwhile, Victor is hanging around outside a club and meets a guy, who enters with and immediately starts, uhmmmm, servicing. While they’re together, the cops raid the place and take them away. Victor calls Bette to get him out of jail, and she tells the cop he had merely been doing research for a role. Victor thanks her and she tells him to be more careful because this could ruin his career. He tells her that he hates lying and keeping secrets.
Bob and Jack are back at the studio watching a cut of the film, and Jack isn’t impressed with the ending of the movie. He’s mad because in a scene where Joan is supposed to be dying on the beach, she looks like she’s getting better and better every time the camera cuts back to her. They have to reshoot it, but Jack won’t give them any more money, and he tells Bob that the funding must come out of their end of the budget. He reminds Bob that it’s always been a B movie and will always be a B movie.
Meanwhile, Bette and B.D. clean out Bette’s dressing room and B.D apologizes for not being better in the film. Bette reassures her, reminding her of all the things she did right. B.D. tells her mother that she makes it looks so easy, and that she hopes she didn’t ruin it. Bette tells her, “If Crawford didn’t ruin it, no one could.”
Joan is at home alone, in her daughters’ room looking at their childhood toys, crying and drinking. She pulls a doll from the shelf and holds it, still weeping. She later goes to an orphanage and tells the man working there that she shouldn’t have any issues adopting because single mothers should be allowed to have children on their own, and she reminds him that she has enough income. The man tells her that none of those factors are issues, but that she’s simply too old to adopt a child.
Back at Bette’s, she calls her daughter Margot at the home. Her daughter asks where she is, and Bette explains that she’s been working, and tells her that she misses her and will have a long visit with her soon. Margot soon becomes distracted and walks away from the phone, leaving Bette and the line unattended.
Later, back on set, they’ve recreated the beach in the studio and Joan is shooting her final dying scene again. In the famous scene wherein Joan’s character admits she’d crippled herself in what was meant to be an attempt to run her daughter down, the two women’s backstories have now bled through to their art to make it more poignant and heartbreaking than ever.
So we’re done filming. And, because we’re still not even halfway through the season, we can bet that what we’ve seen so far isn’t half as bad as things are gonna get. Is it bad that I’m excited?
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