Feud: Bette and Joan Episode 4 Recap: “The Feud-ture Is Female”

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FEUD: Bette and Joan — “More, Or Less” — Installment 1, Episode 4 (Airs Sunday, March 26, 10:00 p.m. e/p) –Pictured: Jackie Hoffman as Mamacita. CR: Suzanne Tenner/FX

The reviews are in this week for Bette and Joan, and though the movie has wrapped, the Feud is still just getting started.

Well, Whatever Happened To Baby Jane? is over, the on-set bickering has ceased, and it’s time to unleash the ladies on the public. And unleashed they are. We enter this episode as the women prepare for their lives after Baby Jane with agent meetings and serious discussions of the future. Immediately, the women know they aren’t being taken care of: Bette’s new agent is “almost 23,” and Joan’s roomful of men tells her, with no remorse, that there haven’t been any offers.

Joan, champ that she is, does not take this news lying down. She tells her team that she did her part in getting herself back in the game, and now it’s their turn to do the work. Her agent informs her that “there’s not a lot out there for mature actresses.” Okay, sir. Bye forever. Bette’s agent then tells her that he’s heard the women have thrown their careers down the toilet with a B movie. Joan responds by promptly firing her “room full of f*cking agents,” and Bette takes out a very public personal ad in the paper for a new agent.

Ladies: 1; Dumb Man Agents: -5

Back at the studio, Bob and Pauline watch a cut of the film in preparation for the sneak preview that’s a mere few days away. Everyone is sure the movie will flop. Bob thinks it’s because primary moviegoers- young kids and teens- have no idea who these women are. Pauline assures him that even kids and teens know the women because they grew up watching them on TV.  Pauline tries to give Bob his potential next script to read, but he says he can’t even think about his next picture yet.

Later, Bob talks to his wife about the imminent release, and their money issues come up. He laments that if this film doesn’t do well, he won’t be able to get work again. She reminds him that he always gets like this before a preview so he shouldn’t worry.

Over at Joan’s, Mamacita is vacuuming in the best way anyone has ever vacuumed in history, and Pauline shows up at the door. In Joan’s absence, she tells Mamacita about the script she’d tried to give Bob. And guess what? PAULINE WROTE IT. Just for Joan. **Swoon.** She tells Mamacita that since the two of them are right-hand ladies, Mamacita is the best person to help her get to Joan. Pauline also reveals her intention to direct the film, even though there’s exactly not a precedent for female directors. Mamacita reminds Pauline that in America, there’s opportunity for women to be whatever they want, and tells her that she’ll talk to Joan.

Joan and Mamacita go to dinner, where Joan decides she needs to tell the damn maître d’ that Bette had smelled failure and ran, and subsequently wouldn’t go to the screening (which Joan is on her way to). At dinner, Mamacita tries to convince Joan to be in Pauline’s new picture. Unsurprisingly, yet still enough to break my lil heart, Joan says that because it’s a female director, there’s no way.

It’s sneak preview time, and basically everyone everywhere is expecting the movie to entirely tank. The films screens, with Joan in the audience, and the crowd seems to be reacting in a somewhat positive way. At the end, it gets a standing ovation. Joan is thrilled. As she goes into the lobby, people start to recognize her and ask for her autograph. She is elated, asking if they had enjoyed the film, and starts to do some wonderfully endearing happy-crying as she signs.

In some other part of my wildest dreams, Bette Davis appears on a variety show singing a “Whatever Happened To Baby Jane?” song, and I shout “OH MY GOD” out loud alone in my home. Turns out, the movie is a box office smash. Girl power, am I right? Hedda and Joan discuss the film, and Hedda tells her that although Bette has the critics, Joan has the audience. Joan is upset that Bette is getting all the critical success and most of the attention in the reviews. Hedda is certain they’ll both get Oscar nominations.

Jack and Bob meet to talk about the success of the movie, and Jack thinks the Baby Jane formula will work for Bob. Bob, being somewhat sane but also a huge coward, would rather do more war pictures or westerns than work with women like Bette and Joan again. Jack tells him that he’s mostly B-list, and kinda threatens that Bob will direct the next script he gives him. Bob says he’s done with horror and with aging actresses. Jack predicts he’ll be back after his next movie bombs.

Pauline makes her way to Joan’s house to finally talk face-to-face about her script. Pauline reminds Joan that women directors are not unheard of, and Joan tells Pauline that though that might’ve been true during the silent era, money has since come along to reign supreme. At that time, studios wanted to “move women to the feminine work,” which Joan seems to agree with. She posits that women don’t have the leadership abilities or fiscal responsibility to be directors. Joan turns her down, but says it’s not because she’s a woman- it’s because she’s a nobody: “My last chance is not going to be your first.” Joan also warns her, as she leaves, not to grab for too much or else she’ll seem ungrateful.