I finished watching “Maid,” the Netflix limited-series, last night, and I still find myself sobbing at random moments, while recalling the powerful, gut-wrenching scenes of the show.
“Maid” touched on domestic violence, alcoholism, toxic masculinity and other heavy issues, which, hopefully, sparked a conversation on breaking the cycle of abuse and doing better by DV survivors, while also acknowledging that many abusers are survivors of abuse themselves.
At the same time the series was shining a light on abuse, “Maid” was reflecting the stark difference in reality for those with financial means, and those without. This point was illustrated by the incredible story arc involving the relationship between main character Alex (Margaret Qualley) and Regina (Anika Noni Rose).
The viewer is introduced to Regina, when Alex shows up to clean her massive home. We quickly learn Regina is a power player, and, so it seems, has little to worry her. Meanwhile, at this point, we have already seen Alex escape her trailer home, sleep on a Ferry Station floor, and, thanks to visual reminders on screen, try to get by with little money.
From this vantage point, Regina seems entitled and self-absorbed, and our sympathies (at least mine) were with Alex, when her DV shelter friend, Danielle, “dognaps” Regina’s dog as payback for Regina refusing to pay Alex what was owed to her.
In a stand-off between Alex and Regina, we see Alex lay into Regina for freaking out over her dog missing for a few hours, when she herself had her daughter taken from her.
Perhaps motivated by Alex’s speech, Regina does pay Alex for her work, and continues to engage her cleaning services.
In what is a pivotal shift in her story, we first see Regina hastily packing up homemade pies for Thanksgiving, while her husband urges her to hurry up, all the while questioning the need for seven pies, which, apparently are for decoration only.
Later, on Thanksgiving Day, we find Alex at Regina’s home, cleaning and taking advantage of the finer things rich living has to offer. Alex’s fun (which also included a visit from a “Tinder” match) is cut short, when Regina comes home early, alone, and sobbing into one of her many pies.
Here we learn how Regina’s partner ended the relationship. If that were not enough of an emotional blow, we discover Regina is expecting a child via a surrogate, and will now be a single mom.
From this point forward, “Maid” shows us just how much money and access can make the difference for mothers. We see Alex struggle and fail to find safe housing, quality daycare and financial security. We see her fall back into a relationship with her ex, and his subsequent financial entrapment and emotional abuse.
At the same time, we learn Regina is able to hire someone from an au pair service, and, seemingly has to do little to alter her life in preparation for her new baby.
Yet, “Maid” is a show with brilliant layers, and, we soon find all is not so perfect in Regina’s world. In one scene, we find a flustered Regina, desperately trying to piece together a high-end crib for her son. In another, we encounter Regina, exhausted and miserable from lack of sleep and trapped in an endless cycle of having to drive her baby around just to get some peace.
In both of these scenes, we have Alex, who, calmly and without judgement, offers much needed support. Whether she is building a crib or giving Regina the encouragement to take a nap, Alex in both those moments, showcases her incredible level of empathy and understanding for fellow moms.
We now begin to see a shift how Regina views Alex. While early on, Regina likely felt superior to Alex, we see a new found respect of her as both a mother and a woman. Regina begins to use her financial advantages and access to help Alex pull herself out of her abusive situation.
Regina is a wonderful example of what a “village” can look like, and how extending a lifeline to a fellow mom can be the difference between her surviving and losing everything.
Though I touched on this point earlier, I would be remiss not to draw more attention to what Alex did for Regina. Though her support can not be quantified in money, the emotional support and sage advice she provided an overwhelmed Regina was beautiful and shows that no matter our personal circumstances, we moms can relate to one another in so many ways.
“Maid” is available on Netflix, and is an absolute must watch.