If you haven’t seen Maid yet, its popularity being eclipsed in the headlines by Squid gameThe resounding success of (viewed by 142 million accounts), the 10-episode limited series takes viewers on the personal emotional journey of a young woman facing domestic violence, the precariousness of poverty and homelessness, and a troubled mother / daughter relationship.
Maid is inspired by StÃ©phanie Land Housekeeper: hard work, low wages and a mother’s will to survive, a New York Times bestselling memoir. The series builds on the book, placing more emphasis on Alex’s relationship with his ex-Sean and mother Paula.
Alex, played by Margaret Qualley, is a young mother fleeing an abusive relationship. At the start of the series, Alex leaves her boyfriend Sean (Nick Robinson) in the middle of the night, taking their daughter with her. Homeless and unemployed, Alex struggles to make ends meet for her and her young daughter Maddy, played by Rylea Nevaeh Whittet, to survive. Alex has no one to turn to for help. His mother Paula, played by Qualley’s own mother Andie MacDowell, is an eccentric artist who proves unreliable and unable to look after Alex. Her absent father Hank (Billy Burke) is at first reluctant to help. Alex’s friends are all of Sean’s. She is alone, fending for herself and her daughter. She seeks help from social services, but cannot find real support. The social worker, however, helps her find a job with Value Maids, but the salary she earns barely covers her finances.
According to the synopsis, the series appears to be ten hours long, so why has it become so popular? What showrunner and screenwriter Molly Smith Metzler, and her team of writers, Marcus Gardley, Bekah Brunstetter, Colin McKenna and Michelle Denise Jackson, as well as directors John Wells, Nzingha Stewart, Lila Neugebauer, Helen Shaver and Quyen “Q” Tran , Have Succeeded in Creating is a tender and at times funny series that makes viewers feel invested in Alex’s journey. The camera never moves too far from Alex, showing her take on the situations she finds herself in. We viewers review her experiences with her, thanks to Qualley’s incredible performance.
The series is most powerful in its crude description of the devastating impact of domestic violence, showing the stark difference between couple arguments and emotional abuse. The series emphasizes the feeling of complete isolation that a young woman like Alex would find herself in. One of the scariest moments (among many) in Maid is a scene where Sean emotionally abuses Alex, forcing her to sit at the table, while his father watches, without saying a word. It’s one of the most difficult episodes in the series, showing Alex sinking, pulling away from reality, only his still shell remains, inert. Throughout the episodes, Alex received no support. No one around her seems to understand her actions. In the opening sequence, as she seeks refuge with her friend, one of Sean’s friends appears telling Alex to “stop being a bitch.” Maybe neither of them saw how Sean can be with Alex. But in this scene with Alex’s father, Hank, there is a witness to the behavior. And it does nothing.
There is a rawness in Maid which prevents it from falling into the melodramatic. It immerses us in the reality of Alex, his tender moments with his daughter, his difficult relationship with his mother, who needs help herself, and his darkest moments. It is a must see.