Julia wrapped up season 1 with the “Chocolate Soufflé” episode. But celebrations are in order, because just before the episode aired, HBO Max announced the series will get a second season! Even more Julia Child is coming.
When Julia begins episode 8, Julia Child (Sarah Lancashire) is still downcast because of remarks from Betty Friedan in episode 7. She’s not sure who she is or who she’s meant to be. She’s serving breakfast to Paul (David Hyde Pierce) in the family kitchen and she’s in a real snit. Here she is, in the kitchen, waiting on a man! She’s just as bad as Betty Friedan said she was!
My feminist icon has always been Gloria Steinem. If she said to me, “Virginia, your little blog is a silly waste of time and does nothing to elevate women in the world,” I would be so crushed I don’t think I’d ever recover. That’s how Julia feels at the moment.
Julia is ready to give it up. She tells her boss and her producers Russ Morash (Fran Kranz) and Alice Naman (Brittany Bradford) that she’s finished with the show.
It took many conversations with her husband Paul, with her friend Avis (Bebe Neuwirth) and numerous coworkers from WGBH before she began to see her way back to who she was and what she wanted to do.
Self-identity was a theme running through the episode. Alice, in her new relationship with Isaac (Tosin Morohunfola), tells him, “I want to be someone.” It will be interesting to see if Isaac makes it into season 2, he really stepped in deep doo doo in this episode.
Blanche Knopf (Judith Light) was going blind. She confided, crying, to her editor Judith Jones (Fiona Glascott) and said, “I am my work. Who am I without my eyes, without my sight?”
We in the audience know that Julia Child continued to be a public figure until into her 90s. And we know she did continue her ground-breaking cooking show. But this episode was so well done, so beautifully acted by Sarah Lancashire, that the suspense as she regained her sense of purpose was agonizing. So many people loved and supported her. She finally found her way back to accepting that what she wanted to do with her future was worth doing.
Praise for season 1
Playing the joyful and exuberant Julia Child was another magnificent achievement for Sarah Lancashire. She was beyond brilliant at it, and she’ll be doing it again in season 2. Her embodiment of Julia Child was not an imitation but a perfect representation. I personally am thrilled to have her on American soil when she’s filming the series, even if she’s far away in Boston.
All the other actors were outstanding as well. The entire series went through struggles with COVID and other setbacks, but the results were triumphant. Giant kudos to all the actors, writers, directors, producers, and crew. You made a great series that can be watched again and again while we settle in to wait for season 2.