Julia: Chocolate Mousse brings Julia Child (Sarah Lancashire) back to Boston to begin filming the second season of The French Chef. She arrives to find that much has changed in the 4 months she was gone. Now Julia is the one wishing nothing would change. There are spoilers ahead.
Roland (Charlie Thurston) is leading a revolt at WGBH. The mediocre men who’ve worked there for years don’t want to be compared with the runaway success of the brilliant Julia Child.
Julia doesn’t take to her new director, Elaine Levitch (Rachel Bloom) at first, although Paul (David Hyde Pierce) likes her moxie. Julia wishes she was still working with Russ (Fran Kranz).
Russ finally has a go at a documentary. He gets a chance to show all 100 minutes of it to his documentary making idol Madeline Anderson (Quincy Tyler Bernstine). Not a great review there. Dang.
Alice (Brittany Bradford) asked Russ to stop calling her “pal.” Good for her.
Alice went to see a doctor Elaine suggested to get some of that newfangled birth control being introduced in the 1960’s. This doctor was an older white man who treated Alice like a street walker and refused to give her a prescription “for her own good.” Alice was so desperate she confided in her mother (Adriane Lenox) for help.
When Julia’s boss, Hunter (Robert Joy), explained the changes at the station because of the success of The French Chef, Julia cut the tension and healed all the hard feelings by having the entire team work together to make Chocolate Mousse. As in the Pressed Duck episode, the title of the episode isn’t something she was going to make on her show. (Her first menu of the new season was her recent favorite, Loup en Croûte.)
There’s a lot going on with Judith (Fiona Glascott) and Blanche Knopf (Judith Light) in this episode. I’m going to skip over it. There’s also a man from the FBI nipping at Julia’s heels trying to make her an informant in J. Edgar Hoover’s war against leftists. We’ll leave that for later too.
Now we have to talk about that one scene.
That One Scene
Avis (Bebe Neuwirth) has been going through a crisis about a gentleman friend, Stanley, played with great charisma by Danny Burstein. Avis has confided in Julia about him and her reservations about getting intimate.
When everyone is at the station making Chocolate Mousse, Avis mentions going to see Stanley later. Julia counters with a reminder that Avis has a beautiful home and she should open it and invite Stanley in. Wide open. These two outstanding talents, Sarah Lancashire and Bebe Neuwirth, pulled out a bit of magic here. They made this clearly coded metaphor for sex so sweet and cute. Cute is not a word much in use anymore and certainly not for women like Sarah Lancashire and Bebe Neuwirth, but it applies here. It was so freakin’ cute! I’ve seen puppies that weren’t this cute. The two of them jumped off the screen and into my heart.
This episode was directed by Jenée LaMarque. It’s streaming on Max.