Review: Mrs. America Episode 8

Mrs. America‘ is a Hulu miniseries that tracks the second-wave feminists’ movement to get the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) ratified. The series captures the story from the point of view of multiple leading figures who had been involved in the fight. However, the entire miniseries focuses especially on Phyllis Schlafly, a conservative woman who managed to successfully oppose the ratification.

Mrs. America Episode 8 Recap:

The eighth episode of ‘Mrs. America’ begins with Pamela and Alice driving to Houston to attend the National Women’s Conference. When they reach there, they cannot get their room since the convention is overbooked. The two are forced to change inside the restroom. Alice tells Pamela that they would have gotten their room had she agreed to take a flight. Pamela tells Alice that she did not have the money to take a flight since she did not tell her husband about coming to the conference. Then, the two get a room but have to share it with another woman and her daughter. Alice doesn’t get much sleep that night.

Rosemary tells Alice that she has selected another woman, Anne, to give the opposition speech. However, Alice argues against that decision, and Rosemary puts her in charge of the speech again. However, when a reporter interviews the women, Alice botches it. Rosemary changes her decision again to have Anne speak. A distressed Alice cannot find Pamela. She goes to the bar alone, where she meets an aged and religious woman. She gives her a “Christian pill,” which relaxes Alice (the pill is a drug, of course, most likely ecstasy). The two continue talking until Alice realizes that the woman is a NOW member and a supporter of the ERA.

Then, Alice calls Phyllis, and the latter asks her about a recipe. Alice cuts the call abruptly. Hungry, she tries to find food and ends up at the gay lounge where she joins in on a few women singing. She also goes to a church where a nun preaches gender equality in religion and experiences various other things in an intoxicated state. She finally meets Pamela outside their room. Then, the two see Gloria Steinem (they had been asked by Phyllis to insult her when they see her). Steinem comes to their room where she and a few other women are discussing things related to the convention. In the morning, Alice hallucinates, seeing Phyllis calling her a reject.

Alice tells Rosemary and the other Eagle Forum women that they shouldn’t blatantly oppose everything. Instead, they should agree on a few things that they actually do not have a problem with. The women ignore her. At the convention, the speaker brings up a bill on rights of sexual preference. Betty announces her support for it, and when the speaker asks for those who support the bill, there is an overwhelming yay response. Rosemary, Pamela, Alice, and the other Eagle Forum women decide to leave. On their way, they meet Phyllis, who has managed to gather 20,000 people in support of her!

Mrs. America Episode 8 Review

Generally, ‘Mrs. America’ is a miniseries that has been quite heavy in terms of political events and the rate at which time is shown to be passing. There isn’t much spoonfed exposition, which has led to the show having a not-so-easy tone. This tone has been a hit or a miss but has worked on most occasions.

However, the eighth episode is more character-driven, personal, and emotion-oriented. The episode is told entirely from the point of view of Alice, and her change of views and heart is depicted quite effectively. Furthermore, the effects of the “Christian pill” aren’t exaggerated but presented aptly. It is easy to see how even a conservative woman like Alice would feel like the cause she had been supporting might be flawed. Hence, this is the episode where Sarah Paulson finally gets a moment to shine, away from the shadows of Cate Blanchett. Fittingly, this is also the episode where the character of Alice manages to somewhat step out of the shadow of Phyllis. Alice finally realizes that Phyllis is controlling and dominating. It is apparent to viewers how Alice would not continue to be as blinded by Schlafly as she has been before.

Next, the eighth episode is also perhaps the most stylish episode of ‘Mrs. America’ with a couple of moments that would make viewers clap in delight. One of them is certainly Steinem’s entry. Her walk, the background music, and Steinem’s iconic aviators combine well to make viewers look up to her as if she were a Hollywood star.

Overall, the Houston conference is depicted well, through various angles. However, it was slightly disappointing to see Schalfly’s interruption not being shown. It might be in the next episode, but ideally, it would have been a decent concluding moment. Moreover, Phyllis’ gathering did not seem to comprise of 20,000 people as she claimed. Perhaps,  the makes of the miniseries could have shown the large gathering better.

Read More: Where Was Mrs. America Filmed?