- Molly Smith Metzler
- Run Time
- 9 hours and 5 minutes
VP Content Ratings
- Sex & Nudity
- Star Rating
For the needy shall not always be forgotten,
nor the hope of the poor perish forever.
Limited TV Series
This 10-episode series about an abused wife and mother has more heart and insights than a hundred super hero epics. The series is based on the memoir by Stephanie Land Maid: Hard Work, Low Pay, and a Mother’s Will to Survive. It’s themes of motherhood, mother-daughter-love, spouse abuse, homelessness, and the hard lot of the working poor will resonate within you long after you have gone on to other series.
The story begins late at night with Alex (Margaret Qualley) cautiously getting out of bed while her husband is sleeping. She carefully gathers up her almost-three-year-old daughter Maddy and slips out of the house. Laying her daughter into the car’s child seat, she gets in and starts to drive away. By now her husband Sean (Nick Robinson),is awake and rushes after her yelling, but she continues her flight. In brief flashbacks we see Sean, his face contorted, abusing her verbally.
Unable to find shelter with a friend or at her mentally ill mother’s trailer, and possessing just $18,she turns to the intricate welfare system. She doesn’t want to admit she’s a victim, so she says to the intake woman:
Alex: I’d really hate to take a bed from someone who’s abused for real.
Social worker: For real? What does that mean?
Alex: Beaten up? Hurt?
Social Worker: And what does fake abuse look like? Intimidation? Threats? Control?
Finally, she is put into contact with Denise (BJ Harrison), the compassionate head of a domestic violence shelter. There she is provided with food, clothing, shelter, group therapy, and sometimes transportation. The transportation is an issue, because Alex’s car was wrecked the night she left Sean. Fellow resident Danielle (Aimee Carrero) provides help in navigating the welfare system—and later will return in a heart-breaking incident. Alex finds low-pay employment at the maid service run by the no nonsense Yolanda (Tracy Vilar). One of her employers, who lives in a wealthy enclave on an island requiring a ferry pass, is Regina (Anika Noni Rose). At first she turns out to be a heartless member of the 1% who stiffs Alex of her badly needed pay, but then appears in later episodes exhibiting an entirely different side of her character.
Alex and her adorable Maddy will suffer many ups and downs in her uphill battle for survival. There will be a wealthy man with a kind heart named Nate (Raymond Ablack) who will help her with cash and the gift of a car, but when he would turn their relationship into a romance, Alex, already burnt by a domineering male, pulls back. She also becomes deeply emeshed with her bipolar mother Paula Langley. This would-be artist is delightfully portrayed by Andie MacDowell, as living in her own bubble of addled dreams and aspirations.
The series is saved from stark melodrama by depicting the human side even of its villain, Alex’s ex-boyfriend Sean Boyd (Nick Robinson). He cares deeply for their child and goes to court to obtain exclusive custody of Maddy, arguing that Alex is an unfit mother. Then, in the midst of their legal battle, when it looks as if he will prevail, he reveals just how much he loves their little girl. And then, too, there is Regina, who turns out to have a compassionate heart also, turning out to be a caring supporter of her maid.
There is tender scene after tender scene in this series, which will keep you constantly hitting the “Next Episode” button. This is not a religious series, but clearly it is on the side of the God who favors the poor and will ensure that they “are not forgotten.”
This review will be in the June issue of VP along with a set of questions for reflection and/or discussion. If you have found reviews on this site helpful, please consider purchasing a subscription or individual issue in The Store