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‘Minx’ season 2 finale review: “Woman of the Hour”

By September 8, 2023No Comments6 min read

This piece was written during the 2023 WGA and SAG-AFTRA strikes. Without the labor of the writers and actors currently on strike, the movie being covered here wouldn’t exist.

Minx creator Ellen Rapoport has delivered a flawless sequel to her smash hit first season. Although Minx’s Season 2 finale, “Woman of the Hour,” follows a similar formula to the first season’s close, this bold show digs into the righteous fight for equal rights with no one left behind.

There’s no question that mainstream 2nd wave feminism of the 1960s/70s was a straight-and-white affair with room for little difference in that department. Feminism today can see how narrow-minded the definition of feminine oppression was and how it excluded other races and sexualities. Being a relatively historically accurate depiction of the times, Minx does a great job of showing that narrow-minded viewpoint while still dissecting it from a modern perspective and fighting for what we expect today.

Looking back at every episode this season, the final moments of Minx Season 2 shine brighter than after the first watch. Every character arc, bump in the road, side quest, etc., played into the triumphant culmination of enlightenment for some and corruption for others.

It’s incredible to see how Rapoport introduced the brilliant Constance (Elizabeth Perkins) as Minx’s saving grace initially and then used her to manipulate the direction of each OG character’s decisions moving forward. Every guiding word or compliment from Constance played into who the characters become in the finale and what they inevitably decide to do. It’s also fascinating to see how these manipulations inevitably push these characters to betray her with the opposite and enticing effect on Doug (Jake Johnson).

Everything Constance put Doug and Tina (Idara Victor) through this season laid the groundwork for their relationship’s demise. How, initially, Constance brought Tina up and puffed her with responsibility and confidence while taking those two things from Doug. The history of the two’s relationship filled in the gaps for the couple’s disputes, but Constance’s final play pulls Doug into her lap, and Tina’s tried and true backbone sticks to her instincts just the way Constance had encouraged her. Once Tina was Constance’s sidekick and confidant and Doug was on the outs, the opposite becomes true in the final showdown.

With Joyce (Ophelia Lovibond), Constance encouraged her to call the shots and stick to her instincts. However, as Joyce began living more in the moment and seeing outside her bubble, those instincts started to differ from Constance’s. That is where the subtle clash begins. Where Joyce rules with her heart, Constance rules with a fiscal brain.

Though, at times, we see Joyce be the hustling diva with little time for a perspective that doesn’t align with her own, there are moments this season when we peak at the Joyce Prigger who stands proudly in the final moments of Minx Season 2 Episode 8. Like in Season 1, Joyce has a remarkable journey through Season 2, where she becomes more insightful, bold and cunning. I look forward to whatever must be in store for her in a possible Season 3.

Throughout this season, Richie (Oscar Montoya) is at odds with the direction of Minx the magazine and Joyce’s leadership. He is both dismissed and dismissive. Through his journey and a better understanding of his talent, Riche’s pride in his vision and personality as a gay erotic photographer, he is toyed with by the elusive yet restrictive margins at Minx while simultaneously taking his frustrations out on the wrong people. In the end, I think it becomes apparent that Richie is angry with Joyce but respects her too much to take his issues to her directly; instead, he unleashes it on others, particularly Bambi (Jessica Lowe).

At the beginning of Season 2, Richie’s talent and vision bring Constance into the centrefold* (wink). Yet, by the end of the season, Constance has nothing to do with Richie and, in many ways, rejects him—again, we see how Richie and his identity are dismissed. I appreciate how these plot points are presented; I like how Richie sticks to his beliefs and desires to be seen and appreciated. I admire how Richie’s character has shaped, and I see how the nuance of his faults causes the viewer to see an imperfect man behave poorly at times but still worthy of respect, recognition and rights.

Yet, Rishie’s bitter attitude shines a spotlight on one of the most heartwrenching character arcs this season — Bambi and her lack of role, purpose, and position at Minx. Constance’s immediate ignorance of Bambi opens the floodgates for every character to dismiss her opinions, emotions, contributions and more. Of course, the most obvious are those closest to her in Season 1, Richie and Shelly (Lennon Parham). When Shelly is dismissive, it’s to hide from her truth. When Richie is dismissive, it is a chance to elevate his self-importance. Though Shelly finally finds her answers through Bambi’s pain and refusal to remain a scapegoat and appears remorseful, Richie is cruel to the end in subtle and snide ways. And although we see Bambi find her calling in the backseat of Lenny’s (Rich Sommer) hatchback, I’m missing the reconciliation between these characters.

One of the most notable character arcs from Minx is Shelly’s, the woman introduced as Joyce’s older sister, the frustrated housewife whose husband could never make her cum. Her story is brilliant, deviant, and delicious to watch unfold. Watching this wife and mother come into her own and reclaim her identity was on my bingo card, but not like this. I did not see Italy with a Vassar professor coming, and I did not see Lesbian in the cards either. I figured she’d remain pansexual and swing with her husband, perhaps invite Bambi into the fold, become a throuple, but I like this better.

The gears click into place for Joyce’s final stand against Constance’s rule according to her familial loyalty to the older sister who practically raised her. Joyce may have been disappointed by the ignorance of Richie’s all-male bathhouse shoot, but she was downright heartbroken over Shelly’s coming-out story being thrown away. Rapoport’s decision to make Shelly gay allowed for a beautiful story and provided the perfect opportunity for Joyce to hit her limit and break free.

With the SAGAFTRA and WGA strikes not coming to a close anytime soon due to the atrocious greed of studio executives, I fear for the future of Minx. After the way HBO treated the series just this past year, I would hate for the team behind this brilliant show to be thrown to the side again based on insatiability. This series has much more to say and accomplish with its intricate storylines and characters. Creator Ellen Rapoport is far too talented to be shafted aside when her writing and storytelling are as captivating as Minx.

Feature image courtesy of STARZ

Isobel Grieve

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