'The Romanoffs': New episode barely meets viewers' 'Expectations'
Weiner takes the same path of adultery that episodes one and two went on with just a twist of an ambiguous paternal situation in 'The Romanoffs' latest episode
'The Romanoffs' released the fourth installment of its eight-part series, titled 'Expectations', on October 26. After the last episode 'House of Special Purpose', where we saw paranormal activities on the sets of a miniseries being filmed and altogether a good script, it may have seemed like the anthology has taken a turn for the best, but that wasn't the case in the latest episode.
In this episode, Matthew Weiner, the creator, writer, director, and producer, introduces us to another descendant of the Romanovs family, Eric Ford, who does not use his last name 'Romanoff', just like other characters in episodes one, two and three. However, although he is a Romanoff, he is on the sidelines of this episode, as his wife, Julia Wells (Amanda Peet) is the center of the story.
Julia is overwhelmed by the fact that her daughter Ella Hopkins (Emily Rudd) is late for her delivery and is being stubborn on delivering, when the time comes, in solitary. That's not the only part which puts Julia in a bad mood. The fact that Ella is not the daughter of her husband, Eric, is what bothers her more. Julia revisits the memory of having been intimate with her husband's best friend Daniel Reese (John Slattery) 20 years back and how she never told anyone but Daniel that Ella is his daughter. Julia is seen in pain and in a state of a dilemma between telling her husband the truth or taking it to her grave.
At the same time, Julia feels guilty having kept Daniel away from his own daughter. We can see that all the memories of Julia's past are haunting her on the same day and she is about to lose her mind.
However, she powers through all this and attends the dinner with Ella's in-laws, where she is rushed to the hospital for chronic pain which turns out to be gall-stones. Her day ends at the hospital feeling guilty until her daughter hints towards knowing about her and Daniel's charades. Ella is shown as the bigger person who seems to understand the situation between her mother and Daniel, although it is not made clear whether she knows about her being Daniel's daughter. But, Julia seems a little relieved by the fact that Ella knows.
The direction and the cuts between the past and present are beautifully showcased. Weiner uses another set of actors to play the character of young Julia (Anni Krueger), Eric (John Way), and Daniel (Charlie Gorrilla) for the throwback and it helps the viewers understand the story better. The portrayal of Julia by Peet is a treat to watch and especially the scenes including Peet and Slattery make for an intense and poetic watch.
However, Weiner takes the same path of adultery that episodes one and two went on with just a twist of an ambiguous paternal situation. Interesting fact, this episode was shorter than the previous three episodes by almost 20 minutes. Makes us wonder, why? Weiner could have worked on the script a little more and made the ending clearer. But again, the concept of adultery is the most used concepts in films and television and this made the episode seem repetitive. The episode doesn't seem to dive into the life of a Romanoff, but is rather just day in the life of a woman who cheated on her husband 20 years back and is facing a mid-life crisis.
We can only hope that the next episodes do not bring the same old concepts of adultery in the series which is supposed to deal with the events of the 'Romanoffs' family and offer something different to viewers. The next episode of 'The Romanoffs' will air on November 2.