Feud: Capote vs. The Swans – Season 2 Episode 3 “Masquerade 1966” Recap & Review


Masquerade 1966

Episode 3 of Feud: Capote vs. The Swans titled “Masquerade 1966” begins in 1966 as Truman Capote shoots a documentary on his life with the Maysles brothers following the success of his book ‘In Cold Blood’. A majority of the episode is through the interview footage such as his friendship with Babe who cherishes his loyalty.

As the Swans get together, Truman announces a masquerade ball with a secret guest of honour. Of course, everyone thinks it is them and goes out of their way to remind Truman of their friendship. Babe handles most of the decor and invites. However, she breaks down when Bill’s next mistress joins the planning committee.

Truman is snarky about the situation to the Maysles but is comforting in front of Babe. They secretly continue to film her fights with her husband all while Truman promises that the cameras are off.

Truman explains to us that the documentary is about American royalty and their lives. He is providing the insider scoop like secretly filming C.Z.’s naked portrait. When the IRS raid her place, he immediately runs to her. In the interview, he accepts his role as a fixer and comforter as it gives him a sense of purpose. He also acknowledges that no one is indispensable. To make C.Z. feel better, he hints that she is the guest of honour.

Later, he gossips with Slim about who they should not invite. She is confident that he will not use this footage of her being unseemly as she would have him backlisted. At one point, she flies into a rage when he invites the woman who stole her husband. As usual, he secretly urges the Maysles to keep filming. He hypes her up and to make her feel better, suggests that she will be the guest of honor.

At home, he dances with Albert Maysles while discussing the Swans and giving them backhanded compliments. He gets the inspiration for ‘Answered Prayers’ and wonders if he should write about them and their truth.

On D-Day, everyone is shocked as the actual guest of honour is Katharine Graham. Her husband killed herself and she runs the Washington Post. The Swans laugh it off, claiming that they didn’t want the honour in the first place. The Maysles record everyone partying, Babe picking a fight with Bill, someone gossiping about C.Z. being broke, and Slim and her ex’s wife bickering.

Ann Woodward and her son crash the party and it turns ugly. She begs Truman to let her introduce her son to high society but he insults her, calls her a murderer and calls security on her. She calls him deliberately cruel and storms off.

Truman is not affected by the scene but his mood sours when Jack starts dancing with all the Swans. He calls it uncivilized and blames Jack’s upbringing. Jack slams back that the party is boring and suggests that everyone in Truman’s circle just pretends to like him.

Meanwhile, Lee watches Truman waltzing alone and it cuts to her interview. She calls him out for lying to the Swans and claiming each one is his #1 best friend. She points out that Truman takes advantage of women’s fear and makes himself out to be their great protector but there is no such thing as a loyal best friend.

It cuts to the present with Truman watching the footage of Lee and Ann. He is uncomfortable and decides to scrap the documentary. He claims that the information that they have is too great to become a documentary. It needs to be a book which he can describe in his own words. Albert sees through his excuse but lets it go.

At the end of Feud: Capote vs. The Swans Episode 3, it takes us back to the reality of the ball. Truman sees his mother, Nina who laughs at his decor but she is proud. He calls her his best friend and the true guest of honour. They dance, and that is when Lee watches him waltzing alone.

The Episode Review

Jessica Lange is so iconic, she steals the show even when she just has one scene per episode. The same goes for Feud: Capote vs. The Swans Episode 3 when she shows up and finally gets to go to a ball she had been kicked out of when she was alive.

By the way, Truman is playing with fire and he is about to get burnt. You can see in all the ways that he is digging his grave. But you can also see his need to be accepted, his insecurity and doing what he can to solidify his position among the Swans. However, we have not had any strong reasoning for his “deliberate cruelty” yet.

This chapter also gives more context to ‘Answered Prayers’ and that it wasn’t something he wrote on a whim just because a disgruntled John suggested it. It was in the making, way in advance as seen in the documentary footage.

But apart from the story, execution-wise, I do feel bad for all of the lead actresses who are not Naomi Watts and Diane Lane. They are treated as extras, just putting them in scenes to fill the frame and build the ambience, especially Molly Ringwald and Calista Flockhart who are not even introduced properly or given a proper storyline. Hope this changes soon otherwise it will be one of the biggest downfalls of this season.

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Read our season 2 review of Feud: Capote vs. The Swans here!

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