Episode 9 of Maid Season 1 begins with Regina rapping at the door. With Alex missing for four weeks and Sean making sure she stays in the caravan, slipping further into a depressive state, Regina managed to obtain her address from Value Maids. She wants to give Alex back her journal and refuses to give it to Sean, sensing something very wrong.
Alex is silent and dismissive though, as Sean takes the journal and shuts the door in Regina’s face. When Alex quizzes him over the book, Sean calls her crazy and belittles both her and Maddy, continuing to control this woman’s life.
Sean’s drinking again too, with Alex hiding out in Maddy’s room every night to avoid his violent rage. And if that wasn’t bad enough, Hank comes over for dinner from time to time. This cycle of drinking and belittling Alex continues, crescendoing in Sean bringing a girl home to have sex with.
It doesn’t take long though before Sean gets fired from his job for being drunk. When Alex tries questioning him about this, he throws a cup at her head – narrowly missing her I might add – and takes off in the car. Only, Maddy happens to be hiding in the cupboard the whole time.
The crushing reality hits her hard. The one thing Alex never wanted her daughter to experience has come to fruition, inadvertently repeating the words that Paula said to her, that she’ll be okay.
Given her original promise of not picking glass out of Maddy’s hair, Alex decides to leave. She grabs her daughter, holding her tight, and takes off in the middle of the night. Regina is there to help thankfully, driving her to to the DV center. Denise is there to see her in but Alex realizes that in her rush she hasn’t brought have any of her things – including a cellphone.
After holding out for 16 days, catching her bearings, Maddy is encouraged to get involved in an arts and crafts gig while Alex follows Denise to their very own makeshift shop. Alex is encouraged to pick out some clothes, in a room that’s been transformed into a haven for these women getting back to feeling like themselves. It’s overwhelming for Alex though, who struggles to adjust to this new normal. Thanks to Denise though, she manages to bag herself a refurbished phone.
Alex actually rings Regina, who invites her out for lunch. She admits she’s read her journal and all the intimate secrets within. Now, as Regina has read the whole thing, she’s dead-set that Alex should take up her scholarship. When she mentions Sean, Regina vehemently tells her not to mention him and goes on to reveal she has a colleague who’s a f*cking beast when it comes to family law.
Now, depression comes in many shapes and sizes. In the middle of all this drama, someone answers Alex’s ad and invites her in to help. She shows up at her first job to find a woman who’s a compulsive hoarder. The place is piled up with trinkets, books, CDs and all manner of junk – and she has 3 kids living in this too. It’s tough going, but it opens doors for Alex to make a name for herself.
Thanks to her hard work and clearing out all these different houses, Alex hustles together enough money to get herself a new car – including the cassette player with that “Shoop” song Maddy loves.
With things looking up, Alex speaks to Regina’s recommended family lawyer, Tara, who gives her some solid advice to get outside Sean’s grip. If he refuses to sign, things could get ugly. Mostly for him though, if this lawyer’s suggestions are anything to go by.
To show that she’s not scared anymore, Alex and Maddy show up to see Sean, intending to give him the papers herself. En-route though, she finds Paula who’s cold toward her and currently working on the market with a new guy in her life called Micah. She refuses to speak openly with Alex, believing she’s the reason that she was put in care.
Alex eventually heads over and visits Sean, handing him the forms and a notice of relocation. Just like Sean served her with that notice early on in the season, Alex urges him to sign his forms. Sean is convinced that things will work in his favour, refusing to sign and deciding to see her in court. “You will never, ever, ever control me ever again,” Alex promises, teary-eyed, as Sean walks out.
Alex finally does speak to Paula properly that evening, telling her about Montana and her plans for the future. She tells Alex she can’t be prouder and chuckles, claiming bragging rights for her going to college. As the two part ways, Alex watches, heartbroken, as she realizes Paula is sleeping and living in her car, having lost everything.
The Episode Review
The penultimate episode of Maid is perhaps one of the strongest; a cathartic release of all that pent-up anxiety, depression and anger that Alex has been feeling but channeled in a completely productive way.
While all the others on the DV corner text randomly, Alex cracks on with her enrollment and her persistence with cleaning and working hard sees doors open for her as the self-employed cleaning job pays her way to higher education.
Seeing Alex declutter all these houses feels indicative of what’s going on in her own life too, clearing out all the bad vibes and feelings toward Sean and what’s happened in her past. All of this builds up to a wholly satisfying and very-welcome moment where Alex confronts Sean and gives him his notice.
Alex promising that he’ll never control her again is just so powerful and hearing her say these words makes it’s difficult not to get emotional.
Maid has been a real tour-de-force of acting and storytelling, and a show that will undoubtedly resonate with anyone who’s had to struggle through poverty or abuse. Will everything be wrapped up in a satisfying way by the end? We’ll have to wait and see!