Does Alex acknowledge that she’s a victim?
Episode 10 of Maid starts this finale with Alex watching as her mother wakes up in Walmart parking lot, ready to get working. Alex does the same, heading to her group therapy session and opening up about how writing has helped articulate how she feels.
Alex manages to connect really well with the girls, telling the other abuse victims to focus on writing like she did. By the time these scenes have finished, it’s fair to say that Alex has accepted that she too is a victim of abuse.
What happens with Paula?
One person who does need to open up is Paula, who continues to deny the reality of her situation. When Alex sees her later on in the day, she’s had her cast sawn off by Micah, claiming she was itching. This is going to delay her recovery, which Alex is quick to point out.
In order to quell any doubts she may have, Alex suggests Paula come with her to Montana but she predictably shoots that idea down immediately. Alex is not ready to give up though, and suggests Paula come to a doctor appointment the following day.
While Alex tries to get her textbooks for the upcoming term, Tara confirms the restraining order and the ex-parte order have been filed against Sean. But there’s a problem. Sean is not going down without a fight and as it’s going to court, it’s turning into a win/lose case for Maddy’s custody.
Does Hank support Alex in the end?
In the wake of this drama though, Sean is granted visitation rights with Maddy without Alex present. She’s horrified and realizes that she could well lose her spot at school too, given she’s forced to stay for 14 days. Thankfully, Alex manages to turn Paula around to her cause at least, agreeing to supervise the playdate between Sean and Maddy.
In the wake of this, Alex heads out to see Hank, admitting the truth about being in the abuse shelter twice. Alex wants him to serve as a witness against Sean. Given she saw him shouting at her, and witnessed the abuse for himself, Hank completely lets her down.
He claims Sean’s alcoholism is the route cause of his behaviour and brushes off that sour dinner as a couple “going through a rough patch”. Alex demands he stand up for her in court and protect Maddy, asking again to do something for her. Hank however, refuses to do it. And just like that, it breaks what little trust and compassion was built between them.
Does Sean redeem himself?
Well, it doesn’t take long for things to take a turn for the worst with Sean too. He brings Maddy back early, realizing that he’s an alcoholic as he was thinking about drinking while being with her.
Having realized the error of his ways, he decides to sign over full custody to Alex, knowing that he’s got a serious problem. Alex is understandably relieved, and tells Sean that he’s doing the right thing. The trigger for Sean here though is realizing he’s descending down a path that’s similar to his Mum.
Seeing Sean like this though brings back bad memories for Paula too, who comments later on to Alex that his shaking was similar to Hank’s too. Giving it some thought, Paula decides to join Alex and go to Montana with her after all.
With Montana on the horizon, Alex heads over to Sean’s place to grab the rest of her gear. Sean is going to get himself cleaned up and promises to be there for his daughter. “Good luck Alaska,” Sean says, as Alex drives off.
Of course, Alaska is the pet name Sean gave to her if you’ll remember, way back when their relationship didn’t turn sour. As Alex drives away from her abuser, there’s at least some form of closure for their severed relationship.
Why doesn’t Paula leave with Alex?
On her way out of town, Alex does her rounds and says goodbye to everyone – including Regina. She thanks her for being such a good friend, and it seems she’s doing much better now as a mother herself.
With all of that out the way, the attention turns back to Paula. She’s over at Hank’s place but she’s so caught up in her art that she’s decided not to go to Montana anymore. She’s going to stay with her new boy, Micah.
Paula continues on a whimsical monologue about their passionate night and how they’re in love, prompting Alex to ask calmly several times whether this is what she really wants.
Old habits die hard, and after all this time looking after her Mum, Alex makes the bold decision of going without her.
Paula was never going to change – not really – and a part of Alex kinda knows this. She’s been struggling to let go of her Mum all season long and despite her best efforts, there’s nothing more she can do. As the old quote goes “you can show someone the door, but they have to walk through it.”
How does Maid end?
It’s been a helacious time for Alex all season and by the end she sits in therapy, talking to the others about the best day of her life. And that best day includes looking out at a giant M at the top of a hill – something we see play out in real-time as Maddy and Alex make it to Montana to start their brand new life.
Alex convinces her daughter that the M stands for Maddy, and the difficult hike and climb to reach that point is indicative of their tough journey across this season to make it to the top. Alex has been through hell but through it all, come out better and brighter by the end. The perfect end to a near-perfect series!
The Episode Review
Maid bows out with a stunning conclusion, one that rounds everything out in the best possible way, with a really solid arc for every single character – even Sean.
Alex and Maddy are, of course, the focal point here and the former’s journey from being a victim to helping other victims – becoming an inspiration and living her best life in the process – is great to see.
Those late chapters of seeing Alex back under Sean’s spell were so hard to watch and thankfully Alex managed to come out of it the other side.
However, Paula manages to come away with somewhat of an arc too, even if she slips back into old habits by the final scenes she’s featured in.
Alex has always been there for her and in a way, she finally comes to understand this by season’s end. She’s always going to be one of those people who needs a man by her side and Paula just doesn’t have that same tenacity and strength that Alex has. However, she’s obviously proud of her daughter and wants her to go and live her own life.
And what of Sean? This guy has been a real piece of work all season long but then we’ve seen glimmers of him trying his best to make amends. As Hank said at the end there, alcoholism is a “beast” of sorts and something he’s struggling with.
Thankfully Sean figures that out before it’s too late, and hearing him talk about the irritability and need to drink while with Maddy is enough for him to do the right thing. Then again, I wonder which side the court would have swung had it got that far, although I’d imagine with Tara by her side then Alex would have wiped the floor with him.
At least this way he can still get visitation rights with Maddy and try to mend the broken bonds when he finally does get sober – if he gets sober.
Those final scenes though are the perfect cathartic release for Alex – and for us. She gets to live her dream and hopefully lead on to bigger and brighter things to come.
This has been a stunning examination of the broken welfare system, the cycle of abuse and mental health in general. Maid has been amazing, and easily one of this reviewer’s best shows of the year.