Tragic Pasts & Presents are Revealed in 'MaryLand’s Second Episode

Hugh Quarshie as Pete; Stockard Channing as Cathy; Eve Best as Rosaline in 'MaryLand'

Hugh Quarshie as Pete; Stockard Channing as Cathy; Eve Best as Rosaline in 'MaryLand' 

Monumental Television/Masterpiece

In MaryLand’s premiere, we learned that long-simmering issues percolated between sisters Becca and Rosaline. We saw snippets of decades of resentment and passive aggression. In the second episode of this three-episode series, the trauma of the sisters’ childhood is revealed. “You love being needed. You always have,” Rosaline tells her sister. Rosaline thinks Becca was their mother’s favorite. From Rosaline’s perspective, Becca, who married Jim when she was very young, is stuck in 1995 when she was 18 and is not an adult. She doesn’t even pump her own gas. “Don’t talk to me about being an adult. I’ve got two teenage kids,” Becca tells her. “There it is. The trump card,” Rosaline snarks. “Congratulations on using your womb.” Ouch. But it quickly becomes apparent that Rosaline only knew part of the story. 

After recovering from having cancer as a teen, Rosaline left for college, leaving her younger sister Becca, who was only 14 at the time, all alone to deal with their parents. Their mother, Mary, fell apart and had a “full-on nervous breakdown” after Rosaline left. She didn’t get out of bed for months and even attempted to take her own life. Becca wasn’t allowed to tell Rosaline what was going on because Rosaline had just gotten better. Rosaline thought Becca had dropped out of school because she had met Jim. But Becca dropped out to care for her parents and met Jim after she dropped out. Yes, she loves Jim, but she could “have loved someone else” and “lived somewhere else.” 

The sisters learn so much about their mother, too. Becca goes to confront Pete about his relationship with their mother. “She wanted to make the move here permanent,” he tells her. “She was happy here. Really happy.” He thinks Mary would have wanted to be buried on the Isle of Man. Pete also indicates that their father knew about the affair. “I don’t even know who you are. You are just some bloke who found her dead,” Becca tells him. 

Suranne Jones as Becca in 'MaryLand'

Suranne Jones as Becca in 'MaryLand'

Monumental Television/Masterpiece

Rosaline has coffee with Cathy, who is annoyingly coy during their conversation. Cathy tells Rosaline that Pete is a bit of a “prig” but that Pete and Mary were “sweet on each other.” “What would you need to know about your mother that might help you?” Cathy asks her. “I don’t know,” Rosaline responds.

The sisters are shocked to learn that the coroner found a lethal amount of morphine in Mary’s body, suggesting that she took it all at the same time to end her life. Becca and Rosaline can’t understand why their mother would commit suicide. Rosaline gets Cathy and Pete to tell them all that they know. Mary was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s a year ago. “She started forgetting things. You must have realized that when you talked to her,” Cathy says. Cathy and Pete both claim to have known nothing of Mary’s plans to end her life. “I told her when the time came, I’d look after her,” Pete says. The morphine Mary took is what Cathy was looking for in the show’s first episode.

Like finding her birth mother, this diagnosis is something Mary shared with Cathy and Pete but not with her daughters or her husband. The more we learn about Mary, the more selfish her actions appear.

Eve Best as Rosalind, Stockard Channing as Cathy walk on the beach in 'MaryLand'

Eve Best as Rosalind, Stockard Channing as Cathy in 'MaryLand'

Monumental Television/Masterpiece

Their father is still in shock. He tells the priest he has no idea what Mary wanted in terms of a service. “You never really know someone, do you? I mean, you know the stuff they chose to show you and the stuff you chose to listen to, but all the rest of it...,” he says. Their dad also doesn’t want to believe that Mary took her own life. “They have proof, Dad. They found morphine in her stomach,” Rosaline tells him. Rosaline encourages her father to stay with Becca’s family. “I don’t really like you being on your own,” she says. “Well, I am now, so I better get used to it,” he responds.

Becca, who distracts herself by maniacally cleaning, is also fed up with Jim, who is less than supportive when she calls. She tells him her mother was having an affair, and he flippantly says, “Oh, Mary, you dark horse.” Last week, he complained about the dryer not working. This week, he wants to know where the shower gel is kept. Becca, who runs the household, wonders when the last time he sent a card to anyone in the family was. “We’ll have this conversation when you’ve calmed down a bit,” he tells his wife. Um, Jim, never tell a woman she needs to calm down.

Becca needs, shall we say, a release. She and Rosaline head off to a bar where Becca drinks tequila shots and sings (badly off-key) karaoke. Rosaline tries to get her to leave but gets rebuffed, and the last thing we see is Becca making out with a random man. She wakes up seriously hung over (with only the cat next to her, so who knows if the man went home with her) to a series of missed calls from Rosaline and Jim. Rosaline, who spent what appears to be a platonic night with Jacob, the cab driver, had reached out to Jim because she was worried about Becca. When Jim can’t reach her, he panics, and the last moments of the episode show him arriving in a taxi cab ready to confront his wife. 

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MaryLand follows two estranged sisters as they unearth the truth about their mother.
MaryLand: show-poster2x3

Amy Amatangelo headshot

When Amy Amatangelo was little, her parents limited the amount of TV she could watch. You can see how well that worked out. 

In addition to Telly Visions, her work can currently be found in Paste Magazine, Emmy Magazine, and the LA Times. She also is the Treasurer of the Television Critics Association. Amy liked the ending of Lost and credits the original 90210 for her life-long devotion to teen dramas. She stays up at night wondering what happened between Julianna Margulies and Archie Panjabi and really thinks Carrie Bradshaw needs to join so she can meet a new guy. Follow her at @AmyTVGal.

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