The Wife:

“Chapter 14: Let the Games Begin”

After witnessing the Victory/Rodrigo kiss at the fashion show, Joe has all but withdrawn from Victory’s life. When Nico and Wendy find out that she’s no longer with Rodrigo, they start trying to repair her relationship with Joe, hoping to convince him to contact her again, but he won’t have any of it. Nico eventually convinces him to help Victory broker a deal to design tennis outfits for an up-and-coming tennis darling (as Victory knows nothing at all about sports) and to at least remain in contact with her for business purposes. Once the deal is settled, Joe storms away and calls Victory out for kissing Rodrigo at the fashion show, raving against her fickle ways as the elevator doors close shut on him. Later, his assistant comes to reveal to Victory that Joe had planned to propose to her.

Will you just listen to Roan Inish, for the love of God?

Will you just listen to Roan Inish, for the love of God?

Meanwhile, Wendy, still feeling a little guilty about what happened between her and Dennis, starts to get a little jealous of all the time Shane is spending with his gorgeous, young agent who just helped him book a job composing a film about a 1960s Irish Catholic/Protestant Romeo & Juliet story. Wendy joins Shane at dinner with his agent and the film’s producer, and the producer immediately tries to convince Wendy to sign on to the film for an executive producing credit. She accepts, which seems to really bug the hell out of Shane. Wendy immediately gets her producer’s cap on and starts to steer Shane in directions that don’t jive with his work style. Things get further complicated when Dennis shows up with a bottle of wine to apologize for his behavior, which Wendy tells Shane was a thank you for making the boy’s Halloween costumes. Shane reminds Wendy that she is his producer first and his wife second when it comes to the film, so she should stop worrying about how attractive his agent is because he doesn’t want to sleep with her. Realizing that producing a film that Shane is also working on is putting a strain on their relationship, Wendy quits the film and apologizes to Shane for being so jealous. She admits what happened between her and Dennis and Shane is angry and disappointed that she felt the need to keep something from him.

As for Nico, she has been preparing to meet Mother Atwood, who shows up at her door as Rosanna Arquette, who is smoking hot and looks like she and Kim Raver could be sexy blonde twins. (Although, I must note that Rosanna, whose character is supposed to be from Michigan, seems to have a much better hair colorist than Nico does. Fancy that.) Now, every time I see Rosanna Arquette, I think of a scene from David Cronenberg’s Crash (the good Crash about sex and car crashes, not that shitty one about racism that somehow won Best Picture in 2005), in which she tries to get into a sports car despite her broken spine and damaged legs. She has scars that run the full length of her legs, making it look like she has a permanent seam down the back of her fishnet stockings. This is one of the hottest things I’ve ever seen on film, and it is the only thing I can think of when I see Rosanna.

Unfortunately, there are no pictures I could find of her sexy leg fissures. So this one will have to do. Its her sexy back brace.

Unfortunately, there are no pictures I could find of her sexy leg fissures. So this one will have to do. It's her sexy back brace.

That aside, Mother Atwood (aka Tina) starts a war with Nico over her son, baiting Nico by insinuating that she’s too old for Kirby and that she won’t want the same things he wants. The final straw for Nico, though, is when Tina tells Kirby that he’s out of place at the Hang Time launch party and that he will never be part of Nico’s high-powered world. As a challenge to Tina, Nico asks Kirby to move in with her. Tina warns her son against this, fearing that he will be “a passenger in [his] own life” if he stays with Nico, which I think is a really interesting metaphor coming from the star of Crash. Ultimately, after Tina has headed home to Michigan, Kirby tells Nico that he doesn’t want to move in with her as a challenge to his mother. He wants it to be Nico’s choice to form a life with him, not just the open option at the moment.

“Chapter 15: The Sisterhood of the Traveling Prada”

Fresh from their latest personal dramas, the ladies also pile on some work pressures. After finding out about the proposal, Victory can’t get her mind off of Joe. She keeps trying to apologize for the Rodrigo misunderstanding, but he won’t take her calls. A new studio woos Wendy, and Griffin tries to push Nico into the new media sphere. Worse, Wendy catches Nico actually enjoying Griffin’s company.

“It’s not high school. I can’t quit cheerleading because you don’t like the captain.” – Nico

Hoping that they can get Victory’s mind of Joe, and also struggling with whether or not to tell her about the proposal, Nico suggests that the three of them head up to a spa upstate for the weekend. At the spa, they finally come clean when Victory starts freaking about apologizing to Joe. She then gets extremely angry with Nico and Wendy and goes off to sulk with Byron, the massage therapist.

“Who are you to protect me from my own life?” – Victory

As Victory talks to Byron, she points out that her friends infantilize her, which makes me wonder: have I always thought of her as immature because she actually is or because I identify with Wendy and Nico more and they perceive her as childlike? Bryon books her for some massage treatments and later invites her to watch the stars with him, which he says always helps him clear his mind. As they lay in the field, she finally realizes that the answer to the proposal that never happened would have been a resounding, earthshaking “yes” that she calls out across the countryside.

Nico spends time with her friend, Christine Ebersole, who owns the spa. Ebersole’s character used to be Nico’s boss at Simon & Schuster, but gave it all up to move out to the country. Talking to her forces Nico to think about her own life and her relationship with Kirby. Bristled from her earlier encounter with Mother Atwood, she starts to think that perhaps she could buy the spa and retire to the country on weekends, residing in the B&B with Kirby. When he comes to visit her over the weekend (and bring beer for heartsick Victory, who was disappointed to find no liquor at all in the spa), she suggests that they buy the place and build him a studio out in the fields so that he could spend the rest of his days photographing the Hudson. Kirby appreciates the idea, but asks Nico if that’s what she really wants. He tells her something that confirms the fears Mother Atwood planted in her head: he doesn’t want to leave the city. He likes the noise and the rush of life there. The country is great every now and again, but Kirby is not at a space in his life where he’d want to be there every weekend. Perhaps Nico’s worst fears for her relationship are coming true: they just want different things, because they’re of such different ages.

Wendy doesn’t tell her friends about the potential job until they make an early car ride back home at Victory’s request (she just can’t wait for a phone call any longer; Joe Bennett is the one and she needs to find him) and break down on the side of the road after Nico hits something. (Or doesn’t. No body or carcass was ever found.) Nico interrogates Wendy about why she didn’t talk about the job, which Wendy says is because she needed to hear her voice first. She tells Nico that she feels like Nico doesn’t respect her anymore now that she’s not at Parador, which Nico counters with stories they told when they first started working together at Merick-Verner, about how they were going to run the company together some day. Wendy tells Nico that it simply isn’t her dream anymore, and that she’s not sure she wants to be high-powered lady Nico has always fought to be. (Even in considering buying the spa, Nico can’t give up the idea of leaving behind her social circle, as Christine Ebersole admits to her that when she left the publishing world, some of her contacts did indeed stop calling her.) Wendy refuses the job, and not just because Nico was the one who recommended her for it.

Meanwhile, Victory calls Joe to arrange a meeting. He offers to send a car to pick up the three damsels in distress. When two cars arrive, Wendy and Nico think all is forgiven and ask Joe which car they should be in. He directs them to the one he’s not in, and Victory stays behind to talk to him. She wants to tell him that she loves him and that she would say yes to his proposal, but Joe is so badly hurt by Victory’s unknowing rejection that all he can think to say to her is that he doesn’t feel like they work as friends, or business partners. So he hands over the papers to her company, clears her of her debt and walks out of her life, leaving Victory broken down on the side of the road, stunned.

Back home, the three women comfort each other at Victory’s house, putting off calls from work until another day, drinking the Scotch they stole from Joe’s towncar.

Ill miss you ladies. You could so take the SATC girls in a fight.

I'll miss you ladies. You could so take the SATC girls in a fight.

I loved this episode. The storytelling was so slow and meticulous that it felt honest. In fact, I think this episode achieved an honesty that Sex and the City was never quite able to achieve. The women on Lipstick Jungle live and breathe and come alive before you. Moreover, they hurt before you. Never before on this show have Brooke Shields, Kim Raver and Lindsay Price been able to tell you so much about themselves as Wendy, Nico and Victory simply through their quiet reactions. When Nico realize that she may be too old for Kirby, its all in Raver’s eyes. And when Joe leaves Victory behind on the roadside, Victory doesn’t break into hysterics. Her face flushes and she cries without making a sound more than breathing. Beautiful work by all three actresses. It’s just too bad that the brilliant work in this episode couldn’t have come sooner, as the series has been cancelled.

I’m sorry that a show as good as Lipstick Jungle has become has fallen victim to low post-strike ratings. Wendy, Nico and Victory are some of the best, most real and most relatable female characters on TV, and I will actually be quite sad when LJ runs its last episode. I’m sorry television just didn’t have room for you strong, glamorous ladies. With your cancellation, and the fall of The Ex List, we’re now down to Samantha Who?, Desperate Housewives, Cold Case, Kath & Kim, Privileged and The New Adventures of Old Christine as the only female-lead shows on TV*. This comment is not a reflection of the quality of those shows at all, but that’s a pretty sad list, isn’t it?

*This is not counting ensemble shows, which have plenty of kick-ass chicks in powerful roles, like the ladies on Criminal Minds, Bones or even Gossip Girl.

The Husband:

Technically, Lipstick Jungle is not officially cancelled, but there will be no back-nine for this season. The 13 episodes shot for s2 will air, leaving us with “Chapter 20” as the final episode. It is unlikely that it will return, but I just wanted to point out there is ever so slightly the tiniest bit of hope that it might get a third season.

Unlikely, though. It’s a shame, really. And s2 has only elevated everything I loved about the first season, and if that doesn’t interest the American viewing public, then it’s definitely a loss for everyone.