Before tonight’s season 2 finale of The Comeback I am joined by Kerensa Cadenas to discuss the penultimate episode, which featured one of the most devastating scenes of the season and once again Lisa Kudrow knocks it out of the park and slays us in the process. Plus we ponder Jane’s motives and talk about what we think could happen in tonight’s episode.
Emma: Valerie gets more than one professional win and everything in her personal life crumbles around her. First off I want to note once again – I don’t think it can be said enough – the incredible and devastating performance Lisa Kudrow is delivering. Valerie has been nominated for an Emmy for Seeing Red and I hope Lisa Kudrow will be getting one for playing Valerie because she is doing so many different things in any given moment.
In the last two episodes Valerie has seen her marriage disintegrate around her and we’ve been talking about the stability and support Mark provides; now I have a lot of conflicted feelings towards Mark and his reaction to Valerie’s career reboot. Mark and Val have been together for 14 years and so he has only been there for the least successful part of her career as this is after “I’m It!” and of course during the disastrous Room & Bored period. Now that Valerie is getting great reviews and award nominations things have shifted. The argument in the car park was pure attack mode from both Mark and Val and it is both mesmerizing and so hard to watch (The Comeback’s go to position) as both have a lot of painful shit they want to say to each other. We are so used to seeing Val in ‘everything is all great’ mode that when she does snap like this it is 100% unfiltered Val and it is like she forgets the cameras are there for this brief moment. In the same way she lost her shit with Ron last week yelling “Where were you?” as she gets berated for not being on the super hot set, Mark doesn’t get let off easy.
While he complains that he has always been there for her, she rightly points out that she has been his champion whether it is some golf tournament he has won or how she made sure his daughter Francesca ate something after he had long left the dinner table. Marriage (or really any relationship) is about give and take; both Mark and Val feel like they have not been served well by the other. What really kills me in this scene is when Valerie reacts to Mark’s suggestion that he was the only person that believed in her and I kid you not that me typing “I believed in me” just made me a little teary (I guess this is where I am right now) and that’s the thing I love about Val as no matter how much others don’t see what she is worth she still believes that something good will come for her. Some of this might be considered delusional, but I think to persevere for as long as she has done she has needed this self-belief. This brings me back to the idea that because Mark has only been there for the years that have not really included any professional success he isn’t equipped for when Valerie is receiving all this praise. I am conflicted when it comes to Mark for the simple reason that having these cameras filming their every moment and using the house as a set has been incredibly disruptive and it is entirely self-serving for Valerie. She is not entirely blameless, but Mark has not been entirely supportive either.
What do you make of the Valerie/Mark relationship breakdown over the last two episodes?
Kerensa: As we’ve talked about before, Mark has really seemed like Valerie’s rock so seeing the slow crawl of their marriage falling apart is so hard to watch. The thing I love so much about The Comeback, and especially in this season, is how we learn all these small off-camera things about Mark and Valerie (that abortion!) through their conversations. They have been through so much together but it seems like neither is entirely blameless in this marriage falling apart. I mean, I love Valerie, but could you imagine being married to her? I couldn’t. This scene when Mark and Valerie are tearing each other apart in the parking lot is incredibly rough to watch and they both crush it.
I’m hoping that they work it out but I wouldn’t blame Mark especially after the way Valerie asks him to go to the Emmys with her. I mean, it seems like things are too far gone for both of them at this point.
Do you think they’d reconcile? It’s also so upsetting to see Valerie get what she’s wanted but at the expense of other portions of her life.
Emma: What I find really brutal about the whole thing is that Valerie has such good intentions when it comes to this secret date, but she just can’t say no to Jane when she paints it as this big love story aspect. She doesn’t have to wear the mic or get filmed but she can’t turn down the opportunity to give this documentary that extra something. Valerie is very easy to convince when she is painted a grand story. And she also doesn’t want something that could be painted in a negative way to come up hence why she tries to cover the mic when Mark says the word abortion. It reminded me of their chat about doing coke in season 1, but far more personal.
I also don’t think Valerie can see this whole set up going this wrong when Jane pitches it to her, even though she must now that Mark will go ballistic (which he does) when he cottons on to the mic and the film crew.
At this point I can’t see them reconciling, maybe they can in the future but not with one episode left. It’s gone too far for Mark and he really doesn’t recognise her, I’m not sure what she can do to convince she is still in there. To me she’s still the same Val but as you mention she must be a tough person to be married to. And oof when she asks him to the Emmys. What a misjudged moment. And in terms of the standard ‘can she have it all’ debate it sucks that for Val is experiencing a professional high while her marriage is such a mess.
Kerensa: Totally agree with all of that. Speaking of Jane, I’m supremely nervous about this documentary that she’s making. One thing that I noticed in this episode was how heavily Jane was pressuring Valerie to do things i.e. this whole Mark conversation that she didn’t want to do. Maybe I’m not remembering correctly, but I do not remember Jane ever pressuring Valerie like this.
Do you think Jane’s going to screw Valerie over with this documentary?
Emma: I’m worried too because she also kinda fucked her over in the first season and she’s pushing a lot more with this one, plus like you I can’t remember when she has been this insistent on Valerie doing something she initially didn’t want to do. For Jane this project is a means to an end; this isn’t what she wanted to do and she got coerced into it by Valerie’s persistence. I don’t think Jane is a bad person but everyone has an ego and I think there’s a lot of behind the scenes stuff with her and the HBO executives about the direction of the doc that we’re not seeing (so we’re as oblivious as Val) that is pushing the narrative in a certain direction.
Everyone is using someone for something and now I am totally bummed out.
What do you make of all the Mickey stuff? I was worried (and Val definitely was even though she attempted to cover her fears up). He’s super ill, but at least he’s getting laid. Oh and dong on HBO alert. Mickey’s apartment is beyond perfect for this character.
And do you think Valerie will win the Emmy in the finale? And if Lisa Kudrow doesn’t get a nomination for this I will add to my ever growing list of Emmy omission disappointments. You’ll be in good company Lisa (as someone pointed out to me on Twitter she did get nominated for S1).
One other quick Jane point is the title of the documentary – “The Assassination of Valerie Cherish” – which could means so many different things and yet it also makes me nervous about what is to come in the finale in regards to this doc.
Kerensa: I was super worried about Mickey too, but yeah at least he’s getting laid? Also, hilarious that the first dick I’ve remembered seeing in some time on HBO is on THE COMEBACK.
I’m still kinda worried about Mickey, but I was so convinced for legitimately the last three episodes that he was going to die that maybe they won’t go there? It’s too obvious. I did feel sad when he said to Val that why are you here? You haven’t been here since ’94 or something. Valerie needs to check herself I think.
I could see Valerie winning the Emmy but something awful happening because of it. I can also see the complete opposite happening–not winning the Emmy and something awful happening because of it. I’m just fully expecting something awful to happen to her whether it’s losing Mickey or Marc or something deeply upsetting happening with Paulie G. Or maybe I’m completely wrong and I dunno Valerie will win the Emmy and bone Kellan Lutz’s character (he says in the preview he has always had a crush on Val). What do you think?
Emma: The only reason I think Mickey might be okay is because I can’t imagine The Comeback without Mickey. But then again if there was going to be a third season – and I’ve heard Lisa Kudrow talk about wanting to do more, plus the cost of making it must be super cheap – it would be a challenge for Valerie if she was without her emotional crutches. I will be devastated if he does die.
I also think that something awful is going to happen because this show tends to tread in very dark waters. And I could see them coupling a huge professional high with something truly horrible. I am nervous and excited with what’s to come in the finale, particularly when it comes to Juna’s party. I want all the good things for Val but as you mention she does need to start thinking beyond herself. Her intentions are never malicious she’s just so narrow sighted so she misses a lot of what’s going on around her.
Kerensa Cadenas is a writer living in Los Angeles. She is an Editor for Snakkle. She also writes for Women and Hollywood, The Week, This Was Television, Forever Young Adult, and Bitch magazine. You can follow her on Twitter to read her thoughts on teen TV, snacks and terrible pop music.