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The First Lady ep 8 review: New episode of Viola Davis starrer takes interesting turn with Betty Ford's story

Titled Punch Perfect, the episode is about Eleanor trying to help the Jewish refugees during World War I, Jerry losing the presidential elections and spending his retirement life travelling and Michelle Obama voicing against the racial discrimination in the US. 

2.5rating
  • Akhila Damodaran

Last Updated: 10.51 AM, Jun 06, 2022

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The First Lady ep 8 review: New episode of Viola Davis starrer takes interesting turn with Betty Ford's story

The First Lady

Story:

Punch Perfect, the eighth episode of The First Lady revolves around Betty Ford's addiction problem, Eleanor going out of her way to help the Jewish refugees who are fleeing from Nazi Germany during World War I and Michelle voicing against the rising violence against black people in the country.

Review:

The episode begins with Betty cheering for her husband as the election poll results are being announced. Jerry loses the Presidential elections and Betty gives a final speech on his behalf as he wasn't able to speak due to a throat infection. It then quickly moves to Eleanor's story who is trying her best to help the Jewish refugees get some respite in the US as they flee from Nazi Germany during World War I. Her husband, Franklin's hands are tied due to political reasons and despite the issue putting him in a spot, Eleanor doesn't step back. She, like always, finds a way to help a few.

Though the actual footage of the refugees looking for shelter while sailing from port to port is chilling, it doesn't sink in much as each episode tries to tell the stories of three First Ladies. Even though the makers focus on one aspect of each First Lady's life, an hour-long episode doesn't do enough justice to each.

The show also features how Michelle too has faced discrimination. The focus has usually been more on the characterisation of Michelle and Betty with some archival footage or the stories from their childhood lives. The new episode again shares glimpses of the early lives of Michelle and how she faced discrimination. While applying for colleges, she was told by a college counsellor that she is not a 'Princeton material'. She decides to speak her mind at one of the colleges in the black community and also talks about how her daughters are an inspiration to her.

It ends on an exciting note, focussing again on the addiction of Betty Ford. It makes you curious even more to find out what happens next. Though the episode tells stories of the other two First Ladies, it is Betty's story that stands out. It gets dramatic and presents how a rich person's life is not perfect as it is portrayed.

Though they still have many perks as they were the former First family like security, opportunities to give speeches and other tasks, it does not mandate that all that be done with the family. Alone at home as her husband Jerry is always travelling, Betty makes friends with her neighbours. It is not safe for an alcoholic to live in a house, next to some party animals. Betty wakes up to loud music from her neighbour's house and goes to ask them to shut off but ends up, befriending them and partying hard herself, until she collapsed.

For the last two episodes, most of Betty's story has been about her addiction. With two more episodes left for the finale, it needs to be seen how the makers are going to deal with her story as she is now out of power and is spending her retirement days partying with her neighbours next door.

Verdict:

The episode, Punch Perfect touches upon some important topics and how the First Ladies, despite the political statuses of the Presidents, went out of their ways to get their voices heard and raise the concerns about racism, violence and humanity.

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