In the penultimate episode of ‘The Baby,’ HBO and Sky’s limited series, it’s time for characters to grow up, accept their fate and move on.
Spoilers for episode seven…
Episode 7 “The Rage”: In a last-ditch effort to break the curse, a severely weakened yet determined Mrs. Eaves (Amira Ghazalla) sets off with Natasha (Michelle de Swarte) in pursuit of Jack. Meanwhile, Bobbi (Amber Grappy) struggles to rally for her audition redo with Sam (Genesis Lynea).
I should open this penultimate review by acknowledging that while I implicitly understood that Helen (Tanya Reynolds)’ lover Nour (Seyan Sarvan) and Mrs. Eaves were one and the same, I never actually wrote it in the reviews of episodes five or six. Obviously this clarifies why Mrs. Eaves has been tracking and interceding in the baby (Albie Pascal Hills & Arthur Levi Hills)’ cyclical surrogate mother murders: she feels responsible for creating the curse.
When Tasha manages to track down the series’ true villain, Old Jack (Michael Byrne) at Leabridge Hospital where he’s being treated for lung disease, Mrs. Eaves jumps at the opportunity to kill the man who ruined her life. Rubbing salt in the wound are the many daughters she sees in both the bathroom and his room, serving as living reminders of Jack’s full and presumably happy life.
Of course Jack’s still a scumbag, so the moment Mrs. Eaves’ guard is down he smashes her in the head with a vase and tries to strangle her with his oxygen cord. Naturally since he needs the O2 to breathe, this only results in him dying before Mrs. Eaves can set his gasoline-soaked body on fire using Tasha’s kitchen mini-blowtorch.
It’s absolutely ridiculous, and perfectly in line with the last seven weeks of the series. And yet there’s something incredibly poetic about both Tasha and Bobbi’s arcs in “The Curse.” Namely, they grow up.
Bobbi is much more straightforward. She arrives at the magic audition to perform “The Apprentice’s Revenge” with girlfriend Sam and it is immediately evident that Sam doesn’t care about the six month delay in their adoption. Bobbi tanks the audition and quits.
Tasha’s journey is harder to quantify. She’s guided in a dream by Nour, who first tells her the genesis of a song about a woman who sacrifices everything to keep nursing her child while also literally propping up a house (not a lot of need to unpack that one). Importantly, though, Nour also clarifies to Tasha that there is no curse…to end the cycle of violence, Tasha need only submit to the baby’s desire to be loved.
This comes on the heels of the incredibly sweet scene when Tasha bathes the child in a pot, thinking aloud what will happen after he’s gone and realizing she doesn’t know. Then there’s Mrs. Eaves’ earlier comments, which confirms our suspicion that the baby chooses women like Helen and kills them when they won’t love him unconditionally. So that’s what Tasha chooses to do.
This is a surprisingly confronting resolution, though. Consider where Tasha began the series: yes, she was a bit of a mess, but The Baby rightfully acknowledged that women can be middle-aged and childless. Now she’s seemingly made the decision that she will be a mother, and not because it’s been forced on her, but because it’s what’s right?
With only one episode left, it will be interesting to see how the series plays this decision out..
- Tasha literally serves Mrs. Eaves a hand-torched toaster strudel. She is clearly not ready to be a full-time mother yet.
- Director Ella Jones‘ style isn’t flashy like Faraz Shariat, but there’s something extremely haunting about the final seconds of “The Curse” when Tasha and the baby walk down the empty hospital hallway and, as soon as the baby’s influence is gone, it is flooded with movement and life. This is a clever supernatural explanation for how Jack and Mrs. Eaves’ fight could happen without interference.
- While it is clearly a dream sequence, the sight of women’s disembodied parts in the walls is haunting. Ditto Tasha being grabbed and nearly sucked in.
- During the fight, the baby can clearly be heard calling for “Daddy,” but Old Jack never checks on his son. He dies moments later. By comparison, when the baby calls for “Momma,” Tasha goes to it and she lives another day. Karma!
- Best Line: Tasha, helping Eaves into the bath: “You stink and you look like a scarecrow.”
- Runner-up: Eaves: “I’m sorry I tried to kill you.” Tasha: “Oh…no worries.”
- Ok, one more: when Old Jack doesn’t recognize Mrs. Eaves and calls her “Helen’s friend”, she responds “That’s not how she would describe me.” Considering how weaponized the word “friend” can be to queer people when we’re not accepted by friends and family, I loved Eaves’ response. Happy Pride, y’all.
The Baby airs Sundays on HBO