American Woman Season 1 Episode 11 Review: I Will Survive

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Are there happy endings all around?

Not quite. The season finale tidied up some stories while leaving at least one of our favorite ladies in a very precarious position.

It was Diana who reminded her friends at one point they were all a lot stronger than they ever imagined, and by the end of American Woman Season 1 Episode 11, it was Diana who would need all of their strength to get through what comes next for her.

A Seat at the Table - American Woman Season 1 Episode 11

Right up to the end, it's Diana's arc that has been the most compelling for me.

As a single woman in the workplace who had to fight her way through a maze of male-driven companies, I understand everything Diana has experienced at the bank.

She worked hard and not only earned her place at the table amongst a league of gentlemen, but also walked straight into her first office after proving herself to Mr. Bishop.

Diana Steps Up - American Woman Season 1 Episode 11

Still, it didn't mean it was any easier for her to stand up for herself her first time in the boardroom.

Being overshadowed for most of her career, Diana found it daunting to be in a room, once again, in which she was the only woman. If ever her female coworkers must have been proud of stepping forward and representing, it must have been at that moment.

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Can you imagine the chittering going on during her first meeting in that room? I'd have been putting money on which man would try to speak over Diana first and over which man Diana would finally lean in and put her foot down.

It took her two meetings to find her footing, but Mr. Bishop wanted to hear what Diana had to say about the business. He may have made the wrong choice for promotion the first time with Jeff, but he was confident in Diana. 

Urging her to look into investing in strip malls was a win for both characters as it showed their trust in each other, and we know how successful the investments will be in the future.

Bad News - American Woman Season 1 Episode 11

Of course, just as Diana's career is going places, she's going to have to pay for stepping off the path.

Transgressions always come back to haunt, and if it weren't a pregnancy, it would have been a wealthy investor she dominated in bed stepping into a meeting someday whose name she never bothered to ask. 

A pregnancy in 1975 to an unwed woman who is interested in a successful career is potentially devastating. It's also not surprising.

AIDS wasn't a thing, and condoms break. The Pill was around, but Diana wasn't in a steady relationship when she started getting frisky at her local haunt, so she might have thought condoms (or nothing at all) were worth the risk. The withdrawal method was still a thing in 1975, too. 

I don't envy even Diana having to choose between carrying a child to term or termination, but if the show moves forward to Season 2, I'd like to see an abortion storyline. Even if she knows Bonnie has survived with kids, she also understands how difficult it is to work with them in tow -- and they're grown.

The more realistic avenue would be abortion, especially since so few shows dare to tackle it. American Woman, Diana, and Jennifer Bartles are the right combination to do it justice.

Flashing - American Woman Season 1 Episode 11

I'm disappointed we didn't continue Kathleen's journey with est because there is a lot more to it than a one-day seminar. 

We witnessed the incredible shifts that could occur if someone was willing to invest when we watched Philip Jennings on The Americans. Greg's words so easily swayed Kathleen because she's still not sure about herself.

Related: American Woman Season 1 Episode 10 Review: Obstacles and Assets

She was willing to jump right back into the way things were because Greg tried to assure her he wanted what she did. And I don't doubt Greg. He wanted the life he said as much as she did, but he can't have it because his heart and mind betrays him. He's torn by his sexuality.

It's not as easy as giving up onion bagels and Mexican food, and to be honest, I wouldn't want to give up those things, either.

American Woman Finale

But Kathleen also didn't want to take her life.

It just felt good to escape the pain of her day, and she took too many valium with her alcohol. Now you can see how easy it is to overdose, although most often those two things would be aided with a third, illegal substance.

Kathleen: Get your fingers out of my mouth!
Bonnie: I'm afraid you don't get to decide what goes into your mouth until you can make decisions like a big girl. Now let's go. Get it out!

Kudos to Mena Suvari for her portrayal of a woman over the edge on drugs and alcohol. It's not easy to get it right and still act, but she was right on as she hung over the toilet trying to talk and vomit at the same time. 

Friends to the End - American Woman Season 1 Episode 11

You know you have excellent friends when they stand by you through the toughest times like those. They are few and far between, so when you find them, hang onto them.

The rough night helped Kathleen see she couldn't spend her life light that. If she had trouble days into the engagement, how could she possibly trust herself to stand by Greg for a lifetime?

Related: American Woman Season 1 Episode 9 Review: The Breakthrough

Realizing they both deserved a man who was the combination of Paul Newman and Robert Redford (Oscar winner The Sting was all the rage just two years prior) was cute, and it was even cuter when she found her guy at the club.

Turning a Corner - American Woman Season 1 Episode 11

I don't think Kathleen needs to start a serious relationship right after splitting up with Greg, but finding a cute guy to take her mind off of him will do wonders -- especially since he liked Mexican food. 

There is nothing like another man (or woman) to take your mind off of the one who just got away. It's only natural that when you're feeling low, a little flirting will pick up your spirit.

As for Bonnie, she didn't need flirting. She was maybe doing a little too much of it.

Morning for Bonnie - American Woman Season 1 Episode 11

She was shocked to see the cheerful man she married in the kitchen after their wild night together. He was making pancakes with the girls as if they had never been separated.

While Bonnie knows things have changed between them, Steve has a way of walking in and out of her life as if he's not made a ridiculous mistake.

Related: American Woman Interview: Jennifer Bartels on Diana's Journey, '70's Fashion & More!

His thoughts should be on the kids and what seeing him in the kitchen will mean, but through their entire marriage, Steve made decisions for Bonnie without asking, so why would he think anything would be different?

Their great divide only widened when a night at the club (dues which were paid in full last March) turns into a loud affair with former friends.

The Club - American Woman Season 1 Episode 11

It would have been uncomfortable for Bonnie even if they didn't choose to sit at a table with people they had once known, but with that bonus, Steve speaking on her behalf made Bonnie's recent freedom all the more apparent.

Just looking out into the room felt overwhelming, but squeezed into a table that made it seem like they couldn't possibly squeeze more into the club dining room seemed to suck the life out of Bonnie.

She barely held it together for her girls as the woman beside her made assumptive comments, including suggesting that if Becca only dressed more sharply like her mother, maybe she'd have a boyfriend by now. Bonnie assured the woman Becca was very much like her mother.

Related: Younger Season 5 Episode 11 Review: Fraudlein 

Catty discussions by neighbors and so-called friends about the state of girls and their mothers were prevalent once upon a time, whether it was, "you would be more like your mother if" or the even more dreaded, "you know, you're just like your mother," followed by something unpleasant.

Opinions came without care for whose feelings they hurt and landed like a slap.

But that was before. Now Bonnie doesn't let them slide as easily, at the very least mouthing that she's sorry or making faces at her girls across the table in response to the rude words.

It Is About You - American Woman Season 1 Episode 11

It was enough ammunition for Bonnie to tell Steve she'd had enough when he arrived pleased that he'd left Masha. 

They had yet to discuss anything, but Steve continued to act as if he was the only one who had any say in what was to become of their family. That wasn't the case.

I like my life without you. I hate the club and all those people, and I hate that you don't ask me what I want to drink. This is about you and me. We don't work. Anymore.


Another disappointment that was that Steve did the manly thing and told Bonnie not to go crawling back to him when it all starts crumbling. If that was supposed to mean he wasn't going to help her with child support, that's a low blow.

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Then again, he cheated on his awesome wife for no reason and was charged with a felony, so what kind of guy was he? More on the scummy side.

It's too bad Kathleen didn't realize what a great opportunity it would be to invite a brilliant salesperson like Bonnie to her team at the casting agency, but at least Bonnie is no longer unemployed.

What You Need - American Woman Season 1 Episode 11

Bonnie decided not to take no for an answer. She swallowed her pride and forced Daryl to do the same. Their relationship was mutually beneficial even if she screwed up royally. She won't let it happen again.

"You Can't Always Get What You Want" is probably used a little too often as a song in cases like Bonnie's, but dammit, it does work.

If she was asked what she would do to support her family, it wouldn't likely be working at the May Company. She probably wouldn't want to have to move out of her house. But her girls are happy, and she has realized losing Steve wasn't such a loss at all.

Bonnie, Kathleen, and Diana have all gone through changes during American Woman Season 1, and even if they didn't want some of them, they might have needed them. Does that mean Diana will keep her baby?

Share your thoughts on the finale and the full season below. Do you want more? Dig in and watch American Woman online to see it all from the beginning.

I Will Survive Review

Editor Rating: 4.75 / 5.0
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Rating: 5.0 / 5.0 (1 Vote)

Carissa Pavlica is the managing editor and a staff writer and critic for TV Fanatic. She's a member of the Critic's Choice Association, enjoys mentoring writers, conversing with cats, and passionately discussing the nuances of television and film with anyone who will listen. Follow her on Twitter and email her here at TV Fanatic.

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American Woman Season 1 Episode 11 Quotes

Kathleen: So, did your brand new job come with a brand new raise?
Diana: Only if I come with a brand new penis.

Diana: When did you start taking valium?
Kathleen: [slurring] Since I started getting stressed out.