The spotlight turned away from Bobby and from the Fosse/Verdon pairing to reveal a bit about Gwen's life.
On Fosse/Verdon Season 1 Episode 3, Gwen and Bobby are not only divorced but working separately, putting stress on both of them.
From all directions, Gwen seems to be getting hit over the head with references to her past, and she doesn't like it much.
It seems the jury is out on the truth behind Gwen's early life.
Depending on where you find your information, Gwen's pregnancy at age 17 by soon-to-be husband Jim Heughan was either forced on her or she was a willing partner.
Regardless of the way Jim Jr. made his way into the world, Gwen did leave him when he was a baby to follow her dreams of being a dancer.
Once she had another child and Gwen's life became more accustomed to parenting full time, it would most certainly have weighed on her that she found fame at the cost of raising her son.
For this hour to work, that's the most important takeaway.
Gwen: What in the HELL were you thinking?!
Bobby: What are you talking about?
Gwen: You left her alone with a grown man!
Bobby: Nicole? I left her with Paddy.
Gwen: It's completely inappropriate!
Bobby: What are you talkin' about? I left her for 30 minutes.
Gwen: You can't spend a single evening alone with your daughter. That was just too much to ask!
Whether it was for dramatic merit and the scene in which Bobby left Nicole with "Uncle Paddy" that the suggestion of abuse was ascertained or if it actually happened seems unclear.
It's entirely possible that even if she eloped with Jim, Gwen might have seen the situation as out of her control. After all, she was only 17 and pregnant with her entire future -- and all of her dreams -- off in the distance.
The mere idea that Nicole could get robbed of her future because of Bobby's lackadasical parenting would be a disquieting thought.
Similarly, Gwen was also at odds with Bobby as a result of their divorce.
Bobby: Gwen, Gwen Verdon. Come here. Just watch. Just come and watch it with me once through. Come to the editing room.
Gwen: Stop. Get an assistant.
Bobby: I have an assistant. I need you.
Gwen: Where's your German girl?
Everything about him brought up unpleasant memories.
Gwen couldn't escape Bobby even if she tried. His needs offered adulation that she wasn't getting on the stage. Flattery and applause are what kept Gwen's demons at bay.
It was even worse that Bobby was still at the height of his career while Gwen was sliding down the ladder into obscurity.
When she found interest in a play, she had to audition. Gwen talked herself into thinking that she loved auditioning, but it was something that her agent and even the director shot down for her.
A roomful of men would be determining her fate, a room much like the one she found herself in when she got pregant. Men were always steering the course of Gwen's life and determining her worth.
All of that was quite subtle in the way Fosse/Verdon shared it, but the show is still driving home the point that Verdon was undervalued at many stages of her life.
Once she married Bobby, she was part of a team, but it was a team that worked better professionally than it would personally. When they inevitably split, she was left with less than the career she had when they married.
Bobby's prospects were better, but he also needed his partner to collaborate with him. It must have been maddening to know she was so useful to Bobby and they created such magic when others didn't offer her the same courtesy.
Gwen could do anything she put her mind to, but she needed direction.
That was painfully obvious when she was struggling with the play and couldn't grasp the intricacies of the character because the direction was too vague.
Gwen: So I have to admit, Joe, I am struggling to find out what that moment means for the character, so if you could just tell me EXACTLY what you want me to do.
Joe: Some choreography?
[there is laughter]
Gwen: Got me. [chuckles]
She was treated poorly because everyone wanted the Tony-Award winning star but nobody realized the work it took to make that leap. A star-turn takes effort, and Joe didn't seem willing to put it in when it came to Gwen.
Gwen's reliance on Bobby was revealed when she went to him in the Cabaret editing room after a particularly hard day of reherseals.
For every blow, Gwen could find her rhythm again in the studio with Bobby.
I was thinking maybe you could come to the editing room for a few weeks, you know? And maybe you'd see some things that I don't see. I'm feeling a little lost right now.Bobby
Making Bobby beg for it appeased her need to be wanted and allowed her to get back at him for ruining their marriage.
But that didn't mean that even when all was copacetic between them that they wouldn't jump back into the swing of it and start pushing each other's buttons again.
Bobby: Ask for a rewrite. Tell them to change the angel boy to a little girl. What do you know about boys? You've never raised one. I think it's gonna be great, you're gonna be great.
Gwen: Fuck you!
Bobby wanted Gwen beside him whenever it was convenient for him, so he was hardly supporting of her endeavors to find a path of her own again.
That swing hit home, though, and Gwen utilized all that she was feeling about her son and the mistakes she'd made to give a stunning performance of the scene that had left her struggling earlier.
But still, Joe offered notes instead of praise at she finished it.
I was of two minds when he was so effortlessly rude. My first was that he didn't give appreciation where it was due because of the way she so obviously sought his approval. To reward that could allow her the opportunity to sink back into it instead of continuing to strive for excellence.
My second thought was that Joe is just a terrible director unable to offer anything to help his actors succeed. Three Tony Awards before Children! Children! though and the one-day run of Children proves it was probably the play at fault.
Gwen's suffering migh have been unnecessary, but it segued nicely to cementing her role as Bobby's other half.
Without Gwen, Bobby reached for any warm body to soothe him. But with Gwen, Bobby doesn't had everything he needed. Unfortunately, it also sucked the life out of Gwen and she lost all that she had before Bobby because his needs were so utterly consuming.
It's another terrific episode of television and an engaging look into the lives of Bobby and Gwen and what made them tick.
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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, cats, and passionately discussing the nuances of television and film. Follow her on Twitter and email her here at TV Fanatic.