The official trailer for Season 3 of Mozart in the Jungle opens on a rather confusing sight. You see Rodrigo (Gael Garcia Bernal) walking down what at first looks like a sidewalk at night, but then you soon realize he's strolling along the Grand Canal in Venice, Italy. You may have then thought to yourself, How did we get here? And if that's the case, you're probably in dire need of a Mozart in the Jungle Season 2 recap.
Even if you're familiar with everything that happened last season, it's natural to be curious about the fact that Rodrigo has left New York and doesn't appear to be coming back anytime soon. But then you think back to all of the eccentric things that the maestro has done over the past two seasons of this Amazon original series, then it doesn't seem all that strange, after all.
If you watch the rest of the trailer, you'll see that Rodrigo won't be the only member of the New York Symphony making a big move this season. Sure, there are glimpses of Hailey (Lola Kirke) and Gloria (Bernadette Peters) traveling to Venice to convince Rodrigo to come back, but you also see Hailey expressing an interest in conducting, her fellow musicians protesting, and Thomas (Malcolm McDowell) at a rave, for pete's sake. Yes, major changes are afoot on Mozart in the Jungle for Season 3, but to truly understand and appreciate them, you've got to go back and relive all the awesomeness of Season 2.
Will They Or Won't They?
When Hailey became Rodrigo's assistant in Season 1 of Mozart in the Jungle, you could cut the sexual tension with a conductor's baton. The two suddenly found themselves sharing a kiss after both of their debuts in the New York Symphony in the Season 1 finale, but neither me nor the characters themselves really knew what to make of it.
When Season 2 premiered, things at first seem clearer as Hailey is still with boyfriend Alex (Peter Vack). However, you could see it in Hailey's eyes and in the fact that she struggles with finding a new assistant for Rodrigo as she takes on her new position as substitute in the oboe section that she still isn't over him. Hailey interprets Rodrigo's speech at the end of the season premiere as him saying that a relationship between them wouldn't work out, even though he is really referring to how his relationship with the orchestra needs to proceed.
Still, the feeling continues to linger for each of them throughout the season, and it comes to a head during the symphony's Mexican tour. Hailey follows Rodrigo as he escapes his orchestral duties for the day, and they visit where he grew up. His grandmother sees a connection between the two and predicts that they will have kids one day while reading the coffee grounds in her cup. Rodrigo and Hailey then share a passionate kiss in his childhood bedroom before his grandma puts the kabash on that happening in her house and "not in front of Jesus!"
Hailey's fears about starting a relationship with Rodrigo almost come true when Betty (Debra Monk) tries to blackmail her into taking a job with the Des Moines Philharmonic. Betty threatens to tell everyone about her "Mexican tryst" with Rodrigo, which Hailey drunkenly revealed to her fellow oboist during a wild party celebrating her 35 years with the orchestra, thus threatening to destroy the rising star's career. But nothing seems to materialize from that due to the orchestra's lockout in the Season 2 finale (more on that later).
Rodrigo shows up to Hailey's apartment in the Season 2 finale in a scene echoing the season premiere. But this time, it seems like he's finally going to share his true feelings with Hailey. Unfortunately, before Rodrigo gets the chance, Hailey heads off on a romantic getaway with her new beau, Erik (Aaron Moten).
The Falcon Takes Wing
"The falconer and the falcon must both take wing," Rodrigo says at the end of his speech to Hailey in the Season 2 premiere, which she takes to mean that they must both go their separate ways. But Hailey also lives up to Rodrigo's instruction, in her personal and professional life.
Hailey eventually breaks up with Alex this season (and after he stole all that footage from that reality show he was on, Dance Haus, and everything!), and she starts seeing Erik, who she meets at a young donors event and later finds out is on the board for the orchestra. Earlier in the season, Hailey also sleeps with famed guest cellist Andrew Walsh (Dermot Mulroney), who later gets into a fight with Rodrigo when he sees that Andrew snapped a nude photo of Hailey with her back resembling a cello.
Hailey spreads her wings in other ways this season, too. She becomes the face of the symphony's new marketing campaign aimed at filling the seats with youths. After working her way up from Rodrigo's assistant to oboist sub, she lands a spot on the orchestra's tour of Mexico when Betty injures her finger during a softball game. Hailey also gets Betty's solo in the veteran's absence at one of the New York Symphony's performances.
Everyone's Searching For Their Voice...
Last season, we saw supporting characters attempt to stake their claim on the New York music world. After stepping down as conductor of the orchestra when Mozart in the Jungle begins, Thomas tries to write the next great symphony, which is such a struggle and eventually (kind of) ends up killing his soon-to-be-ex-wife, Claire, in Season 2. Things get so bad that he ends up falling off the wagon and making an embarrassing attempt at busking downtown. Gloria ends up literally finding her voice again too, returning to the stage at a jazz club where she sings "Come On-A My House," and we finally get to hear Peters sing in the series. And all seems right with the world.
... And Looking For Home
Something feels off with Rodrigo from the start of this season of Mozart in the Jungle. And no, it doesn't have to do with his unresolved feelings for Hailey (or so he thinks). Rodrigo is still trying to make his mark on the New York Symphony and make it a resounding success as doubts about him remain ever since he began leading the orchestra at the start of last season. Part of the problem is that the New York Symphony just doesn't feel like home to him yet.
Rodrigo continues this search for home throughout the season, whether it's looking for literal lodging when he gets evicted from his penthouse due to the bacchanalia going on in his apartment, returning to his hometown in Mexico, or seeing wife Anna Maria (Nora Arnezeder) find her place in the world when she asks him for a divorce so she can become a nun. By the season finale, it seems that he has found his home in the orchestra and its musicians.
The Strike Is On
And that brings me to the stark reality of the fate of that home in Season 2 of Mozart in the Jungle. All season long, the threat of a strike by the musicians looms as they fight for the union's demands to be accepted by the board. Cellist Cynthia (Saffron Burrows) helps lead the negotiations, along with a lawyer brought in to help the union, Nina (Gretchen Mol). Cynthia ends up sparking a romance with Nina, which complicates things for herself and her orchestra, as you can imagine.
Hailey also uses that first date with Erik to try to take his and the board's temperature during these labor negotiations. But hey, both sides fight dirty during this battle, and when Cynthia has had enough of Nina's scheming, just as it seemed like she was making progress on her own with Gloria, she fires her.
Gloria then strikes a deal with Erik promising to make him chairman of the board in three years in order to get him to vote to reject the orchestra's demands, which passes, meaning that Rodrigo also gets to keep his job. So the musicians' strike is on, and there's a lockout at the concert hall, leaving the orchestra to go play in the park instead. Oh, and Erik lies to Hailey, telling her that he voted in favor of the orchestra's demands. Can't you just smell the drama to come?
Will the New York Symphony ever be able to return to its home? From what I've seen of Season 3 of Mozart in the Jungle so far, it looks like there's a long road ahead for these musicians, but one that I can't wait to watch.
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