At a Beverly Hills mansion soiree, Evelyn Powell confronts her maid Flora for sleeping with her husband Adrian Powell. While Mrs. Powell admires Flora for “daring to dream a better life”, she wants the affair to end immediately – and for the windows to be done rather than her husband. Adrian only mentions that he’s sorry for allowing himself to be seduced (repeatedly) and the two leave her alone in the study, where she grabs a pen and furiously writes a note that accuses Adrian of raping her. As the Powells are out by the pool dancing, Flora is attacked by a masked intruder wielding a knife who, after a brief scuffle, stabs her repeatedly. She slowly makes her way outside and falls into the pool, already dead, while a waiter for the party comes out with the bloody knife in hand.
Although Evelyn is now worried about who’ll be cleaning her blood-stained home, four of Flora’s friends and fellow maids (Rosie, Valentina, Carmen, and Zoila) attend her funeral. Afterwards, they mention the possibility of going to the police with a secret that Flora came to them with, though Zoila suggests that maybe the information should die with her.
One week later, a woman named Marisol is interviewing for a job with Michael and Taylor Stappord, a newlywed couple who just lost a housekeeper that Taylor was especially close to. As a result, she puts Marisol through the wringer, commenting on her lack of an accent (“you sound like you went to college”) and her supposed attitude during the interview. However, Marisol makes an offer for a one-week trial; if they hire her for a week and aren’t satisfied with how she’s keeping house, she’s willing to walk away, no questions asked.
One of her first major tests is when she finds Taylor in tears one afternoon. Marisol offers to help and while Mrs. Stappord initially rejects the gesture, claiming that the maid wouldn’t understand, she eventually reveals that she’s feeling insecure about Michael’s (psychotic) ex-wife, noted decorator Olivia Rice. In the divorce proceedings, the only thing that Olivia asked him to fight for was Lupe and Olivia managed to take her, so she wants to be able to redecorate their house (that, top to bottom, Olivia had a hand in) to make it more her own. Michael refuses to allow it, though, citing that it would upset Olivia. Marisol advises that, in the grander scheme of things, Taylor’s problem isn’t much of a problem, that she should be thankful to have as much as she does, and that with time, the hold Olivia has over Michael will listen. Of course, this isn’t exactly what Taylor wanted to hear and she goes off in a huff.
After she urges Adrian not to speak up regarding the innocent waiter taking the fall, as taking the spotlight off of him would open their own life up to examination, Evelyn goes to the Stappord house to complain about her house becoming filthy and the agency being unwilling to send another maid. Overhearing, Marisol offers to clean the Powell home and its nine bathrooms, delighting Evelyn in the process. Once she makes it inside, she sees the blood-stained rug, something that takes her aback, and meets Adrian, who comments on Flora’s “ambition” and offers to help Marisol in the same way that he helped her. Marisol then puts the book that Flora’s note landed in on the shelf and resumes cleaning.
Marisol then throws Michael’s birthday party, his first since marrying Taylor, which gets interrupted when Olivia shows up at the door. She gives him a crystal heart and chides him to keep it safe, even though he already broke hers, and throws it against the wall, shattering it into many pieces. Marisol grabs her and throws her out of the party, receiving applause and a secure job as a result, since Taylor appreciated the gesture and the lecture that she gave Olivia before slamming the door. However, Adrian is now sure that Marisol isn’t a maid and can’t wait to figure out what she’s doing in their community.
Valentina and Zoila
Valentina and her mother Zoila work for 50-something Genevieve, who has resigned herself to a lifetime of loneliness after the pool boy she was seeing dumped her. He claimed that he couldn’t bring her around his friends due to her looking 40 and thus, she downed a bottle of pills and burrowed under her bed for a crying fit. Her college-age son Remi has made his way from USC to try and coax her out of her depression, assuring her that she didn’t need to do this every time a man dumps her, and Valentina gets an idea. She suggests that Remi move home from campus and commute for when he has classes, making sure that Genevieve won’t be alone and getting him around her more often so she can try to seduce him. Genevieve, of course, lights up at the idea of having her son around and agrees to go have her stomach pumped. As long as she can put her face on first, though.
Genevieve now has a new therapist that has prescribed her mood stabilizers and she goes off for a day with Zoila, leaving Valentina at home with Remi. Once she’s in the clear, the young girl changes into a white dress and makes two cups of tea for Remi, who is laying out in the sun after a morning in the pool. She brings out the tea and, when he brings up the extra cup, claims that she’s too used to making it for his mother and her company. Remi then invites her to stay, only to spill tea on his inner thigh and have her wipe it off. She offers to cook for him the following morning and he requests French toast, which she doesn’t know how to make but is eager to learn. Zoila manages to catch her daughter fraternizing with the frat boy and goes out once again to make a purchase – a new (skin-covering) uniform that’s decidedly unsexy.
However, Valentina alters the uniform that night while her mother slept and serves Remi’s French toast with a smile – and some leg. He’s speechless and she’s got him exactly where she wants him.
Carmen Luna has landed a job with Latin pop sensation Alejandro Rubio and with that, she hopes that the two can become great friends. However, Rubio’s assistant Odessa informs her that nothing of the sort will be happening; she’s not to speak to him first and when she does, she’s to use as few words as possible. She can’t even say good morning to him first because, according to Odessa, it’s not her place to tell him whether it’s a good morning or not.
While watching Alejandro working out, Carmen makes him a glass of juice, only for Odessa to step in again and deny her the opportunity to socialize with the artist. But why is Carmen so insistent on becoming close with Alejandro? She’s an aspiring singer who wants to use her connection to him to make it big and if they’re friends, he might be able to give her a leg up in the music business. Odessa isn’t having any of that and tells Carmen that since Alejandro’s such a kind spirit, she’s had to become his guard dog of sorts and ward off anyone looking to cash in on his fame and agreeable disposition.
Carmen gets the idea to use the crush that fellow Rubio employee, and the man responsible for her getting the job, Sam has on her to her advantage. She flirts him into stalling the elevator and plants her demo underneath a napkin on Alejandro’s breakfast tray. While Odessa ends up taking it, Carmen sneaks up the stairs to eavesdrop and overhears Alejandro’s assistant’s anger at her underhanded bid for career advancement. Before she can fire Carmen, though, Odessa slips on a rag at the top of the stairs and rolls the entire way down, only for her prosthetic leg to separate from her body. She’ll be in the hospital for a few days, giving Carmen the opportunity to cozy up to Alejandro, who already caught her singing and likes her voice.
The maid of actors Spence and Peri Westmore, Rosie finally found an immigration lawyer that she can afford and that will help her bring her young son Miguel over from Guadalajara to be with her permanently. However, he only comes to Los Angeles from San Diego once a month and this month, it falls on a Friday and Saturday that she can’t get off of work. Peri refuses to move an interview she has scheduled for Saturday and tries to get Rosie to take it as a compliment that their family “needs” her so much right now, so even with Spence’s support, Rosie has to figure out another way in which to get her son with her.
Later, Rosie calls Miguel and tearfully tells him that she’s going to see the immigration lawyer, that she sent Grandma a check, and that she’ll be with him soon enough. Peri overhears and learns that the reason Rosie came to the United States in the first place is because Miguel’s father died and she needed to work; rather than giving her the days off to see the lawyer, though, she acts a bit concerned on hearing that the child doesn’t understand why he’s not with his mother and then reminds Rosie that she has a facial to go to in preparation for her interview. And that she still has to watch the baby.
The afternoon of the interview with Brenda Colfax, Rosie is charged with watching the baby and taking him away once he soils his diaper on camera. When she makes it back in the control room, Peri is asked about taking her child on location to Rome, where she’ll be shooting an upcoming film, and comments that he’ll of course be going with her, as she’s not the type of mom to run off to a foreign country and leave her child to be raised by another woman. Rosie puts on a brave face and goes out onto the interview set, excited that the baby just said his first word. He called her mama.
Thanks to that little bout of humiliation, Rosie can now see her lawyer, since Peri is wanting to spend more time with the baby.
So what’s the twist?
Marisol shows up at the local jail to visit an inmate. The prisoner? The waiter that allegedly killed Flora.
Who’s her son.
Additional thoughts and observations:
-So, early guesses on who killed Flora? At this point, I don’t think anyone we met had the motive or opportunity to kill her. The only character I could see committing the act was Evelyn and even then, I don’t think she’d want to get her hands dirty by killing the maid herself.
-Could Flora’s secret be the rape that she mentioned in the note? Or, shot in the dark, did her time with Adrian produce a child?
-What did you think about the final twist? I thought it was a nice way to subvert the expectation of Marisol being someone in Flora’s life and it definitely cast her actions from the pilot in a different light.
-As you might have guessed, there’s been some noise about the show indulging in stereotypes and having a limited set of roles for its all-Latina main cast. After watching the pilot twice, the only thing I even sort of object to is the transitional/background music, but on a show this comedic, you could write that off as a heavy-handed way of being cheeky rather than something with malicious intent. As far as the characters themselves, I don’t think the show looked down on them or painted being a maid as something wrong; it’s a means to an end for most of the women and the show made their clients look 10x as bad as it did the maids.
-The only maid I don’t care for as a person is social climber Carmen, who is way too manipulative and callous for my liking. Great character, and I’m sure her storyline will produce some juice, but I don’t root for her the way I root for Rosie or Marisol. (That being said, Marisol’s advice to Taylor was very judge-y.)
-It’s pretty obvious that Zoila had poor experiences with a client and that’s the reason she’s so against Valentina going after Remi, right? Could the man she was once with be a part of Genevieve’s family, too?
-The book that Flora’s note ended up in was “The Peasant and the Devil”, which seems to be a Grimm fairy tale centering on a farmer making a fool of Satan. You can read it here.
-Next week on Devious Maids: Marisol tries to figure out a way to spend more time at the Powell house, while Carmen takes advantage of being home alone and Zoila gets irritated at Valentina’s attempts to get closer to Remi.