As the title of the episode reflects, Thony waltzed right into the lion’s den on The Cleaning Lady Season 1 Episode 2.
But then again, what mother trying to save the life of her child wouldn’t?
That was top of mind for Thony as her son, Luca, spiked a fever and was on the verge of dying.
It’s incredibly heartbreaking to constantly see Thony backed into a corner simply because of her immigration status.
This would be such a non-issue for someone of status and wealth, but the same courtesy isn’t extended to a woman who is considered to be nothing more than the help. She has to jump through hoops just to get her son seen, and this is the second time we’ve seen that without Arman, she wouldn’t get any help for her son despite his dire condition.
It’s not surprising that Thony decided that working for Hayak and Arnan was worth the risk.
Without any other options, the only thing she wants is to see her son make it into the clinical trial and survive.
She’ll do absolutely anything to make that happen. And Arnan has proven time and time again that he can make it happen.
While Thony initially wanted out of the arrangement, it became clear that the only way out is in a body bag. She either cleans and lives to see another day, or she doesn’t make it out alive. The choice couldn’t be simpler.
The thing, however, is that Thony is incredibly resourceful. She’s meticulous, which makes her good at the job that Arnan hired her to do.
For the second time, we saw her at a crossroads where she almost lost her life, and once again, she remained calm and pulled out a “get out of jail card.”
This time, her survival, came at the cost of someone else’s life.
But also, that death isn’t on her. It’s on Jimmy. Jimmy did that to himself.
Thony was just in the right place at the right time when she came across a man at the warehouse while she was cleaning, which led her to pinpoint him as the thief that was stealing weapons from Hayak. In one fell swoop, she proved her loyalty, kept herself alive, and all while scoring getting Hayak his plans for the casino back on track.
As I said, Thony seems to be good for business. An asset.
I mean, who else can singlehandedly do that good of a job cleaning? She prides herself on cleaning up these messes! And personally, I want to know who else is on the payroll since they keep calling her in?
Hayak was so ready to get rid of her, but who else is going to clean up all these situations? Is there another cleaning lady?
The bond between Thony and Arnan is only getting stronger. He has a soft spot for her because he sees himself in her, but there’s also an unspoken connection that they have yet to tap into.
They’re both unaware of it for now, but everyone else around them can see it. His wife definitely felt it, as did FBI officer Garrett.
Honestly, Garrett pretended as though he wanted to help Thony, but he proved to be worthless immediately after with that contrived, fake raid.
The series gives such a glaring, raw look at the issues that undocumented immigrants face on a daily basis when they’re just trying to get by and make ends meet. Their already dire situation is exploited against them, and their fear used as a weapon.
If Garrett was a good agent, he’d dig deeper and find out everything there is to know about Thony. Then, he’d understand why she’s so willing to protect the mafia.
Surely, if he can follow her to the casino then he can follow her to the clinic, right?
Garrett was also painted in an unlikable brushstroke when his partner mentioned his indiscretions against women. I don’t know what that’s about, but it goes to show that simply holding the title of FBI agent doesn’t make him better than anyone in the slightest.
Also, approaching Thony in the bathroom and questioning her after giving her a child to hold, which automatically lowers a prson’s defenses, was a scummy move.
I know the mafia isn’t something to be championd, but in this case, neither is the FBI.
My guess is that Arnan is going to eventually want to find a way out of this lifestyle along with Thony. I think falling in love with Thony will give him a new perspective and want out of life. He did say he never wanted his family to find themselves defenseless. And then, they’ll be the two to take on the mafia. At least, that’s my hope.
While Arnan seems loyal, he clearly doesn’t want to be in this situation either. He made it very clear that he had no other choice when Hayak saved his father’s life. Much like Thony now, he’s indebted to him.
It was also heartbreaking to see Fi deal with the reality that she has to tell Chris that he’s undocumented just like her.
Chris’s reaction was so intense, and while it’s understandable that there’s some anger and resentment for being lied to, I wish kids would just acknowledge how much their mother’s do to provide them with a good life.
He really hit below the belt when calling his mother out for being nothing more than a cleaning lady when that dedication is what has funded his whole life. They always say don’t bite the hand that feeds you. It’s also concerning because it seems like Chris doesn’t necessarily grasp the severity of the situation that they are in, and that carelessness could implode everything Fi and Thony have worked for.
In just its second episode, the series has established a rhythm that raises the stakes all while pulling at your heart strings in the same vein. It currently has the makings of one of the most promising freshman dramas of the season.
What did you think of the episode? Do you feel for Thony? Are you rooting for her relationship with Arnan? Do you think that they’ll both get out?
Or do you think she’ll turn on him and become an informant at the first chance she gets? Her son has been established as the priority, but again, they say don’t bite the hand that feeds you, and Arnan has extended a genorosity and kidness that I don’t see Thony turning away, or in, anytime soon.
Let us know your thoughts about the episode in the comments below!
The Cleaning Lady Series Premiere Review – Lady Luck (1×01)
If The Cleaning Lady keeps this up, FOX may have a bonafide hit on their hands.
Based on Argentina’s La Chica Que Limpia, the series premiere was peak anxiety but in the best possible way as it threw you right into the action.
A mother’s love knows no bounds, and Elodie Yung, who plays the Thony, knows exactly how to evoke those emotions so that you’re feeling it with the same intensity that she is.
Her situation is grim — she’s a respected doctor back in the Phillippines, but her son, Luca, is severely ill. He has an immune deficiency and needs a bone marrow transplant, which is how she ended up working as a cleaning lady in Las Vegas.
On the plus side, Vegas has a lot of messes. On the downside, she’s quickly sucked into a mess when she witnesses a murder by a local mafia.
While getting sucked into that tangled web isn’t exactly what Thony had in mind when she was looking for a better paying job, it’s the hand that’s dealt.
Instead of killing her on the spot, Arman (played by Designated Survivor stud Adan Canto) takes pity on her and allows her to clean up the murder of club owner Theo. He’s impressed with her particular set of skills, so he hires her full-time.
But every boss has a boss, and it’s no different with Arman, who answers to his father. He sees something redeemable in Thony, so by hiring her, he’s essentially giving her another chance.
And Thony definitely understands the arrangement, which comes with a stack of fat cash for every clean-up and a hook-up at the doctor’s office to get her son pushed up higher on the list.
Thony is doing it all for her family — for her son. She’s putting her life on the line solely to take care of her kid.
The trope of a devoted mother pushing the boundaries to save her child has been popular as of late, and it’s because it’s so relatable.
We can’t fault Thony for her actions, no matter how questionable, because she has no other choice.
At first glance, Thony should be a meek and mild woman, but she’s the complete opposite, which is also what draws Arman in. She’s feisty, she’s fearless, she sticks up for herslef, and she can hold her own next to him.
She demands respect because no matter what, she deserves it. It’s invigorating to see a woman demand to be treated the way she should.
There’s a power tussle between the two, but the scales never fully tip. Arman goes the extra mile for Thony because he knows she deserves it, but he still has the upper hand. In that way, it’s almost frustrating because, despite everything, she’s still a kept woman.
Of course, that power dynamic can change at any moment with the introduction of the FBI, who is very much onto her.
It didn’t take them long to find her and pinpoint her, but it’s obvious that they’ll offer immunity in exchange for information.
Then, Thony will have to play her cards right to ensure that she does right by Luca first and foremost. No matter what happens, she’s never going to lose sight of that.
The biggest obstacle will be the budding romance between Arman and Thony. They can communicate without exchanging words; glances suffice. Their chemistry can be likened to Beth and Rio on Good Girls, which says a lot since that relationship took a few episodes to build up.
On The Cleaning Lady, it’s an instant and undeniable chemistry. They are both drawn to each other in a way that’ll definitely complicate their professional relationship. It’s going to make Thony’s job delivering intel to the FBI much harder.
If I were to guess, I would say that her alliance will remain with Arman as he promised to take care of Luca if anything were to happen to her.
They also have the one thing Beth and Rio never did: trust.
She owes him for saving her life when he learned about the bomb; he owes her for saving his leg when he got injured. Their relationship is built on mutual and exclusive trust.
There’s also the problem of Arman’s wife, Nadia, who is clearly a ticking time bomb… no pun intended. A lot of people are likely going to want to get rid of Thony, including Nadia when she realizes her man is obsessed with what she’d likely refer to as “the help.”
The Cleaning Lady does a lot right, which makes it the most gripping new drama on television, but one of its biggest wins is casting a Cambodian-Chinese woman as the lead.
Diversity on television is important, but diversity for the sake of diversity doesn’t deliver the same message as a series that taps into the hardships of immigrants doing their best in a world that’s determined to see them fail. Thony is a lead that wants and needs to be seen, and the series is more than happy to give her a voice.
Thony’s strength comes from a raw place as she literally has no choice but to fight. The system wants her to fail, as witnessed by her interaction with the nurse at the clinic.
The lack of a single piece of paperwork prevents her from getting her son the life-saving treatment he needs. It’s heartbreaking, but the perfect motivation for a character that’s going to carry the show squarely on her shoulders. It’s a woman’s world, and she knows it. She may not yield all the power, but she does have some of it, and that’s enough to keep her going.
Aside from the action, the series wins in the calm and nuanced moments. The best scenes find Thony coming home after doing the unspeakable simply to cuddle up to her child fully knowing that each time could be the last — either he doesn’t make it or she doesn’t. The risks are high for both of them, so there’s a lot to cherish when she can go the extra mile to give him some facetime to play basketball with his cousins.
Thony won’t be able to keep up the shtick much longer as her beshie Fiona is going to catch on that she’s not being entirely honest about where she’s headed at all hours of the day.
Their friendship is rather developed for a pilot as I’m already finding myself invested in how things will change when Fi realizes Thony judged her for wanting to sell drugs in order to work at a luxurious nightclub while simultaneously digging herself into a much deeper hole with the FBI on her tail.
I hope it doesn’t cause a rift between them because Thony needs some kind of stability if she’s going to get through this.
I’m also curious if her husband Marco is ever going to make the same level of sacrifice that she has for their son.
From the brief video interaction, it seems as though he’s living a pretty cushy life in the Phillippines while she risks everything to ensure Luca’s survival. That’s not exactly fair.
The Cleaning Lady is one soapy mob/crime drama I won’t be snoozing on this TV season. The stakes are high in the first hour, there are many cards left to play, and the lead is perfectly cast to provide a touching look at the plights that accompany undocumented immigrants with nothing but hope.
Were you as hooked as I was? Let us know your thoughts in the comments!
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