[For Mozart in the Jungle “How to Make God Laugh” or any other recaps on Fetchland, assume the presence of possible spoilers.]
How to Make God Laugh. Rodrigo shows Hailey HIS Mexico then his mentor asks him to fulfill a promise, Cynthia gets a surprise visitor.
The theme of “How to Make God Laugh” is destiny and that’s clear from the title, which implies that there’s a higher power plan out there for us, regardless of any personally prescribed plans we may have made for ourselves. Many elements of the episode point to this idea but it’s most poignant in the dynamic between Rodrigo and Hailey, coloring their every glorious moment together. We already knew they were good together, inspiring, learning, and creating all the time together and now we start seeing that maybe they’re also on some level “meant to be”.
If you’ve ever heard the question, “Do you know how to make God laugh?” you’ve probably also heard the answer, “Tell them your plans,” which is a funny and rather well-known saying. But Hailey’s never heard it. Rodrigo asks her the question in the first part of the episode and she suggests tickling might make God laugh to which Rodrigo replies, of course not, everybody knows God’s not ticklish. Then he grabs her hand and runs out with her to escape far far away from all the plans listed on his itinerary for the day. Instead they spend it seeing HIS Mexico and bonding. It’s perfectly lovely.
Meanwhile, Pembridge finally arrives in Mexico after his flight was delayed forcing him to semi-sleep on a marble floor in the Houston airport the night before. He’s cranky, exhausted, and – as usual – completely self-interested. Thus Pembridge doesn’t notice that Gloria hides Pavel in her hotel room when the ex maestro crashes there until their imminent meeting with the richest man in Mexico, Juan Delgado. Pavel gets irritated that Gloria keeps hiding him and tells her that back in his country he was a bio engineer. It’s unclear if it’s really a class issue for Gloria (as Pavel implies) and seems more likely she may be hiding him simply because they work together and it would be deemed untoward by the rest of the board. She’s preoccupied with Pavel and thus, though stunning in a red polka dot dress, Gloria’s pitch to Juan Delgado falls flat. Luckily she’s got Pembridge on hand and he’s a thrill in comparison. He truly inspires Delgado with his “wild horses” artistic style and thus all will be well for the New York Symphony for they will have all the funding they need. Turns out back at the hotel that Gloria’s not the only one getting unexpectedly laid in Mexico because Nina surprises Cynthia by showing up there too and the two gorgeous women finally consummate their lust.
In the middle of the episode Rodrigo takes Hailey home to his sweet Grandma. She adores Hailey, sends them shopping for ingredients and then cooks them a delicioso dinner. Afterward she reads the coffee grinds left in Hailey’s cup to tell Rodrigo his destiny with Hailey. She sees a connection between them; passion and love but not right away – years from now… and she even sees kids for them too. But when Rodrigo translates what his Grandma said for Hailey he lies, saying that she just talked about their love of music and that Hailey will have a great career someday. Then Grandma gives Hailey some family heirloom earrings. After dinner Rodrigo shows Hailey his childhood bedroom, perfectly preserved like a time capsule, and she’s surprised to find out he was much the same nerd she was as a kid. They kiss but then it’s interrupted by Grandma sporting an angry and vigilant broom. The furious mamacita shouts that the kiddos aren’t supposed to come “for many years” and not in her house! and not in front of the Jesus statue! Hailey laughs as Granny forces Rodrigo out of the room for the night, poking him over and over with her red broom handle.
The next day Rodrigo visits his mentor, Maestro Rivera at the school where he was taught as a child. Hailey hangs back but is listening as Maestro insists that Rodrigo continue his legacy and lead the school now that he’s ready to retire. He insists that this is Rodrigo’s duty, a sacrament that he must fulfill. When Rodrigo says he can’t and that he has to serve the symphony in New York Maestro Rivera says he’s broken his heart. He says Rodrigo killed him then and curses him, touching Rodrigo’s chest right where his heart lies. This is a case where Rodrigo rejects the destiny another parent figure has determined for him. That’s the funny thing about destiny, there’s always a choice to follow or not and we have to make that choice even if ours ends up being that we choose not to believe in such things. Or if we deny that it’s even about us, as Rodrigo seems to be doing here. It’s still a choice he’s making, a painful one.
On the flight back to New York Rodrigo and Hailey agree that this was a terrible occurrence between him and his mentor. He feels sick from it, he says. Then Hailey tells him she knows he lied when he translated what his Granny said and jokes about how he’s the father of her children. Rodrigo gets called back to first class by Gloria and Pembridge and the episode ends as the curtain between first and second class closes off their connection – perhaps a symbol of what keeps them apart for the next few years. He’s the leader of the orchestra and she’s the rookie. But eventually they may be at the same place… and knowing that makes all the difference.