[For Mozart in the Jungle “Can You Marry a Moon?” or any other recaps on Fetchland, assume the presence of possible spoilers.]
Can You Marry a Moon?. Rodrigo develops a mysterious ailment and must adjust his sense while filming a virtual reality video game.
Someone not schooled in the fabled tales of America’s Indigenous People may not recognize the phrase, “Can You Marry a Moon?” but if you’d like to take a look here’s a succinct version The Girl who Married the Moon.The overarching message reflects the importance of patience and negotiating with care for the best end result in a dispute. This episode is filled with just these sorts arbitrations. Some are obvious; the symphony negotiating their contract with the orchestral board, and others less so, like Rodrigo with his mysterious new symptoms and Hailey negotiating her living situation. While watching the episode it would be easy to miss the reference to the title because Rodrigo throws the line away while ranting about his divorce papers, in fact tearing them up with frustration that he can’t have a marriage like the man and woman of the moon from the story. But even if Rodrigo speaks the line in an offhanded way, it’s crucial and not just because it’s the episode title. It speaks volumes for this particular piece of Mozart in the Jungle, an episode of unending disputes and negotiations under and above the surface of the story.
The first scene reveals Rodrigo’s newfound struggle with tinnitus and subsequent crankiness. Then Mike finally gets him to sign the divorce papers and he sort of semi signs them and rips them into pieces before saying they are both signed and not signed and that it all means nothing. He walks away pish poshing Mike’s suggestion that perhaps his wife met someone new and perhaps that’s why she seeks the divorce.
Next we see the symphony players celebrate Betty’s thirty five year anniversary with the orchestra. There’s a telling moment when Cynthia (who knows Betty well) says she “fittingly” gets the scorpion drink and Betty agrees that it fits, calling herself an “insect of death,” but everyone’s having too much fun at the party to sense the foreboding this statement entails. The stripper brought in for Betty plays the part of Johann Sebastian Cock with a titillating bravado that keeps their spirits high. Hailey keeps drinking until after the party, drunkenly lounging with Betty and Cynthia, she confides about the romantic moment with Rodrigo in Mexico. Then before taking Hailey home, Cynthia tries to arouse compassion in Betty saying, “We were all young once and falling in love with teacher,” but Betty clearly has no empathy for her fellow oboist and thus we see the first snap of her scorpion claw.
The orchestral players sit with management with Nina at their helm around a long mahogany table and surrounded by floor-to ceiling-legal book emblazened walls. Turns out the offer from management isn’t good enough and, adding insult to injury, villainous board member, Biben snarks at them. The musicians respond with percussion: taps on glasses, fingers drumming the table, and tic tac maracas. Then Nina tells the board they’re not in a position to tell musicians when they can and can’t play if they have no signed contract. She’s satisfied with how the meeting went, though nothing was accomplished. Meanwhile the orchestra and Gloria are peeved. They know the music and their careers are at stake here and Nina gets paid no matter if they win or lose. It’s back to the drawing board and their trust in Nina stays shaky from here forward.
Back at Hailey and Lizzie’s apartment Hailey continues to look for her own place with little luck and Bradford moves in with boxes up the wazoo. He and Lizzie have their first fight as box after box fills their already cozy place. There’s hardly anywhere to walk and the stacks are getting higher. Lizzie confronts Bradford on what appears to be hoarding and he says he told her about his baggage… but she thought he just meant emotionally. But Lizzie and Bradford are a cool couple because they’re direct and clear with each other, so during this fight they get right to root of the problem. It turns out Bradford doesn’t even know what half this stuff is but he does know he can’t let it go because it’s all recordings of his work that he may need someday. They’re on the road to negotiation now that they know the true stakes.
Next we see Rodrigo in a green screen studio making a virtual reality video game so that kids can play at being little maestros. So, he’s all dressed up in the suit with the balls attached for computer assignation of his body parts in motion. Rodrigo’s having trouble pretend-conducting with the newfound tinnitus and believes it’s due to the curse from Maestro Rivera. Meanwhile he’s unaware that there actually IS a threat to his well being. Behind the scenes Biben conspires to make Rodrigo seem like a rich spoiled artist. This is so management can raise the public ire against the musicians’ side of the contract negotiations. If Biben’s plan goes through they’ll send a picture of the symphony’s Kristoff standing in front of a fancy car to the papers – which is mad ironic because he, like most orchestra members, is actually pretty broke and was just standing in front of a Porsche aspirationally.
There are other conductors also filming at the virtual reality studio and wearing the bodysuits covered in balls, Pembridge included. Then the cellist Andrew Walsh shows up in his very own bodysuit with balls, late to the party because of an “early tee time and late flight”. He ingratiates himself with all the maestros but Rodrigo then by sharing photos of his latest art project, the nude women with cello marks he painted on their backs. Rodrigo joins the group looking at Walsh’s phone as the other maestros ooh and ahh. But all he says is, “cliché,” until he asks how Walsh gets them to pose so vulnerably. Walsh says he asks them to do it after they’ve just had sex with him. Again Rodrigo says, “cliché,” but then Walsh shows Rodrigo the picture of Hailey with the cello marks. So, stunned Rodrigo grabs the phone and hurls it across the room to smash against the wall. He says, “Keep you hands out of my orchestra!” and a fight breaks out with all the maestros in their balled bodysuits waging war against each other. In the final shot the camera pans over to the computer simulations of their tired old maestro stick figures fighting via green screen. Once again, there are no negotiations here.