Although it technically happened last week during “Lillian’s Wedding (Pt. 1),” DODO IS BACK! I repeat, DODO IS BACK! Somebody pop a bottle of cocaine wine because the tit shit is about to hit the fan. The Bellacourt matriarch (Paget Brewster) has apparently been hiding in the Newport Abbey after her husband Commodore (David Koechner) threatened to throw her in an insane asylum for donating all their money to charity. Really, how could she? He’s spent the course of the season desperately trying to land upon a money-making scheme—aka form a new money match for one of his daughters—in order to restore the Bellacourt fortune. With Hortense suddenly marrying a publishing tycoon with a drumroll of a name, Betram Harrison Fusselforth VII, he’s accomplished what he wanted and so begins divorce proceedings in order to marry his mistress Celine/Chair (Christina Hendricks).
But she of the barbed wire insult, of the meticulous articulation, returns to Bellacourt manor in order to get hers. No, Dodo does not want to win the Commodore’s affection back and secure her place in the household. After he proposes that very reason for her presence in his study, she scoffs with indignation. “That I would be the first woman in my family’s 3,000 year lineage to end a marriage for a reason other than a bear attack?” she asks, mocking his logic, and delivering the writing with every beat it deserves. The writers clearly have fun writing for Dodo. Her dialogue sits above other characters’ because she uses it so well. Brewster’s delivery—everything from her disdainful tone to her whipcrack elocution—makes the words practically sing. Every insult seems sharper, every sentence more ridiculous. In a show packed to the ever-loving brim with absurd characters saying outrageous things, what Dodo says and how she says it somehow lands a bigger laugh.
In returning to the manor, Dodo simply wants to make sure she isn’t left high and dry. As she explains to Commodore, “I’m prepared to sign the papers. Like a fingerless man attempting to operate a doorknob, I know when I’ve been defeated, but I’m going to want a few things.” Her requests start off reasonably enough, but eventually reveal the true inanity that trails the very wealthy who don’t know what else to spend their money on. Alongside the family’s Prague winter home, Dodo wants “the eldest emu, [and] the little man that we bring out every Christmas to scare the carolers.”
But Celine won’t let that little man, Terrance, go without a fight. Throughout the second season, Celine has become Dodo’s counterpart, serving to represent the trashier side of wealth, if that’s even possible in a household where Beatrice (Riki Lindhome) sleeps with her brother Frederick (Jason Ritter) and Lillian (Natasha Leggero) will do whatever it takes to land on the front page. Celine, arriving in the Bellacourts’ world by way of a Montreal brothel house, has climbed her way to the top the way so many reality TV stars do nowadays: by forging their celebrity out of their visibility and little else. With things slowly wrapping up in Another Period’s world, the show pits schlocky against aristocracy for the ultimate duel.
In an episode stretched far too thin as Another Period attempts to wind up several plotlines over what appears to be three episodes (it initially looked as though “The Duel” would culminate what “Lillian’s Wedding (Pt. 1)” started but next week brings another installment), having the two matriarchs battle each other serves as one of the show’s better stories. For Dodo’s fans, “The Duel” serves up lots of what they’ve been missing. She is the sparkling gem, the ancient but classic ruby brooch the family has foregone for newer baubles. In its gaudiness, the Bellacourts may prefer tiaras, diamonds and other flashy bling, but no one—I repeat no one—can top Dodo’s shine.
Amanda Wicks is a freelance journalist specializing in comedy and music. Follow her on Twitter @aawicks.