Gaslit (Season 1) Episode 7 Recap & Ending Explained: After teasing us week after week, Gaslit Episode 7 finally let all hell break loose on Martha. Julia Roberts, who hasn’t always been put in the category of great actor showcases another underrated and exceptionally layered performance that feels like a perfect spin on Martha Mitchell’s character. Titled, “Year of the Rat,” this has to be the darkest episode of the show thus far.
With only one episode left in the show, things feel like they would just lead up to a dramatic wrap-up with little to no surprises or tense moments left to display. However, one never knows what period fiction can do, so let’s not judge just yet.
Gaslit (Season 1), Episode 7 “Year of the Rat” Recap:
After what has to be a cleverly told recap that reuses Liddy’s opening monologue in episode 1, this installment takes us back in time. A time when Martha and John met for the first time. We see John with dyed hair, sitting with his friend in a Cantonese restaurant reading a pamphlet about Zodiac signs. John claims that he is the “Year of the Rat,” before he decides to leave his blind date even before it has started because his date is married.
Just then, his buddy points out that their dates are here, and the angelic charm of Julia Robert takes over him. We, along with John are completely bowled out by her and while it is really hard to see why John and Martha would tesselate, we sit there looking at them connecting with each other.
Fast forward, 17 years and we are right where we left off things in the previous episode. John is standing in the hallway, as he allows a fragile Martha to walk into definite trouble. Now, the part that takes place post that is definitely fictionalized, with John giving dirt about Martha’s past to Senator Gurney being used for a touch of dramatic effect, but director Matt Ross juxtaposes this part of him belittling Martha about her mental trouble with her actual breakdown post the proceedings in a masterful sequence.
Roberts is so good in this very important scene that she allows us to be sympathetic towards her even when the show is set in a time when her condition would be frowned upon.
Anyway, John and Martha spew venom toward one another where John visibly gaslights her for being a troubled woman who is always cribbing in life. Martha, in return, gives John a piece of her mind as she calls him a little teenage girl who is excited by being one of Nixon’s personal tools.
Things take a violent turn and John starts choking Martha, telling her that he is leaving her for good and taking Marty with him. He also admits that he was responsible for whatever happened to her in California, making us hate him even more.
The proceeding move to when Martha is on air with Barba Walters and is visibly unwell and hazy. Her interview, where she is supposed to tell important things to the public doesn’t go well and her loneliness and sadness is quite evident. I know I am getting ahead of myself and being a repetitive clock but Roberts is so good again that you wouldn’t notice any other things happening along with it.
Simultaneously, and in a really deranged and goofy bit, a large part of this disjointed episode is about Gordon Liddy’s prison sentence. He writes long, weird letters to his wife which are narrated in perfect Hitler-esque fashion. As seen in the previous episodes, his straight-up misogynistic, hard-ass, right-wing attitude lands him in solitary confinement where he spends his days thinking and trying to deal with a rat.
This part of the episode doesn’t really feel like it really sheds any light on the overall plot, but in its darkly hilarious imagery, it does tell us a thing or two about repentance. The downward spiral and insanity showcased by Liddy’s character is done well by Shea Whigham but then again, was it all necessary? It further dilutes the show’s already mixed-up tone.
Oh and there’s John Dean too. He is sidelined in the episode, but in spite of him testifying he and Mo have to face inevitable separation when he is booked for a prison sentence of 5 years.
Gaslit (Season 1), Episode 7 “Year of the Rat” Ending Explained:
The ending of episode 7 of Gaslit uses the ‘rat’ metaphor again where Gordon Liddy breaks up his prison wall in his insanity spell and finds a lot of rats just outside the wall. The other half of this episode’s plot comes to circle up on Martha who is now living all alone in the big apartment that John has left him.
She comes out of the darkness and pleads with John to forgive her and take her back. But John, who is there to collect Marty’s books is not moved by her plea at all.
Before fading to black, the episode takes us back to the Cantonese restaurant where Martha and her friend are heading for the date. Before they enter the restaurant, we see rats crawl past the sign that blinks on the name of the restaurant, hinting at the rat-like abilities in John’s character.