‘Mozart in the Jungle’ Only Gets Better As It Nears the End

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The biggest question I had while watching the first seven episodes of Amazon’s Mozart in the Jungle was whether it would just continue to be a pretty and entertaining light comedy or would it become something much more, something better and deeper, after the final three episodes. It was clear that it’s a series meant to be judged by its completed final product, rather than episode-to-episode, which made me eager to rush through the ending — and I wasn’t disappointed.

Proceed with caution as there are some mild spoilers throughout — the entire series is now available for streaming on Amazon Prime. For the first half of Mozart in the Jungle, the series had a few issues with trying to balance all of the show’s regulars, as well as crafting characters who were even half as interesting as the setting they were put in. Rodrigo and Hailey were both well-developed from the beginning, as they are the anchors of the show (Hailey, in particular, because she serves as the naive newcomer who the audience sees much of the action (and is introduced to many of her peers) through) but everyone else has been shaky.

Fortunately, the back half of the series fixes this with more in-depth explorations of some of the side characters and giving them their own stories. Hailey’s best friend and roommate, a hippie-ish freespirit, is revealed to have her own secrets — namely, that she’s actually incredibly wealthy (and only gets wealthier) — which helps to flesh her out into an interesting person (albeit a somewhat obnoxious one) rather than just a character whose only purpose seemed was expository, to provide the audience with details about Hailey.

As Mozart in the Jungle goes on, the orchestral world we were thrust into becomes more expansive and compelling. The addition of some notable guest stars (Wallace Shawn, John Hodgman, and, of course, Jason Schwartzman as a podcast host and classical music nerd) also help to make the series feel more well-rounded. There are dives into Rodrigo’s intriguing backstory, as well as his completely insane but surprisingly irresistible love story with crazy musical genius Ana Maria. She’s a character you can’t take your eyes off, even when it’s clear that she’s only there so things can go horribly, horribly wrong.

And things do go wrong in the final episode, only to have them — of course — fix themselves, as half-hour comedies tend to do by the third act. Without getting into too much detail, Rodrigo finds himself at a crossroads during his debut as conductor while Hailey struggles to decide if she’s good enough to even keep trying to get somewhere with her music. The final two episodes are both wonderful and definitely make the case for the entire series, tying everything together with a clumsy little bow that suggests there is only more greatness to come — if Amazon renews the series.