In the Season Finale of HBO Max’s “Julia,” Chocolate Soufflé Is a Metaphor for Life
Episode 8, the season finale of HBO Max’s Julia, is entitled “Chocolate Soufflé.” Satisfying, with just the right amount of sweetness, it’s the perfect ending to a scrumptious season.
The show has been inspiring, following Julia Child’s ascent as a beloved — and unlikely — superstar cookbook author and TV chef. As we saw in episode 7, Julia really took other people’s criticisms to heart and, in this episode, she’s still reeling from her run-in with a feminist icon. She wonders whether her show warrants a second season and if it’s actually helping women or hurting them.
Naturally, she decides to end the first season of The French Chef with dessert. She demonstrates a “decadent” chocolate soufflé that, she explains, is easier to make than you might expect. “Butter, sugar, chocolate, eggs — that’s all it is really,” she says. “I have a secret. You’ve known how to make a chocolate soufflé all along. All you have to do is plunge in. And I’ll tell you another secret: That’s the key not only to the kitchen, but to life itself.”
If you haven’t watched the show yet, now’s a good time to start from the beginning and plunge in. If you’ve been watching all along and are sad to see it end, treat yourself to a copy of Mastering the Art of French Cooking, stock up on Julia’s favorite kitchen tools (someone actually owns a piece of her pegboard wall!) and indulge in one of her favorite recipes, like “fancy, fast, and foolproof” quiche Lorraine.
If you haven’t seen this episode yet, please be advised that there are spoilers ahead.
In this episode, Julia is still haunted by Betty Friedan’s words and says to Paul, “Look at me — serving you breakfast. I’m exactly what she said I am.” At the same time that Julia is refusing to do a second season of The French Chef, Alice is promoted to become the show’s full-time producer, with the head of WGBH proclaiming, “Women may well be the future.”
Julia considers returning to Paris permanently to work on her next cookbook until Paul tells her, “I don’t want to run away from the thing you’re running from. Let’s say ‘yes’ to everything for as long as we can.” He convinces her to embrace her passion, ignore the haters, and not let anyone take away her joie de vivre. She renews her contract, much to everyone’s relief. Viva la French Chef!
What I learned from Julia: Don’t let the critics silence you. Say “yes” to yourself. And, if you accidentally drop an eggshell into the pan, just fish it out and keep cooking.
All episodes of Julia are now available for streaming on HBO Max, with a second season in the works.