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This episode and the three following episodes (Consenting Adults; Rumpus in the Rumpus Room; and Maude's Big Decision) comprised a four week story arc which centered on the possible dissolution of the Findlay marriage due to Maude's political ambitions and Walter's chauvinistic tantrum concerning it.
The episode opens with Mrs. Naugatuck (Hermione Baddeley) the Findlay's live-in housekeeper, singing "Fly Me to the Moon" quite off-key while drunk on milk (mixed with whiskey). As she ascends the stairs, Walter and Maude come in the house (after Walter slams the door on Maude) in the middle of (as usual) a heated argument.
It turns out that Walter had won the annual Tuckahoe Businessman of the Year, joining other local luminaries, including Art of Art's Gas Station; Joe Gamble the night manager of a local restaurant called Chicken Delight; and Mario Leonetti, a philanthropist and part owner of the Pussy Cat Porno Theater. He was the winner of that year's "Tucky" award.
Maude was not in attendance as she was in Albany lobbying for an anti-pollution bill. Upon her arrival she knocked over a Chinese busboy, blaming him for a supposed case of "Asian Flu", the excuse Walter used to explain away Maude's absence.
After trying to explain to Walter what happened, with him ignoring her, he stormed off to the kitchen, where he prepared a sandwich (after eating a large meal at the Ramada Inn) and whilst eating it, proceeds to smash some of Maude's best Royal Copenhagen china.
Maude goes into the living room closet to retrieve something, just as Carol (Adrienne Barbeau); Vivian Harmon (Rue McClanahan) and Arthur Harmon (Conrad Bain), who also attended the banquet, come inside.
Maude goes into the kitchen, where Walter smashed another piece of china. Maude retaliates by smashing one of Walter's prized phonograph records. Again, Walter retaliates by smashing another piece of china (Obviously this was not the first time that Walter and Maude argued with dishes being broken in the process, and would not be the last, for certainty).
The noise arouses the others who come in trying to find out what is going on. Maude threatening to break another of his records, while Walter eats his sandwich. Then, a furious Walter storms back into the living room, after grabbing the rest of his records from Maude.
Refusing to listen to reason, Walter doesn't like that Maude had not attended his banquet, and coming in very late. Then Maude accidentally reveals that whilst she was in Albany, the head chairman of the Democratic Caucus asked Maude to run for State Senate seeing her as a viable candidate.
Walter, stunned, is also disgusted as he wonders while she is in Albany, who would take care of him. Not listening to Carol, who said, she, Phillip and Mrs. Naugatuck would be there to take care of him, tells Maude that he wants her to lose, so she can be his full-time wife as he wants. (Once more, he is becoming chauvinistic, which he knows Maude will not tolerate!)
When Senator Bob Myers calls asking for Maude's decision, she allows Walter to talk to him, and says that she can run, "but it will be over my dead body!".
A furious Maude then berates him, as does Carol and Vivian. Arthur, of course, sides with Walter on this. He then demands, point blank, that Maude either choose her political career, or her marriage to him! She chooses to run for the Senate, and a livid Walter slams his trophy down, breaking it.
Upstairs, he packs his suitcase, demanding that either she changes her mind about running for office or he walks out the door and leaves her. Again, she demands that she will take everyone on who doesn't believe that she should do this. Even Carol and Vivian think she should not run (Carol because she doesn't want to be forced into making a decision that wasn't hers to make in the first place, and Vivian because she thinks that Maude needs to be with Walter).
Stunned, Walter grabs his case, and after telling her that he loved her, he leaves, shutting the door. Maude reassures Carol that he will be back.
Maude and Walter have been split up for the better part of a week. Maude remained in her house with Carol, Philip, and Mrs. Naugatuck, while Walter moves into a swinging singles complex, replete with the requisite single women.
One of the residents of said complex, who insulted Maude (who mistook his door for Walter's apartment, when she knocks on his door), was famously played by Matthew "Stymie" Beard of "Little Rascals/Our Gang" fame.
At the apartment and then later at the house, the two talk about divorce (with Vivian leaving the house in tears), and they try to divide the property, with Walter and Maude erupting into yet ANOTHER vicious argument.
The argument was one of the nastiest they had ever had. This one culminated with Walter taking a photo album of them, while Maude refuses to have him take it. She threated him, when he said that he was walking out of there with said album, "You do that, and you'll be walking with a decided limp, Walter!"
Walter blames her for ruining the evening, while he had, hypocritically, hidden from her a secret bank account with $8,000 in it; and him spying on her account that only had about $2,480. Maude quipped nastily, "You never really know a man until you divorce him!"
Walter concedes furiously that he would not take the album, because he wouldn't take those pictures if she begged him! Maude told him that she hated, despised and loathed those pictures and that the minute he left, she would burn them, but she would not let him get his hands on them.
Walter didn't care. He just wanted a certain picture of them from the Copacabana club, raging "Just give me that picture from the Copa! I want to remember what we looked like when we were HAPPY!"
A furious Maude screamed, "We were NEVER happy, Walter! NEVER! For your information, Walter, I was not smiling at you in this picture.....I WAS LAUGHING AT SANDLER AND YOUNG!!!!!" She then tore up said picture, all the while laughing at him in scorn. This only served to enrage Walter even MORE.
"ALL RIGHT!" he exploded, while waving his clothes which she had earlier dumped on top of him, "SAVE THESE FOR YOUR NEXT HUSBAND! HERE!!!!!!" He then stormed out of the house.
Maude pursued him to the porch, where she screamed at him at the top of her lungs, "WALTER, DO YOU KNOW WHAT YOU ARE?! WALTER?! DO YOU KNOW WHAT YOU ARE?! WALTER!!!! DO YOU KNOW WHAT YOU ARE?!!! GO SIT ON A SNOW CONE THAT'S WHAT YOU ARE!!!!" She then slams the door in rage.
Her initial anger spent, then her true vulnerability comes to the fore while she then tries to put the picture back together, while singing, "Make Love to Me" by Sandler and Young, the song that they sang the night she and Walter were at the Copa.
Rumpus in the Rumpus RoomEdit
In this episode Maude and Walter meet up at a party celebrating Arthur and Vivian's first wedding anniversary. Maude comes on the arm of Senator Bob Myers, her political ally; while Walter, comes on the arm of a young woman named Cathy (Bernadette Peters), a woman he met at a bar. Cathy is a lovely woman, but she is not really all that bright.
Despite her attempts to still meet and greet everyone, she is still angry with Walter for trying to stop her political ambitions.
Inevitably, another fight brews between the warring soon-to-be exes, where yet again, Walter relentlessly demands that she drop her bid and return to being a traditional wife to him. Maude is getting more and more irate because he is still trying to demand that she become again his wife. When she refuses to back down and give in to his blackmail, Walter immediately begins drinking again.
He and Arthur go back to his apartment building, while singing at the tops of their voices, off-key! At that point, the same tenant (again played by Stymie Beard) who insulted Maude, tells them to shut up!
An upset Maude, accompanied by Senator Bob, to check on Walter, and seeing him in bed with, whom she thinks is Cathy, but was in reality, Arthur, finally realizes that her marriage is over. She begins to accept that Walter is more interested in what he wants, and that he doesn't care about what she wants. Broken, she returns home, and then puts on a face of being care free.
Maude's Big DecisionEdit
In this, the final of the four episodes, Walter goes back to the house, still drinking, and still relentlessly demanding that Maude give up her run for Senate, or else he goes back to his apartment for good, with the intent of NEVER returning!
Feeling defeated, Maude finally (and wrathfully) gives into Walter's childish blackmail and is about ready to drop her bid for Senate, but she issues him a very blunt warning that she would not be setting anything gently down in the house for a long time.
A gleeful and smug Walter, finally mollified that he got exactly what he wanted, and not caring about his wife was feeling, cavalierly dismisses her concerns by stating, "Oh, you'll just get over it!"
Walter, still drinking, begins to gloat about his victory, while Vivian berated him for his unbridled selfishness, calling his blackmailing of Maude making her decision to no longer run for office something that "sucks scissors". She then storms into the kitchen with Mrs. Naugatuck (who was also angry at Walter for the abusive way he was treating Maude) to comfort her friend.
Putting aside his usual differences with Maude and showing that he really does care about her as a person, Arthur counseled her that her running for the senate was not the cause of Walter's relapse, and that ending her run would not make him stop his drinking. According to him, she had to detach herself from Walter with love, because he would continue to drink, no matter what she did.
Walter's gloating would finally came back to haunt him, however. Arthur, the one whom Walter thought would be firmly on his side, finally loses his temper with him and lets fly with a scathing tirade, berating him for the pain and hurt he was putting Maude through because of his chauvinism. This came after Walter gloated one time too many about what he had done to Maude, bragging, "I WON!!!!"
" Won?! Won what?!" Arthur yelled at a stunned Walter, "Happiness through blackmail?! You know, you're like a baby throwing a temper tantrum! Everybody has to give in to Walter Findlay because he's an alcoholic! I don't like you very much right now, Walter!"
In the end, after watching Maude on a morning news show, and seeing just how wonderful she was on the air, he finally relents and allows Maude to run, but she loses the primary and supports her opponent, who wins the seat. After that, Maude returned to being a full-time wife, which pleased Walter.
However, in the series finale of Maude, Walter would be a lot more receptive to Maude becoming a US Congresswoman, when she is tapped to take over the unexpired term of an old friend of hers who died while in office.