TV Reviews

Genius Season 2 Episode 5: Picasso Chapter Five Review

If you would like to read my review of the last episode, click here.

Synopsis: Picasso tries to convince Francoise to move in with him, while young Pablo is challenged by the radical genius Matisse. (TVGuide) 

Writer: Noah Pink

Director: Laura Belsey

Rating: TV-14

Running Time: 43mins

Airs: Tuesdays at 10pm on The National Geographic Channel (Canada/United States)

I am in awe of watching this season of Genius unfold as each episode brings us closer to the Picasso we recognize today. The abstract, unique artwork we have learned to associate with him is slowly beginning to develop on Genius and it is such a thrill!

Young Pablo meets Henri Matisse (Andre Buchan), a French artist that initially poses a threat to Picasso, but we learn that decades later the two harbor a friendship and grow extremely close. The two come to meet when Gertrude (Tracee Chimo) and Leo Stein (Iddo Goldberg), collector siblings, purchase Picasso’s work and invite him to the Salon. He crosses paths with Matisse, and thus sparks years of one trying to outdo the other.

Of the Steins’, Gertrude was instrumental in pushing both Matisse and Picasso to look within themselves and one another to create the incredible artwork she knew they were capable of. A friendship begins developing between Gertrude and Picasso, and he asks to paint her after seeing Matisse’ artwork hanging in her home. It took Picasso months before he eventually finished a painting of her, aptly named “Portrait of Gertrude.” She stated it did not look like her to which his response was, “It will.”

In the present, Picasso spends all his time convincing Francoise to be with him. After the Dora Maar situation from last week’s episode, she is turned off by the idea of him entertaining multiple women, and not acknowledging the effect it has on them. But Picasso has Francoise on his mind 24/7 and can’t let the idea of her go. Persistence is key because he asks her to move in with him, and by the end of the episode, she does!

Young Pablo grows increasingly frustrated with his lack of inspiration and as a result, his relationship with Fernande suffers. However, he tells her he wants to have a family with her but she reveals that she is unable to have children. They decide to adopt a child and bring home a girl named Raymonde. While things are seemingly okay for a little while, Fernande starts to realize the environment in which they live in is not suitable for her. Not to mention, Picasso painted her–in the nude. Raymonde’s time with them is short-lived as they send her back to the orphanage they brought her from.

As Picasso and Fernande’s relationship begins to fail, he finds inspiration from the Trocadero Museum where he observes African masks. This sparks a newfound motivation inside of him and he paints what we know today as, “Les Demoiselles d’Avignon.” This painting is very characteristic of the artwork we associate with him today which can only mean that we are well on our way to seeing Picasso settle into the artist he was destined to become–even if the Steins beg to differ.

This show and everything it has shown us thus far continues to be very intriguing. Picasso’s life was complicated, confusing, and inspiring and watching his life journey along with his flaws is making for some great storytelling! I look forward to seeing what next week’s episode brings as we dive deeper into Picasso’s biggest era of art.

Score: 8/10

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