Season Two of Mozart in the Jungle expands on the storylines of the other orchestra members. The New York Symphony is rehearsing for their Latin American tour, while worrying about a potential strike, resulting from a wage dispute. Thomas Pembridge (Malcolm McDowell) focuses on composing a new piece — all the while wrestling with writer’s block. Lead cellist and the orchestra’s union representative, Cynthia Taylor (Saffron Burrows), falls for Nina (Gretchen Mol), a lawyer helping the orchestra negotiate their salary dispute.
Hailey (Lola Kirke) is bursting onto the scene as an oboist and lands herself as the face of the New York Symphony on the promotional posters. Her relationship with Rodrigo (Gael García Bernal) sways between professional and flirtatious. She’s in a difficult position because it’s evident that she wants to explore her feelings with Rodrigo, but since her professional career is rising, dating the conductor is a no no. Instead, she hooks up with the guest cellist, Andrew Walsh (Dermot Mulroney), and dates an orchestra board member.
Hailey is more assertive this season and she is growing as a musician and as a person. I admired her growth because in the first season, she was still green and did not have as thick of skin. For instance, her teacher and fellow oboist, Betty (Debra Monk), told her to give up her dream, and she broke down crying. Now she’s not afraid to stand up to Betty and confront her.
Rodrigo has a new assistant that Hailey hired, but still relies on her as an adviser and taskmaster. He’s stricter and more uptight this season, which is from dealing with board members, wage problems, divorce papers, and administrative chaos. This season further explores Rodrigo’s childhood and early musicianship. During the Latin American tour, he takes Hailey to visit his abuelita, his mentor, and his music school. I appreciate that the second season showed Rodrigo’s childhood because it made me understand why he become the controversial, but beloved conductor of the New York Symphony.
If you’re a fan of the first season, I highly recommend watching Season Two. It’s fun-filled, flirty, dramatic, and precious. There are certain storylines I would have liked to see expanded more, such as Rodrigo’s impending divorce from his estranged wife, Anna Maria, but overall every episode has heart.