The new Netflix miniseries “Maid” features Margaret Qualley as Alex Russell, a single mother and victim of domestic violence. “Maid” is based on Stephanie Land’s personal memoir “Maid: Hard Work, Low Pay and a Mother’s Will to Survive.” The series first aired on Oct. 1 and features several talented cast members: Qualley, Nick Robinson, Andie MacDowell, Anika Noni Rose and Billy Burke.

“Maid” is about a young woman named Alex who is introduced as being in an emotionally abusive relationship. She has a two-year-old daughter, Maddy, and while she attempts to leave the relationship with Maddy’s father, Sean, she faces unemployment and financial despair, leading her to overbearing struggles, most of which she must face alone. She attempts to seek out help from her family and friends but finds complicated, problematic relationships with each of these characters. She turns to the state for government assistance, but much like the realities of such programs, financial support and overall livability is a prolonged challenge.

In the show, Alex faces both external and internal battles on her journey to providing the best life for herself and for her daughter. Alex was born into a life that was far from easy. Her father was an alcoholic and violent toward her mother, who was clearly shown to have a mood disorder, which according to Alex is bipolar disorder. Being raised in this situation influenced her access to proper role models and the potential to break free from the cycle of abuse. While it is clear that she has the ability to break the mold from her past life, as seen by her past plans to attend college, these dreams were never reached due to her romantic relationship and the introduction of her daughter. She enters the show stuck not only in an abusive relationship but in a financial hole from which she holds little opportunity to escape or build an independent life. This is the perception of Alex that audience members hold at the start of the show. However, the setbacks that she faces aren’t reflective of the results that she is able to attain through hard work, intelligence and passion for her goals as a writer and motherly love. This evolution is inspiring and makes the show deeply powerful.

The mother-daughter relationship is a heartwarming focus throughout the show, but one that is complicated when paralleled alongside the relationship between Alex and her own mother. This theme is illustrated more subliminally through the relationship between Maddy’s father and his mother as well, pointing to the connection between addiction and family. Like his mother, Sean became an addict. Cycles of addiction, similarly to cycles of abuse, hold close ties to the family. It is a serious issue in reality as well, making these concepts even more complicated.

Throughout the show, we see Alex’s internal struggle between a past love and painful transitions into the present. She was forced to break away from the past, which was rooted in complex yet powerful forms of love. It is satisfying to see the protagonist succeed at the end of the show as a viewer, but the presence of other characters who are not able to escape from this past preserve the authenticity of such a story and further emphasize how difficult Alex’s journey really is. Alex’s pathway from homelessness and abuse to pursuing her dreams as a writer is motivating. However, the show attempts to stay grounded in reality and its teachings about the severe impact of domestic abuse on the victim, as well as witnesses to the abuse. I deeply appreciated the contrasts shown between the intersection of escape and being stuck.

The acting overall was great, especially the performance of Andie MacDowell as Alex’s mother who struggled with a mental health disorder. However, I was a bit unsure if labeling her mental health disorder in such a casual, quick manner was the right choice. This left me wondering if bipolar disorder was a true diagnosis or whether this was an assumption done on Alex’s part. However, so long as this representation illustrates the author’s experience and vision in her own writing, this may not be a conflict.

Overall, “Maid” was entertaining, engaging and inspiring. It featured sensitive themes but did so in a way that was conceivable. These themes are mixed with some humor and uplifting qualities that balanced out the series and made it a show that anyone who can resonate with overcoming adversity should watch.