"Through Alex’s onscreen struggles, Maid either teaches or reminds its audience that a person needs a work history to get a job, needs childcare to get that job, needs an address to get that childcare, but needs childcare to get the job, an endless infuriating loop that takes us to the real point of the show, which is not the poverty," says Emily Alford of Margaret Qualley's character. "The point is the idea that there’s no such thing as a poverty line, but instead a poverty slide, in which one small misstep can send a person trying their hardest right back to the beginning to start all over again, no matter how sure their footing seemed. Those lessons in episode one were never for a character like Alex, and they were never for a viewer who knows how subtraction works when negative numbers are a possibility or the consuming, numbing panic of knowing there’s no safe landing. That’s exactly what happens to Alex as the series hits its own stride. Even knowing what she knows, from a childhood peppered with her mother’s (played by MacDowell) abusive relationships and instability to Alex’s personal experience with her own abuser, Alex still finds herself looping right back to where she started in Maid’s opening scenes, despite all her progress: trapped in the same trailer with the same man she fled. Ultimately, the series is a fairy tale. Maid treats Alex’s situation as temporary even as it addresses the cyclic nature of abuse, and it’s clear from the jump that she’s not a maid, she’s on her way to being a former maid, telling her story from a prettier future." Alford adds that Maid's ending is "fitting for an audience that needs the fact that it isn’t easy to walk away from poverty and abuse explained to them, but it also puts a gaudy, yet lovely shine on a story that a different audience already knows too well."