Claws Lets Quiet Ann Make A Lot Of Noise
Quiet Ann narrates a very eventful couple of days in her life in our EPIC OLD-SCHOOL RECAP of 'Scream'!
Previously: the first three episodes of Season 2, plus a couple of reminders about how (badly) things ended between Quiet Ann and Arlene -- who were serious enough to have talked about having a child together! -- when the latter was about to arrest Desna.
We open on Quiet Ann, startled from sleep by her ringing phone. It's the Department of Children and Families -- but though the agency was so recently used as a cudgel against Jenn, this call is to deliver what should be happy news: "We have a baby for you and your partner." Quiet Ann takes a long moment, perhaps pondering whether she wants to try to pursue an adoption on her own, and then says, "We won't be able to make it." As her eyes alight on a sweet snapshot of herself with Arlene, Quiet Ann clears her throat and adds, "She and I aren't together anymore?" The social worker awkwardly tells Quiet Ann that if something changes, she should let them know, though it doesn't sound like she expects that to occur and quickly gets off. So much for the one pleasant call she probably gets to make this week!
Quiet Ann throws off her bedding and gets up, grabbing a wetsuit from the floor nearby and stepping into it as we hear something new: Quiet Ann Voiceover! "They call me Quiet Ann because I don't talk much, but it doesn't mean I don't have a voice. Whether or not I'm heard -- well, heh heh heh, that's another story." Quiet Ann's phone pings, and when she picks it up, she's barraged by texts from all the other Nail Artisans: Virginia wants to borrow $10 until payday; Jenn wants her to babysit so Jenn can go to a Bell Biv Devoe show; Desna wants her to get foot scrub on her way in. "When did I go from badass to errand boy?" asks Quiet Ann Voiceover -- hereafter QAVO. She throws her phone on a bench and crosses to a wall where another cute snapshot is pinned just above a strap-on still in its strap -- and between this and the dildo last week, either the members of TNT's Standards & Practices department aren't very worldly, or else they must be just as mystified as I am that these items can be broadcast on basic cable yet the characters can't say "fuck."
Wistfulness suspended for now, Quiet Ann comes out of her trailer, parked on the beach, and grabs her surfboard; immediately, she's accosted by Homeless Jim, who calls her "Surfer Ann" and, despite QAVO begging him not to do it on "the worst day of [her] friggin' life," asks to use her shower. Aloud, she allows it. As she walks toward the water, QAVO assures herself that she can get through this.
But the front of her head doesn't agree with the voice inside it.
After the title card, Quiet Ann brings pastries to Zlata's office at She She's, where a very relaxed and collegial Desna is updating Zlata: she's interviewed doctor candidates for the new clinic. "Clever one," purrs Zlata in Russian, to which Desna gives her a couple of snaps.
Quiet Ann is quietly grossed out to see her dear friend palling around with terrorists, but holds it together long enough to hand Zlata a folder full of building permits while QAVO wonders if Zlata's ever been with a woman. "Answer is yes," says Zlata. "CAN THIS BITCH READ MINDS?!" squeaks QAVO, before Quiet Ann asks aloud, "...Excuse me?" "Yes, you can go now," Zlata tells her. "Okay, bitch," says QAVO. While Zlata flips through the papers, Quiet Ann updates Desna on the status of her pre-work requests, and Desna says she'll finish up with Zlata and then get a ride back to the shop with Quiet Ann. "You don't need to explain yourself to subordinates," Zlata chides her. To this, Desna just smirks; Quiet Ann, fully disgusted, departs. I believe I have used this space to make my extremely pro-Desna sentiments known; remaining in her camp has required that I try to ignore the way she treats Quiet Ann, so watching her from Quiet Ann's perspective throughout this episode is VERY HARD but also EXTREMELY NECESSARY and generally FRAUGHT WITH EMOTION. IN ALL-CAPS!!!
Quiet Ann comes out into a rehearsal Polly's running, paused as she reprimands the gentlemen for "overdoing it with the spray tans" -- the worst culprit apparently being Sweetback, who's tanned a white star onto his heart. Quiet Ann asks how it's going, and Polly proudly reports that XXL gave a patron a happy ending "and received quite a tip!" She encourages his colleagues to applaud him for taking his sex work to the next level, lowering her voice to tell Quiet Ann that this got back to Zlata, who's now requiring that all the boys become...digital media influencers, IF YOU CATCH MY DRIFT. Polly's sharing with Quiet Ann how much she's learned about the complexity of providing sexual gratification to women when Dean breaks in to ask what a happy ending is: "I'm not familiar with that choreography." Polly and Quiet Ann exchange a look of terror before Polly, full ballet master voice in effect, advises him to "focus on the dance," since she promised Desna that she'd keep Dean out of "the selling of the party drugs" and "providing full service to the ladies." Dean says he gets it. "Yeah, Dean, my happy ending was ruined saving your sister's ass," says QAVO. "Now I spend my nights jacking off to fitness magazines." I guess Quiet Ann's LTE coverage out at the beach is for shit.
Quiet Ann's on her way out as Uncle Daddy and Bryce walk in, and though I assume she's invisible to them as a commodity they can't exploit, Uncle Daddy stops to call out to her, classily addressing her as "Quiet Puerto RicANN." "I'm Cuban," says Quiet Ann, smiling warily. "Quiet CubANN, still works!" says Uncle Daddy cheerfully, before telling her to give him a ride to the plaza. "Nice!" says QAVO. "Now I'm driving Miss Desna AND the loudmouth redneck"...
...as we cut to her doing just that, Desna riding shotgun with Uncle Daddy behind her, asking how it feels to be Zlata's bitch. "I'm her lieutenant," Desna testily corrects him. "No, you're her bitch," QAVO agrees. Uncle Daddy says the current arrangement is eating him alive: "Can't sleep. Can hardly breathe." "He'd never make it as a minority," sniffs QAVO. (I mean, maybe not a racial minority, but as Polly reminded us all in the season premiere, he is bi.) Desna advises Uncle Daddy to relax, saying that Zlata may seem crazy, but that she's got a plan. "Zlata is crazy, WHY CAN'T YOU SEE IT?!" screams QAVO. Uncle Daddy says he needs a plan so that he can rise up, like.... He pauses before coming up with "Ike Turner." "Nat Turner, dumbass," QAVO wearily replies. Quiet Ann stops at a light while Uncle Daddy pointlessly rants on about rising up against Zlata, and Desna tells him to give it a chance, since the new clinics will make all the businesses even more profitable. Quiet Ann honks, and we cut to the car in front of her; the dull white thirtysomething dude in the driver's seat is, of course, texting, but pauses long enough to stick his left hand out the window, flipping her the bird. Rage monster Uncle Daddy is not having it and gets right out of the van to go punch the guy several times in the face before he peels out. When Uncle Daddy returns to the van, Desna scolds him; that certainly wasn't behaving In A Dignified Way, but it's not as though she expected him to. "Only a white guy can assault someone in broad daylight and just saunter back to the car," says QAVO exhaustedly. Particularly in Florida!
Back at the shop, Jenn's giving a manicure to a client who's regaling her with a tale about her groupie grandma, who followed a band on her Rascal. Jenn knocks over a bottle of acetone and assures the client that she's "just having a klutzy day," but QAVO knows better: "Oh shit, she's been drinking." Aloud, Quiet Ann murmurs at Jenn to keep it together, but Jenn ignores her, apparently having somehow retained enough dexterity to apply her client's elaborate nails. Desna enters and asks after Virginia, learning that she's out back taking topless selfies for Dean. "I miss Arlene's topless selfies," muses QAVO wistfully. After bitching that Virginia hasn't got anything to put in a top (fact-check: true), Desna exposits that Madame is coming in with her wards, and that their visit has to go perfectly. "Ooh, mama DRAAAAma," Jenn sing-songs, drunkenly enough for Desna to notice she sounds off. Fortunately, Jenn has a solid cover story: "Augh. That made me so sad. I just hurt my own feelings. It's too soon." Desna tells her she needs to get over the situation with Brenda: "Wallowing is like sitting in a rocking chair; it's not gonna get you nowhere. That's in Zlata's book!" "Zlata's book, yeah," says Quiet Ann. "Don't hate 'cause I read!" snits Desna, getting into her chair and asking Quiet Ann to come rub her shoulders -- which Quiet Ann does, managing to resist the urge to strangle her instead. Desna's only about ten seconds into her massage before she tells Quiet Ann to go clean the bowls on the pedicure chairs, and QAVO suggests, "Why don't you just go ahead and check your titties while I'm at it?"
Why not indeed!
Then the door chimes, and a cute, dimpled, cardiganed fortysomething comes in, telling Desna when she welcomes him that he's there to see his sister. Desna and Jenn are both dumbstruck as Quiet Ann, uncharacteristically, breaks the silence: "What are you doing here, bro?" Quiet Ann gets up to greet him, kind of, but when it seems like he might be about to try to hug her, she tells him they can go talk outside. But Desna stops them, flirtatiously asking Quiet Ann to introduce them. "Henry, this is everybody," says Quiet Ann reluctantly. "Will you look at these thirsty bitches," says QAVO as Desna and Jenn make their coyest faces at Henry. "You are...the Congressman," Desna exposi-recalls. "State senator," says Henry, stepping forward like a good politician to shake Desna's and Jenn's hands with what is probably a carefully focus-grouped grip. Marnie and Polly come in then, mid-conversation about the Nation Of Islam's stance on interracial sex -- against -- so that she and Malik can only be "study buddies." Polly cautions Marnie that she barely knows Malik, but Marnie says he's guiding her through the teachings. QAVO barely has a chance to worry that Polly's losing Marnie to the Koran (or her tutor on same) before waving Henry outside...
...to yell, "Noooooo, hell nooooooo!" "It's his birthday," Henry protests. Quiet Ann doesn't care. "You know, Dad's not going to be around forever," Henry guilts -- or tries to, since Quiet Ann's response is to say she's counting on that. Henry exposits that Quiet Ann hasn't seen any member of her family in four years, promising that their parents have "mellowed out" with age. Quiet Ann cracks up at the idea of their parents being mellow, and Henry insists that they're not as bad as she remembers: "Plus, I need you to be my wingman." After looking around for anyone who might know them, Quiet Ann mutters that Henry's boyfriend should be his wingman. Henry rolls his eyes: "You know that's never going to happen. You can't be a gay senator in Florida." Hey man, everyone said a twenty-eight-year-old Latinx socialist woman couldn't unseat a ten-term corporate Democrat but Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez fucking DID THAT SHIT so maybe anything's possible! ...Wait, we'll find out later Henry's a Republican, so actually, he definitely can't, and also, fuck him. "So I get shunned by the parents and you get to be the golden boy," says QAVO. Quiet Ann, are you sure that's about your sexual orientation and not, for example, your scorpion neck tattoo? I am just asking. Henry implores Quiet Ann to come for him, as she gazes back at him dolefully, and QAVO wonders if he remembers her making him Wonder Woman bracelets. "I do miss you, man," Quiet Ann admits. Henry's dimples deepen as he can see her coming around, and finally she agrees. Henry comes in for hugs and kisses, and while I don't think that, as a straight woman, I'm supposed to be coveting Quiet Ann's black Nike Cortez sneakers more than any other garment any other woman wears in the episode: here we are.
Then Madame's being wheeled into the shop by one of her wards while her driver stands at attention by the door. Madame brusquely situates the girls, all of whom are still silent and careful, while Desna prepares to do Madame's manicure herself. (Something tells me this isn't a lady who goes in for a lot of airbrushing and nail charms.) Madame launches right into it, saying she heard Desna has "some opinions" about Gregory and Madame. Desna diplomatically starts to say she knows they're close, but Madame interrupts her to say she thinks she knows where Desna is coming from.
Quiet Ann and Jenn, eavesdropping, both look extremely suspicious of this concession. Desna says that's good to hear, but they can't discuss it further because then Zlata comes buffaloing in, yelling greetings to the shop at large and coming straight to Desna and past Madame with what she claims is an emergency nail situation involving a lost stone. Desna introduces Zlata and Madame, the latter of whom is -- very uncharacteristically, based on what we've seen of her thus far -- enthusiastic about all the "boss ladies" at the shop. Zlata claps her agreement and imposes a hug on Madame, before saying she owns the business with Desna, her "sister friend." "Wow, three weeks with Zlata and now they're 'sister friends'?" marvels QAVO. Timeline alert! Desna tells Zlata that Gregory and Madame are sponsoring the girls to immigrate from Haiti, though Madame looks guilty and Zlata looks faintly incredulous and the girl in Quiet Ann's pedicure chair looks terrified. "So many kids who need homes," says QAVO while Quiet Ann gives her client a reassuring smile. "Keep it together, Ann." Desna gets a text and excuses herself to the back, asking Quiet Ann to come with her. Relieved, QAVO says that Desna sees she's "hanging on by a Band-Aid and a dream"...
...but Desna just needs her to move the books to the clinic, and then go to the building site for the new clinic to "incentivize the crew." "Surprise surprise, she didn't notice," says QAVO. But off she goes...
...to the clinic, walking in on Dr. Ken just as he's treating himself to an injectable between the eyes.
Dr. Ken is hilariously humiliated, but Quiet Ann puts her hands up and backs out without judgment.
Quiet Ann goes from there to the building site, where the construction workers are lying around uselessly and ignoring Quiet Ann's entreaties that they get back to work. They are, however, duly incentivized when Quiet Ann starts hitting them with her bat and chasing their lazy asses around. Anyone who's ever had to deal with a contractor can empathize.
Back in her van, Quiet Ann is flicking through photos of Arlene on her phone when Desna breaks in with an order that she go pick up ribbon for the new clinic: "Get now." Okay, I realize the medium of text isn't as expressive as a letter from a Civil War battlefield, but like, Desna knows the word "please," and that shit is unacceptable. This sends Quiet Ann to a store called Little Jimmy's Big Stuff, which is exactly what you think it is (and, given that we're in Florida, may all just be old circus props). When he finds out the ribbon's for the grand opening of a pill mill, he offers to take his payment in oxy instead of cash; Quiet Ann wrenches his thumb and tells him now he's in pain, so he can come to the clinic and get pills on the house. The scene is so weirdly long and pointless that I can only assume Little Jimmy and his Big Stuff will come up again later in the season? If not, sorry I wasted nearly as much of your time with it as the show did.
Also, the scissors Little Jimmy upsells Quiet Ann are barely Big.
Quiet Ann returns to the shop, surprised that Zlata's still hanging around. She's less surprised than disappointed to see that they ordered food, didn't think to leave her any, and are very unconvincing in their apologies. Desna's still working on Madame, who's interrogating her about her last boyfriend; Desna euphemises, without saying his name, that Roller was "in sales." Desna says the two of them weren't serious, and confirms, at Madame's question, that she's never been married. Jenn breaks in to slur that Desna's been "real busy working," but Madame clucks her tongue: "A woman your age never married. Talk me through it." So this old bag knows the English idioms "know where you're coming from" and "talk me through it" but not the English word "age"? Come on. "Desna very strong personality," says Zlata intensely. "Men are intimidate!" But Desna won't attribute her marital status to wussy men, telling Madame she grew up in foster care, which didn't offer her very appealing examples of manhood. "But you are open to mariage," Madame checks. Desna stammers that she guesses she is, but that she doesn't know. She asks why Madame has so many questions about this, and Madame sternly replies that if her only son is going to marry Desna, Madame needs to know Desna is worthy. "Say what now?" breathes Desna. All activity in the shop freezes while the Nail Artisans, shocked, take this in -- except Quiet Ann, as QAVO recaps (leave it to the professionals), "So I lose Arlene and Desna gets the fairy tale. Perfect." Maybe Quiet Ann will feel better when Desna's prince does a Beauty And The Beast in reverse.
And then the Nail Artisans have gathered in Desna and Jenn's kitchen, with enough dainty shower food for fifty guests (and while the volume might make you think Jenn bought it: note that I said "dainty shower food," not "processed cheese food"). Quiet Ann pours champagne as Desna crows that she's "ABOUT TO MARRY A DOCTOR!!!!!" Everyone freaks out -- except, again, Quiet Ann, QAVO wishing she were happy for Desna. Quiet Ann's about to make a big declaration when Jenn interrupts to say Desna struck gold this time, and Polly lists all the ways Gregory's an improvement over Roller. "Why is it I can fight off 190-lb. prison heifers and I can't speak my mind to Des?" frets QAVO. Obliviously, Desna goes on about her (pre)marital bliss, and QAVO says, "This could've been me."
Virginia's just drawn everyone's ire by guessing their impromptu singalong -- "Finally" -- is a song from "the olden days" when Desna looks up and sees Dean with his feet up on the counter and his hands on the floor, trying to twerk and killing her buzz. Dean says he'll go perfect his moves outside, Virginia taking off after him. Whatever Quiet Ann was going to tell Desna will have to wait, because Zlata needs Desna and she's deserting her own (possibly very premature) celebration. Jenn's not so drunk that she can't be faintly disappointed, but Desna tells them all to stay and eat: "I mean, she already paid for everything." Excuse me, Zlata bought the spread and didn't try to weasel an invitation to socialize with Desna? I don't buy it.
The remaining Nail Artisans are soon drawn outside when they her Dean and Virginia fighting, apparently about Virginia trying to pass on her exotic dancing wisdom and ignoring Dean's stated desire to practise in private: "Now you're in my space telling me what to do!" "Oh yeah, I know how that feels, man!" says Quiet Ann empathetically. When Jenn and Polly both turn to stare at her, Quiet Ann realizes, "I said that out loud. I'm sorry." Virginia and Dean continue fighting, swiftly moving from her intrusiveness with his dancing to her using strong-smelling shampoo he'd asked her not to. Getting maudlin, Jenn tells them to focus on what's good in their relationship, ending in a desperate screech that sends Dean in search of kombucha. Again: his sensitive hearing isn't going to be assaulted by the speakers at the club? THINK THIS SHIT THROUGH.
And then a crowd is parting at an upscale restaurant to reveal...
...Quiet Ann, in full Talbots femme drag. I mean, yes, it's a pantsuit, but a very nicely tailored one! "As if my night couldn't get any worse, welcome to the Shitshow Grill!" cracks QAVO, as Quiet Ann makes her way to her family's table. "Hi," says Quiet Ann apologetically. "You're late," says her mother -- let's call her Loud Mom -- by way of greeting. Henry stands to help her get settled while Quiet Ann, already off-balance, lets him.
Some time later, everyone at the table is cracking up at the end of a story about Henry's political career while Quiet Ann steadily drinks her wine. Loud Mom sniffs that Henry shouldn't be modest about what he does: "You know the Democrats aren't working half as hard." QAVO guesses that the next topic is going to be immigration, and sure enough, Loud Dad grumbles, "Don't get me started on immigrants. It's like the Democrats don't want to empower the police to deal with the illegals!" Quiet Ann notes that her father sounds like "those crazy white racists," and Loud Mom tells her not to call him crazy, so...I guess "racist" is fine? "Mami, we're immigrants!" says Quiet Ann plaintively. "We're not immigrants, we're exiles," says Loud Mom. "There's a difference." Quiet Ann starts listing relatives of theirs who didn't come to the country legally, but even though her mother isn't interested in hearing logic, Quiet Ann continues: "Not everybody has the luxury of time. Some people are in desperate situations! How do you guys not get that?" Lowering her voice, she turns to Henry: "How do YOU not get that." "People have to be responsible for their own well-being," blusters Loud Dad. "You can't just pile on to a boat or trek across the desert into America illegally. That's just not how it works." Borders are imaginary and change all the time and it's especially rich for any "legal" resident of the U.S. to make this argument when THE ENTIRE COUNTRY IS STOLEN LAND oh look now he got ME started. Quiet Ann says that, actually, that is how it works if you don't have the time to wait for a visa "because your country is being ravaged by war and corruption" (both of which are probably results of U.S. policies imposed on those countries, whoops I did it again). "Or Communism, right Mami?" says Quiet Ann, slyly, in Spanish. Okay, that one's not America's fault -- though the deprivation that ensued because of sanctions definitely is, and even so, THEY still manage to provide universal state-funded health insurance! A cute female server appears to offer dessert, listing the items available. "Are you on the menu?" asks Henry, dimpling, while his parents laugh delightedly and QAVO yells, "YOU'RE GAAAAAAAAY." Loud Dad orders dessert for the table, so in case you didn't get it: he's both an immigration hawk and a control freak.
Henry then says he has an announcement to make. Excitedly, Loud Mom guesses it's that he's finally getting married. "Ha!" snorts QAVO. In fact, he's not: he's running for governor. Loud Mom and Dad are astonished by their amazing son, while Quiet Ann stays quiet, looking neither surprised nor impressed. Loud Dad starts asking about Henry's donor base, and Henry says he's working on shoring it up before starting in with the stump speeching on his platform: "A hard line on drugs and prostitution in the state." "He just described a Tuesday in my world," says QAVO, as Henry's line obviously set her up for. (When was the last time you heard a gubernatorial candidate mention sex work at all, outside of a scandal he got himself in?) Tearfully, Loud Mom grips Henry's arm and says how proud she and Loud Dad are of him. She turns to Quiet Ann expectantly, either waiting for Quiet Ann to join them in their praise or for Quiet Ann to make an equally laudable announcement, but Quiet Ann just gazes back, while QAVO sadly says, "You don't even know him."
Later, the pie Loud Dad picked for Quiet Ann sits untouched as Loud Mom finally gets around to giving a shit about her other child, asking whether she's still providing security at "that hair salon." "You know it's a nail salon," says QAVO bitterly, before Quiet Ann smiles, "Yup." "Why do you continue to waste your life there?" lectures Loud Dad. "You speak five languages, you have a degree. You could do so much more." "You have to want more to do more," sighs Loud Mom. "I'm so sorry, when was it that you asked me what I wanted?" asks QAVO, as a sneer comes over Quiet Ann's face. Henry intercedes to ask his mother to give Quiet Ann a break, and Loud Mom gives a quick nod before saying they talked to "Freddy" the other day. Quiet Ann stops mid-sip to glare at Loud Mom as she goes on to say, "We've stayed in touch, since you went away." "'Went away'?" grits QAVO. "Jail. Prison. Penitentiary. Not that any of you visited." "Your ex-husband is a good man," says Loud Dad, and considering the source, I'm going to call that extremely unlikely. "And available," adds Loud Mom. "Maybe try to reconnect!" "They'll never understand me," says QAVO, as if realizing it for the very first time. "Any man who forgives you for trying to kill his girlfriend with a broken beer bottle is a keeper," Loud Mom declares. "Mami, you know I'm a dyke," Quiet Ann finally explodes. Loud Mom frantically shushes her. Quiet Ann throws down her napkin, saying she needs a moment -- but before she's left the table, she adds, "And she was my girlfriend." Let's assume that's why it was only attempted murder -- because there's no legal designation for "deliberately uncompleted murder." I'm sure Quiet Ann gets the job done when the job needs doing.
Quiet Ann slams her purse down on the counter in the ladies' room, and Judy Reyes -- whose entire performance in this role is a stunning master class in how to create a character with virtually no dialogue -- does an incredible job going through Quiet Ann's emotions with no scene partner but the mirror. We see her face move from heartbreak to rage to disappointment before she takes a fat blunt out of her very demure purse and lights it, taking a steadying hit. Her hand shakes just slightly as she takes another drag and watches herself exhale. She then pulls out her phone and plays what is presumably Arlene's last voicemail, listening to it again as she starts to cry: "Hey baby, it's me. The social worker's coming to visit. The adoption is so close I can feel it. You're going to make a great mom." By the end, Quiet Ann is sobbing helplessly. Goddammit, Desna.
After the commercial, Quiet Ann makes her way back to the table, slightly looser and a lot more eager to talk. "I smell burnt rope," says Loud Mom. "Yerba," sneers Loud Dad, which is helpfully captioned "Pot," like, WE GOT IT. "That's right, I'm lit," says Quiet Ann, gleefully leaning over her mother and adding, in Spanish, "Now I'm not quiet." Henry, desperately dimpling, begs Quiet Ann to calm down, but she won't: "All of you have been trying to keep me quiet and crush my spirit for years, and I'm tired of it," the last phrase delivered in Spanish. Loud Mom denies crushing her spirit, telling Quiet Ann in Spanish, "Jail did that." Quiet Ann is contradicting her when the restaurant's photographer rolls up to see if they want him to shoot them, and all of them -- even Quiet Ann -- snap to and pose perfectly.
It's fucking gorgeous...until the photographer has moved like two feet away and Loud Dad hisses at Quiet Ann to sit down, but his orders don't work on her anymore: "'Sit down.' 'Be quiet.' 'Stay in the closet.'" In Spanish, she tells him it's over, switching to English to say, "No more" and, indicating Henry, "He's gay!" Loud Dad and Mom both look at Henry for confirmation or denial, while he turns to glare at Quiet Ann, finally plopping back into her chair, for blowing up his spot. Quiet Ann, in response, shrugs defiantly. While Loud Dad and Mom silently seethe, Quiet Ann demands to know if anyone's going to say anything. "WE DON'T GIVE TWO SHITS THAT HE'S GAY!" Loud Mom finally yelps. Henry glares at her instead, his anxiety about the volume of her voice quickly giving way to confusion: "I'm sorry, what?" "What the hell are you talking about?" spits Quiet Ann. "You GHOSTED the minute I came out." "No no no no no," says Loud Dad, "we 'ghosted' [gonna go ahead and say that's my first time seeing Nestor Serrano make air quotes] because you tried to kill someone and went to prison!" "And when you did get out," adds Loud Mom, "you refused to live up to your potential." "Well, it's kind of hard to go the tenure track when you've got a criminal record," mumbles Quiet Ann, a little sheepishly. "I'm sure you could do better than sitting on a box with a bat in a rundown salon," grits Quiet Dad, "but our disappointment in you has nothing to do with you being gay." Loud Mom emphatically agrees. Quiet Ann looks suspicious about discarding this foundational belief about her relationship with her parents. And then Loud Mom, flapping her hands, exclaims, "Everyone's gay! I'm gay! Your father's gay." Loud Dad looks dismayed to be thrust out of the closet like this, but he doesn't deny it. "Whaaat is happening right now?" asks QAVO. "Excuse me?" says Henry. UH, EXCUSE US ALL, WHAT THE FUCK?
Apparently Loud Mom's loud explosion was the literal truth, as we watch all four depart the restaurant. "Your father and I have been each other's beards for years," Loud Mom explains. "Did you think Aunt Cecilia was your actual aunt?" Based on how sharply both Quiet Ann and Henry turn at this, I'm going to say they did. "My God," says Henry, wrinkling his nose rather rudely. "You just don't have to tell everyone," says Loud Dad. Loud Mom nods sturdily. "When I was growing up, gay people were beaten and tortured," Loud Dad adds. "It's different now, you can be out," says Quiet Ann. "Are you out of your damn mind?" snaps Loud Mom. "It's not that different." Prove Loud Mom wrong, America, PLEASE. Quiet Ann is still shook by this statement as Loud Mom goes on to say, "We're counting on you to at least stay quiet where we're concerned." Quiet Ann and Henry are too stunned to argue OR answer. "God help us with these kids," snits Loud Mom in Spanish, grabbing Loud Dad's arm and heading for the door, leaving Quiet Ann and Henry to stare at each other in complete shock. Farewell for now, Loud and NOT Proud Parents!
Henry and Quiet Ann then go on to spend the whole night on the beach, drinking and laughing and watching the sun come up whilst also processing their feelings about this utterly stunning revelation. "And Papi with all the El Puma posters!" remembers Quiet Ann, both of them cracking up again. (That must be...quite the range of looks.) Henry takes a hit off a decidedly smaller joint than the one Quiet Ann blazed in the restaurant ladies' room, and then turns to her to say, sincerely, he's sorry he hasn't been more supportive of her: "You're brave. And I'm...not." Quiet Ann sighs and tells him, "I am not brave." Henry says he has plans: "Beyond running for governor. We're talking the Oval Office." "Oh, shit," says Quiet Ann, who must have missed a lot of the escalation of Henry's ambitions during the four years they weren't speaking. "Well, you can't be gay, Cuban, and the leader of the free world," says Quiet Ann. Definitely not as a Republican. "No, you cannot," Henry sadly agrees. They both crack up again -- but not for long, because then Quiet Ann's phone rings. It's clear she's expecting Desna -- but no, it's Jenn. "Please, Ann, I really need your help?" Jenn burbles effortfully. Quiet Ann hangs up and says goodbye to Henry, who I really hope we see again! Those dimples are NO JOKE.
And when we see where Jenn has called Quiet Ann from?
She wasn't kidding when she said she really needed Quiet Ann's help: a liquor store security guard has cuffed her to a bench by the door. Jenn is still wasted enough to forget to act embarrassed about her predicament, instead going nuts about Quiet Ann's parent-appropriate getup and how beautiful she looks. Quiet Ann lets her fuss for a while before asking what happened. "Your friend here got caught chugging box wine," says the guard. "Claims she forgot her wallet." "Which means I also can't get a gun," slurs Jenn. She wanted to go to the range and blow off some steam, "but that plan went to shit when the wine incident occurred!" "Looks like I'm going to have to use my tits on old...Jeff," says QAVO and then Quiet Ann, reading the guard's name tag aloud. Arching her back, Quiet Ann asks if Jeff can cut Jenn some slack if Quiet Ann pays for the wine and promises not to let Jenn buy a firearm. Jeff, staring into Quiet Ann's cleavage, readily agrees. Quiet Ann hands over some folded bills and guides Jenn toward the door, Jenn not exactly playing along as she yells over her shoulder, "See you in Hell, Jeff!!!" They've almost made it when the metal detector goes off at the door, Jenn exasperatedly remembering the bottle of something blue she'd shoved in her purse. Quiet Ann calls it an oversight and tries to move them along faster, and just as QAVO huffs, "This day's starting out great," Jenn doubles over and pukes all over Quiet Ann's feet. In flip-flops. "Oh look, it just got better!" squeals QAVO. Quiet Ann holds Jenn's hair instead of moving her bare toes out of the line of fire, which is how you can tell she's a better friend than I.
After commercials, Quiet Ann's cleaned up Jenn and herself and brought her to church for an AA meeting, with Polly and Virginia joining them for support. The leader invites Jenn up to the front as QAVO complains about how boring these meetings are...which is when we go into Quiet Ann's fantasy of what would make them more interesting: if Jenn picked up the guitar behind her on the altar and delivered her share as a country song! Jenn's just started singing about having met Bryce at a meeting when Bryce himself, trailed by Roller and Uncle Daddy, enters from the back to duet with his recollections. "I'm a drunk!" "I'm a crackhead. We learned to work the steps!" Jenn starts walking up the aisle toward Bryce as the rest of the attendees accompany them with various folksy percussion instruments, Jenn continuing to tell the story of her and Bryce's relationship. The chorus is "Why stop now? The years, the years, the years, they all add up!" Predictably, this just goes to their usual recriminations about one another's infidelities, but in Quiet Ann's fantasy, at least, Bryce seems receptive to the idea of reconciling. (And, by the way, Jenn Lyon and Kevin Rankin can both really sing, and their voices blend very sweetly!) At the end of the song, Bryce turns and leaves, and everyone applauds, and QAVO asks, "Did that really happen?"
I guess the part where the Hussers showed up did, because when they all leave together, Jenn goes after them. The other Nail Artisans in attendance follow, which is when we see Desna's just getting out of her car in the parking lot, asking if the meeting's over already, to Quiet Ann's eye roll, apparently unnoticed by everyone except us. In A Somewhat Dignified Way, Jenn excitedly tells Bryce, "That was us in there. Did you feel that?" Apparently he did not, because he tells Jenn he's going to see a lawyer about divorce papers. She can't believe he thinks they're at divorce already, but Bryce says he sees Jenn with Hank every time he closes his eyes. Jenn brings up her mom, of course, and Bryce says he doesn't have time for this, giving us an early scene from a future episode as he says they have planning to do "before shit pops off at Zlata's golf game next week." Roller tries to shut him up, telling Desna to keep that to herself, and when she demands to know what they're planning, Bryce says, "We're increasing our ranks with some unlikely soldiers." I don't know what or who could be more unlikely than all the armed seniors in the Season 1 finale, but okay.
When the Hussers leave, Virginia asks Desna if she's going to narc to Zlata; Desna says she doesn't know. Polly calls Zlata "every shade of psycho," to which Quiet Ann reacts with a look of emphatic concurrence, but Desna says that Zlata also taught her what being a boss is, not to mention got them all more money than they had under the Husser regime. Even QAVO has to admit that's true. But does this mean that Quiet Ann has forgiven Desna everything? HMMMMM.
Next we see the Nail Artisans returning to the shop, Desna staying close to Jenn and saying she's sorry she missed the meeting; Jenn forgives her and, for now, holds her shit together. Marnie comes in soon afterward; Polly asks why she's not in school, and Marnie says they had a problem with her clothes. Polly thinks it's because Marnie wore her "Trump Has 99 Problems And This Bitch Is One" t-shirt, but Marnie shows her, taking the scarf off her shoulders and wrapping it loosely around her head. Polly points out to Marnie that she's a seventeen-year-old white girl who's rather abruptly developed an affinity for the Nation Of Islam -- and speaking of which: obviously I buy that a public school in Palmetto wouldn't be welcoming to any student in a head scarf, but I really hope the show is going to make it clear to viewers soon that Islam and the Nation Of Islam aren't the same? Anyway, Marnie says she's finding her place. "Your place is with me," says Polly. "You're not my mom," Marnie shoots back. "I can make my own decisions." Polly starts tensing up as she says she knows. While Quiet Ann watches from the pedicure chairs, QAVO says, "Relationships can't be forced, Polly-Pol. Arlene and I? That was real." Marnie tells Polly their arrangement was always going to be temporary, and that eventually Marnie's going to leave. Polly gets flustered and pulls her close, protesting, "No no no, no, I'm never going to let you go, Lillian, I promise!" The Nail Artisans exchange quizzical looks, Marnie pulling back. "I mean Marnie," says Polly quickly, pasting on a huge smile. Marnie says she'll see her at the house and takes off, leaving Desna to try to comfort her. Polly fakes it like a champ, chalking all that up to teenager stuff, and hustling away from Desna's proffered hug.
Desna returns to the subject of this threatened golf sabotage, asking them what she should do. Jenn asks what Desna's gut says; Desna knows she should be loyal, but can't decide to whom. Finally, Desna turns to Quiet Ann -- her lieutenant -- and asks what she thinks. "You're going to ask me about loyalty?" spits QAVO. "I think you've got a lot of nerve asking me about loyalty," says Quiet Ann. Hey! If the two of them start agreeing, it's going to be a lot more convenient for me. This announcement is, of course, blindsiding Desna in the midst of her self-involvement, and she demands to know what Quiet Ann's problem is. "My problem is I sold out the love of my life for you, that's my problem," says Quiet Ann steadily. Desna, getting more heated, asks everyone else what Quiet Ann is talking about, but before they can stick up for her, Quiet Ann snaps, "Aw, you heard me, bitch." "Call me that again," Desna dares -- boldly, since this is the first time I've seen her pick a fight she probably wouldn't win. The other Nail Artisans try to intervene before shit gets out of control, but Quiet Ann, of course, doesn't back down either: "BITCH." She shoves Desna; Desna shoves back, and Quiet Ann escalates, slapping her in the face. As the Nail Artisans pull them apart, Desna bellows, "WHAT IS YOUR DAMN PROBLEM?!" Comparatively calm, Quiet Ann indicts her: "Your life has become about two things: business with Zlata and marrying Ruval, and because of that, you've lost sight of all of your friends!" Not ready to hear the truth, Desna says she's done more than her fair share for Quiet Ann, who shoots back, "You're asking for loyalty? And what do we get? I ruined my life, for you!" "BITCH, HOW?!" Desna screams. "WE WERE GONNA HAVE A CHILD," says Quiet Ann, heartsick. Everyone is shocked, and in the silence, Quiet Ann throws off Polly's and Virginia's arms and stalks into the back. Polly, the only one who knew about the adoption talks, follows her, while the other three catch their breath.
But after the commercials, we're right back in the crisis, Quiet Ann furiously snatching off her golf cap and throwing it on the floor. Polly flies in trying to empathize...with a story about when she was dating Teller, of Penn & Teller. Quiet Ann cannot remotely handle this shit right now and tells Polly so: "Nobody believes your bullshit, Polly, okay? You would realize that if you weren't playing a character half of your stupid life." Polly's chin trembles as she manages to tell Quiet Ann she's not so different from Polly: "You present a character to all of us! The real you is obviously inside your head, judging the rest of us." "You don't know shit," says Quiet Ann. I see what they did there. "Stop telling me how to live my life when you don't even know who the hell you are," Quiet Ann orders Polly as the other three Nail Artisans enter. "And you!" says Quiet Ann, turning to Desna. "You, you haven't even been there for Jennifer, and you haven't even noticed how unhappy I've been! You've been so caught up with Zlata and Ruval and having it all, right? What do I have. What do I have?" "You have us, Ann," says Polly, sweetly refusing to hold any of Quiet Ann's anger against her right now. Quiet Ann bitterly laughs: "I got a call from DCF. They had a baby available for me and Arlene."
Everyone reels in horror. "Yesterday would have been the day we would've been a family. But because of you, it was all ruined. All of it." "You were adopting?!" asks Desna breathlessly. Quiet Ann sinks into a chair: "I told you. I had to give up my baby when I was a kid. My little family. That's all I ever wanted....But you made me break up with Arlene. I destroyed her life." Polly tearfully interrupts to say she's the one who made Quiet Ann set Arlene up, not Desna: "I didn't want us to go to jail!" Desna comes around the coffee table to get close to Quiet Ann, who sobs, "She lost her job because of me." Desna smooths Quiet Ann's hair and puts her chin on the crown of her head. Quiet Ann comes back to herself and tells Desna, "I'm sorry, I'm sorry that I slapped you." Desna's sorry she didn't know how much Arlene meant to Quiet Ann. "She meant everything," says Quiet Ann, "and I, I chose you over her." Desna shakes her head, starting to cry as she apologizes again: "You've got to know that I would die before knowingly hurting you." Quiet Ann shakes her head as Desna says she loves Quiet Ann, and that Quiet Ann has to talk to her: "I'm not a mind reader!" Speaking as someone who has gotten to spend this hour reading Quiet Ann's mind: too bad for Desna, it's quite a read. Polly points out that since Arlene isn't a cop anymore, maybe she and Quiet Ann could get back together. Desna agrees. Quiet Ann, resigned, says it's too late, and that Arlene's moved on, but Desna's not trying to hear that: "I have never known that kind of attitude from you. Man up, Ann. Go get your girl!" The other Nail Artisans agree. Quiet Ann doesn't look so sure...
...but the next thing we see is Quiet Ann getting out of her van and knocking on Arlene's door. When no one answers, she gets back in the van, pounding the steering wheel in frustration, but then, some time later, gets out her phone to leave Arlene a voicemail: "I'm so sorry. I set you up. I drugged your drink so they could pull you over and lose your job. I did it to-- to protect Desna. I'm so, so sorry. I hope you can forgive me. I'll do whatever it takes. I love you, Arlene. And I want you back. I know that you're seeing somebody, okay, I know that you are. But I really want you to be with me. You belong with me. I miss you. I think we can do this. I think we could be that family." She hangs up and, after a moment, her phone rings: it's Arlene!!!
"I got the call too, about the baby," says Arlene, sitting in the driver's seat of a parked car. "We-- We forgot to call DCF and cancel the foster adoption," says Quiet Ann, dazed. "I'm not seeing anyone," Arlene volunteers.
Quiet Ann is stunned: "Are you serious?" "She's just a friend," Arlene smiles. "Seriously?!" Quiet Ann asks. "Please, please give me another chance." Arlene looks in her rearview mirror as one of those little Fiats comes up behind her. "Meet me at my place," Arlene tells Quiet Ann. "I'll be home soon." The camera slides over to show that there's another woman in the shotgun seat next to Arlene, who asks her, "You okay?" "All good!" chirps Arlene, starting the car. HMMMM, SHE SURE IS SHAKING OFF THAT EMOTIONAL CONVERSATION VERY QUICKLY. And as Quiet Ann sits in her van, daring to feel hopeful about her future...
...Arlene and HER PARTNER approach Dr. Ken as he fills up his car and ARREST HIM and SHOVE HIM INTO THEIR CAR. So Arlene TOTALLY IS still a cop, and Quiet Ann is about to be in a quandary over loyalty that makes Desna's look like some KINDERGARTEN BABY SHIT and I DO NOT KNOW IF I CAN TAKE IT!!!