Claws Tries To Cage Desna's Heat
While Desna tries to avoid a long-term entanglement in the carceral state, the rest of the Nail Artisans must absorb shocks of their own.
Previously: recent Season 2 events, plus a couple of reminders from Season 1, including that Bryce accidentally killed Ted from Georgia; that when Desna was looking to move into an upscale nail salon, her real estate agent was a tightass named Mandy; and that the reason Marnie currently lives with Polly is that Marnie's biological mother tried to sell her to an Elvis impersonator.
We open at the commune. Apparently the Nail Artisans have shut down the shop in the middle of the day, yet again, to gather around Dean in the moments following Desna's arrest. Jenn calls the police station to try to locate Desna, and I'm grateful to whichever writer decided Jenn should spell Desna's surname, because as recently as two episodes ago, the closing credits called Dean and Desna's mother "Miss Sims." Now it's canon -- SIMMS -- and I don't have to go back and edit all my old recaps a THIRD time. In stomps Quiet Ann, and when Virginia comments that she thought Quiet Ann was done with them, she shoots back, "This is what I was worried about. I warned her this would happen." That doesn't mean she's abandoning them: "Desna's in trouble. Until we know what's up, I'm here." They still don't have confirmation about where Desna is being held; Polly suggests that Quiet Ann ask Arlene if her old cop colleagues might be able to relay some information, but when Quiet Ann tries, she sayms Arlene's not picking up. Jenn says they have clients coming in, so I have no idea what the hell is up with this timeline. Even if it wasn't open yet, everyone (except Jenn, given Bryce's surgery) was already at the shop earlier (at the end of last week's episode), and when Virginia arrived with Dean, Desna said she was late, and then Dean and Desna came home again and it must have taken a while for her to get ready for the beach -- she at least changed her hair -- and now Jenn's saying it's been about an hour since Desna would have been brought in anywhere, so what time were they all at the shop -- 5 AM? If their clients haven't starting coming in yet, what time do they open -- noon?! "Maybe it's Sunday!" IT'S NOT, they established when Gregory came to get Desna the previous night that it was Thursday!!! ANYWAY: Polly says it's "business as usual" until they know what's going on, and to be fair, being closed a lot for obscure reasons is usual for them. But Dean gets upset at the idea that they could just go about their business as usual when they have no idea where Desna is. Virginia promises him that they'll find her and everything will be okay, but he yells that she doesn't know that, and starts pacing, demanding of everyone, "Where's my sister?" Finally he staggers out, Virginia chasing after him.
Dean's sister, it turns out, is at the Palmetto Police Department, getting her mug shot taken. Here's where I briefly thought this all might be a fake arrest, for Gregory and Zlata's benefit, which would result in the revocation of her precious clinic license and thus obviate any need they'd have to manipulate and/or kill her, but since Dr. Ken didn't know about that, and Quiet Ann had already left when Uncle Daddy admitted it to Desna, and given how unco-operative Desna is to Arlene through this episode, she couldn't have dimed herself out for this reason -- particularly since she didn't know Arlene hadn't been fired from the police force -- that's...probably not actually the case. We get a montage of Desna getting processed into custody that involves her relinquishing all her jewellery and yet, somehow, not removing or at least cutting her nails. You're telling me they don't think she could fatally shiv another inmate with those?! Fuck outta here.
After the title card, Desna's in an interrogation room with Arlene and Lucy, the former gently trying to get Desna to tell them what she knows so they can help her. Desna proclaims her innocence before asking about Arlene's job. When Arlene explains, Desna narrows her eyes: "So you've been lying to Ann this whole time." "Focus on yourself," says Arlene -- advice Arlene evidently follows herself, #JusticeForQuietAnn. Arlene tells Desna they've heard her on a wire saying all sorts of shit. (...They have? Dr. Ken wasn't around Desna when we saw him wearing it in the last episode, so: someone else has been turned too?) Lucy adds that Desna could be facing up to thirty years in prison for what they already know she did. Desna, unimpressed, keeps her trap shut.
And then Zlata's inspecting the scene at Boris's shitty apartment. Her outfits, by the way, have continued to get more and more insane through the season: today, she's in a black and gold sequined cropped football jersey under a long, flowing coat embroidered with gold leaves and a mermaid (I think), with black patent leather textured leggings, and black and gold high-heeled boots. It's very Ziggy Stardustovna. She curses, "Idiot!" at Boris's corpse before turning to the two henchmen and one henchwoman who've accompanied her to complain -- in English, for no good reason -- that she treated Boris like a king and he still stole from Gregory "like common Ukrainian." Boris's actions force Zlata to apologize to Gregory and fall on her sword -- something that enrages her enough to put another very unnecessary bullet into Boris's blistered head. Given that it's probably her lower-level functionaries who are going to have to clean this place up enough not to attract suspicion: rude.
At the hospital, the first thing Bryce hears about after coming out of anaesthesia post-surgery is Desna's arrest. Jenn is, of course, the one delivering the news, and very anxious about it, but Bryce is perfectly serene, thanks to all the morphine he's on. He lists what's going right for them: "The doc says the surgery went well, Brienne stopped asking for Black Daddy...we're both sober." (Is Brienne's father going to be in this season or what? I know he's supposed to be in prison, but they sure keep bringing him up.) Jenn leans down to assure Bryce that he's going to get better, and then maybe he can go back to his "abundance coaching" -- maybe even do a TED Talk. Whereas I can't believe Jenn's ever heard of a TED Talk, Bryce can't believe she thinks he could do one. Jenn cocks her head: "Has Tony Robbins ever been shot?" "He wishes," scoffs Bryce. Probably a lot of people do.
At the shop, all the Nail Artisans on site are hard at work when a client flounces into the middle of the waiting area to say she has an appointment with Desna, demanding to know where she is. MY PEOPLE. Polly, Quiet Ann, and Jenn all answer at once with church, a root canal, and a seminar. "You know, it's one of those gynecological root canal-in-a-church seminars," Polly covers. What...does Polly think a root canal is? "SHE'S IN JAIL," says Dean loudly. The Nail Artisans freeze, one of them hissing, "Dean."
Okay, I take back what I said about the impatient woman incensed about the thoughtless waste of her time: the client who perks up at the chance to hear scandalous gossip is my actual spirit animal. Then Marnie enters, distressed: she just got off the phone with her mother Bethany, who's on her way to Palmetto, and who says she's changed. Polly reminds Marnie that Bethany is an addict who sold Marnie to Polly for four Gucci purses (pipe down, mothers of teenaged girls: even if you're willing to undercut Bethany's price to get rid of your daughters, this offer has expired!), and though Marnie looks conflicted, she says Polly is right and that she'll tell Bethany she doesn't want to see her. Polly's just sent Marnie into the back for a snack when her phone rings with a collect call from Desna. The Nail Artisans all gather around as Desna gives Polly the important bullet points: someone's wearing a wire; Desna needs a lawyer; they should tell Dean she's fine. Arlene pounds on the door and Desna wraps it up with intensity: "Pol? It's go time." Sure! Go is fun, it'll take their minds off things.
Polly leads the Nail Artisans Featuring Dean across the parking lot to the edge of the Big Shrimps seating area to recap the call. When they wonder who could be wearing a wire, Virginia says it couldn't have been her, indicating her scanty outfit as she sniffs, "Y'all would've peeped it." (Fact check: true.) Polly notes that Quiet Ann's been mad at Desna lately, which Quiet Ann dismisses with a "Don't even go there." Jenn says that if Desna goes down, they're all next, but Polly says no one's going down because she's got her lawyer on this. We haven't actually seen her call him, for one, and for another, as Virginia reminds her, "The same lawyer who couldn't keep you out of prison?" Polly hisses that this is their only choice, adding, "Desna says it's go time." Quiet Ann knows that this has nothing to do with the ancient board game, but rather that they have to start shredding the bank statements, although they'd all be online too, so I don't know what good that will do. Jenn says they need to make sure the appointment book looks legit, and Polly's going to get cash for the lawyer. The Nail Artisans break up to their tasks, but Dean's not happy: "You guys have been making bad choices from the beginning, and now you're DESTROYING EVIDENCE?!" They all frantically try to shush him as he goes on: "That's obstruction! Haven't you been watching the news?" Over Virginia's protests, Dean walks in the other direction, announcing that he's going to take care of this on his own. Virginia yells his name to stop him, but Polly calls to her saying they have shit to do.
Desna does not, currently, have shit to do, which is why she's stress-testing her pointy acrylic tip by using it to pick at the interrogation room table. Arlene enters to ask about her phone call, but Desna crosses her arms and says Arlene can't talk to her until Desna's lawyer's there. Arlene sits across from Desna and tells her she's not here as a cop. Desna doesn't buy that Arlene's there as Quiet Ann's girlfriend, but Arlene says Quiet Ann would hate to see Desna like this -- all Desna's friends would. "'Cause you played Ann, you think you know us?" marvels Desna. "Bitch, you don't!" Arlene knows how much Desna's crew, and Dean, mean to Desna, and how much they'd all suffer without Desna to take care of them. As Desna's face twitches, Arlene advises her to think about what twenty-five years without Desna will do to Dean: "Who's going to look after him? Who'll take care of Dean?" Uh, HIS WIFE?! Look, I know Virginia is a twit, but maybe without Desna's overprotection, Virginia might be able to rise to the occasion and be a real partner to Dean. Also, Dean may be on the spectrum, but he's not a child. Still, this tack obviously works on Desna, who murmurs that it's all she's been thinking about. In that case, Desna should let Arlene help her.
But if Desna were going to, she doesn't get the chance: a uniformed cop pokes his head in to say the transport's ready, and then we watch him walk her into a holding cell. We know Desna has lived through some very hard times, but it's clear that, when she woke up this morning, she didn't think she was going to end up in a place where some strange woman in her vicinity might bellow that she needs some Wet Wipes.
At the hospital, Bryce -- still quite high -- dreams about his TED Talk, but his happy fantasy curdles when Hank shows up and hijacks the lecture with one of his own: "The 5 Points of Boning Another Man's Wife." Bryce tries to dispute each point of Hank's action plan, while Hank remains charming and jocular and whispers in Bryce's ear that he's "still tapping that ass." It's really a shame that their characters are adversaries, because both Kevin Rankin and Hunter Burke, who plays Hank, are very funny performers who have enjoyable chemistry in this brief scene. Anyway, Bryce screams himself awake...
...and sees that Hank is standing at his bedside, grinning as he tells Bryce he's going to take good care of Jenn and be a better father than Bryce was -- "I even know how to corn-row!" -- before injecting a syringe of something into Bryce's IV. Bryce has barely ordered Hank not to touch Brienne's hair before he's passed out again.
In her cell, Desna's able to deflect questions about her charges from a woman in an adjacent holding area, but when her own door slides open and Desna gets a new cellie, she can't ignore...
...Mandy! She gasps with excitement at the sight of Desna as if they're running into each other at Nordstrom, adding, "Don't look at my nails, they're horrible." Mandy's fallen on some hard times since she helped Desna get Glint, it seems. "What the hell happened to you?" breathes Desna. "You're so thin!" "Thank yoooou," says Mandy. "I guess just a diet of cocaine and LaCroix'll do that for you!" Mandy says the pressure of keeping up her image as a commercial real estate agent got to her. Plus her husband spent all her money while staying at home pretending to design apps; Mandy's been arrested for writing bad cheques. "The second you get out of here, you take your ass to get some help," Desna orders her, and is fortunate that Mandy is far enough gone not to suggest that maybe Desna's not in the best position to give advice given that she and Mandy are in exactly the same place. It then occurs to Mandy to ask what brought Desna there. Desna says it's a long story.
Toby and Uncle Daddy are processing Gregory's cocaine in a taxidermy shop when Roller rages in to tell them about Desna. Uncle Daddy is less concerned about Desna's thus-far inviolate "prison cherry," as Roller puts it, than he is about what else the feds might have heard on the wire. Uncle Daddy says they're going to need to be liquid, and therefore should sell all this cocaine as quickly as possible. Roller advises calling in one of Uncle Daddy's associates from Pensacola.
Over to the clinic, where Polly tells a very sweaty Dr. Ken someone in their operation is a traitor. Of course, Dr. Ken has a perfect poker face and doesn't betray a thing.
jkjkjk -- although, actually, that is kind of his default face. He leads a very anxious life. Polly asks what kind of person could do it, and Dr. Ken suggests, "A person under immense pressure." Polly blows past that, saying that if she ever finds out who did it, she'll skin him like a cat and hang him from a tree by his toes. Dr. Ken thinks that's extreme, but Polly informs him that snitches don't get passes. Dr. Ken asks how Polly doesn't know it isn't the Russians, or Uncle Daddy: "It's probably not even a man!" Polly says they'll sniff him out, and takes the cash bundles he's just pulled out for her from the false bottom of an antacid bottle, thanking him and hugging him on her way out. Dr. Ken, with a shaking hand, takes a long pull off his ever-present Shmylanta.
Over to Gregory's, where he surfaces in the pool and thinks aloud through the possibilities -- like maybe that Boris was acting alone. Madame states that no one acts without his boss's permission. Gregory then gets a call from Zlata, confirming that she did have a mole in Boris, endorsing his decision to kill him, and stating that she had nothing to do with the theft. "We good?" she concludes. Gregory says they are. Zlata hangs up and snits, "Liar," while back in the pool, Madame accuses Gregory of having been blinded by his lust for Zlata: "I never trusted her." Gregory says Madame's never trusted any woman he's been with, and adds, "Zlata would never stab me in the back." "She's Russian!" says Madame. "This is part of her plan. She wants to run the entire drug operation by taking you out." Gregory seems to find this convincing, and says he'll deal with her.
Desna has apparently just finished telling Mandy about recent events, because Mandy's like, "I thought my life sucked!" She promises Desna that they're both going to get out of there; she was just as stressed as Desna the first time she got arrested, but now she knows it's no big deal! "By tomorrow afternoon, we're going to be drinking our lunch and finding you a new Glint!" However, Desna is deep in self-pity about how hard she tried to look after her family and her crew, but she stayed on the ride too long and now she doesn't know how to get off. Mandy doesn't have to try to think of a chipper answer to that, though, because the same uniformed cop comes back to tell Desna it's time for her to go to the courthouse for her arraignment. Desna is led away telling Mandy to take care of herself, while Mandy slithers onto a bunk ordering Desna to "Stick it to the man!"
Back to the clinic, which is chaotic with junkies needing a fix and uninterested in Dr. Ken's excuses for why he's not writing prescriptions right now. The woman at the front of the line wants to know if he's really going to let down a guy currently picking his teeth with a gigantic knife; she then grabs her boobs and offers Dr. Ken an alternative: "Or are you going to make Kelly and Brenda feel a-okay?" Look, if you're going to name your tits after anyone on Beverly Hills, 90210, you call them BOTH Val. Also, Dr. Ken, maybe take a page from the Nail Artisans' book and close?
Roller brings Dr. Ken back to his office, demanding to know what he's doing, and Dr. Ken just flips the fuck out, wrestling his skeleton to the floor in frustration. When Roller tells him Desna just got arrested, Dr. Ken leaps up and babbles about why Roller would think it's his fault: he knows talking is a rookie mistake. Roller, uncomfortable at this display, says he's just there to make sure the books are clean. Dr. Ken insists that they are, spinning out even harder, and when Roller says he's going to call Polly for him, Dr. Ken begs him not to. Roller finally grabs Dr. Ken by the lab coat lapels and orders him to get his shit together. Dr. Ken asks Roller to give him a minute, then starts sobbing. Roller hugs him the way I assume pretty much everyone hugs Dr. Ken: reluctantly.
In Desna's office, Jenn and Quiet Ann are shredding, Quiet Ann expositing that her "guys" checked, and that there aren't any bugs in the building. The two of them and Virginia try and fail to come up with a story to tell Zlata about where Desna is, and given that they're involved in the same criminal enterprise, I don't know why the truth won't work? The three of them tensely bicker until Virginia raises Dean on the phone. He tells her he's fine, but that he's tired of people telling him they have things under control when they don't: "I'm taking control." Virginia begs him to tell her what he means, but Dean refuses, saying he's going to help Desna, and will call her back.
It's at this point that the shot widens and we see Dean's on his way in to the police station, where he asks the desk sergeant to bring him to his sister, Desna. The cop checks the computer and says she's being arraigned; why he doesn't explain to Dean -- who, even if the sergeant can't immediately discern that Dean is not neurotypical, is clearly upset -- that this means she's no longer on site but that he might be able to see her at the courthouse, I do not know. Dean repeats that he's Desna's brother and slams the desk with his hand as he says he wants to see her right now. The sergeant warns Dean to step back, but Dean says he has a right to be apprised of her situation. "You don't get out of here, I'm going to lock you up, too," threatens the sergeant. Dean, alarmed, says the cop doesn't have the right to do that, since Dean isn't a criminal. Ha ha ha, oh, Dean, please have a seat and let me tell you the incredibly depressing story of how the police treat innocent people of colour! Dean sets a paper bag on the desk and says it's all the money he made dancing: "I'm here to bail her out." The sergeant now comes out from behind the desk and assesses, "Clearly, you're not in your right mind." He shoves the bag at Dean and orders him to get out. As Dean continues loudly protesting that he knows his rights, he does move toward the door and leaves, and I guess it's lucky for Dean that Harold Perrineau is opening-credits cast because that's not always how these interactions go between cops and people with autism.
Jenn's at the commune, gathering some things to bring Bryce at the hospital, when Bryce, on the phone, tells her Hank was there. The story does, admittedly, sound suspect, since it starts with Bryce's dream; Jenn says she thinks he's confused from the morphine. She cheerfully says she's going to talk to the doctor about Bryce's morphine dosage, given his "cracky past," and hangs up, which is when she looks up and sees that, in every family photo, Hank heads have been taped over Bryce's face.
Actually, it's the same Hank face, printed out at different sizes but cut or ripped out very carelessly. Have some pride in your creepy work, Hank, damn. Jenn hears a noise and comes downstairs to hear square dance music playing while Hank works at the stove. "Welcome home, darling," he says, kissing her cheek. This seems bad!
At the shop, Polly is trying to get rid of Dr. Ken, while he insistently tries to have a conversation with her about the choices we sometimes make in life that seem right in the moment but that we later regret, blah blah blah you know what he's getting at. Polly can't really focus on whatever he's talking around as she gets a text from her lawyer indicating that Desna's arraignment is less than an hour away. Ignoring the fact that Polly is ignoring him, Dr. Ken tries to get her to say that even if he made a bad choice, she could forgive him, and she says she'd have to know what he was talking about. Dr. Ken yells at her for being on her phone while he's trying to tell her something, and while that is annoying, he's also REALLY muffling his message in like forty layers of abstraction. And she's certainly not going to be able to pay attention to him now, because the FBI is there to execute a search warrant.
And then Desna's in court, alone, for her arraignment. Admittedly, I have never been in this situation (not to brag), but I doubt very much that anyone facing federal charges would be expected to go through this process without at least a public defender -- particularly if she's already stated that she does have representation? But anyway, the charges are money laundering, racketeering, and "structuring," which I now know is the legal name for smurfing. I also doubt very much that, even in her desperation, Desna would make a scene in court by repeating her innocence as the judge reads each charge; maybe she's never been arrested, but she knows how to behave In A Dignified Way! The judge asks if she has a lawyer representing her, and instead of just saying YES, she stands up and says, "There has been a huge misunderstanding." She insists that her lawyer should be there any minute, and then starts monologuing that she's not a criminal and lists all the things we already know about her shop and her special needs brother and good lord does this show DRAG whenever Desna gets shoved out of the main action! "This isn't the time and place for testimony," the judge tells Desna, WHO WOULD OBVIOUSLY KNOW THAT. The prosecutor finally breaks in to request that the arraignment be moved to Monday so that Desna's counsel can be present, but Desna's not about to spend two more days in jail, and has barely started protesting before the doors open and a woman marches in, introducing herself as "Lauren Zorloni, for the defendant." Hey, Fortune Feimster! She's fun. Lauren says Desna pleads not guilty. The prosecutor requests remand to custody. Lauren extolls Desna's many good qualities, including that "she smells delightful" (I knew it), and concludes by saying bail should not exceed $5000. The prosecutor says Desna has ties to the Russian Mafia, at which the judge sets bail at $500,000. Desna immediately freaks out, demanding of Lauren how anyone she knows is supposed to be able to get their hands on the $50,000 required to get a bail bond. Lauren breezily says it's taken care of. Fifty grand rolls up tight enough to fit in Dr. Ken's false-bottomed Shmylanta bottle? HMMMMMM.
At the commune, Hank is still acting like he and Jenn are in agreement about being a couple, and Jenn is still trying to stay calm while also subtly positioning herself near the large kitchen knife lying out on the cutting board. She tells Hank he needs to leave, and he winces like he's having some kind of spell before saying Jenn's kids are in danger from her addict husband and that she needs him. "You're out of your goddamn mind," she says, grabbing the knife, but he's too quick and makes her drop it. He grabs her by the wrists and tells her not to be afraid, because he's going to take her away: when the girls get home, they're all moving to Israel, where they'll be safe from Bryce. I wonder if, when Jenn was learning about TED Talks, she also read up about the BDS movement? Let's find out!
Back at the taxidermist, Toby, Roller, and Uncle Daddy are packing the coke and preparing to move out when there's a knock at the door: Roller opens it to Kincaid, apparently Uncle Daddy's Pensacola connection, who's impressed by the quantity of yayo. Uncle Daddy says the whole thing is "$2 million: that's a steal." Kincaid's like, "Speaking of a steal," and pulls a gun, announcing that he's "ganking" it. This poor cocaine just keeps getting stolen from its various temporarily rightful owners. It's like there's no honour in trafficking illegal drugs anymore. Uncle Daddy, Roller, and Toby all draw in response, but when Roller's like, "Who, you and the bear?" (I wish!), the door bursts open and like a dozen more dirtbags pour in. "Damn, boy, we've been set up," says Uncle Daddy. Sorry, I now only care about the bear.
It turns out the lead dirtbag, Clint, is the son of the late Ted from Georgia, and since Ted is dead, Clint doesn't think he still has any reason to be loyal to Uncle Daddy. Clint also believes the Russians killed Ted, and the fact that Uncle Daddy is working with them instead of having "reached out" to this faction gives Clint another reason to distrust him. Roller says they were begging for help from the rest of the Dixie Mafia, and connects their failure to come through to Bryce's shooting. Clint is dismayed to hear about Bryce; everyone lowers their weapons, Clint moping, "He was all positive and shit." Uncle Daddy seizes the moment of calm to say that's why the Hussers need Clint & Co. (There's also a MAGA reference I refuse to dirty my fingers transcribing.) Clint asks what Uncle Daddy has in mind, and Uncle Daddy improvises: "We can sell this together, make money, and get back at the Russians." Clint likes it!
On their way out of the courthouse, Desna thanks Lauren for her representation. "Us sisters have to stick together," Lauren preens. Desna lets that one go, but asks how Polly and the rest of the girls got all the money for the bond. Lauren looks quizzical, which is when the back window of the car in front of them rolls down...
...and Zlata orders Desna to get in. OH SHIT, DESNA! The person who pays "your" lawyer is your lawyer's actual client! USE YOUR HEAD!!! "You get arrest and you don't call me?" snits Zlata as the car drives on. Desna tapdances that she was trying to keep Zlata out of it. She thought Polly's attorney was coming, which is when we hear a loud thump from the trunk, because...that's where he is. Zlata says that the cops are going to be all over the clinic, so Dr. Ken will have to cool it on the prescriptions until "shit dies down." She's happy Desna kept her mouth shut; Desna intensely says, "I'm no snitch. And I would never betray you, Zlata." In response, Zlata says it's interesting that Desna would bring up betrayal, and then gives Desna the BRAND-NEW INFORMATION that Gregory isn't the person Desna thinks he is. Desna credibly acts shocked at all the stuff that we already know and that we already know she knows; then Zlata adds that she knows Gregory thinks she's responsible for the cocaine theft and probably already has plans to take Zlata somewhere and shoot her in the face: "We must align to take him down and get your charges dropped." Desna sputters that she doesn't know if she can trust Zlata not to betray her again. "Who bailed you out of jail right now?" Zlata replies. "Because we want same thing: to take him down. I the only way you can do this." Desna turns away to smirk, in private, about how perfectly her plan is working, almost as though she doesn't know there are still two more episodes this season in which it could all fall apart!
Hank and Jenn having apparently just packed the girls' suitcases for Israel, Jenn carefully says that, before they get on a plane, they should order a pizza so Brienne and Baylor don't get too hangry. Hank approves, but when Jenn goes for her cell phone, which she says has the number programmed in, he stops her and tells her to use the landline. First, Jenn dials 911, but Hank gets wise and hangs up the call, dialing a place he likes. When he hands the phone back to her, Jenn hits Bryce's cell phone on speed dial instead and delivers her order to him, making sure he knows that it has to be kosher for her "friend here," and that he needs to get it there soon because they have a flight to catch. Bryce immediately starts unplugging himself from all his machines, because even though he was having a hard time walking when he was in physical therapy yesterday after getting shot two days ago? Well, today he had surgery. So he should be all set.
Desna walks into the shop, and the other Nail Artisans come out of their various hiding places to greet her. "Feds raided, they didn't get jack," says Quiet Ann proudly. Desna is touched, and tells her she's glad Quiet Ann is still there -- but still sufficiently self-involved not to tell her about Arlene before she says anything else. Come on, Desna! Instead, she tells them about her current arrangement with Zlata, and the current location of Polly's lawyer. "We did it, y'all!" Desna crows. "We started a war!" "I can't believe this shit," says Quiet Ann. "You're not even out five minutes and already you're back in bed with this bitch?" Desna tells her she's going to play Zlata this time, but Quiet Ann isn't here for this scheme and heads for the door: "I'm going home to Arlene." "Arlene is the one that arrested me," Desna finally remembers to mention. Virginia and Polly both gasp as Quiet Ann turns back: "You're lying." Desna shakes her head. "You're lying," Quiet Ann repeats. "Arlene's a security guard. I pick her up at work. She wears a uniform!" "She played you, Ann," Desna insists. "That's bullshit," spits Quiet Ann. "I know my lady, you liar." Desna yells that Arlene is working with the feds: "They got a miniseries on us the size of Roots!...Wake up, Ann, she played you to get to us!" Quiet Ann keeps refusing to believe what Desna is saying -- which we know she should, but like, Desna's assessment is pure Occam's Razor. Quiet Ann asks why Arlene would do this to her, and Desna tells her it's because Arlene's case is bigger than all of them: "It's the illegal escorts? It's the overprescribing? Murder?" "Why would she do that to me?" Quiet Ann whispers again. Desna says she's sorry, and Quiet Ann is so shattered that she just stands there and lets Desna hug her.
So then the Hussers and the dirtbags have gathered after dark to drink next to Ted's not particularly shallow grave, which Roller is disturbing. Roller produces Ted's sharing stick, and hands it to an emotional Clint, while Uncle Daddy fills his ear with exhortations about getting revenge on the Russians for Ted's murder. "Then we bury the Haitians," Roller adds. "Amen," grumbles Uncle Daddy.
Bethany's with Marnie at the table at Polly's, trying to wrap her mind around what the Nation Of Islam is, when Polly walks in. She's shocked to see Bethany, and instead of greeting her tells Marnie she thought she wasn't going to see Bethany; Marnie apologetically says, "She just showed up." "I have so much to thank you for," Bethany burbles, but Polly is passive-aggressive and cold. Marnie tells Polly that Bethany wants her back and OH MY GOD, MARNIE, GO, THIS SHOW'S WRITERS DO NOT KNOW WHAT TO DO WITH YOU. But Polly screeches that Bethany isn't a fit mother just because she's racked up a few months of sobriety; dealing with Marnie's heartache and attitude, as Polly has been doing, is what makes a mother. "I hear you," says Bethany 12-stepfully. "I now know that when people are trying to tell you something, you have to be willing to listen." This causes Polly to have an epiphany -- and, conveniently, at just that moment, Dr. Ken opens the door. Polly tells him to stay put, and that Bethany was just leaving. Bethany helplessly flaps her hands at Polly, but as she grabs her purse, she tells Marnie, "I never stopped loving you." When she's gone, Polly gives Marnie a hug, tells her she loves her, and then sends her to her room so Polly can talk to Dr. Ken.
Hey, remember how mad Dean was that the Nail Artisans were going to go through the day as though it were business as usual? Well, now he's coming off the stage at Hammer & Pickle because apparently business as usual is something only he is allowed to do. Sweetback wants to know what Dean took to make him extra-passionate onstage tonight, but Dean says he was "running on pure anger" -- and apparently that's what the ladies like, because he made $200 more in tips than he normally does. Sweetback cheerfully pops a pill and takes off just as Virginia walks in. Dean says he's sorry he didn't call her back. Virginia says it's okay, but when she tells him Desna's out, he tells her he doesn't want to talk about it, and gets upset again about how badly the police treated him, "all because of Desna's stupid life choices." Virginia defends Desna's intentions, but Dean says no matter how often he expresses these concerns to Desna, she doesn't listen to him: "She treats me like a child." HUH, WHAT OTHER SMART PERSON RECENTLY MADE THAT OBSERVATION? (Me, about 4000 words ago.) Virginia makes Dean look at her while she tells him, "You are not a child. You are a grown-ass man....You got a job, you take care of me, and we love each other....That's all that matters, just me and you." Dean, smiling, agrees.
Desna's riding shotgun as Quiet Ann parks the van outside Arlene's. "You were right about everything," says Desna exhaustedly. "I should've listened to you." "I love you, Des," says Quiet Ann. Ugh, thank god, I hate the idea of these two breaking up. Desna takes Quiet Ann's hand: "Be strong." "I want to kill her," says Quiet Ann. Desna chuckles mirthlessly: "We really would be deep in then. Just go tell her how you feel." Off she goes.
"You stupid piece of shit," says Polly to Dr. Ken, as we join another breakup in progress. "They had me for overprescribing and you for the escorts," Dr. Ken says rapidly. "They wanted a bigger fish -- I thought it was going to be Zlata!" Polly asks why he didn't at least give her some kind of message, and spits that he doesn't know a thing about loyalty. When she was in prison, she says, the most loathsome of all the criminals were the snitches. Dr. Ken lamely says he's sorry, but Polly just shoves him a couple of times before telling him they're done.
"You, you're so full of shit!" growls Quiet Ann, across town at her breakup. "You used me!" All Arlene can manage to say is "It's complicated." Quiet Ann doesn't care for that non-explanation, so Arlene gets up to tell her it's what she had to do to get her job back: "A job I lost because of you." I mean...fair! Right? What Quiet Ann did was extremely bad -- Arlene could have killed someone, or herself -- and it really gets handwaved a lot just because it happened last summer in our time -- but, like, probably just a few months ago in the universe of the show! Quiet Ann asks if this is about money, and Arlene says it's about the law, which Quiet Ann and her friends have no regard for. Trying not to sob, Quiet Ann asks, "Was any of it ever real?" "Doesn't matter," says Arlene, though it looks like she's trying not to cry too. She adds that she isn't going to fall down apologizing, if that's what Quiet Ann was expecting. "I can't be with anybody who lies to me," says Quiet Ann. HMM, WELL, IT'S LUCKY FOR YOU ARLENE DOESN'T FOLLOW THE SAME RULE. You know??? Anyway, Arlene flaps her arm toward the door: "That's goodbye, then."
Hank's still blasting square dance music as Jenn sits stiffly on the couch. Once again I am confused about the timeline as he says the pizza delivery is still a half-hour away, though it was light out when Jenn was on the phone and now it's fully dark, but anyway, his point is that while they wait, they could fuck. Jenn puts him off, saying she doesn't want the girls to walk in on them, which is when she sees Bryce creeping around the back door, still in his hospital gown. Hank finally figures out that Jenn doesn't love him and is just trying to play him, but she insists, "I do love you, I want you to be my husband." She's in the middle of saying she wants to convert when Bryce's legs fail and he lands with a clatter on some toys. A scuffle ensues -- Jenn doing most of the work by jumping onto Hank's back -- but Hank's only just climbed onto Bryce to choke him out when the cops come in and break it up. "I saved you," blubbers Bryce, incorrectly. Jenn graciously lets him have this one.
And then I don't know what Desna was doing all that time, because when she comes back into the commune, everyone is gone -- except Dean, who presently comes down the stairs with a couple of suitcases. She asks what he's doing, and Dean calmly says that, after doing a lot of thinking, he's decided the best thing for himself and Virginia is if they move out. Desna can't really argue when he cites her recent arrest and various ongoing illegal activities as reasons for him to live elsewhere, so she just hoarsely confirms that it's what he wants, which it is. "I'm really disappointed, Des," says Dean tearfully. "You keep saying things are going to change and then they never change -- never." Dean walks out, leaving Desna to fall onto the bottom stair and choke back sobs.
Also sobbing? Polly, as Marnie does what Bethany undoubtedly taught her to do: parents an adult. Polly falls onto Marnie's shoulder, sniffling, "At least I have you."
Marnie looks extremely alarmed to realize she's become Polly's partner in codependency. Hey, that thing with Polly's twin sister sure seemed like it was going somewhere for a while there, huh? Oh well. Maybe she's hanging out with Malik.
And then Desna's back in her sparkliest armour to go see Zlata in her office at Hammer & Pickle. She tells Zlata she's been thinking about her options: "In spite of all your bullshit, we do make a good team." Zlata beams: "Great decision. We keep you out of prison! We die or ride." "Close enough," says Desna patiently. "So. Original plan: I marry him, y'all kill me, and then take over my license. New plan: I marry him. You kill him. Then I sign his assets over to you. Except the license for the clinic. You know I can't do that." Why would Zlata care about any of Gregory's stuff OTHER than the license? You guys, I DO NOT GET THIS LICENSE THING AT ALL. What's to stop Zlata just making up a will for Desna, bequeathing the license to herself, and killing Desna? For that matter, if the Hussers fraudulently got Desna to apply for the license in the first place, why couldn't they just as fraudulently have her sign it over to them once she got it? WHY AM I PICKING THESE NITS WHEN THERE ARE ONLY THIRTEEN MORE SECONDS OF SHOW LEFT TO RECAP??? "I want you to open five more clinics," says Zlata, with the confidence of someone whose two existing clinics are running like clockwork and not seriously compromised by one doctor who's paranoid about getting caught and losing her place in the community and another whose waiting room has been filled with junkies in withdrawal all day. Anyway, the clinics? "I'll open three," Desna replies. "I knew I could count on you," says Zlata.
Yep, a great judge of character is what Zlata is for sure!