Claws Tries To Wreak Its Fiery Revenge
Desna's plan to get back at Gregory doesn't go exactly as planned in our latest EPIC OLD-SCHOOL RECAP!
Previously: a bunch of scenes from Season 2, and Juanda's death scene from the Season 1 finale. The proof, by the way, of how much ultimately pointless wheel-spinning we endured last week is that the only scenes from that episode that make it into this segment are pulled from the final act, after Desna came back to Palmetto. A season of TV can just be nine episodes, everybody! No one will be mad about it!
Jacqueline Boyer's French cover of "You Don't Own Me" plays as the camera pushes in on Desna, who's apparently spent the whole night sitting outside while Madame's wedding gown burned.
More time is filled by Desna flashing back through memories of various times Zlata and Gregory made her think she was special. Virginia and Dean come out looking for her and are thrown by the catatonia that has immobilized Desna's whole body except the fingernails of her right hand, which she's tapping on the arm of her chair. When Desna doesn't respond to her, Virginia picks up the blackened remains of Madame's gift and guesses that she burned some drapes. "Wedding dress," Desna finally says, before getting up and telling them she's fine. Dean points to the fire pit as proof that she isn't, but she silences him with a finger: "Dean? Not right now." She turns to Virginia, orders her to get dressed, and strides off. She had a whole night to come up with a plan and couldn't think of one that didn't include Virginia?!
After the title card, we're at Quiet Ann's trailer, as she calls Arlene, who apparently slipped away while Quiet Ann was surfing. We see that Arlene's already in the nondescript government-issue sedan with Lucy, but she keeps up her cover story, saying she had to get to "the store" (where, as far as Quiet Ann knows, Arlene is a security guard) before her boss so he wouldn't dock her pay. Lucy, eavesdropping, rolls her eyes. Quiet Ann settles into a lawn chair and tells Arlene that she knows it's a little soon, but she was wondering if Arlene might want to put their names back on the list at DCF to foster a child. The question seems to strike Arlene in whatever conscience she has left, and she hesitates before getting out of the car and away from Lucy. Quiet Ann can take a hint and decides not to make Arlene stall any longer: "You know what? It's totally cool. If you're not down for it, you know, um, I totally get it." Arlene claims she wants a kid, but she also wants to give their relationship "a beat," and since weeks go by between episodes for us, it can be easy to forget that, in show time, it's only been a couple of days since Quiet Ann and Arlene reunited, so Arlene is actually being extremely nice about what is, on Quiet Ann's part, a CRAZY suggestion. (Or, Arlene isn't being nice at all, and is just trying to keep Quiet Ann on the hook for her own deceptive reasons -- probably much more likely.) Arlene puts a deadline on the decision: "In September, if we're still at it, then I'm game." Quiet Ann confidently says they will be. "Challenge accepted," Arlene does not reply. Dr. Ken's car turns a corner behind her, so Arlene claims her manager's coming and ends the call. "Still sleeping with the enemy, huh?" snips Lucy. "It's going to get messy." Or, once each has betrayed the other, Arlene and Quiet Ann will be even and can proceed on equal footing!
Dr. Ken gets out of his car bitching about Waze and keeping his liquid antacid close at hand. Arlene reminds him that stupid Polly gave them enough incriminating material to get herself locked up for years -- but luckily for him, they're not interested in her. They've heard that Zlata was involved in the shooting at Hammer & Pickle, so if Dr. Ken can help them get evidence to move on her, they'll let Polly off the hook. Dr. Ken, predictably, balks: "I heard that she murdered a family of five and turned them into life-size nesting dolls!" Cute line, but I doubt she'd go to the trouble; she's not Hannibal Lecter. Arlene and Lucy remind Dr. Ken of the stakes one last time before getting back in their car, leaving Dr. Ken to take a swig of Shmylanta and seethe.
When we rejoin Desna, she's back in her Maserati, having apparently just finished catching Virginia up on the Zlata/Gregory situation. It's not just the infidelity that concerns Desna: "They're planning something." Virginia has nothing much to say except her usual nonsense, which Desna quickly shuts down, whereupon Virginia glances over at the speedometer as it crawls up toward 60. "You might want to slow down, girl," Virginia tells her, "'cause I'm not trying to die in this outfit." Desna shushes her again, and Virginia resigns herself to whatever fate has in store for her.
I believe this is the first time we see that Zlata sprung for a "Pussy Power" vanity plate. Say what you will about her nefarious plans and the lives she's destroyed, but you can't deny that when it comes to keeping up a cover story, she does the work.
With no other choice, Dr. Ken shows up at Zlata's house -- the one I totally now know is not the sprawling estate -- to reintroduce himself to her. "I know who you are," she says, unimpressed. "Nervous Jew." Dr. Ken says she's right, adding unnecessarily that he's half Lebanese before volunteering to take on more responsibility in the organization. Zlata, backing him into her taxidermied bear, tells him not to bullshit her: "You want more money. I respect that. Is good you don't steal -- you come to me. You steal, you know what happen! I give you second bris!" Dr. Ken shimmies out from under her bear's claws to follow her as he says he won't: "I need all the penis I have." Zlata orders him to follow her to a sunroom, where Boris and another henchman are waterboarding someone -- or, rather, liquorboarding him, with a handle of vodka. Dr. Ken is, of course, disturbed, and warns that she's going to kill this detainee, to which Zlata sighs that it's Dr. Ken's job to keep him alive until they get the information they need. As the captive struggles and gurgles, Zlata impatiently orders her goons to sit him up, which is when we see that the intended informant is Roller, and that Zlata is trying to get him to tell her where Uncle Daddy is; he insists that he doesn't know. They put him down for another round, but he doesn't break, offering a false story about a fight Uncle Daddy had with Desna about bank accounts. Boris punches Roller out, and Zlata tells Dr. Ken to wake him back up. Dr. Ken tells her that if they keep this up, they'll kill Roller, but Zlata doesn't believe an adult man would be so soft: "In Russia, is baby baptism." Dr. Ken tries to wake Roller up by...gently touching his cheek a couple of times? Bro, if you don't have smelling salts or adrenaline, you're going to have to at least slap him for real. Zlata tells Boris to use "smell"; Boris has a vial of something stinky nearby to stick under Roller's nose, which wakes him up. Zlata cheerily says they'll try a different tactic, which is when a third goon brings in Olga, with Bogdan in her arms. Olga doesn't seem terribly shocked to see Roller strapped to a seesaw, but she also obviously doesn't know that Zlata is already on the record threatening Bogdan's life or she probably wouldn't be spending a lot of time hanging out at home? I know that Roller was in a crisis last week what with Bryce's coma and all, but at no point did he take ten seconds to text her???
Speaking of Bryce: with Jenn's help, he's working with a physical therapist to practice his walking, though he soon gets frustrated and flops back into his wheelchair. The PT gets annoyed by Bryce's defeatist attitude as if he didn't just wake up from a coma LITERALLY YESTERDAY, but once she's flounced off to work with another client, Bryce and Jenn can have a little real talk, which Jenn kicks off: "You going to come here to me and tell me what's wrong? You know, besides the fact that you've got to learn how to walk again?" Again: this time yesterday, Bryce was COMATOSE. You know what's wrong and this is silly! Bryce says he's nervous about another surgery he requires -- this one to remove a bullet fragment from his lung. Jenn assures him that he's going to be fine: "They got you this far, yeah?" "It was mostly you," Bryce tells her. Jenn smiles and kisses his hand, and Bryce smiles back, and I can appreciate that he's re-evaluating his life now that he's been given a second chance at it, but should they not have had a conversation about the relationship that, two days ago, he intended to end in divorce? (Also, if you're wondering how that shot of Hank creeping on the hospital is going to pay off in this episode, your curiosity will not be satisfied this week: Hank does not appear AT ALL.) Anyway: Jenn announces that she hates Zlata for what she did to Bryce, which, duh. Bryce reaches back into his bag of motivational speaker tricks to tell her everything's going to be fine (so I...guess Jenn effectively changed his mind in the past twenty seconds). Jenn threatens to strangle Zlata with her fake ponytail, and when Bryce chuckles, she intensely says she means it. Bryce tells her to forget Zlata, but Jenn never will. Bryce exhibits some impressive self-awareness as he says that Zlata isn't entirely to blame, in that none of this would have happened if he hadn't gone back to work for Uncle Daddy. But he's done with "the life," and thinks that when he's well, they should take whatever money they've saved and move -- maybe even out of Florida entirely, since there's nothing holding them there. Jenn gushes that she loves Bryce and they kiss and I guess the divorce talk is over until Bryce's lawyer sends him an invoice?
Back at the manse, Olga stays close as Zlata gathers up Bogdan and joggles him in her arms, though I guess he gets poked or scratched by one of her dangerous acrylics -- or he knows enough English to understand what she means as she coos, "So little! So fragile! So easy to break!" -- because he starts crying almost immediately. Roller starts struggling against his restraints as Olga figures out what's happening. "It's not up to me, is up to Roller!" gloats Zlata. She asks again where Uncle Daddy is. Roller begs her not to hurt Bogdan. "You're right, hurt is too much effort," beams Zlata, reaching a hand back toward the henchman in the doorway, who puts a gun in it. Olga starts to panic, standing between Roller and Zlata, as Roller screams that he doesn't know anything. Olga joins him in pleading for Bogdan's safety, but backs up when Zlata turns the gun on her. Finally, Roller gives up one piece of true information (that Uncle Daddy killed Chip) and one false (that the last time he saw Uncle Daddy, Roller was putting him on a bus to Greensboro). As Zlata hands Bogdan back to Olga, Roller promises that he doesn't know where Uncle Daddy is now. "You owe me cop," she replies on her way out. When Zlata's gone, Olga orders the goons who remain to free Roller and get out. "That crazy bitch was going to kill our kid," says Roller. "But you saved him," says Olga. "Of course I did, I'm his daddy," says Roller. Apparently this moment has struck Olga in whatever conscience she has left, because she emotionally tells Roller that he's a good man, and that they never should have gotten married...and that Bogdan isn't his son. Roller lets out a long exhale as he takes the baby and Olga keeps repeating that she's sorry. Bogdan quiets in Roller's arms, and Roller gives him a reassuring smile before turning to Olga and ordering her to get away from him. With a clatter of bracelets, she does.
Roller's missing his chance to join Desna's War Cabinet in what is currently Polly's living room. Desna is ranting about wanting to drag Gregory and Zlata's bodies behind her car until they're dead. "You're no killer, Des," says Quiet Ann, quietly. "Yeah, just ask my baby boy," Uncle Daddy cracks. Desna can't with his shit right now, saying this is different: "I want revenge, and I want it bad." Polly and Jenn join Quiet Ann in talking Desna out of committing actual murder, citing Dean as a reason for her to stay out of prison, while Virginia does nothing but irritate Desna with the crinkling of her Hot Cheetos bag. Uncle Daddy has a strategic suggestion, pointing out that Zlata gets her coke from Gregory. Desna likes how he's thinking: "We will destroy their supply, because that shit right there will hurt both of them." Uncle Daddy can take her to the warehouse where Gregory keeps the drugs, and as he goes to make a call to one of his contacts at the docks, Desna says that Zlata taught her how to make a mean Molotov cocktail. Virginia can't believe Desna really wants to burn Gregory's warehouse down, and Uncle Daddy returns to tell her to wait a day: there's a big Caribbean soccer game tomorrow, so Gregory and his people will be out of the warehouse to watch it. Desna's on board. Polly is too. "I can't go home to my babies smelling like arson," says Jenn. Desna tells her not to: Jenn and Polly can handle the shop while Quiet Ann and Virginia go with her. Quiet Ann asks Desna to think this through (by which, I assume, she means rethink bringing Virginia on any mission that requires precision, silence, or KEEPING A LOW PROFILE), but Desna's done thinking about it: "I'm not gonna be played the fool no more. Shit is happening tomorrow."
And sure enough, early the next morning, a boat carrying Roller, Uncle Daddy, Desna, Quiet Ann, and Virginia glides slowly through some canals toward the warehouse. They're all in matching jumpsuits, except Roller, who opted for dark gray over beige and customized his by removing the sleeves; and Virginia, whose navy look really sets off her hair. Quiet Ann urgently tells Desna there's time to change plans: "We can still go to my friend who practises Santería." "No," says Desna firmly. "That takes too long." (I love that that is her reason and not because she doesn't believe it would work.) "I don't like this," says Quiet Ann, one last time, for the record.
The boat pulls up at the warehouse and everyone starts unloading gear. As Roller helps Desna out, she comments that he looks "to' up" and asks if he doesn't want to sit this one out. "It's a Monday for me, baby," he replies. Virginia reaches into a paper bag and starts removing masks, and I'm sure I don't know why Desna entrusted her to do even this, because of course instead of balaclavas she has brought novelty animal masks, which she defensively says are a fashion statement; in the absence of other options, everyone masks up...
...and "The Lion Sleeps Tonight" plays over their march toward the warehouse: Uncle Daddy's a tiger, Desna's a bunny, Quiet Ann's a lion, Virginia's a giraffe, and Roller's a zebra.
As they approach the warehouse, Roller stops Desna and hands her a gun.
At the shop, Jenn's client is regaling her with her story of revenge: she sent a rival a possum in a box, which bit this poor woman's lip off, clearing the path for Jenn's client to end this lipless broad's three-year reign over an apparently very competitive bikini beauty pageant and take the title herself. The two of them are celebrating with Polly when Zlata appears with three old bags from the retirement home and announces that the salon is closed for a private party. "But my nails aren't dry," whines Jenn's client. "Blow hard, tiny girl," Zlata advises. "We're called Little People, asshole," Jenn's client educates Zlata on her way out. Zlata is, predictably, unchastened, and asks for Desna. Jenn and Polly badly cover that she's wedding dress shopping. Zlata says that she brought the raisin brigade to reward their superlative cocaine-cutting work, before turning to Jenn to ask, "Is this going to be problem for you?" "No, I love helping people who paralyze my husband," says Jenn hoarsely.
"Good," says Zlata. "You do me." Look, it's not like I don't understand power plays, but this one is potentially very risky. Zlata needs her hands for murder, and any Florida nail salon could give her like twenty MRSAs without the help of a motivated technician. Also: this will be Jenn's biggest challenge yet to behave In A Dignified Way.
Back to the docks. Desna, Quiet Ann, and Virginia race away from a guy on the other side of the water and then, as soon as they're right at the warehouse, Desna takes off her mask. Now, I am not a drug kingpin. (YOU HEAR THAT, NSA? NOT.) But if I were, I imagine I would festoon my entire facility with security cameras for exactly this eventuality, which I assume is why someone suggested that they wear masks at all, so why would Desna take hers off when they're right there? I mean, granted, if Gregory does have cameras around, he'll probably be able to identify Desna from her body, even in a shapeless jumpsuit, but still. Quiet Ann also takes off her mask before using bolt cutters to break the chain lock on the back door, and Virginia's taken her mask off as well. Guys, like...come on. In they go, gas canisters in tow.
At the shop, Zlata pokes the bruise by commenting to Jenn that it must be hard for her girls with their father in the hospital, as if Jenn is not currently working on her hands with an electric nail file drill -- something I am even wary of and I don't even need my hands to kill anyone. (DON'T, NSA, get it straight.) Tersely, Jenn says they'll survive. Zlata airily says that Bryce won't have to "shit in bag," and will soon be out of the hospital and back at work. Jenn glares. Zlata preens. As anyone could have predicted, Jenn "slips" with the drill and gets Zlata's skin, earning a swift rebuke. Polly tries to lighten the mood by suggesting drinks, and sends Jenn to open the champagne in the fridge while Polly puts on some "upbeat music." Polly then follows Jenn into the back just in time to stop her taking a steadying spoonful of icing (nice callback), and remind her that Russians come after their opponents with nerve gas: "You don't see it? You don't smell it. I've been binge-watching Homeland." Jenn says she wants to kill Zlata -- duh -- and Polly tells her to compartmentalize. "Bryce could die, okay?" says Jenn. "How am I supposed to compartmentalize that?" Polly says she has no choice: "Now take two deep breaths, say The Lord's Prayer, and get back out there and do some acrylic ombrés." Jenn sighs, and complies.
Nail artisans and Hussers creep through the warehouse, where literally no effort has gone into any pretense of disguising what the space is used for. Several duffel bags full of packed kilos are just hanging out on a table, and Gregory has a framed photo of Madame on his desk (wearing what I'm pretty sure is the outfit she had on when Desna first met her -- sloppy, Production Design). Virginia and Quiet Ann start pouring gasoline around, Virginia asking if Madame knows Gregory has a crew and Quiet Ann replying that, for all they know, she runs this operation. I mean, honestly! Then they hear shots outside. Desna stands and draws, but when she shoots at a shape outside the door, it turns out to be Uncle Daddy (which is good, because she misses). Apparently what the women heard was Roller and Uncle Daddy taking out a couple of lower-level guys who didn't get invited to the soccer party; Uncle Daddy assumes the noise will draw the cavalry. Desna orders everybody to douse everything, but Uncle Daddy contradicts her as soon as he sees the duffel bags: "We're taking the coke." Desna yells that the plan is to burn it. "Yeah, well, I'm from the South," says Uncle Daddy. "We burn crosses and matches after we take a shit. Let's get this stuff on the boat." Quiet Ann doesn't look gratified to have all her worries confirmed. Desna appeals to Roller, but he agrees with Uncle Daddy: "Burning's bad business, baby." Quiet Ann refuses, turning to Desna, who tells Uncle Daddy she promised her crew they wouldn't be in the coke game. "Leaving this place empty-handed is not the best revenge," Uncle Daddy counters. "Now, he ruined your life. Tried to ruin all of our lives. We want to take these people down, we need some leverage." Uncle Daddy's voice starts echoing as his words change Desna's mind. "Shit," she hisses, before bellowing, "HE'S RIGHT, PACK IT UP." Quiet Ann refuses again. "YOU ARE NOT IN CHARGE, ANN, I AM," screams Desna. "SHUT UP AND PACK IT." Quiet Ann clearly is not on board, but just as clearly, Desna's not going to hear sense right now.
Just then, shooting resumes outside. There's a general panic of crossfire inside the warehouse and on the way back to the boat, in which Uncle Daddy gets shot in the shoulder. Otherwise, the Nail Artisans and Hussers are unharmed -- and, for their troubles, potentially millions of dollars richer!
Uncle Daddy turns out to have been right about the soccer game, as we watch Gregory rapturously celebrating a goal and buying a round for everybody. His joy, alas, is short-lived: as soon as he's sat back down, he gets a call informing him about the robbery.
Quiet Ann drives Desna and Virginia in her van, predicting that Uncle Daddy will want them to sell the coke. "We're not dealing shit," Desna insists. Virginia starts babbling her willingness to be a "corner boy." Desna and Quiet Ann both tell her to shut up.
In the Subaru, Roller drives while Uncle Daddy holds a bandanna on his wound and fondly remembers that, the last time he got hit, he was doing a job with Roller's daddy. Roller curtly says they'll get him stitched up soon. Uncle Daddy reminisces that he and Roller Sr. were trying to rob a 7-11, and Roller and Uncle Daddy both crack up. "That fool crapped the Slurpee machine," Uncle Daddy adds. Aaaaand that'll be it for me and Coke Slurpees. Roller assures Uncle Daddy that Dr. Ken will have him stitched up in no time, but Uncle Daddy says they don't have time for that: "We've got to secure that cocaine. Time for us to get out of the gulag." He tells Roller to turn up the music and step on it, and Roller obliges as, one assumes, his Slurpee machine-fouling father did before him.
At the shop, Jenn testily asks Zlata whether she wants her cuticles trimmed. "Don't you know by now, Yennifer?" purrs Zlata. "I want it all." Jenn immediately uses her cuticle nippers to take an overly aggressive nip out of Zlata's finger. "I sense resentment," Zlata squints. "Oh, that's so perceptive," Jenn drawls. "I know your family has bills to pay for hospital," says Zlata, and while I let a "Commie Kardashian" crack go unrecapped earlier, I'll note here that if Zlata were a Communist, this would absolutely be the moment she'd start getting real smug about the abuses and inhumanity of American health insurance, and the way I know is that I'm not even a Communist and I'm doing it right now. (If your Congressman or -woman hasn't joined the Medicare For All caucus, call him or her and ask why!) Anyway, this is a prelude to Zlata slapping down a fat stack of crisp hundred-dollar bills and telling Jenn to take it. "I don't want your blood money, Zlata," Jenn sniffs. "I'm being generous," says Zlata, smacking it down again. "Your husband try kill me." Like...she's not actually wrong. "Yeah," says Jenn, "and then you shot him point-blank." Polly breaks in to suggest that Jenn think of the cash as "a big, big, big-ass tip." Jenn tells her to stay out of it. Zlata guesses that this is a negotiating tactic on Jenn's part, and drops a second stack on top of the first: "I want things to be good between us." Polly, of course, can't stay out of it: "You know, if somebody's trying to give you money, take it like a welfare queen!" Carrie Preston guest shot in GLOW Season 3, thanks in advance. Jenn puts the cash in her drawer and tightly thanks Zlata, saying it'll be helpful, at which Zlata loudly yawns at her before saying she's glad she can help. She then leans her head on one hand, her Boy George hat drooping between them.
Suddenly, there's a clap of thunder and the power goes out. Polly cheerfully says the power will be back up soon, and as Jenn stares at Zlata's head, one of the coke-cutters intones, "Careful what you wish for, dear." "Wouldn't want to be cavalier," says another. The three of them take turns reciting a south Florida take on the spells cast by the Weird Sisters in Macbeth -- "By menthol cough and midriff top"; "By rebel flag and hookah shop"; etc. Jenn, unnerved, tells them they should take this show on the road, "right, Pol?" But, of course, Polly isn't hearing this. The pensioners all urge Jenn, "Kill the bitch," and Jenn does pick up and contemplate a very pointy nail cleaner, but then the hat comes up, with Jenn under it.
"You kill me, you become me," both Jenns say in unison. Then the lights come back on and Jenn snaps out of her fantasy -- just in time for Zlata to get a call from Gregory.
Also discussing this situation are Desna, Quiet Ann, and Virginia, stripping off their jumpsuits by the van. Quiet Ann asks rhetorically if Desna knows how much time they could do for this. Desna -- with...no basis at all, really -- declares, "Nobody is going down for this," but that's not going to work on Quiet Ann right now: "You don't know that! You just keep putting us all at risk." Desna argues that she made a smart move, since Gregory will think a rival crew robbed him. "You just keep getting us deeper and deeper into your bullshit," says Quiet Ann. Desna claims she's trying to get them all out from under "this shit." "HOW," demands Quiet Ann. "By stealing coke from the Haitian Mafia and storing it in the salon?" "Exactly," says Desna. Over Quiet Ann's mirthless, sarcastic laugh, Desna goes on: "And if you're in it, you do what I say. So stand down....Be easy." Quiet Ann says it's too late for "easy": "I'm out." "Damn, what is wrong with her?" mutters Virginia.
Jenn and Polly have just closed when Quiet Ann marches in from the back, bellowing, "Y'all are not going to believe this shit." Jenn and Polly have no idea what she might be referring to, so it's helpful when Virginia comes struggling in under the weight of her duffel bag, crowing, "Y'all, we just stole a buttload of coke!" Desna comes in behind her with a couple of bags of her own. For those who are just tuning in, I guess, Jenn says they were supposed to have burned it, and when Polly joins in her protests, Desna impatiently says it's only going to be there overnight, and orders Roller and Uncle Daddy, who are bringing in the last of the bags, to put it in her office. Quiet Ann gives Jenn a side hug as she tells her, "It's been nice knowing you. I'm officially tapping out." The reason it's only half a hug is that she's just retrieved her bat and is holding it in the other hand, which at least explains why she came inside at all. Other people depart a job on their last day with a box holding, like, photos and hand sanitizer and maybe a plant. Quiet Ann? Bat. As Quiet Ann hugs her, Polly begs her to talk about it, but Quiet Ann will not. Anxiously, Jenn reminds Desna that she'd said they weren't going to do this, but Desna yelps at her that it's only temporary, before turning back to Quiet Ann and yelling at her to quit tripping. Roller backs up Desna: "Chill the hell out, we just need a safe place to chop and bag the tony. First thing in the morning, we're gone!" "Well, you ain't gonna cut it here!" Jenn protests. More urgently, she turns to Desna: "Do not let them cut it here." "Hey, calm your tits, will ya?" grunts Uncle Daddy, who...probably really should not have been carrying a giant bag of cocaine what with his GUNSHOT WOUND. "We ain't trying to turn you into runners. Barely run a nail salon." Hurtful and, from what we've seen, inaccurate, although I guess the show doesn't include all the people who walk in and immediately leave on days when the wait for a polish change is going to be four hours because there are only two technicians there, BUT ANYWAY this is when Polly notices Uncle Daddy holding his shoulder and goes over to take a look at it. "I'm out," Quiet Ann says for the 400th time, like, WE CAN'T MISS YOU IF YOU DON'T LEAVE. If you're not trying to get talked out of your decision, quit saying goodbyes and go already! "So now you a choirboy, assault and battery?" says Desna bitterly. Quiet Ann turns around to level Desna: "I know there's a part of you that just loves the drama, right? Living on the edge? But I'm not wearing an orange jumpsuit again -- not ever." "None of y'all had to had to come back here, Ann!" screeches Desna. Quiet Ann throws Desna her keys, saying "Call me when you wake up."
After a breath, Jenn calmly asks Desna what their next move is. Desna proves she hasn't entirely lost her senses as she replies that Jenn's next move is to go to the hospital and be with her man. Jenn makes some noises like she's going to try to argue about it, but Desna insists, and Jenn hustles out.
Zlata walks into the warehouse, demanding to know what's so important that she should have to leave the nail salon naked. It must be said that her natural nails really do look sad and vulnerable.
"Two hundred and fifty kilos are gone," says Gregory. "A crew broke into my warehouse, killed my men, and filled a boat with the drugs. It better not be your men." Zlata says what is extremely obvious: "Why would I steal from myself? We in this together, remember?" She's about to light a cigar she's just produced from her purse when Gregory takes a whiff of the air and stops her: "They doused the place." Zlata asks, "Who did this?," like, I'm not sure Gregory's the best person to ask given that two seconds ago and against all logic he thought it was her. "Colombians?" she guesses. "Aryan Brotherhood?" "Could be," says Gregory. "Or Clay." He fails to add that Uncle Daddy might be motivated by Zlata's having just shot one of his closest family members, which I definitely would have were I him. Zlata says they'll get to the bottom of this, and strides out.
In the back room at the shop, Polly digs the bullet out of Uncle Daddy's shoulder while Virginia, Desna, and Roller sit around moping. "You could've told me you were going to change it up before game time," Desna crabs to Uncle Daddy. "I lost one of my girls 'cause of you." Mmmm, no, actually, Desna, I think Quiet Ann is quite capable of distinguishing between Uncle Daddy decisions and Desna decisions, and the sooner you own this one, the better! Polly, now stitching Uncle Daddy's wound, is confident that Quiet Ann will come to her senses. "I hope that damn Ruval is somewhere twisting in the wind," mutters Desna. "Stole 2 mil from him," drawls Roller. "He's twistin'." Desna paces as she says she can't figure out what Gregory and Zlata's plan is: "Out of all the people in the world, why come after me?" Desna notes Uncle Daddy's determined silence and guesses he knows more than he's told her. He briefly tries to put her off, but when she threatens to go into the office and burn all the cocaine, he exchanges a look with Roller and explains: "Because of your license....The license to run the clinic!" Desna has no idea what he's talking about. "It's the reason we picked you!" Uncle Daddy tells her. "Besides having a cash business to smurf, you had a clean record....When we decided to expand the clinic operation, the feds were cracking down on passing out licenses -- especially to people with records. Roller here couldn't get one because of the bit he did down in Miami, dumbass. Bryce, he's a crackhead, so that's no good, right?" Polly asks about Juanda and Jenn, and Uncle Daddy chuckles that their records were longer than anyone's: "But you, Desna. You was clean, girl." Desna says she didn't sign anything, to which he snorts that she may not have thought so, but that, at some point, she did: "Now that your name's on the license, that means you're the only one that can open up more clinics. That's how they opened the new one with you." Roller speaks for me by noting that Gregory, a doctor, could have gotten a license, but Uncle Daddy says "they" weren't issuing any more. Desna's eyes fill as Uncle Daddy continues: "But if Ruval marries you, then, uh, he gets the license. When you die."
Now, this tale does explain why Gregory would have hatched this plan to pursue Desna in the first place. But can we just take a second and think it through? We found out in the Season 1 finale that the Haitians and the Hussers were allied, and leaving aside the fact that Gregory was presumably always going to ankle the Dixie Mafia even before Zlata came to town (I'm assuming Zlata and Gregory's plan doesn't go back further than that, since I don't see the two of them keeping up a lively Slack channel to plot if for no other reason than that the time difference would make it inconvenient), then all the Hussers probably knew this whole time what Gregory's endgame was and none of them said anything? Roller's little digs at Gregory to Desna hardly rise to the level of what we would expect him to do to keep her from GETTING ASSASSINATED ON HER WEDDING NIGHT, right?
Then there's the license itself. I have no way of knowing whether Uncle Daddy's claims about a crackdown on the issuance of new licenses is actually true on either the state or federal level in our reality. But even accepting the premise that any licensing body would be sufficiently engaged to do the bare minimum required for this backstory to make sense -- run a background check on Desna -- wouldn't that turn up the fact that she is an aesthetician with an unstable income such that her being in a position to open one pain clinic makes no sense, never mind a second or the three more that are planned? There's a crackdown, but it doesn't include an enforcement component that would, I don't know, send an agent or two to come and meet Desna -- not even sometime between the opening of the first clinic and the second? No one ever came to interview her about her application because all you have to do to get a license to open a medical practice with hundreds of thousands of dollars' worth of narcotics on site is to sign one form?! Sure. SURE!!!
Okay, so back to the scene. "He was going to kill me?" gasps Desna. Uncle Daddy opens his mouth, but can't answer. Desna then turns on Roller, demanding, "You was gonna let him kill me?!" Roller bats her hands away and claims he didn't know anything about this, and maybe he didn't, but he certainly has been letting the truth dribble out slowly over the past couple of episodes, so I wouldn't necessarily assume this denial is based in fact; anyway, Uncle Daddy says they never would have let it go that far. Desna has had it: "Y'all have been rolling over me since Day One....I am done with all of this: go get all your shit, and get out of my salon!" When Uncle Daddy doesn't move fast enough, she smacks him on his shoulder wound to hurry him up.
Quiet Ann, driving, calls Arlene, who says she'll be home in half an hour. Of course, Arlene is in the back of a surveillance van with Lucy who, when Arlene hangs up, pointedly clears her throat. "Don't," says Arlene. "I'm not sayin' nothin'," says Lucy, holding up her hands in surrender. The conversation can't go further than that because then Dr. Ken is opening up the back door triumphantly: "Two words, ladies. Waterboarding." "Technically that's one word," says Arlene. Dr. Ken blows by that, handing his wire back to Lucy and confirming that he and Polly are now off the hook; Arlene says that, since he gave up a bigger fish, they are. Given that the crimes for which he and Polly have now received immunity from prosecution are entirely enmeshed in Zlata's -- for whom Lucy and Arlene will now get an arrest warrant -- this seems unlikely, but I am not a cop. "Is it just me or are we going to miss working with each other?" asks Dr. Ken. "Definitely just you," Lucy assures him, before ordering him to close the door. HANDS UP, EVERYONE WHO THINKS THIS ISN'T OVER.
Oh man, I shouldn't have closed that last paragraph with all-caps because now we're in the front of the shop, where Desna is spinning the FUCK out at Polly and Virginia about Gregory's plan to kill her, and...okay, yeah, I guess this level of hysteria is warranted under the circs. Polly rather lamely says, "It's going to work itself out," because what the hell else CAN she say? "You have just got to keep playing your part," she adds, "until we're in the clear." Desna is still actively weeping when the door jingles. "Start playing your part, right now," says Virginia briskly, because of course their after-hours visitor is Gregory. He notices that Desna's crying and asks if everything's okay, and Desna covers by saying she was laughing really hard at Polly's reminiscences about her time singing backup for Bell Biv Devoe, and if Polly's "Never trust a big butt with a smile" is supposed to underline the weakness of her lies, good job, since it's "Never trust a big butt AND a smile," as we ALL know.
Gregory is a horrible man, but his tolerant smile in this moment is a poem. Desna asks what he's doing there, and he reminds her that he was going to cook her dinner tonight. "Right, it's Thursday," Desna winces. (I thought Roller said it was Monday, but maybe I just don't understand his jokes OR HIS MUSHMOUTHED ACCENT.) She says she forgot. He asks if they should go, and she says she'll just get her stuff. Virginia quickly says they were supposed to watch a Housewives reunion -- which they definitely weren't, since no Housewives airs new episodes on Thursdays (I couldn't get into the vicissitudes of pain clinic licensing, but that I could fact-check!), but Desna says she'll catch up with them later. Extremely intense looks are exchanged, Virginia telling her to "be safe."
Guys, what if the show kills Desna before Season 3? jkjkjk
After commercials (and, apparently, a costume change and full hair and makeup for Desna), dinner is over, and Gregory and Desna are canoodling on his couch. She's making a minimal effort to seem like she's into some sexual healing, but can't commit. Gregory obviously notices her chilliness, which at first she chalks up to her worry about Bryce, and then says is because she thinks they should cease boning until their wedding night, to make it special. Obviously I see where she's coming from, but this is hardly "playing her part"!!! She promises that it will be worth the wait when he sees her in her wedding dress, and though he tries to push his luck by sucking on her thumb, when that doesn't thaw her, he agrees to her terms and goes to get more wine/possibly stick his boner in the ice bucket.
Arlene got home early enough to put on her fake security guard uniform and is sitting on her bed taking off the boots she presumably just put on when Quiet Ann comes in and kneels to help her with her laces. Arlene asks if she's okay, and Quiet Ann looks up at her with tears in her eyes: "Everything's gone sideways." Arlene takes Quiet Ann's hands in hers to get her attention; Quiet Ann continues resisting her but eventually lets Arlene pull her up to sit on the bed beside her. "What the hell happened?" Arlene asks. "I work with some shitty people who do some shitty things and I've got to get out of there," Quiet Ann says. Fact check: true. Also, not new information for Arlene. "I never wanted this," says Quiet Ann, breaking down. Arlene pulls Quiet Ann's head onto her shoulder as Quiet Ann sobs.
The next morning, Desna comes down in a spectacular skin-tight two-piece equestrian Hermes knockoff, but stops to listen when she hears Gregory on the phone, talking about finding out "who's responsible for this" and demanding that whomever he's talking to "check on all the Russians." She hears him end the call and arranges herself into her normal manner before coming around the corner to greet him. He takes a little longer to replace his angry face with a smile for her as he says he thought she was sleeping. She awkwardly claims, "My, um-- Dean! Brother! Called, and-- A lizard got in the house!" Gregory will call her later. She gives him a brief kiss, and as soon as she's outside, she places a call telling someone she has an idea: "Meet me at the spot."
The person Desna called is Roller, "the spot" is the parking lot directly in front of the shop, and her idea is that he plant some of the coke on one of Zlata's henchmen: it worked with the Coonses (true), and Gregory already suspects the Russians, DESPITE ALL LOGIC. Roller says that Uncle Daddy will kill him, since they intend to sell the coke themselves, but Desna says he doesn't have to sell all of it. "Yeah, and what's that gonna do," drawls Roller. "It's gonna start a war," she replies. Just as an aside, I can't believe that (a) Roller is awake this early in the morning and (b) how much earlier than this he must have gotten up to put foundation on his entire torso before meeting her.
Instead of taking a position on Desna's proposal either way, Roller announces that Bogdan isn't his son. Hey, what's going to happen with all that now? No idea, since we haven't seen Roller and Olga discuss it since she first told him. Desna sincerely says she's sorry to hear that, adding, "Don't worry. We're going to make them pay for all of it."
Then we're inside a shitty apartment as Roller creeps along the balcony outside, easily breaks into the sliding door, clears some space on a pantry shelf, and slides a duffel bag into it. Still INSIDE the shitty apartment, he pulls out a burner phone and texts Gregory, "I KNOW WHERE YOUR BLOW IS."
At the shop, Desna is impatiently waiting for Roller to give her the high sign. Virginia enters -- late -- with Dean. Virginia wanted Dean to tend to Desna emotionally but obviously couldn't tell him exactly what Desna is dealing with, so she said Desna was up all night doing inventory, and thus Dean has brought her some overnight oats and an egg white omelet. Desna is touched by both of them, and as Virginia takes off, Desna assures Dean that he doesn't have to worry about her. This seems especially true as she picks up her phone to a text from Roller informing her, "We good." Her mood improves immediately and she tells Dean that "all that bad road" is about to be behind them, and they're going to go back to the way things were, just the two of them. In the meantime, they can spend this whole day together. He wants to go fly a kite at Lido Beach, and she is all about it. Off they go! Sounds fun!
The first time we see Jenn today, she's breathlessly running up the hall as Bryce is being wheeled into surgery. She assures him that he'll be okay, and since her lateness is weird and no explanation is offered for it, my suspicion is that there was a Jenn/Hank scene somewhere before this that got cut. Anyway, to assure Bryce about their future, she pulls out the hundreds Zlata gave her and uses them to fan herself, then him. She gets tearful as she grips his hand and tells him she'll be there when he gets out, and that she and their daughters all love him. Off he goes.
WAY too much water is on the stove at the shitty apartment, boiling for a box of macaroni and cheese. In the living room, Boris -- for apparently the shitty apartment is his -- is in his underwear doing pull-ups with his legs straight out in front of him, and one thing I know about guys who are this into their bodies is that they LOVE shitty carbs with no nutritional value. Soon enough, a couple of members of Gregory's crew kick the door open. The camera cuts to the kitchen peninsula so we can see there's a gun on it, but Boris doesn't get to it in time before one henchman restrains him, and then we see that...Gregory himself is there? Risking the chance that he'll leave a fingerprint or other physical evidence of himself at a crime scene? THIS GUY IS SLOPPY AS FUCK. Anyway, Gregory states that Boris has something that belongs to him, while a second henchman opens the pantry and finds the bag of coke immediately. Boris disclaims knowledge, so the henchman holding him sticks his face in the boiling water for a few seconds and then, on Gregory's nod, snaps his neck and drops him. Gregory tells the henchman to pass him the sachet of cheese, which he rips open -- blowing into it to expand it like a real pro of shitty cuisine, which I would not have guessed him to be -- and then empties onto Boris's corpse, muttering, "Filthy Russians." Bro, you could have taken it with you and made your next batch of Kraft Dinner twice as cheesy! Think ahead, man!
And then Desna is happily descending the commune stairs, done up for the beach. Dean realizes that he forgot his sunglasses, and as he goes back in to get them, Lucy pulls up, Arlene riding shotgun. Apparently Desna doesn't notice the badge on Arlene's belt as she cheerfully asks what she's doing there. "You're under arrest for money laundering and fraud," Arlene replies. Cuffing her, Lucy starts reading Desna her rights. Desna keeps protesting as they lead her to their car; when Lucy does the cop thing of keeping Desna from bumping her head as she gets in, Desna uses her deepest diaphragm voice to growl, "DON'T TOUCH MY HAIR, BITCH." Extremely on brand, hee. Desna tries to get Arlene to talk to her: "Does Ann know about this?!" Arlene just looks at her, and Desna hisses, "Shit," and while Quiet Ann is obviously pissed at Desna, I don't think she's so angry that she'd want Desna to be under the impression that she was working with the authorities! Lucy's backing the car out of the driveway as Dean comes out and sees them all pulling away. Calling Desna's name, Dean starts chasing after the car, distressed, and Desna, in the back seat, silently cries. He did tell you to stop making stupid life choices, Desna. Should've listened to him and not Uncle Daddy.