EPIC OLD-SCHOOL RECAP: Claws Scratches Its Way Through Its Season Finale Showdowns
Who lives? Who dies? Who gets kidnapped? And does everyone make it through with all ten acrylics intact?!
Previously on Claws: nine glorious episodes that totally validated the love we expressed for it on Extra Hot Great back in June. What this segment particularly wants us to remember as we head into the Season 1 finale is: the crew from Nail Artisans Of Manatee County was on the verge of having all their dreams come true as Desna arranged to move them into Glint, a nail salon in a very upscale part of town; Desna started dating prominent gynecologist Dr. Gregory Ruval while she mistakenly thought Roller was dead, but now Roller's back and PISSED; Bryce kicked fellow Dixie Mafioso Ted from Georgia head-first into a step, killing him; Roller made Desna drive him in around in what, let's face it, was the worst episode of the season, demanding to know why no one from his family came to look for him while he was being held hostage by Gladys; they ended up at an abandoned amusement park, where Roller forced Desna to her knees and held a gun to her forehead as she begged for her life and told him she loved him; she told him he couldn't kill her, and ended up being right; but then, it also ended up not mattering to either of them when some Russians showed up and started shooting at both of them; and when we last saw Desna, she was showing us the black pleather back of her jumpsuit as she hauled her perfect ass away from the various mobsters trying to kill each other.
...and that's where we pick back up! Desna shows us the cheetah-print front of her jumpsuit as she runs through the rusty metal and broken glass of this derelict fun fair -- which, given the extremes of Florida's climate, might have closed five years ago or, like, last week. Of course Niecy Nash has zero problem running in heels, and I feel confident that would also be true of Desna even if, at this moment, she wasn't boosted by adrenaline.
Elsewhere, Roller crouches and reloads and I wonder if his amazing teal and magenta floral-print pants are available in women's sizes or if they're maybe only available in women's sizes?
Cut to the park entrance, where Quiet Ann is driving the van with Virginia and Polly hanging out the window and open side door, screaming Desna's name. Dean is tracking Desna's phone on his own; he directs Quiet Ann to where the green dot seems to indicate she should be, and Polly screams that she must be either in her car or the one parked nose to nose with it up ahead. The van screeches to a stop and out pile Polly and Virginia, while Dean stays inside, anxiously saying he's going to do some breathing exercises...which lasts as long as it takes for Virginia to scream "WHAT?!" at him, whereupon he changes his mind. THIS IS NO TIME TO BREATHE, DEAN!!! As we know, Desna is nowhere near the cars right now...
...but this dude is, and freaks out Quiet Ann. Virginia reaches into Desna's car window and produces her phone. Dean can't quite understand in the moment that the green dot doesn't actually correlate to Desna herself, continuing to pound on the car and yell her name -- it seems like he may think she's locked in the trunk, which isn't such a crazy guess -- and Virginia quickly gives up trying to explain.
Elsewhere, Roller and Boris shoot at each other -- badly, totally missing every shot. That kind of accuracy's not going to get you promoted out of the henchman caste!
The Nail Artisans Featuring Dean troop back into the van, which rolls through the park in search of Desna.
Intra-mobster shooting continues, still without result. They are really going to be embarrassed when they find out we were totally all watching them fire wildly and hit nothing but the odd carousel horse or some shit.
And THEN, Desna staggers onto a walkway just in time to see Quiet Ann's van speeding by. She starts chasing the van, screaming Ann's name -- which also flushes Roller and Boris out from wherever they were. Desna continues running and screaming and once again I just want to remind you she is in the highest of heels and wherever they filmed this in Louisiana it was probably 200 degrees with 5000% humidity and Desna's pendant could not be more appropriate.
I do Believe. I believe Niecy Nash is a goddamn superhero.
In the van, Polly finally notices Desna running after them and yells at Quiet Ann to back up. At this, Roller changes up his priorities and starts chasing Desna, yelling threats about killing her with his bare hands, which, you already tried that shit once when only one of her girls was nearby; how do you think it's going to end when she's backed up by her full posse? Anyway, Desna's got a considerable lead on Roller and safely gets yanked into the van, and Roller's defeated exhaustion takes us into the hand claps and title card.
As Quiet Ann speeds the van away from the park, a sweaty and spent Desna still manages to find the strength to scream that the Russians said they might try to take Jenn's kids, so they have to warn Jenn. Polly tries calling both Jenn and Bryce, and when neither picks up, Desna tells Quiet Ann to take them to Jenn's house.
Why isn't Jenn picking up? And, also, why won't it probably be that useful to go to her house? Because she's just finished fucking Hank and is just now waking up at his place -- which the show makes sure we can identify by showing us this hilarious collection of items on his nightstand.
Jenn blinks and then focuses on a few pieces of jewellery in particular, in the shadow of Hank's P90X system.
I guess they agreed they should both take off their rings lest their hands get so lubey that either of them might lose a ring...uh...in the other? Anyway, Hank starts stroking Jenn's arm; she smiles and turns to him with a "hey" before rolling over and adding, "Oh -- wet spot. That's real." Hank grinningly offers to "help [her] with that," but she cheerfully says, "You've just got to rip it off, like a scab." Not "like a Band-Aid," so maybe it'll turn out that Jenn's kids are actually perfectly safe from any kidnapper that didn't want to take in a child covered in the unsightly pock marks that are the result of Jenn's first aid techniques. Hank tells Jenn she's amazing, to which she grunts, "I think you're still seeing me through cum-coloured glasses, boo." One of Warby Parker's worst-selling designs. Jenn barely gets one drag off the cigarette she's just lit before they're gearing up for another round, the bottle opener on Hank's chain grazing Jenn's cleavage seductively and then a question mark. Jenn's phone buzzes to life, dozens of ignored text notifications filling the screen. She ignores this noise too, and the scene ends before we find out whether and how she incorporates the cigarette and/or the bottle opener into their hot interfaith coitus.
At her beautifully appointed estate, Riva is snuggling a baby and apparently successfully managing not to shiv it with her long, pointy, possibly metal, definitely jewel-encrusted right middle finger.
"Yuri fell," says Boris concisely as he enters. "I'm sorry, Mom." "I am not your mother," says Riva, still beaming at the baby. "This is new Yuri," she adds, indicating another henchman seated across from her. He nods, and we never find out whether he accepts his rebranding more because he's a loyal soldier or because he never liked being named, like, Percy. Or...Ьeяcц. "Your name is Yuri now, understand?" she tells him. "Yes, Mother," he replies. "I am not your mother," she repeats. As running jokes go, this is a D. Or...Д. "These bumbling corn shuckers need a lesson," coos Riva. "Let's show how we do in the other Georgia." With fewer pecans, probably.
Over at She She's, Bryce and Uncle Daddy are apparently just hanging out when Roller calls, warning Bryce to go get the kids: "I took one of the Russians out....You've got to get the girls, man." Instantly panicking, Bryce screams back to Roller demanding to know what the girls have to do with this, to which Roller screams back, "JUST GET THE GIRLS!!!" But Jenn's still not picking up. Uncle Daddy tells Bryce to go deal with that, turning back to Roller on the phone to growl, "Do you understand what you did, you dumb idgit?! GOT DAMMIT!" He orders Roller back to the club as Bryce, behind him, calls a neighbour asking her to check whether Jenn's car is at their house and ask her to go knock on the door "just in case," so: no.
Uncle Daddy then calls Juanda and orders her to come to the club: "We are at war." Juanda, messing around in her closet, gasps with excitement: "Who with?" As she rushes around filling a reusable grocery bag with jewellery, Uncle Daddy explains: "The Russians. Roller killed one of them. There's something else I've got to tell you: Bryce, uh, accidentally killed Ted from Georgia, so, those-- There's that too." Juanda can't understand how you could do that "on a accident," but now's not the time: Uncle Daddy just repeats his direction that she come to the club: "It's the only place that's safe." I mean...not for Ted from Georgia? "We haven't had a war in centuries!" squeals Juanda. "Hoo, I'm a puddle downstairs!" Well, uh, she's about to be, but not the good kind like you want. All the more reason for her to get her "sweet bony ass" to the club, according to Uncle Daddy. Juanda says she's on her way, and when she hangs up, and we finally find out where Brienne and Baylor are when Juanda calls out for them to get ready to go. Receiving no response but hearing an ominous thump somewhere in the house, Juanda grabs a very ladylike little pistol from a cabinet and slowly walks through her gigantic closet trying to find the source of the rustling she can hear until...
Looks like Juanda has received some excellent firearms safety training!
Juanda hustles the girls out to her SUV and is getting them situated in the back seat when she glances at her hand and realizes she's left her wedding ring. Promising the girls she'll be right back, she races back inside to get a lesson about people being more important than things. A Russian henchman is messing with her tchotchkes in the living room, and when she draws on him only to alert him to her presence when he hears the click of her unloaded weapon, he advances on her, punching her across the face. Juanda's not out of tricks yet, though.
Juanda then grabs a heavy piece of decorative art and smashes the guy in the face.
A lot. But then it's New Yuri's time to shine!
Yuri seems pretty confident that his gut shot is damage enough and saunters off as Juanda continues bleeding through her white suit and onto her white carpet. Zero percent chance Uncle Daddy gets to that with dish soap and cold water fast enough to handle that stain.
At She She's, no one knows what's going on or where Juanda is. Uncle Daddy is tense. Bryce is frantic.
Toby, god bless him, supremely DGAF. Uncle Daddy tries to call Juanda, and when she doesn't pick up, they head for the house to investigate.
I'm slightly surprised to see that Uncle Daddy's ride is a black four-door town car? It doesn't seem nearly showy enough, but then again, I guess when you're in the Dixie Mafia, you have to pick your spots, flamboyance-wise. Bryce and Uncle Daddy pop out of the car, each with a gun in his hand, screaming "Mama!" or "Juanda!" depending on, you know, the relationship. It's not clear whether Juanda crawled to this spot, slumped against a couch so that she'd be the first thing anyone saw as soon as they came inside, or if New Yuri positioned her there, but: Bryce rushes to her as soon as he gets to the top of the stairs from the foyer and almost as quickly shrinks back because he doesn't know where to begin with the parts of her that are oozing blood right now. Uncle Daddy is soon at Bryce's side demanding to know what happened, and from her bloody mouth comes "I got shot." She then tells Bryce that the girls are in her car, and it actually seems like Bryce might be about to start interrogating his actively dying mother about why they're with her and not Jenn before he realizes maybe the more important thing to do right now is get them, and he takes off. "I got one of them," says Juanda of the Russian home invaders when she and Uncle Daddy are alone. "Aw, you did," laughs Uncle Daddy through his tears. "That's my girl." It really is a shame he didn't actually get to see her pull that knife from under her skirt seconds after taking a pretty serious punch, because it was badass, but I suppose that probably wasn't her first time doing it.
Outside, Bryce opens the car door; finding just Baylor (the blonde one) inside, he starts yelling for Brienne, and he's already pulled out his phone and placed a call before he notices the message on his daughter's forehead.
If you can't have the forethought to carry a notepad, you can at least demonstrate the ability to improvise.
In the house, Uncle Daddy tries to pick up Juanda to take her for medical attention, but she simply sighs, "Too late." Uncle Daddy starts sobbing. "My daddy never did want me to marry you," murmurs Juanda. "I know, I know, baby, I know he didn't," babbles Uncle Daddy. "He said you weren't fit to clean the cat shit off a possum's dick," Juanda adds. The rare insult that doubles as a compliment! I certainly don't think of myself as being fit to clean the cat shit off a possum's dick and I pray I never find out otherwise. But Juanda's not finished regaling Uncle Daddy with her father's greatest roast lines: "Called you drunker than a cur and a cocksucker no-good reprobate of a whore's son." Juanda, I know you're past the point of taking notes, but "cat shit off a possum's dick" is your closer. "You were all those things," she says, "and so much more, baby. Oh, I love you. Clay! I always have!" "I love you too, baby," burbles Uncle Daddy. "I'll be right behind you, girl. You wait for me at those pearly gates, you hear me? This world's no place for me without you." Juanda shushes Uncle Daddy, telling him he's going to live: "You're going to hurt. You hurt really, really bad." And then she's gone, leaving us to watch the sweat drip off Dean Norris's dome and his meaty hand weirdly bunching up Juanda's hair as he sobs and sobs. This feels like way too much time saying goodbye to a character we barely knew. I mean, maybe the point is to set up a vengeance rampage he'll undertake in Season 2, but...it's not like he doesn't still have Toby. Anyway, after panting for a while, Uncle Daddy gives Juanda a last kiss on the forehead and departs and I honestly love that we get to see the two sweat lungs on the back of his shirt.
Humidity in the southeast is NO JOKE.
I assume they cut the scene where the van goes by Jenn's to no avail, because when we next see the Nail Artisans crew, they're entering Desna and Dean's house, Desna perfunctorily sending Dean to his room so that she and the rest of the ladies can discuss where Jenn could be other than where they've already looked: her old place, her new place, the fondue place, the day care center. Maybe now they should try looking for Jenn in the least likely places: a raw vegan restaurant; an art house cinema; Lady Foot Locker. In the background, Dean announces that he needs to talk to Desna. She tries to put him off, but he wants to know why Roller was trying to kill her. "Dean, it's a long story," Desna sighs. Dean: "Yeah, I have time." Realizing she can't get out of it, Desna says that Roller was really mad because she and Virginia-- "Tried to kill him," Virginia says when Desna trails off. "That part," Desna reluctantly confirms. Dean is upset, so Desna tries to explain: "We were really mad at him, okay? For a lot of reasons." Dean reminds her that when they went to the Coombses', she wouldn't let Dean kill them. Desna knows, and she's sorry. "Don't be sorry, do better!" yells Dean. "Don't be-- Do better, Dean, do better," he adds, more quietly. Desna tries to explain that her life is out of control right now. "THEN STOP MAKING STUPID LIFE CHOICES!" Dean snaps, storming out of the room and slamming his door. Desna doesn't get a chance to try to smooth this one over, because at this point her phone rings: it's Bryce, looking for Jenn. Desna tells him she doesn't know where Jenn is either, and that they've been looking for her everywhere. Desperately, Bryce tells Desna, "They took Brienne," and adds that they shot Juanda. Desna promises that they'll find Jenn, and hangs up, announcing to the room, "The Russians took Jenn's daughter." "Which one?" gasps Polly. "Brienne," says Desna.
After Desna has also relayed the news about Juanda (though none of them knows yet that Juanda's dead, since Bryce didn't say), Virginia says she doesn't want to call Jenn out, but that she's always square-dancing with Hank down the strip mall: "Coming back with that certain smell? You know, like yard onions and conditioner?" AAAAAAAAUGH okay, Virginia, points for being picturesque, but also aaaaaaaaaaaugh. Also keep a sachet of Wet Wipes in your purse, Jenn, damn. Desna tells them to lock the door and look after Dean, and heads out.
Somehow Desna knows where Hank lives? (I guess I should assume Desna knows everything about everything.) When Hank opens the door, Desna says she needs to talk to Jenn, and Hank, accurately reading the situation as one in which he shouldn't try to lie for her, says Jenn's right behind him -- and she is, doing up the snaps on Hank's shirt. Jenn starts out defiantly telling Desna not to judge her because this isn't what it looks like, but can't even get to the end of the sentence before admitting that it actually is exactly what it looks like. With tears in her eyes, Desna tells Jenn, "The Russians got Brienne." Jenn immediately starts gathering her things, and shrieks at Desna, "This is all because of what you did! Every single bit of it!" Desna tries to tell Jenn that Roller's shit with the Russians has nothing to do with Desna, but Jenn's not trying to hear it, and Desna promises to fix it anyway.
At She She's, Bryce and a stripper work on getting the Sharpie off Baylor's forehead while Toby sits near them without (a) helping or (b) caring. Toby is the best. In the foreground, Uncle Daddy stands at the bar and regards the gun in his hand before smashing the bottle of whiskey on the floor. Bryce asks the stripper to take Baylor to Uncle Daddy's office, but before she can, Roller jogs in, full of cheery concern for "pumpkin bear" (take another pass at that endearment, Uncle Sonny). Roller asks where Brienne is, to which Bryce spits, "You tell me." At that moment Jenn storms in demanding to know where Baylor is, with Desna close behind. Bryce sends her to the office. "Oh, you can't even look at me?" snarls Jenn at Bryce on her way past. Amid all this, Uncle Daddy's phone has started ringing, so he tells everyone to shut up and takes the call: "It's that Russian bitch." Don't even try pretending you don't know your biggest rival's name, bro.
"Your son is an idiot," purrs Riva (accurately), as we see what's happening on the other end of the line: Brienne sits at the head of a formal dining table, smiling at the ice cream treat Riva's bringing her. Uncle Daddy starts winding up to a warning about what will happen if Riva harms one hair on Brienne's head, but Riva ignores him and issues a silky threat of her own: "Soon she won't want to leave." Uncle Daddy tells Riva that in Palmetto, it's eye for an eye: they each killed one of the other's people. "Two of mine," Riva icily corrects. "Two of your Cossack henchmen for the woman of my life?" growls Uncle Daddy. "This is over. I want my granddaughter." "I want Roller's head," Riva counters, as we see a blonde in the background tending to the baby. "Ask him about Olga." "Olga who?" snips Uncle Daddy, as if there's a whole stable of Olgas Roller's fucked with, and honestly, there probably is. "I'm sick of dealing with men," sighs Riva for us all. Regarding her nails, she adds, "Send me the manicurist." EXCUSE YOU, SHE IS A NAIL ARTISAN.
When Riva has hung up, Uncle Daddy squints from Desna to Roller, asking the latter who this Olga is. "Nobody," drawls Roller defiantly, proving Riva's assessment right so very quickly. Realizing he can't just deny his way out of it, he goes on: "Dirty little Russian bitch I bust[ed] a load in."
"Met her at their club. Told me she was twenty-five. She was seventeen. Riva's niece." "You dumb shit," says Uncle Daddy. "She had a baby," Roller adds. "Wowwwwww," says Desna. "WHAT WERE YOU THINKING?" screeches Bryce. "Since you on a roll," suggests Desna, "why don't you tell them about the money, Roller?" "They were shaking me down," Roller admits. "How much?" asks Uncle Daddy. "Thirty K a month," Roller mumbles. "How much total?" grits Uncle Daddy. "Like 360," says Roller. "But not all that money went to the Russians -- right, Roller?" Desna prompts. "Easy, D," warns Roller, trying a little whataboutism to change the subject and distract his two family members/known associates who are pretty much ready to kill him right now. "Not the only little secret around here." Desna shrugs, and Uncle Daddy returns to the matter at hand, demanding to know where the money is. Roller can only pout that he's sorry; he messed up. "I raised you," hisses Uncle Daddy into Roller's face. "And you betrayed me? You worthless little scum-sucking-- You want to know something? Your daddy, he was a loser too, just like you. There, I said it: one stupid-ass decision after another got his country ass shot." Roller doesn't even get the chance to defend his late daddy's late country ass when Bryce reminds us of the stakes: "Stupid shit, you got my daughter kidnapped!" He pounces on Roller and the two start going at it on the floor while Uncle Daddy and Desna watch impassively. Uncle Daddy lets Bryce get a couple of good punches in before trying to intervene, but Roller shoves him away and resumes trying to choke out Bryce. Uncle Daddy smashes a chair over Roller's back, letting Bryce get the advantage again...
...which is when the sound system spontaneously comes to life -- swirling light show included -- and blasts Whitney Houston's "I Wanna Dance With Somebody" as the soundtrack to this Husser melee: Uncle Daddy climbs on top of Roller and possibly tries to break Roller's jaw with his hand while Bryce attempts to pull Uncle Daddy off. Eventually Bryce and Uncle Daddy both hold Roller and punch him in the gut, Uncle Daddy bellowing for Toby to turn the music off, to which Toby responds (awesomely) by saying he didn't turn it on. Man, maybe the reason Uncle Daddy's farewell scene to Juanda went on so long is because he's getting sick of Toby's sullen teenager attitude. (...Okay, that's unfair to Toby. Apparently, Toby doesn't know how to turn it off -- it's programmed -- and when Uncle Daddy impatiently yells at him to "Figure it out, you idiot," Toby demonstrates good boundaries and self-esteem: "Don't call me an idiot!" But he does go see if he can silence Whitney.) Desna:
Things finally break up when Bryce grabs a liquor bottle off the bar and smashes it over Roller's head. He gestures for Roller to come back at him, but Roller's too busy worrying about his injured eye, and then Uncle Daddy gets remorseful and starts blubbering. Roller joins him, sobbing apologies, as does Bryce, and the music turns off in time for all three Hussers to unite on the floor in a giant bear hug. Desna:
Seems like Riva and I aren't the only ones sick of dealing with men. Jenn comes out at this point, Baylor in her arms, to join Desna in her disgust at these histrionics. "This is how you're going to find our daughter?" she snaps at Bryce. "Well, where the hell have you been?" he replies.
Fortunately, Jenn doesn't have to answer that...yet. Because this is when Uncle Daddy asks why the Russians tried to kill Roller when they were in the middle of blackmailing him, and Roller gets to say they didn't try to kill him (initially): Desna did. "Her and Virginia," he adds. "Tried to shoot me, drown me, then set my body on fire. Ain't that right, baby." Uncle Daddy picks up his gun and points it at Desna's forehead at about one-inch range: "You try to kill my baby boy?" "Who hasn't," Desna replies. "You think that's funny?" he grits. "No," she replies. "I don't think anything about your son is funny. I think Roller is a mad dog." Roller interjects here with a canine howl that really just underscores how right Desna and Virginia's instincts actually were, as if we were in any doubt about that, which we weren't. "And if I wouldn't've tried to put him down, somebody else would have," says Desna. "So do it." She takes a quarter step forward so that the muzzle of Uncle Daddy's gun is pressed against her forehead. Uncle Daddy stares at her intently, but lowers the gun: "You're lucky that Putin's whore wants to talk to you. I'd drop your ass right here."
Off Jenn's non-reaction to Roller's revelation, Bryce asks if she knew about all this. Both Jenn and Desna quickly say Jenn didn't know the whole time. Bryce tearfully asks when she was going to tell him, and she says she intended to do it when he came to his senses, which never happened. "I told you she was a lying bitch," drawls Uncle Daddy. Desna tries to get things back on track by reminding them that there's a little girl they're supposed to be trying to recover. Roller stands up and says he'll trade himself for Brienne. Jenn immediately says that sounds good to her, but as usual, Desna's thinking further ahead: "It's not going to stop with your sorry ass, Roller. It's not going to stop until every single one of us is dead." So if Riva wants to talk to her, Desna will go: "I'll get your baby back," she whispers to Jenn. And Bryce, I guess, but honestly, who cares about Bryce.
So then Boris -- in a leather jacket, btw, in this insane heat -- is leading Desna out to see Riva. Actually, "leading" is far too genteel a word to describe what's happening: he's shoving her every few steps and delivers her to Riva with a "Bitch is here." Desna can't with this shit, turning on him and gasping, "I have had white men pulling guns on me all day, and my ass is tired. So please. Stop. Pushing me." "Boris very much wants to kill you," says Riva serenely. "You've got to know I had nothing to do with Roller's stupidity," Desna tells her. "I was the one that told you he was coming!" "Do you like coffee?" Riva asks. "I need to know that Brienne is okay," Desna breathes. Riva uses her saucer to motion for Desna to sit down. Desna urgently asks again where Brienne is -- but first, coffee, apparently. A butler sets a cup in front of Desna as Riva brags, "Most expensive coffee in the world." Desna takes a sip. Riva; "They force strange cat to eat beans, cat shits out coffee."
"Sometimes cat dies. Cannot be helped. Is price of doing business." We get it, Riva. Desna asks yet again whether Brienne is okay. Riva motions to her right, and Desna looks over to see Brienne riding one of Riva's horses, fully decked out in tiny equestrian drag. Desna hurries over to make sure Brine's all right, but if you remember childhood, it's a lot of tall people telling you where you're supposed to be; apparently Brienne has had no reason to think anything is amiss. She tells Desna they're getting a doll later! Desna tells Brienne to be good, and that she'll be going home soon, and Brienne's like, "Whatever," regally riding off.
Riva and Desna walk and talk, Riva recapping (leave it to the professionals) that Roller stabbed someone and then killed two of Riva's soldiers. She took Brienne as collateral while she waited for Roller's head, as she demanded: "I see no head. I keep child." "Uncle Daddy's never going to give up Roller," says Desna, "especially after you killed his wife!" "Like I say," says Riva, "price of business." Desna intensely tells Riva that she doesn't want to start a war with the Dixie Mafia, which is apparently the funniest thing Riva's ever heard: "I'm not afraid of inbred monkey-boys," she laughs. Desna says she should be: "Those boys are born with a head full of stupid and one foot in the grave. Dying for a cause gets them hard! Believe me!" "Price must be paid for death of Yuri," Riva intones. "Uncle Daddy agrees," says Desna breathlessly. "And I can offer you $250,000."
Riva looks so affronted by this offer that I feel like she can't have heard that the cash offer is coming from Desna, to whom $250,000 is real money, which it wouldn't be to Uncle Daddy. "Cute," says Riva. Boris also thinks this offer is an insult and demands to "kill the child"; Riva doesn't refuse, and suddenly two henchmen appear out of nowhere and start dragging off a protesting Desna: "I know what that shit means on your hands, Riva, I can help you!"
I'm PRETTY sure that shit on Riva's hands means she doesn't really need anyone's help with anything, but okay.
Over to the shop. There aren't any customers, and Quiet Ann and Polly are (very inefficiently) packing for the move to Glint. Polly asks whether Quiet Ann's heard anything from Arlene -- the cop Quiet Ann was dating for a while before they had to frame her and stop her looking into Nail Artisan side projects -- since they, you know, roofied her. Quiet Ann doesn't answer, and Polly comes over to assure her that she made the right choice. But they can't get into it because then Marnie's at the door, trying to escape her "extra-erratic" mom, who's said they're moving that night, but not where to. Polly says she can't hang out at the shop, since they're getting ready to move to the salon, but promises to check on her later, and off Marnie trudges with her "SMUGGLIN' PUPPIES" bag. So if she does run away, she's got a plan.
At She She's, Jenn finds Bryce sitting alone. He's apparently decided that waiting for the return (or not) of their kidnapped daughter is the right time to reopen the topic of where she was when he couldn't get hold of her. "You know, we can all tell that you're using again," says Jenn. Bryce tells her to stop avoiding the question, and Jenn, choking up, admits that she was "with somebody." Bryce starts blubbering, and Jenn starts crying a little too. He asks who it is; she tries to dodge by asking what difference it would make for him to know, and he explodes, getting in her face: "YOU TELL ME whose cock was more important than keeping your child safe." "HANK GLUCK," Jenn yells, instead of "THAT IS A VERY UNFAIR WAY OF PUTTING THE CHOICE TBH." Bryce doesn't know who that is, so Jenn has to say he's from the Messianic Center. "The Jew for Jesus?" Bryce asks, sounding much more confused than angry. Jenn confirms that's correct. "The guy who square dances?" Bryce follows up. Jenn says that's a fair cop as well. They both end up crying, Jenn defending herself by saying she didn't want Bryce to live this life anymore and he kept getting further in, and she just felt so alone. Bryce says he's sorry...but adds, "I pushed you into being a whore." "Oh," says Jenn, equal parts disappointed and disgusted. "Well, I'd rather be a whore than a murderer." She slaps him in the face and starts to walk away, seeming instantly to regret it as Bryce backs her into the wall again. As she cries and cowers, Bryce -- ice-cold now -- says, "Because you were trying to protect your friend Desna, I murdered the wrong people." "I didn't know until it was already done," Jenn cries. "You gotta believe me. I'm so sorry. It'll never happen again, I'm sorry." "You're right," says Bryce, "you are sorry." For the record, I like defiant Jenn much better than this blubbery one.
Riva and Desna are back at the table in Riva's back yard (or back 40, probably), as Desna explains the significance of each of the tattoos on Riva's hands, for the benefit of the viewer at home: "The eye means you see everything. All the details. Nothing is lost on you. The spider means you bow to no man. And the rings convey your high rank." "She has Google, everybody," Riva cracks to her assembled henchmen, who chuckle on cue. "Look, Riva, I know that $250,000 is not enough for a boss of your stature," says Desna. "Ding ding ding," Riva replies. "I'm listening." "How about a percentage of all of his businesses: the clinic, She She's, the vending machines, all of it." "How big?" Riva asks. "Twenty-five percent," Desna pitches. "You're not authorized to make this offer," Riva squints. "Let me worry about that," Desna replies. "Seventy-five percent," Riva counters. "Fifty percent," says Desna. "And I'll throw in the salon to keep all that money squeaky-clean for you." Riva considers. "The clinic is interesting," she muses. "The mall is complete shit, of course, but the location is unparalleled, according to analytics." LOL, I really wish we could have gotten a scene in which Riva flicked through Excel spreadsheets with that scary nail. "Use the operation as a model," Desna evangelizes. "That is a good deal, and you know it. You can replicate that all over the state! Everywhere!" "He will never go for it," says Riva, amused. "He might not have a choice," Desna replies. "You let me worry about that side."
Oh, Desna. Worrying is all you do!
Over to the motel, where Polly is primping in a filmy seafoam green baby doll robe over a white silk (or...polyester) slip. Honestly, it looks like a lot of layers given that she's just waiting for Dr. Ken, who presently arrives looking lascivious; if he even notices her lingerie, he does NOT show it, pissily telling her, "You wouldn't believe my day." "Yeah, me neither," Polly exhales before they start eating each other's faces. She's just torn all the buttons off his sensible gingham shirt when we hear a car horn outside, and Polly remembers what she forgot: she heads for the window to peer out at what is, very clearly, an extremely unwholesome transaction currently in progress.
Not even Polly can allow this to happen; she tells Dr. Ken she'll be right back and races out in her nightie -- rather more modestly covered than either Marnie or her mother, I must note -- and as Dr. Ken watches, we see but don't hear as Polly intervenes. After a moment, Polly runs back into the room and asks Dr. Ken for whatever cash he has on him; she pulls her own cash out of various hiding places (including inside a panel on the back of the TV, from the looks of it), takes Dr. Ken's $80, and scurries back out, handing the wad and what I guess is a designer Muppet purse...
...to Marnie's mother, who counts the wad and, apparently finding it satisfactory, dismisses the human-trafficking Elvis. We still don't get close enough to hear Marnie's mother's parting words to her, but they aren't punctuated with a hug, so I'm guessing they're not particularly warm, and Marnie's face is already crumpling as Polly puts an arm around her and leads her into the room (where, by now, Dr. Ken has had a chance to put his pants back on, thank god). By the time they get back inside, Marnie's fully sobbing, and poor Dr. Ken, with his uncloseable shirt, seriously has no idea what the hell to do. Polly motions to him to stay back as she sits Marnie on the bed, holds her by the shoulders, and tells her, "You're okay. This thing that happened is the best thing that ever happened to you!" No matter what happens next in Marnie's life, this does seem to be decidedly so; that Elvis was not the guy you want escorting you to any Clambake. "She said she couldn't afford to take me to Myrtle Beach," Marnie chokes. "My mom just tried to sell me to a stranger!" Polly pulls her in for a hug: "I know, sugar, but I've got you." Polly rocks Marnie as she lets her cry, and shares her hard-won wisdom: "This pain you're feeling is just the meagerness and disappointment of your former life leaving your body forever. Okay? Good riddance for bad rubbish, I say! We'll have so much fun together. I have so much to teach you." Shooting a look to Dr. Ken, Polly starts singing "Mockingbird," and Dr. Ken looks...well, kind of crazed and manic, like always, but also relieved that he can join her in rocking Marnie and singing to calm her down. Under any other circumstances I would not want these eyes anywhere near Marnie.
But I guess I trust Polly's judgment? Kind of?
At She She's, Uncle Daddy is welcoming associates Lamont and Circus, who express their condolences about Juanda before informing Uncle Daddy that Ted from Georgia has gone missing. Uncle Daddy, unlike most TV characters, is very good at lying -- certainly better than FUCKING BRYCE --
as he wishes they could do more to help locate Ted from Georgia, but Lamont shrugs him off, saying the Hussers have got enough to deal with, and that Circus will help Uncle Daddy with anything he needs. As Lamont's leaving out the front, Desna strides in from the back, first reporting to an anxious Jenn that Brienne is okay. Uncle Daddy asks what Riva wants, and Roller correctly replies, "My head on a plate." I mean, the plate is probably negotiable. Desna characterizes Riva as being in "a lot of pain" due to the loss of Yuri (a loss she felt so keenly she just straight up rechristened another henchman with his name), adding that the only thing that can comfort Riva is 50% of Uncle Daddy's businesses, "or his head, you decide." Roller leaps up to volunteer Uncle Daddy's businesses --surprise! -- whereupon Jenn advances on him shrieking and looking like she's ready to tear his larynx out with her teeth while Desna pulls her away. Uncle Daddy distracts everyone by shooting into the ceiling, which also ensures that all eyes are on him for his big monologue: "This thing [is a] snowball, rolling down a hill getting bigger and bigger. It'll be an avalanche [that's] going to bury all of us. Juanda, she was my sissy-bird. She was my sun and moon. But she's gone. You boys are the nearest thing to my heart now. And I wish I could make this go away, goddamn I wish I could make it go away. But I can't. Brienne is my grandchild. The last thing I need is a little girl's body on my hands. Tell Riva she can have whatever she wants. But I want a sit-down, immediately." Okay, but first, can we back up to "sissy-bird"? We can't? Fine.
After some golf course b-roll, we cut to the back of a limo and see that at least Uncle Daddy and Desna have suited up in Versace for this momentous meeting.
Jenn...looks fine also. May not smell great, per Virginia's earlier, very evocative assessment. Across from them are Bryce, a lawyer poring over paperwork, and Roller, glaring sullenly at Desna. The limo parks at the valet stand and its occupants exit, soon stalking the lobby in slow motion like some extremely colourful Reservoir Dogs...until they're pulled up short by the sight of a bunch of middle-aged and older white ladies in golf togs dancing to "The Humpty Dance.
I haven't been to a lot of country clubs but I'm going to go out on a limb and say this is not a scene one sees most weekends at Mar-a-Lago. While everyone else is looking weirded out by this display, Jenn looks down the hall to see Riva at a table, giggling with Brienne, and takes off straight for her. New Yuri stops her from breaching their perimeter, and when Brienne sees Jenn and tries to run into her arms, Riva holds her back. Jenn tries to stay calm as she assures Brienne that they're both okay -- and they probably are, because the next thing Riva says is "Roller. For the girl." Roller, standing behind Desna and Jenn, keeps his chin up defiantly even as Desna protests that this is not the deal they discussed. "I change mind about several bullet points," says Riva. This sets Jenn off again, but this time it's Bryce keeping her from trying to claw Riva's eyes out. Uncle Daddy tells Roller to stay where he is, but Roller kisses Jenn on the forehead and tells Uncle Daddy, "Let me do the right thing here." New Yuri and Boris immediately yank Roller out to the patio, and Desna tells Brienne to come to her, Riva amiably releasing her to Jenn and Bryce's custody.
As those Hussers head home, Desna turns back to Riva: "What the hell?" "Have a seat," says Riva; Desna, Uncle Daddy, and the lawyer comply, and Riva goes on: "Fifty percent of your businesses will never be enough. I will have 100% of all your businesses, or Roller dies, right here, right now." She motions to her left, and the shot cuts to Roller struggling against Boris and New Yuri's restraints. Uncle Daddy is furious and makes like he's going to overturn the table on Riva while Desna and the lawyer hold him and sit him back down. "Do we have a deal?" Riva intones. "Do I have a choice?" asks Uncle Daddy. Letting Roller dangle for being such a fuckup all the time seems like it's probably an option? But I guess coming from Uncle Daddy that's a rhetorical question. The lawyer starts passing papers to Uncle Daddy, who grouses, "It's not every day a man signs away his life's work. And that's not even the hard part. I just want to get home and properly grieve my wife." "I imagine there is lots for me to sign," says Riva placidly...but maybe not, because here comes Circus, in golf togs, asking, "Room for one more?" "Actually, there ain't," Uncle Daddy tells Riva, "'cause I ain't giving you shit. Ain't that right, Circus?" On cue, Circus takes out a very ornate handgun and holds it to Riva's temple.
After the commercial, Circus and Riva haven't moved, as Riva stares in terror at a shocked Desna. "What're you waiting for, take the bitch out!" orders Uncle Daddy.
Aaaaaaand then it's his turn to be shocked. CIRCUS! WE WERE ALL ROOTING FOR YOU! As Riva snickers behind her shiv nail, Uncle Daddy heaps abuse on Circus -- really hurtful, personal stuff about his greasy hair that is frankly uncalled for -- but Circus shrugs, "That ice-cold Slavic goodness got to me first, man! At the end of the day, I'm just a businessman, Clay." Uncle Daddy resumes his insults, though quieter now ("syphilitic" has a kind of poetry), but Riva remains imperiously cool, telling Circus to ignore Uncle Daddy -- "He's just jealous" -- and observing, "Everything is crashing down around you, Clay." Desna begs for them to get this over with, and Riva cheerfully agrees, while the lawyer resumes preparing papers and Circus takes off for the buffet. One of the visored raisins comes by looking for said buffet, which Desna most decidedly does not have time for right now.
Uncle Daddy uncomfortably shifts, and as he looks out through the window to the deck again, he sees Bryce and Dr. Ken roll up and deal with Boris and New Yuri, jabbing them in the necks with syringes and leaving them incapacitated on the ground. Riva needles Uncle Daddy as she signs by asking how it feels to lose everything, but now he's sanguine: "Well, I made it all myself. Nobody gave me shit. I'll make it again." "Men are used to getting so many chances," sniffs Riva, CORRECTLY. Even Desna can't resist a subtle chin-duck of agreement.
Speaking of men getting more chances than they deserve: here's Roller again, holding his gun to Riva's neck, and then jaw, as she sits up with a start. Behind Desna, Dr. Ken and Bryce lead Circus back to the table at gunpoint. And just as you're about to ask why none of the other club members seems to have a problem with these rough customers wandering around holding people up with handguns (I mean, other than "It's Florida"), the old bag who was looking for the buffet earlier has one hand on Roller's shoulder, the other holding a gun to his head. "What kind of sick shit is this?" demands Uncle Daddy, getting up. Riva just smiles her Slavic Mona Lisa smile (Mona Ljisa?) as, all around them, more guns are cocked and this madness starts to play.
"All of you dick-dragging dung-shovelers work for me now," Riva announces. As all the white male idiots are led away by Riva's army of murderous seniors, Riva turns back to Desna: "Now we can talk." Desna:
I swear to god, Niecy Nash is the most giffable woman alive.
One commercial break later, we're at Glint. The place looks impeccable, with an elegant "Grand Opening" sign at the front desk. Desna's wiping down as Virginia enters with Dean and quickly takes off to give Desna and Dean a moment together. He starts by expositing that tomorrow is "the big day," but Desna takes over, agreeing with his earlier assessment that she's made some poor life choices. "You seem particularly detached from the notion of consequences for your actions," Dean replies. "And I could stand to work on that, yes," Desna concurs. "I'm trying." "Yeah, keep trying," Dean mutters. Desna says she will, because when you've just finished telling your only living relative that you, like, tried to kill someone, you're just going to have to eat shit for a while.
Cut to the bathroom, where Virginia has just flushed the toilet and is washing her hands. After checking her look, she glances down at the lip of the sink, picks up the pregnancy test, and...
That Virginia should probably be on five forms of contraception is just today's latest reason we need Medicare For All in this stupid country. Though speaking of stupid, Virginia then just drops the stick in the garbage can without so much as wrapping it in tissue, like who does she think is going to empty that before customers come tomorrow but one of her gossipy co-workers who's immediately going to launch an investigation into who's knocked up?!
Virginia heads out just as Polly and Quiet Ann come in, full of hugs and relieved that Brienne is okay. Polly asks how Jenn is, and Desna suggests that Polly ask Jenn herself: here she comes now, assuring everyone that Brienne is fine: "She wants to stay with Riva. Riva's got ponies, she bought her one of them black baby dolls from American Girl Place." LOL Riva knows how to court a lady! Desna points Polly and Quiet Ann to the aprons on the counter and, when they've moved away, quietly tells Jenn, "You were absolutely right. This is all my doing. And I'm sorry." Jenn sets her jaw and nods through this apology, curtly replying, "I know." Polly tries to get everyone to cheer up by noting that at least one good thing happened this year: "We're here!" You also...got out of prison, but sure. Virginia asks whether the place is zhuzhed enough, and Polly chirps that they're the zhuzh: "Wherever we go, zhuzh follows." She notices that Desna's not celebrating and asks what's wrong: "Tomorrow we get to wake up fresh, free from the Dixie Mafia at last, praise Him!"
These poor women have no way of knowing that what Desna's about to tell them is just about the least shocking plot twist they've had to react to this season, but their irritated exhaustion is a cute meta-acknowledgement of how delightfully bonkers these ten episodes have been. Desna: "One of the conditions of Riva accepting the deal was that I would go back to the old salon and continue to launder money for the clinic." Everyone is aghast -- particularly Jenn, who leaps to her feet -- so Desna explains that it was the only way to get Brienne back." Virginia asks why they can't wash the money at Glint, but Desna says Glint's clientele won't use cash. She holds up the keys in her gorgeously bedazzled and dangerously taloned hand, tearfully telling Jenn she wants to give her the shop: "Thank you for putting up with me, and I'm sorry about everything. You deserve it, and I wish you all the success." Jenn, also sniffling, holds the keys out to Polly: "I do not accept that. I do not acknowledge that." "Passaroni," says Polly, moving the keys down the line to Quiet Ann. "Oh, not for me," Quiet Ann sniffs. "This place is shit! Ain't no personality here." When the keys end up in Virginia's hand, she drops them on the floor: "We go where you go." LUCKY FOR VIRGINIA THINGS ARE GOING THIS WAY GIVEN WHAT SHE JUST LEFT IN THE CAN. Desna is overcome. "Oh, you thought you was gonna break the crew up?" jokes Jenn, as this American rock classic starts to play.
"Not this crew, no way!" crows Polly. "I mean, we have got all the skills. We got human trafficking--" Everyone's like, TF, though...again, not even in the top five weirdest things that have happened to them lately. "Oh, right, um, I bought that little Marnie off her hooker mama yesterday," Polly confesses, "for $800 and four vintage Gucci handbags. You know, with the bamboo handles!" "Okay, Pol, I can't with your stories right now," says Desna, giggling. Polly continues listing the talents represented by the squad members, starting with herself: "Identity theft!" "Oh, adultery," says Jenn, raising her hand. Who's got two thumbs and a talent for aggravated assault? Quiet Ann. "Murder," says Desna. "Attempted murder," Virginia corrects her. "It's the thought that counts!" Desna cracks. "We are some crew," Polly beams. "The crew," Jenn replies. "Y'all are the baddest bitches in Palmetto, for real," says Desna throatily.
Cut to: a warehouse with two beefy henchmen posted outside. A familiar black town car pulls up and disgorges the Hussers, who are led in and patted down by the beefier hench. All around, workers are packing millions of dollars' worth of drugs into tidy parcels. Finally we end up at the elegant desk at the far end of the warehouse, where a trim gentleman with his back to the camera is on the phone. "These are desperate times," Uncle Daddy brays as the gentleman hangs up. "That Russian bitch finna upset the whole apple cart. Y'all need to help us. It's gonna affect your business, too." The gentleman raises his head at this and...
"What do you have in mind?" asks DR. GREGORY MOTHERFUCKING RUVAL, and WE WON'T GET AN ANSWER UNTIL 2018 GAAAAAAAAAAAH CAN'T DESNA CATCH A BREAK ONE DAMN TIME