This article contains information that could be considered too revealing according to our spoiler policy. Proceed with caution. You can't unsee it!Reason Though Starz is airing one episode per week, it's also made the whole season available on demand.
Flesh And Bone's Paul Is A Cartoon Villain: Let Us Count (Down) The Ways
Paul stops just short of tying a maiden to some railroad tracks in 'Reconnaissance'; we've ranked all the misdeeds that made it to air.
Three episodes in, Flesh And Bone has certainly shown me that the precision, discipline, and grace on display in any ballet production is dramatically at odds with the recklessness, aggression, and vice that go on behind the scenes, you guys!!! But Episode 3, "Reconnaissance," makes a strong argument for Paul as the worst villain of them all.
Okay, yes, this episode also contains actual rapists, both onscreen (Claire's creepshow brother Bryan, who's now successfully made it to New York, sweet-talked Claire's address out of Monica, gotten half a blowjob from Mia, and ended the episode on the floor next to her mattress -- though now, after making an obviously incestuous scene in the street in front of the apartment, he's being surveilled by Romeo on the fire escape) and off (Laurent Broussard, so entitled he thought he could call in for a ballerina to bang as though she were a club sandwich on the room service menu). But in this case when I say "villain," I mean Paul is not-that-slowly evolving into a Snidely Whiplash with spectacular core strength. He wasn't exactly a great person in the first couple of episodes, but the stuff they give him to do in "Reconnaissance" is positively Gargamellian.
Here are all Paul's moustache-twirlingest moments, counted down from "annoying" to "inhuman."
- Bringing In A Human Eye-Roll Of A Choreographer
As promised in "Cannon Fodder," Paul has taken Jessica's advice and brought in cutting-edge choreographer Toni Cannava to create the piece he wants Claire to dance. And here she is!
Toni looks like a pretentious try-hard, and after spending about forty seconds watching the company rehearse and listening to Paul's assessments of the ones whose names we know, she takes over the rehearsal to prove she is one. She signals that This Isn't Your Grandfather's Ballet by having everyone take off their slippers, and then walk around the room -- "Really feel the floor" -- and then pick a partner and hug. That this is horribly uncomfortable for sexual abuse survivor Claire is bad, of course...
...but it was pretty bad before that, too.
- Pressuring One Of His Employees To Bail Out The Company
For entirely predictable reasons we will get into in just one second, ABC has found itself down a patron, and down that patron's patronage to the tune of $250,000. It's a good thing the corps happens to include Daphne, the daughter of a very wealthy man (possibly obscenely wealthy, if, when we later meet him, he really is thinking about buying an Old Master for the house in Southampton). Paul puts on the most charm we've seen him deploy to butter up Daphne before she figures out the ask that's on its way, but it's still really inappropriate for Paul, as Daphne's employer, to sit there and let Jessica imply that if Daphne doesn't come through with her dad's money, a bunch of people might get laid off, including her. That said, at least Paul doesn't put his foot in it as badly as Jessica who, after she names the figure they need, chuckles, "No doubt an inconsequential drop in the bucket with regard to your father!"
Shut up, Jessica.
- Blaming The Loss Of A Patron On A Dancer's Unwillingness To Submit To Rape
The reason Jessica and Paul need Daphne's father to make up a budget shortfall (which seems weirdly small? I mean, I know this is in 2013 dollars, but still!) is that apparently after calling down from his hotel room for his car the night before, Laurent Broussard got in it, drove back home to Rapist-sur-Mer, and called Jessica to withdraw his financial support. Paul decides to inform Claire how she has, in his opinion, compromised the company he built with her prudishness, only at the end of a long and tedious story about how he built ABC all by himself on a pay phone at a restaurant where he was a waiter. Others might view this setback as proof that one should consider seeking financial backing from people who aren't rapists -- and also maybe not running a budget so close to the edge that one person's change of heart can imperil the whole company? But Paul knows the best course is to berate Claire until she cries and then scream at her to get out of his sight as though he wasn't the one who made her stand there and take it.
- Launching A Homophobic Attack On One Of His Dancers
Trey's just trying to get through rehearsal when Paul gets a wild hair about him. After Paul barks at him, "Trey, you call that a grand jetée? I've seen third-grade girls skip rope with more intensity." Trey decides he doesn't feel like eating shit today and replies, "What do you suggest?" In response, Paul spits slurs at him in front of the whole company: "What do I suggest? Stop jumping like a little bitch is what I suggest. All the height in the world won't mask a faggot in a pair of tights." Coach Taylor got results without making it a matter for the ACLU, PAUL.
- Egging A Gravestone
We still don't know who Jeffrey was, but now we know we do need to use the past tense when referring to him...
...and that Paul has an extremely wasteful and risible way of blaming him for having died.
- How About KILLING SOME BABY BIRDS???
Paul gets fed up that his stemwinder to Claire about how she's destroying the company he built keeps getting deflated by the life-affirming chirps of the hatchlings in the next on the windowsill. So Paul finally reaches over, picks up the nest, and HURLS IT DOWN TO THE GROUND.
I guess we should be grateful Paul didn't go from there down to the sidewalk to scoop up their corpses and huck those at Jeffrey's tombstone, too.