Sunday, July 14, 2019

REVIEW: 'Claws' - Desna Plots to Win Back Dean Who Falls More in Love with Mac and Melba in 'Fly Like An Eagle'

TNT's Claws - Episode 3.06 "Fly Like An Eagle"

After successfully leveraging what she knows about Governor Patel in an attempt to win her brother back, a victorious Desna returns to the casino, only to learn that Dean is more entranced under Mac and Melba's spell than she realized.

In 2018, there were 495 scripted shows airing amongst the linear channels and streaming services. The way people are consuming content now is so different than it used to be. It happens according to one's own schedule. As such, there is less necessity to provide ample coverage of each specific episode in any given season from a show. Moreover, it is simply impossible to watch everything. As such, this site is making the move to shorter episodic reviews in order to cover as many shows as possible. With all of that being said, here are my thoughts on the next episode of TNT's Claws.

"Fly Like An Eagle" was written by Sharon Lee Watson and directed by Clare Kilner

Many of the characters are starting to feel extremely tangential this season. Uncle Daddy is off on his own trying to help people stay sober while also getting closer to Brenda. Ken is dating someone new even though he goes back-and-forth on whether he actually likes her. Polly is torn up about leaving Joe and he tries to win her back by sending her a gun in the mail. Virginia and Jenn are getting into a disagreement over EJ, which skips over a couple of beats to get to this point. And finally, Ann is pregnant and eventually tells Arlene who asks her to get married. That is happening following them coming to a new understanding in their relationship where they tell each other the complete truth. That hasn't been consequential in the slightest though. The audience doesn't know if Arlene is up to date about everything happening at the nail salon and the casino. But that's not where our priorities should be focused at the moment. The show wants everyone to rally around the need to get Dean out of Mac and Melba's influence as soon as possible. And yet, that's not a strong organizing premise for this overall hour. It should be. The audience understands the relationships Dean has and his yearning for more independence. It just increasingly comes across as him having no idea what he's doing because of his autism which has never really been the stance the show has taken before. He refuses to listen to the women in his life because he now sees them as nothing but manipulative. The show has used that to explain why Virginia has been tempted by EJ. But that makes it a little more difficult to buy into the idea of her being heartbroken over Dean breaking up with her. That should be devastating and it is to an extent. However, the show quickly has her moving on and throwing herself into a new chaotic situation that will only get more complicated. She is no longer in the dark about EJ's connection to Jenn. She wants to maintain and protect that relationship no matter what. But it's mostly just an excuse for Jenn to vent for a little while as Bryce tries to talk about his self-help book. None of it is really working though. It also takes time away from some of the big developments that should be incredibly transformational. Instead, it mostly just feels random when Mac and Melba are staging a performative piece that orchestrates to the world that Dean should now be seen as their son. It's outrageous and incredulous. That is perfectly in line with some of the big moments the show has produced in the past. It means that Desna may not win over her brother as easily as she would like. But it also struggles to feel like anything is having a lasting impact. Desna plots to collect all of the evidence necessary to blackmail the governor. Patel doesn't take her seriously at first. And in the end, she mostly just wants to become his new money launderer in order to create a new revenue stream for herself. She needs that after losing her stake in the casino. She is fighting to get that back. But it ultimately doesn't mean anything when Desna learns that Mac and Melba have been running a scam with falsifying Native American claim to the casino. Nor does it mean something when they talk about the people running their money through this business. It all feels like a ton of plot just been thrown into the narrative without really trying to tie everything together in a way that actually makes an impression for these characters and the audience's relationship with them. That's disappointing. It's still exciting to see Desna perform "And I'm Telling You I'm Not Going" from Dreamgirls as she begs for Dean to stay. It's potent to see the show still provide biting political commentary with some of the outrageous and true things that have now come out on the campaign trail. But that may truly be the extent of the pleasures this season.