Welcome to the season finale of Vinyl! All the spoilers after the break
We left Richie about to meet a deal with the debbil; gathering evidence and testifying about Corrado Golasso in order to not go to jail for manslaughtering Buck Rogers. Let's see how that works out for him! Also; will the Nasty Bitz EVER play again, instead of jacking around with all this label shite? Will Lester ever forgive Richie for working with Maury Gold and Corrado Golasso again? Will Andrea bring Hannibal back into the fold? Will Devon stop caring solely about Devon? Will Jamie Ono break up the Nasty Bitz by bouncing on two members at one time? Will Gary become Xavier? All these questions and more will be hopefully answered in the next 59 minutes. Rolling!
Last time we also saw Richie finally come clean to Devon about WHY he leaped off the wagon (t'was all about the Buck) and why he didn't want to tell her he killed AGAIN (the first one was an actual accident; the second not so much), Devon responded by saying absolutely nothing. Richie got beat up first by Zak, after being found out for lying about WHO exactly lost the profit from the sale of the corporate jet. See, Zak thought he got them robbed in Las Vegas by two prostitutes, not knowing that Richie snuck in mid-tag-team and gambled away 90k of American Century's money. Zak got an illuminating call from a casino PR person and it all came together and landed an Richie's face. Zak was very angry. This may have even been worse than when Richie screwed up his daughter's bat mitzvah, especially since Zak mortgaged his house to make up for "his" mistake.
Richie's meeting the Fibbies at a biker bar, sure! Everyone's gonna blend there! They warn Richie about Golasso, they're liasons, not bodyguards. And at least one of them wants to get the clap from groupies? That's how I heard it, anyway.
An old fella with a potbelly and a long white beard listens from the bar. That would be an excellent disguise, so easy to do. Nobody notices chubby older people, unless it's my youngest, who almost fell out of a cart trying to get to a bearded guy in a parka screaming "SANTA!! SANTA!!!"
Disco has fully infiltrated the underground scene, thanks to Jorge and Clark; FANKS FOR THAT. I love so much disco, though, I like all good music. It could be very repetitive, unforch. "Kill the Lights" by Indigo is climbing though!
Nasty Bitz are recording? And fighting, oh look, it's Alex versus Kip, both of whom Jamie bounced on and who is watching them right now. I'm sure that's not what usually happens when you decide to bang your boyfriend's co-worker! Blah blah sleep with who you want, nobody's married, but all those feels sure do make things shouty. Kip's blaming her, of course, not him for not standing in his own feelings and saying "hey, I like you and I wouldn't like Alex to know what the back of your throat feels like, so either we break up or you don't lick his lollipop." It's that simple. Just kidding, relationships and feelings are the farthest things from simple ever.
Corrado Golasso is receiving Zak in his smoky office, oh ho! That deception in Las Vegas got Zak all the way to the quick, he wants Corrado's support in ousting Richie from the company, using that Morals Clause. That would be HILARIOUS to invoke, considering the reason Zak thought HE lost the money in Vegas because he was high, drunk and having his very first threesome with two young ladies NOT named Mrs. Yankovic. Corrado indicates support, sort of, Zak rolls. Who will run the company then? Him? He has the people sense of a skunk ass-gland.
Back at the office, Slip is strutting around and hey! Indigo is selling all of a sudden! Maury is right there under Richie's arm when he's discussing the Nasty Bitz with Julie; their song "Woman Like You" has some contractual issues. Maury tells him that the song was written by Lester Grimes while under contract to Rondelay Records, and since he didn't record it... Lester still has to approve it. And since Lester took off like a shot the moment he saw Maury, knowing that Corrado couldn't be far behind, it's not likely Lester will be much inclined to sign away his rights. Especially when Maury suggests Richie send some of Corrado's goons around to "soften (Lester) up."
Zak is all over the studio, waiting for Gary/Xavier to show up, look who else is there? Scott! Hey Scott! Zak wants him to write up the letter ousting Richie, but Scott wants to know how these things are going to shake out now, theoretically, with Richie gone? Let's just say that Zak has greatly overestimated his own abilities.
Gary finally arrives, he can't keep living out there in Massapequa with his mom; the drones with their everyday boring lives are killing his artistic BUZZ! He needs an apartment! 5 bucks says Scott's got a place he can stay. Like on his face. Well, he almost does, gets super close when Xavier starts showng off sketches of his stage plans, including himself in spandex and a silver codpiece.
We take a Boulevard of Broken Dreams break and then move to Richie brainstorming with Andrea; Joe Corso walks right in (no CeCe) and bitches, someone has him pushing fcuking Hall & Oates! I LOVE Hall & Oates; I dare you to listen to Maneater and not recognise it's epicness. Dat baseline!
Joe doesn't want Nasty Bitz opening for the New York Dolls, he thinks the radio stations will never play them and that's about right. It's gotta be from the street, not the other way around. Coraddo Golasso's there, everyone scoots. He has some bad news for Richie.
Just then, we cut to Zak and I hadn't even considered that Corrado might put a hit out on him! Not that it shows that, but all of a sudden I'm worried. He's riding in an elevator with someone with dog shite on their shoes, then tells Heather to call Maintenance. Heather says Richie and Golasso want to see him, come on over!
It goes about as well as Zak could hope for, because he doesn't end up garotted (I stared at the guy lurking behind Zak perching on a stool the.whole.time); Corrado Golasso could not give two shits what your internal business workings are, you moron, see what I mean? Skunk ass-gland. He is very lucky he didn't end up crushed in the trunk of a car at Corrado's chop shop by Yankee statdium.
You know who was listening to Corrado flex, though? NO GUESS!! The NYPD! They're still pissy about the feds taking their murder, so they decide to take down Golasso's chop shop by Yankee stadium that he thoughtfully mentioned so clearly. The feds are not going to like this at.all, it essentially burns Richie thoroughly as a source. They talk about all that clearly in front of the lurker being arrested, who turns out to be Golasso's number 2.
Jamie's been waiting at Kip's apartment, she starts at him as soon as he comes in. I'm not sure how it could have gone worse, she decides to double down with the truth about caring for Alex also, he takes it with the grace and maturity we've come to expect from Kip. Just kidding, he breaks a bunch of shit and quits the band while she runs.
Nobody can believe it, but Indigo is charting! They're 72 with a bullet and didn't they just drop them two weeks ago? Clark shows his hand then, dropping the dismissal letter, he never sent it. And Jorge and he have been pushing it at every dance club in the city. It's an untapped market.
Holy shite. Clark Morelle, perennial Whiffenpoof who just.doesn't.get.anything is being credited with discovering DISCO?
Richie is talking to Lester's DJ when the man himself arrives; he threatens Richie with people outside the door who will knife Richie for a dollar, but Richie knows better. He's got five people willing to do it for free, two of them women and I feel like the writer paraphrased the Eagles just then, but
Richie starts with offering Lester 10 grand and 2.5 points for using the song, the records are already pressed! Lester says never ever, and counters with 20k and 5 points, pro-rated. Richie writes the cheque before it gets worse as Lester throws in anything else he can think of; managing more bands, etc. Richie reminds him that they could do better things together than separately, and Lester doesn't know about that. But he'll cash Richie's fcuking cheque.
Zak gets abducted by Number 2, and hey! HE was the one with dog shit on his shoes, not the other guy in the elevator and Number 2 says it just so: Zak just can't stop stepping in shit.
Jamie is freaking out in the office, Kip isn't answering calls and the door is bolted and the New York Dolls show is tonight. He's also got a giant heroin problem, so there's that. Just then Zak calls, and Richie has to go.
Golasso's arranged a meeting; Zak, Joe Corso and Richie are the main guests. Who dimed out his chop shop 6 hours after he mentioned it? The problem for Zak is that he's already shown he has no loyalty, making that move on Richie. The problem for Richie is that Joe knows what kind of trouble he SHOULD be in, but here he is, walking around and not charged with manslaughter.
Richie stands up for Zak in a backhanded way; he's too stupid to pull that off, besides, there were other people in the room (quick glance at Corso). Joe LOSES it, and even tells everyone about Buck Rogers. That was not a good thing, I love how Corrado is all: STFU you moron, I don't need to hear any of this! You can almost hear his teeth grinding, all these messy, unprofessional businessmen.
And just like that, Joe is dead. I kind of had a feeling, just talked to much, you know? I have no idea what it would be like to be reading or listening to someone who just went on and on and on like that. That's convenient for Richie, though, wasn't Joe the only one that could put him at Buck Rogers house?
Richie and Zak are released to go make Golasso "some fcuking money" and Zak goes to throw up while Richie tries to make him pinky-swear to never ever talk about what Zak heard just then.
Looks like heroin is the problem with Kip after all, passed out on the floor in his dirty ginch with a needle next to him while Jamie pounds on the door. She's got Lester with her, though, who manages to break down the door and get Kip into the tub, hopefully to save his life.
Back at AC, Gary's found three apartments that he wants! Zak couldn't care less; "sell a record first." "Learn your craft" hahahaha and oh hey! Guess who's got room for Gary?? NO, GUESS!!! Scott! He thinks his girlfriend is gonna love Gary! I love that sexuality is gonna come into play soon, it's the seventies, come on! That was the five minutes everyone relaxed and said hey! I won't be defined by my genitals and who I choose to love or rub said genitals on, either! Plus Women's Lib made it finally okay for women to bounce on more than just the one johnson they were planning / having to marry, although Gloria Steinham said it was never that easy for women, ever. Anyway, woot! Get some, Scott!
Zak sits in his office and drinks, pulling out his spare shoes, which look like super sexy spiked golf numbers, and tries to deal. How is he possibly so poorly put together? I mean, Richie said it, Zak's from Queens, not Des Moines, how can he not understand how all that works?
Kip is alive, but not upright or anything, and they only have 10 minutes to stage time. Now, if they were the main attraction, I could see leeway, but as they are an unknown band opening for a much bigger band, they'll be skidded before you can say whowasthatwankerinhisginch? Alex offers to go on without him (and don't think Jamie and I haven't filed that away for future reference) but Richie calls for coke. They tie him off and shoot him up with cocaine while the band watches, he comes to, just like on Pulp Fiction! Showtime!
He doesn't want to play anyway, and takes a swing at Alex while Jamie screams about watching his hand, I mean. Richie can't believe it either; they're about to fcuk up the biggest night of their lives over a GIRL? He fires Jamie on the spot, sending her out past Lester while he gives Alex and Kip a pep talk about all the girls they can fight about later. AFTER the really big shooow.
Jamie stops Richie on the stairs, crying; is she really fired? She's not fired from the company, just that band, find another. Do you think she'll be able to? She had really good instincts, but Nasty Bitz literally fell in her lap.
Why don't we get to see more Andrea Zito??????? MOAR ANNIE PARRISSE!!
NOW it's showtime! The band isn't exactly welcomed, coming into a chorus of boos, but that's their metier after all. Everyone watches with apprehension, except Julie, who still looks confused. I almost hate to see it, but James Jagger has it, man, he has it like Baby Cube had it in Straight Outta Compton. The crowd is digging it, and the police come in just before the end of the song, EXTRA publicity! Also good because I don't think they had any other songs.
Richie is back in the bar with the groupie-slayer Fed, he just wants to talk about how easy these chicks are and I love how NOBODY mentions how young these "women" are. More like kids, barely teenagers, some of them, read a memoir and do the math. It's not pretty, but that's what kids in small towns did sometimes: ran away and joined the circus, as an act, or as a motivator. What were you doing at 14?
ANYWAY, what does Richie have for them? Nothing. Not even a murder right in front of you, huh. He offers up a crumb of stolen London Fog raincoats, and really? These morons are going to let him off on a manslaughter charges for groupie bedtime stories and possibly stolen matching rainwear?
The fed wanders away to make calls, the bartender asks Richie if he knows what a "gormandizer" is? We both think along the lines of a connoisseur, and a crossword puzzle, but no, this guy is renaming the bar. It's gonna feature live acts, Country, Blue Grass and Blues, or CBGBs for short. Richie stares and I'm of two minds; it's cute! But. Lightly, lightly.
Richie makes it to the Alibi Records launch party, the reviews for the Nasty Bitz are in and they're great! Speech time: you know what an alibi is? It's "an excuse for bad behaviour" and that's not EXACTLY it, but let me shut my pedant arse up. Music saved his life, and "every generation is full of fcuked up kids to need to hear that they are not alone." Alibi Records will be that voice. He holds up the record cover, holy shite, that's the picture of his guitar through his TV.
And lest anyone thinks American Century will be business as usual, there are cans of spray paint for everyone! Richie hands two to Julie to start, Julie who never understood the rebellion at the base of the NBs music, who still doesn't, and it's a moment. He climbs up to the office window and starts spraying while the crowd shouts it out loud: "FCUK! THIS! PLACE! UP!!" and the party is on to "Kick Out The Jams."
Zak and Skip do not partake.
And we're out. So. I'm not sure what to think, or if it's even worth thinking about it at all. A new writer / showrunner will be doing next season, I'm interested to see what will change and what they think is working. I think Richie's character arc has been just short of compelling, not thinking about it after, but certainly watchable. They've made so many of the other characters into caricatures that I really enjoy when they break out of that; the vibe between Skip, Scott and Zak is one of the bright spots. Not so tortured as whenever Richie is onscreen. You can actually see them as a team when it's the three of them, effortless. The mafia storyline is predictable, if completely unrealistic as to what the feds will take as payment, but it's passable. I wish they'd do more with Lester, get him recording or working with more bands or SOMETHING, he's one of the caricatures I mentioned above, although he wasn't in the beginning. To sum up: some bright spots: Annie Parisse, James Jagger, Juno Temple, some slightly less so, but will give it another run. Thanks so much for reading this season!