You know that part of Magnolia, or Jerry Maguire, or Oprah, where Tom Cruise starts singing "Save Me" or "Free Falling" or "Psycho Killer, Qu'est-Ce Que C'est?" or whatever, and you get so, so embarrassed and you have to look away? Times one hundred. For almost every second of the episode. I have hysterical blindness in my ears now. It's like the opposite of how Daredevil can hear really super-well, except the sense that's being compensated for is my sense of self.
In an incredibly awkward, over-rehearsed, silly conversation, Clay is transferred to Excel by Trump in order to even out the teams after last week's double-cobra. He loves the idea, Capital Edge loves the idea, and the two-person Excel team "loves" the idea. Rebecca manages to make it sound like they're doing something hardcore and extreme and in your face, while Randal -- who usually gets along with Clay -- is nice about it because he has class.
The task: Choose a boring musical artist, write and produce a boring song, and check in with the boring demographic of "XM CafÃ©," an XM Radio station that gives me the shivers. Here are some juicier bits from the remit: "Growing up doesn't mean growing old. But it does increase your enjoyment of more challenging rock artistsâ¦ You won't hear wailing guitar solosâ¦but you will hear thoughtful musiciansâ¦artists like the Wallflowers." That's where I stopped reading, because the Wallflowers make me want to destroy our planet with a giant ice machine, like the Cassidines.
So both songs are super-boring, but the question becomes: are they both boring in the right way? Ultimately not. So which is more perfectly boring? Given that we spent fifteen minutes on the trade of Clay from perennial loser Cap Edge to Randal/Rebecca powerhouse Excel, I'm sure you know that answer. Felisha is the PM for Capital Edge, and is good, if low-key, and possibly remote-controlled, but boy does she understand the XM CafÃ© market.
Meanwhile, Clay takes his self-obsession to new, almost spiritual heights, pisses off everyone involved in the venture at least eleven times, then sabotages Rebecca's presentation. Except it wasn't "sabotage," just the usual Clay incompetence, and it wasn't a "presentation" so much as an awkward press release about the country of Nigeria, and they didn't lose for any of these reasons. They lost because XM CafÃ© is stupid and because Trump is stupid and because what the hell does any of this crap have to do with real estate? No, I'm seriously asking.
Alla's Sucky Reward Karma continues to bite her in the veloured ass, and Capital Edge has to fly around New York in a helicopter with Donald Trump screaming at them about how he owns all kinds of crazy screaming real estate. But have you ever written a song, Trump?
Finally, Trump puts all of Excel on blast: Rebecca for not being as intense and frightening as usual, Randal for screwing up the station number for XM CafÃ© on their promo materials, and Clay for being absolutely horrendous and alienating everybody that has to deal with him. Then he bangs on the table and fires Clay, who spends the entire taxi ride on a speech you know by heart by now: "Rebecca and Randal are great big meanies, and Alla is a big mean bitch, and now that I'm gone the sun will never shine again and not even porcupines and little forest creatures will be able to persuade it to come out, and plus if you throw me out of the suite, Adam's pretty much guaranteed to die a virgin."
Last week Trump said fillum for film and Martian for Marshawn, Clay was out of his damn mind some more, and Brian and Marshawn were fired. Nobody saw Star Wars because they've all been masterminding fake multimillionaire careers since they were little children, while Jacob went nuts about the scandalous treatment of all those old white rich men in the media. One or all of these apparently caused it to rain.
There's a "thalkboard," as Jennifer W. might say, in the suite, and it has all the PMs for all the tasks and how they're doing. While the departed team members are mostly all erased, Markus remains, with a giant line through his name (and his 1-0 PM record!). It's funny and says a lot about the prevailing suite sentiment: his spirit lives on, albeit in a Turn Of The Screw, cautionary-tale kind of way.
Capital Edge is hanging out, waiting for Excel to return -- and I say Capital Edge, but I mean Felisha, Adam, and Alla, because Clay is busy in the kitchen being a pariah and part-time housekeeper. Felisha says she'll be "really upset if Brian didn't fight" in the Boardroom. Alla and Felisha discuss how Brian's smart and savvy enough to fight for himself without getting dirty or personal, and (at least editing-wise) the implication is a view on how that's Clay's main problem, because he doesn't actually understand Personal v. Not Personal, in the world of grownups.
Clay interviews that Randal is, of course, coming back. He somewhat muddies the waters of this clear and obvious point when he says that the reason for this is that his team was "nice enough" to give Randal an exemption. I'm going to stop you right there, Clay, because it's not about being "nice" or "not nice" when it comes to performance: it's about "quality." When your team say they hate you, it's not because they want to hurt your feelings, it's because you're awful. Personal attacks are a posteriori to your bullshit. If anyone ever pulls personal shit on you out of the blue, you'll maybe get a little more clarity on the difference, but so far you've not given anyone anything to work with, because you're awful before they get the chance to be mean. It's cool of Clay to give Randal the same pass on behavior that he gives himself, though. Like, no matter what or how Randal did, any judgments on his professional value will still be relegated to the relative "niceness" of his teammates, and not his actual performance. Clay also thinks that Marshawn's in the clear, but I'm not sure which of the countless bullies in the world will be "nice" enough to let her do that.