Show got me, you guys. I'm so pissed right nowâ¦
Okay. The task: create an in-store "interactive retail display" for the Star Wars Episode III: Revenge Of The Sith DVD and the Star Wars: Battlefront II video game, using LucasArts's graphic design, photography and structural engineers. You could also phrase this as "Your task is: I dare you to fuck this up."
Clay, and Brian and Marshawn, of all people, take this dare, and succeed immensely. Clay demands to be the Cap Edge PM due to the heinous persecution he in no way received last week, and is given the honor in the hopes that he won't actively ruin everything out of sheer vindictiveness. While he weighs this attractive possibility, he ultimately decides to be a figurehead, letting Alla do every single thing we see, and then swooping in to present his wonderful idea at the last second. Because Alla rules, they win. (Felisha and Adam? They stand around looking like total douchebags in Star Wars costumes, and speak a combined total of six words the entire episode, all of which are differently-accented variations on, "Yes, Dark Lord Alla." It is hella tight. And to be perfectly honest, it's the fact of their pageantry that is douchebaggy -- Felisha looks beautiful and clear-skinned in her makeup, and Adam, with his neo-maxi-zoom-dweeby vibe, randomly makes for about the hottest Padawan on this or any other planet. But now I've said too much.)
Meanwhile, Excel (with the exception of super-cute super-geek Randal) has never even heard of the Star Wars franchise, because apparently it was all Die Hard at the multiplex the whole time they were on rumspringa. Brian assumes the PM rule in spite of this, because Randal's exempt and thereforeâ¦something, I'm not entirely sure yet about that thought process.
Confused Manhattanite Brian gives them a fifteen-minute lead time to get from Trump Tower to the studio in Chelsea (get me talking like I know what the hell that means, although with these stakes, I wouldn't give myself fifteen minutes to get to the curb), and Excel misses their meeting with the executive judges altogether. Seriously. By contrast, Capital Edge has a great conference with the guys, and Alla takes amazing notes ("WHO IS DARTH VADER?").
It is at this point that things stop making sense. New York has three suns, Randal must give Excel the rundown of all six movies, and everybody morphs into a Star Wars character. Randal is Yoda, handing out wisdom like candy; Alla is (still) Palpatine, cornering the entire universe using her mind powers; Adam is worthless as five Anakins and Felisha worthless as five Amidalas; Clay becomes Lord Pissious, a little-known Sith who rules by warping whatever anybody says into something crazy about how awesome he is; Rebecca is Chewbacca who comes through in a pinch; Brian is like a brain-damaged Han Solo; and Marshawn isâ¦oh, Marshawn. I'm terribly angry and sad to have to tell you this, but Marshawn finally reveals herself asâ¦Darth Markus.
A half-hour before the presentation, she wusses out because she's afraid the whole crappy thing will rest on her presentation skills, so she passes on her only responsibility: giving the presentation itself. Because Brian is a yakking freak when he tries to do this, he doesn't really wanna do it, and Rebecca finally steps up and does a pretty great job. Meaning that Marshawn did nothing but sit back and quietly criticize and hope that she was contravening the right things to insure her safety in the event of a loss. It's the most unearned, brain-bending, ridiculous turn to the Dark Side sinceâ¦you already know what I'm going to say. It's horribly fucking disappointing.
In the Boardroom, Darth Markus again rears her perplexing, terrifying head, pointing fingers every which way and babbling herself into obscurity instead of just admitting she had no faith in the project that Brian and Randal designed, painting herself into such a crazy corner that she ends up basically having to say that her shadowy goal was to help Rebecca "prove herself" and add value to the team. Which is nuts, and half the time she says this exact same thing but says it was some kind of Brian-husbandry she was trying, to, like, bring them both to bloom. It's gross.
After the longest Boardroom ever, in which Trump keeps calling Marshawn "Martian," he fires Brian for missing the client meeting, then waits a beat, then fires Darth Markus for being a total fake and a phony. Down in the cab, Darth Markus blabbers literally the entire time about how much Brian sucks, and I know he's tiny, but he's sitting right there, Marshawn! God! Due to Brian's incredible emotional delicacy, he doesn't even seem to know what has happened until the last second of what's now the second or third best cab ride this season, maybe ever, sighs disgustedly, and then stares brokenly right into the camera, mentally calculating the fact that he should be home by now.
It's a bummer on one hundred different levels, right, and then we see the task for next week: write and record an original song for XM radio. Which means more godawful singing. I'm sure Adam will be on a team by himself and the rest of the cast will be living it up in Boca while he plays an unplugged set or something. Here are my notes, verbatim:
write/rec orig song XM
â¦and then there's just a long, long line trailing off the page, like when they find the diary of the last person to survive the plague or whatever. So there's that. But more importantly: What The Hell, Marshawn?
Yeah, this one's long, but it's mostly because of the quizzes, so can you forgive me? We start with Clay's glorious, pissy, horrific "Don't talk to me" and slamming door routine from last week's post-Boardroom. Alla and Felisha look up at Clay's super-drama and he duck-walks past them with his little orange bag, wearing a face that to me is about one-third triumph at surviving, one-third vindication of his persecution complex, and one-third really scary nihilist Fuck This, Fuck You, Fuck Everything. Alla characterizes it as "proud," murmuring to Felisha that he was like, "Uh, deal with me." Which is maybe a more succinct way of expressing the equation above, but without using fractions. "Whatever," she scoffs. Felisha snivels, "We're going to have to...[deal with him]," and Alla gets a certain (awesome) look on her hard old pretty face too: "Hell yeah we are." She is my soul sister in this moment, and not because it's Clay: it's because she smells blood in the water, and it makes her berserk and ecstatic. And that's why Jacob works from home now.
As everyone mobs Adam and hugs him and licks their thumbs to wipe schmutz off his face and straightens his tie and pushes envelopes into his hand, Clay interviews that if you "call [Clay] out, and lie and say [he] said something vindictive," he is "going after you." And yeah, way to leave it in the Boardroom, but the second Adam and Alla starting making those vague intimations of nonexistent serial anti-Semitic remarks, it crossed the line from particularly bitchy game play to classless maneuver. But since Clay is regularly both bitchy and classless, color me only theoretically sympathetic.
So now that Adam is back, Alla wants to debrief. Adam sweetly asks to invite Clay along, and Alla gives him a curt and hilarious "No." Felisha interviews that she was really hoping he'd leave -- which, think about what she's saying: She'd take Markus over Clay, and that hurts even me -- and that her fear is that he'll sabotage the team effort, "just to hurt us." She shrugs into the camera: "That's Clay." And I don't really think it is, exactly, or at least not until everybody goes Mirror Universe Bizarro in this episode, because it seems highly unlikely that someone would sabotage the entire team task just to get into the Boardroom, and then hope to escape with his life. The "down in flames/hail of bullets" thing is kind of attractive, but these people are so freaking worn out at this point that I think it would just look like too much trouble, even for someone who's as hurt as Clay is right now.