Claws Recap: Always Check the Swamp


Season 1 Episode 5
Editor’s Rating *****
Photo: TNT

The dizzying speed with which Claws introduces characters and plot lines and straight-up murders is impressive just because of how ballsy it is. I think that’s this show’s chief quality — ballsiness. It’s a ballsy bitch. I’m into it even if it felt like this episode wandered around a little. Let’s get into it.

Desna is still on Bryce’s tail after he’s picked up Dr. Ken from the clinic. Desna sees Ghost Roller in the backseat of her car and Jen is pacing at home trying to figure out where Bryce could have taken Dr. Ken. She and Desna put their heads together over the phone and figure out that Bryce is taking the doctor to the swamp. That should be everyone’s first instinct for any issue on the show: Check the swamp.

Once Bryce gets to the swamp, he tries to drag Dr. Ken out of the trunk and Dr. Ken tries to bribe him with wholesale rug prices. When some water birds startle them, Dr. Ken pulls off his pillowcase and dashes off into the swamp. This is why you always tie up the person you’re trying to kidnap. Desna and Jen arrive on the scene and hear gunshots. Bryce is firing his gun into the air and starts quoting Tony Robbins to inspire him to kill Dr. Ken faster. They all find each other and Desna and Jen beg Bryce not to do this. It will definitely end with Bryce in jail, so Desna practically gets down on her knees to beg him to let Dr. Ken go. Bryce drops the gun and breaks down crying in Jen’s arms.

Meanwhile at the salon, Polly takes a break from waxing when Desna returns and says she’s got to get away from all this mess, so she’s going to look at another salon. Bryce and Jen are leaving an abundant life meeting and Jen tries to get Bryce to get out from underneath Uncle Daddy. She offers him anal once a week. Damn, girl.

Detective Chip and his partner, Arlene, are checking out the other stores in the strip mall with the nail salon when Arlene takes a liking to Ann. This can only end in a sexy disaster. Desna goes to see another salon owned by an Asian woman and they have a little standoff before realizing they’re not that different after all. The salon isn’t as fancy as the one Desna was looking at before, but it’s not bad. It’d be a definite step up. Mandy reveals that she doesn’t eat, well, food, so Desna makes her eat a damn cookie.

Then Desna gets a call from her neighbor that Dean is up on a billboard near their house. It’s their old foster parents who abused them. They’re Realtors in the area, and Dean is going spray paint testicles on their faces. Desna talks him off the billboard and the girls at the salon think it’s time for Dean to maybe go live in a group home. It’s becoming a bit much for Desna to handle. Desna shows them the salon she visited today and they all tell her not to settle for less. But like clockwork, Uncle Daddy summons her to the strip club.

Desna, Virginia, and Jen head to the strip club. Uncle Daddy reveals that Chip talked to some of the folks down at the Big & Tall about how Roller was arguing with Virginia and Desna on the day he was murdered. Of course, Virginia starts spinning a bunch of new lies that Roller was arguing with some of his drug dealers. OKAY, VIRGINIA. She definitely thinks she’s a mastermind, but I’m not really sure. Outside, Jen conveniently forgets her phone after telling off Uncle Daddy, and Juanda and Desna takes the alone time to dress down Virginia for all her lies. They both took money out of Roller’s house so they’re both in pretty deep. Then Ghost Roller shows up and I’m about sick of his ass and his buffoonery.

Virginia comes home after a long day of lying and sneaking around to find Polly in her apartment. Polly spins around holding a knife and a tray of cupcakes. Polly knows that Virginia pretends to be a dum-dum, but she can see she’s trying to cover her tracks with all that shady behavior. If Virginia gets Desna in trouble, Polly is prepared to cut. A. Bitch. Then Polly menacingly licks all the frosting off a cupcake. I’m in love with Polly and she gets me.

Dean shows up after his personal-training session and tells Desna he wants to confront their old foster parents because his trainer told him Governor Arnold would tell the truth. Desna can’t talk him out of it, so they go to an open house. They walk in and start listing everything that they did to them and it’s bad. The old foster parents throw back that their crack-addicted mother left them behind and they spend time at Mar-a-Lago, so how could they be bad people. When they get ushered out, Dean reveals that the foster parents did more than make them eat out of dog bowls — they sexually assaulted him and threatened to do the same to Desna if he didn’t keep quiet. Okay, let’s go to the police. Can we go to the police yet? PUT THESE PEOPLE IN JAIL.

When Virginia decides they’ve got to pin Roller’s murder on someone, Desna sees the opportunity to kill two old white folks with one stone and suggests her foster parents. They’re going to hide some of Roller’s money and drugs in their house and Virginia knows just the person for the job: Polly won’t let anything happen to Desna, so she volunteers. She slips into the house, subdues a dog, plants the evidence, and gets out just in the nick of time. Desna uses a burner phone to tip off the police.

While Uncle Daddy sends Chip and Bryce to take out the foster parents, Desna’s Realtor stops by the salon to say she can get the cheaper salon for a discount … or the original fancy salon is back on the market. Desna encourages Mandy to take a muffin and eat the whole thing. I’m not into how Desna is an inspiring skinny white women to eat. She definitely gets on the verge of being some kind of mammy for some of the characters. I’m not into that. The squad breaks into a spontaneous routine to Lady Marmalade to celebrate the two salons competing for their business while Chip and Bryce rough up and ultimately kill the old foster parents.

Uncle Daddy calls to apologize to Desna for giving her a hard time. Things are looking up.

That’s when, in true Claws fashion, actual non–Ghost Roller wakes up in a weird house with a weirdo dressed in Renaissance-inspired jodhpurs dancing in the sunlight. Non–Ghost Roller wants some water and the weirdo just locks a chain onto his neck. She’s here to be his bleeding heart of love.


Claws Recap: Always Check the Swamp