Claws Recap: When Desna Met Roller


Season 1 Episode 9
Editor’s Rating *****
Photo: Alfonso Bresciani/Alfonso Bresciani

Are you ready for a flashback episode? Are you ready to vaguely understand the origins of Roller and Desna’s relationship during history’s worst road trip? If so, this is the episode for you! I realize the show has to show some action between Desna and Roller when they’re trapped in the car, but are those the best moments to show for their relationship? Most of them are just Desna and Roller sitting on a couch looking into each other’s eyes. They’re basically doing that in the car, but now there’s a gun between them.

The first moment is when the gang meets Roller for the first time, and it is … uneventful. Well, there’s a little more to the story, but we’ll get there. The first time Desna met Roller, she wasn’t impressed with him at all. She was just trying to make some good tips because her car was broken down and she was struggling to make rent and payroll. So much of Desna’s story has always revolved around money. When we cut back to the present, Desna is being forced to drive by Roller to what might be both of their deaths. Roller needs to clean out a bunch of bank accounts all over Florida, and Desna just wants to call Uncle Daddy. Roller plans to make it look like Desna has been involved in everything and killed herself from the guilt.

Roller forces Desna to call the salon and tell everyone that she’s hiding out with the sexy Haitian doctor for a few days. Desna gets Virginia on the phone and tells her that she’s going to hide out with the doctor for a little bit, eat ambrosia salad, and fall on his cock. When Virginia passes along the message, Polly and Jen are immediately suspicious because Desna never says cock. I was surprised that TNT allowed for the word cock to be repeated so much. (Also, if you’ve seen The Queens of Comedy, Monique has an extended bit about how black women never say cock.) Virginia is relieved because Desna says that Roller has decided to let the whole “I was almost murdered” thing go and drop it. Virginia doesn’t question a thing. Polly is also on edge because Dr. Ken is outside trying to woo her with gifts, and telling her that she doesn’t have to convert to be with him. Ugh, okay, I guess she’ll deal with that later.

Desna and Roller are arguing because Desna thinks they can just call Uncle Daddy and he’ll solve everything. Roller is upset that he’s been replaced by Bryce and Desna’s sexy doctor boyfriend. Desna knows that Roller is jealous and maybe he still cares a little bit about her.

We flashback again to the first day that Desna and Roller meet, and the rest of the Nail Artisans gang are giggling about how cute he is. Desna is not interested, and Polly and Jen wonder if it’s the whole “pink dick” thing. Again, we’re just saying dick all on TNT. Jen says that in the dark, all dicks are black. I don’t think that’s the phrase, but I like it. Police show up at the salon ready to arrest Polly. She freaks out and tries to run, but the cops are waiting at the back door for her. Roller is sitting in the background with his paraffin hardening.

Desna and Roller go into a bank, and he’s got a firm grip on her neck as she makes a withdrawal. The teller asks her what church she goes to and the initials of her fake church spell “H.E.L.P.,” and the teller even says it aloud without noticing. Roller smacks Desna and shuffles her out of there.

Meanwhile, Ann and Arlene are rolling around in bed, and a beautiful glass dildo rolls under the dresser. Ann sees that Arlene is keeping a folder connecting Desna to the Koons’ murder, and now she’s all conflicted about it. Bryce goes to visit Uncle Daddy to convince him to go after the Russians for what they did, and Bryce is WIRED. Uncle Daddy agrees and has Bryce call the boss in Georgia.

Then we get the first of a scene we’re gonna see like five times throughout the episode. Desna and Roller are in the car and she tells him to call Uncle Daddy, and then there’s a flashback of Desna talking about a financial problem and Roller flirting with her. In this particular instance, they get a flat tire and Roller ties Desna’s hands to the steering wheel before he gets out to fix it. Desna says that what’s happening isn’t Roller’s fault and they can figure this out, and Roller snaps that she is the one responsible. Desna says that Virginia was the one who shot him because she was protecting Desna. But Roller wants to know … who protects Roller? A cop rolls up while Roller is changing a tire, but once he sees who is tied up and who Roller is, he lets them go. The cop is working with Uncle Daddy and looks the other way.

Ann comes in and spills the beans to Polly. Arlene is going to arrest Desna for setting up the Koonses. She’s got the fake nail and some paperwork from DCF. Ann refuses to deal with Arlene because they’re in love. They’re talking about children and spending their lives together. Polly reminds Ann of everything Desna has done for them, and Ann volunteers that Arlene has a DUI. Polly can work with that.

It’s time for Uncle Daddy and Bryce to have their little meeting with the Boss, Ted. In person, he’s a lot less intimidating. He’s got some scraggly hair and a tie-dye shirt, and insists that they can only talk when holding the sharing stick or he’ll beat them with it. Ted doesn’t think this is a smart time to attack the Russians, and they can’t have the cops running around. Ted lashes out at Bryce for snapping at him and beats him with the sharing stick. As he turns to leave, Bryce shoves Ted and he cracks his face open on the steps of the strip-club stage.

Roller gets a text that the location of the drop off has changed, and he thinks that means he’s going to be killed, so he’s taking Desna out with him. She finally tells him that she told Riva everything, and Riva is going to retaliate. This isn’t going well at all. Meanwhile, Polly is trying to get Dr. Ken to give her a few benzos, but he only wants to talk about their relationship. UGH. She agrees to see him one more time in exchange for his secret stash. He gives her an orgasm in Uncle Daddy’s outdoor shower, and she gives him a kiss as she leaves. I think these crazy kids are gonna make it. Ann slips one of the pills into Arlene’s coffee. When Arlene drives home, she’s swerving like crazy and runs her car into the median, and is pulled over by another police officer. When Ann is done, she rushes into the back of the salon to the back office and screams.

Desna convinces Roller to let her say good-bye to Dean. He asks her for her blessing to propose to Virginia because they love each other and he really loves sex. Desna starts to cry and gives her blessing, and tells Dean where to find a box of money to buy a ring. When Dean goes to the salon and tells Polly that he’s going to propose, Polly instantly knows SOMETHING IS WRONG. She asks Virginia to repeat the phone message, and Virginia says Desna was going to eat some “euphoria salad.” Polly recognizes that as their code word for trouble from Polly’s prison days.

When Roller and Desna arrive at the drop spot, two tracksuit-wearing thugs show up, and Roller throws them a bag of money. One reaches for his gun, so Roller shoots them both and Desna takes off running. Roller catches her, and she’s forced onto her knees and begs for her life. They loved each other. Suddenly, Roller hears someone approaching, and when he turns to scope it out, Desna bolts!


Claws Recap: When Desna Met Roller