overnights

Black Monday Recap: Mo Money, Mo Problems

Black Monday

339
Season 1 Episode 3
Editor’s Rating *****

Black Monday

339
Season 1 Episode 3
Editor’s Rating *****
Photo: Erin Simkin/Showtime

Mo suffers a major setback this week, one that he inadvertently caused in his attempt to wine-and-dine Blair. The episode begins with some good ol’ ’80s nostalgia as Mo and his traders play Duck Hunt at the office (“Die, quackers!”) and discuss how Mo can butter up his latest and most potentially valuable acquisition. He asks Keith, whose son’s bar mitzvah is the following day, for some fatherly advice; Keith suggests he buy Blair’s love, just like he did that one time his son walked in on him engaging in some autoerotic asphyxiation.

The camera whips around to reveal an impatient Dawn sitting on Mo’s couch and reading the paper, waiting for the morning meeting to begin. She explains that she’s been hustling to buy up as much public Georgina stock as she can, so if — “When,” Mo interjects — they can convince Blair to hand over the family shares, they’ll be able to get the 51 percent they need to take over the company.

But, she adds, there’s a slight hiccup: The quarter ends in 48 hours, and if they file with their current shares, they’ll blow their cover — everyone will know what they’re up to. They need someplace to hide the shares until the takeover, and all their shell companies are full. So, Dawn explains, “We need people who won’t fuck us over when we need the shares back, but who we don’t mind fucking over by implicating in a felony, alright? Basically, our dearest family and friends.”

Cut to Blair preparing for his night on the town with Mo with his nearest and dearest, Tiff, who still feels like an underwritten caricature to me; I’m not sure why this woman born into extreme wealth is content to live in a one-bedroom apartment in Alphabet City with a bathroom that has a curtain for walls, and Casey Wilson’s performance feels too broad, like she’s playing a character in a two-minute SNL sketch. She urges Blair to seize the opportunity to hang out with Mo and demand a promotion, which leads to another tossed-off reference to Blair’s apparently very shitty childhood: You don’t make Mo do things, Blair explains; he does things to you, “like my gymnastics team doctor.”

Meanwhile, this episode fleshes out Paul Scheer’s Keith, who, it turns out, has a secret boyfriend in the city, Mike, for whom he’s pledged to leave his wife. Mike’s convinced Keith will never tell his wife the truth, and says it’s over between them. Keith mopes back home, where he asks his wife, Shira, to sign the paperwork for a pile of Georgina shares. She refuses until he retrieves the Nintendo he bought for their son’s bar mitzvah, so he trudges back to Mike’s, professes his love for him, tells him he’s all in, and, while Mike is searching his kitchen for something to celebrate, steals the Nintendo he just gave him and races out the door. But he trips and falls down the stairs, breaking the game console — and his arm. “You know what, go blow on the cartridges because that really works, Keith!” Mike yells.

Dawn is also struggling to offload her portion of the shares on her parents, who’ve come over for dinner. When she tells them all she has an announcement to make, they assume she’s pregnant — and are noticeably less excited when she reveals instead that she made partner. Her mother defends her — “This is the 80s. A woman can be whatever she wants” — but when Dawn tries to push the shares on her, she’s not having any of it. “Real money,” she says, “is honest money.” Then she drops a bomb: “I said I was happy for you, not proud,” and calls her daughter a crook and a yuppie.

Mo’s plan seems to be going a lot better — at least for a while. After a pre-dinner “show”— he takes Blair to witness a live execution?! — he and Blair visit a fancy restaurant, where Mo orders the most expensive item on the menu without even opening it. It turns out to be a slab of steak tartare, which neither of them can force down their throats. So they book it to a dive burger bar in Alphabet City, where Mo spins Blair a yarn about how he grew up in an orphanage nearby and always wanted to try one of these burgers. He chats up the waiter, giving him a hundred-dollar bill and telling him to keep the change.

Of course, this is all a ruse to make Blair feel like Mo is opening up to him; he’s never been there before. Still, it works: Blair admits that Tiff doesn’t understand any of this, since she was born with money, and the two spend the rest of the night snorting coke and drinking Champagne in Mo’s Limbo. Mo even agrees to promote Blair, who arrives home to find that Tiff has bought a brand-new trash compactor and a washer-dryer with her parents’ money.

It’s starting to look like everything is going to work out: Dawn offloads her shares on her poor sucker of a boyfriend, and Keith swipes a Nintendo from a hospital playroom after getting a cast put on his arm. He heads to his son’s Mets-themed bar mitzvah and stumbles onstage during the Torah reading, the Nintendo wrapped in newspaper. But Shira still won’t sign the paperwork, insisting that Keith may end up in prison, but he’s not bringing the family down with him. Like Dawn, Keith finds a way to park the shares with his boyfriend, after Mike saves the day by showing up in a Mr. Met costume. Thanking him outside, Keith admits, “You are the only person in my life that I can’t live without.” Mike agrees to take the shares.

Back inside, Mo and Dawn have arrived, and Mo reveals how he got rid of his shares — he gave them to Keith’s son as a bar mitzvah “gift,” implicating his family in their little felony despite Shira’s warning. All is well, until Blair shows up with a stunning announcement of his own: He broke up with Tiff. He looks around. “Is this a child wedding?”

Black Monday Recap: Mo Money, Mo Problems