Oh, I do love when New Yorkers on TV go west. Remember California Don Draper in his tan suit, following beguiling hippie chicks to bewildering dinner parties? Ah, 2008. This week, Dawn and Mo suit up for an L.A. jaunt: they’re attending a networking event called the Predator’s Ball, where Mo hopes to dig himself out of another hole. The Yakuza let Mo keep his finger, but they took something else as collateral: 30 percent of the company. Of course, Dawn doesn’t know this when they arrive at the opening-night party in their leisure duds — pink one-piece suit for Dawn; jacket with sleeves rolled up and a tank top underneath for Mo — and are greeted by their host, played by Tim Heidecker: “You must be Dawn and Maurice. I know because you’re our first blacks!”
Mo waits until the morning after the wild opening-night party to admit that they’re screwed. (The party, by the way, is another of Black Monday’s surreal montages, an echo of last week’s hilarious bow-tie sequence, which escalates from weird old dudes in tuxedos throwing books into a bonfire to Dawn being lifted on a chair bar-mitzvah-style to an American Gladiators–style battle in the pool.) And although earlier both Dawn and Mo tried to pretend that neither of them showed up at the restaurant in the previous episode, since Dawn’s already pissed and he’s clearly not getting any tonight, Mo admits he knows she did show up. “How would you know I was there unless you were there?” Dawn shoots back.
When Black Monday premiered, it seemed like the central relationship would be between Mo and Blair; at the season’s halfway point, it’s clear that the series belongs to Mo and Dawn, and that their rom-com, love-hate tension drives much of the show’s drama — and propels much of its plot. This week’s episode opens with the firm’s general counsel giving a talk on sexual harassment in the workplace (“sexual harassment applies to all women … who are attractive and of child-bearing age”), which, as you can imagine, the good folks at the Jammer Group receive with the utmost sobriety. Hell, even Dawn laughs it off, indignant at the idea that they can’t even flirt anymore. The presentation gives Mo the perfect opening to jab Dawn for making out with Blair. She accuses Mo of acting weird; he weirdly denies it. Later, he tells her he only brought her to California “so you wouldn’t give it up to half the office!”
Their personal drama spills over into the business, and prompts a major misstep. The Leighman brothers — clad in a white suit and pastel plaid pants, respectively — summon Mo and Dawn, and offer them a deal, which would help dig them out of their financial hole. Even though he’s not exactly in a position to be choosy, Mo’s too proud to accept, and he blows them off. But Dawn is a partner now; she goes back to the brothers, without Mo, and tells them she’s leaving the firm because she doesn’t trust Mo — he let the Yakuza take 30 percent of their company without her knowledge. She offers them the opportunity to make money and screw over Mo all at once, and they accept.
Just as Dawn is scheming to screw over Mo, Mo’s scheming to screw over Dawn. (Will these two just properly screw already?! Too much money is at stake!) He visits his mentor, who’s bedridden in a state-of-the-art medical facility he bought, and who reminds Mo that money matters more than anything or anyone.
Back at the office, the guys are working all night doing “compliance.” (“You mean a document shred?” Tiff asks when Blair phones to tell her he won’t be coming home; there’s a great running gag throughout the episode of Tiff hanging up the phone and reaching for her vibrator each time Blair calls to tell her he’s still working.) The bulk of the work falls to Blair, since the other guys are taking advantage of the situation by calling in hookers — but props to Black Monday for refusing to revel in the spectacle of scantily clad prostitutes; in fact, we don’t even see them.
When he’s finished, Blair hands the bags of shredded documents to the office cleaning women, who are actually undercover workers from the SEC. Realizing the documents they came to confiscate have already been destroyed, they figure they’ll have to do their job the old-fashioned way: get some dirt on one of Jammer’s employees and blackmail him. Conveniently, just then, Blair rounds the corner to catch the elevator and sees Keith, who starts to rib him before an exhausted Blair snaps at him to stop bullying him or else he’ll tell everyone — including his wife — that Keith is gay. Of course, the SEC women hear everything.
Dawn and Mo return to the office, glowing in triumph from their deal, having saved the company. But the victory doesn’t last long. Mo admits that he did show up at the restaurant and saw her with Blair; she admits she was there too, and got drunk and upset. But just as they’re about to kiss and make up, Yassir barges into Mo’s office and tells him their payment to the Yakuza was denied — someone else already paid off their debt. The Leighman brothers phone up Mo and inform him that they’ve bought that 30 percent of his company off the Japanese mob, which Mo realizes they could only have known about through Dawn. He turns to her, furious: “How the fuck could you be so fucking stupid?”