I realize I haven’t discussed the flashbacks this season. We’re firmly in Don Draper’s Little Whorehouse on the Prairie territory, just really hammering home that the reason Joe does lots of homicides is because his dad was abusive and his mom was slutty and everyone was fighting all the time. (Earlier this season, we saw Joe remember his mom just up and leaving him on the boardwalk for some indeterminate amount of time.) Joe isn’t sure why he’s dreaming about his childhood so much, now that he and Love are really connecting (getting to second base while talking on the phone with other people).
Let us again return to the theme of okay but healthy adult siblings seriously do NOT behave this way: Love is giving Joe a hand job while talking to Forty on the phone?? Like Zoe Barnes saying “happy Father’s day” while Frank goes down on her? Ew, ew, a thousand times ew. Love explains that they have to keep their relationship a secret because Forty gets very threatened whenever his sister is having sex with someone. Normal, cool sibling stuff! Honestly I would absolutely love it if this show went full weird and we had a Flowers in the Attic situation on our hands, but I don’t really think that’s where we’re headed here. Their doomed strategy is to be extra-nice to Forty now, as if he is a child who is about to find out that mommy and daddy still love him very much, they just don’t love each other. This will supposedly engender lots of goodwill and zero suspicion.
Ellie, superteen, knows there’s spyware on her phone. (Also I JUST realized why she looks so familiar: She’s young Jane, from Jane the Virgin! Straight out of a telenovela, right?) She assumes Delilah is behind it and is smoothly keeping her hangs with Henderson secret. Joe can still see their texts because he stole Henderson’s laptop. Ellie has moved her conversations with Hendy to instant messenger because she is a sneaky little genius. Henderson is in New Orleans so Joe has decided to break into his house and find evidence and get him arrested. For someone so hellbent on bringing Henderson to justice in the traditional fashion (e.g., not murder), Joe has done astonishingly little recon into how exactly one might go about doing that successfully. Namely: by not committing a crime (breaking and entering, trespassing on private property, stealing) in the act of outing a criminal. Without a warrant, anything Joe finds in Hendy’s place is inadmissible, but Joe does not factor this in, because, sure.
Joe tells Will that if he can shut down Henderson’s security system, this will prove his loyalty enough to be set free. Through some techy thing I won’t bore you with (I did not write it down), Henderson’s security system is disabled and Joe gets inside. He tugs on the hardcover Dickens on the shelf and boom: We’re in the dungeon.
Again, this is such a clunky and ridiculous way of shoehorning Me Too stories into this show! Most of the real-life scumbags didn’t have anything as obvious as a mattress with handcuffs and a camera setup in a secret hidey-hole in their mansions! Naturally Joe unearths a box of Polaroids of underage girls, including Delilah, in various stages of undress. It’s all very Get Out. I feel like Hendy would’ve kept this stuff in a safe. Anyway, it’s not going to matter because there’s no way anyone can prove the photos are Henderson’s, that they came from his house, that the girls in them are underage, etc., etc., etc. But Joe is a dumb-dumb and he did not ask a real reporter what to do before he botched this whole case. Instead, he leaves the photos in an envelope outside Delilah’s door.
Delilah tells a hookup buddy/cop friend that while she wants to get Henderson, she’s concerned that she’ll lose all credibility if it comes out that she was one of his victims. I guess Delilah did not read the CNN investigation into Morgan Freeman’s history of inappropriate behavior and harassment, which was co-written by a reporter who was subjected to his sexually suggestive comments while interviewing him at a press junket. Delilah hands off the photos to the guy, who will later return to tell her what I already told you: There’s no way to tell where the photos were taken or connect them to Henderson, and whoever took them out of the house completely screwed up the case.
Love ambushes Joe with brunch with her friends, who don’t believe in western medicine. By the end of the meal, Joe has been implausibly welcomed into this tribe of borderline anti-vaxxers. But just as Joe’s starting to feel like all is well, Forty arrives, to point out (1) it is obvious that Love and Joe are hooking up, and (2) it was shitty of Love to lie to him, and (3) it was rude of them not to invite him to brunch. Hard to argue any of those points, I must say.
Love goes home to stress bake, and Joe (not incorrectly) suggests both twins could use some boundaries. His solution to this problem, though, is the exact opposite of his inner monologue: “Forty wants to be included, so let’s include him!” Joe also says he’ll help Forty come up with a great idea … so Forty will be too busy working to turn their couple into a half-incestuous throuple. That night, Joe dreams about his mom just stranding him by the deli counter so she can fuck a stranger she met at the grocery store — wow, okay! — and wakes up to a cold bed because Love is in the living room cutting her brother’s hair. Forty knows he has the upper hand with oh-so-magnanimous Joe, whom he calls “old sport” probably because he watched the Leonardo DiCaprio remake of The Great Gatsby.
Joe overhears Ellie planning to go to Henderson’s that night and, like an idiot, wonders why hasn’t Delilah gotten Henderson arrested yet? He frees himself for the evening by cutting short his pitch brainstorm session with Forty, whose brilliant idea for a movie ends with “our guy has to murder all three women.” He calls it “genius” and encourages Forty to just take that red eye to SXSW and pitch it, man!
Joe swings by the storage locker for a pep talk from Will and, like a Bond villain, to announce his master plan: to get Henderson to confess on video. In my notes I write JOE, YOU FUCK WAD, COERCED CONFESSIONS, LIKE STOLEN PHOTOGRAPHS, ARE NOT ADMISSIBLE IN COURT. But I am just yet another woman whose screams Joe cannot hear. He can hear Will say that the only way Joe can prove to himself that he’s a good person is to let Will go free. Joe is going to have to think this over while on this deeply stupid mission. Oh also, Love is going to SXSW because she needs to be Forty’s sober companion; I guess he has no friends? And also that Anavrin just runs itself?
Ellie shows up at Hendy’s house to discover, shocker, there’s no screening after all. Henderson reverse-psychologies (is that a verb?) Ellie into coming inside. He tells her that her short is excellent. I’m not sure why he would be an expert on the subject since he’s a standup comedian, but Ellie is super-proud. He offers her a watermelon juice and Cosbys it on the sly with GHB. Joe, in turn, spikes Hendy’s drink with a much higher dose, so while Ellie naps on the couch, Hendy regains consciousness tied to a chair in his underground sex-creep lair.
Henderson insists that his thing is drugging girls and photographing them but not touching them, and therefore no one gets hurt and everything is fine. Joe is underwhelmed and wants to get this confessional video made. But when Hendy literally says “we’re the same,” Joe, whose entire sense of self hinges on being a Good Guy who is Not like the Bad Guys, loses his cool and tears off his mask. So obviously now he has to do a murder, because Hendy has seen and recognized him. It takes a few minutes to get there but anyway: Henderson tries to escape, tussles with Joe, falls backward down the stairs and dies in a pool of his own blood.
Joe spends a lot of time crafting a story that exonerates him: Henderson attempted suicide, then changed his mind, but then fell down the stairs. His cleanup is complicated by an overeager Roomba but, as usual, Joe is able to get out of the crime scene and (as far as we know) leave no trace of himself behind. It’s going to be real problematic for Ellie when she realizes that she was in this dude’s house when he “killed himself”! Especially since she wasn’t supposed to be there!
Joe returns to the storage locker to make like Pharaoh and let his people go. Will puts his shoes on so slowly and I think I will die waiting for him to seize his freedom. Joe can rest now because he’s a Good Person who only did ONE murder today, which was really more of a manslaughter if you think about it.
Down in Austin, Forty tells his sister that he met a “total smokeshow” and is smitten with a stranger. Who could she be? Ahh, it’s Candace! Pretending to be someone named Amy! Again I am not convinced anyone here knows the best way to catch criminals/serial killers and is making everyone’s lives harder and more dangerous by going about things this way, but I am excited to watch someone besides Joe screw up Joe’s life.