Review by Andrew Bloom

Black Monday: Season 3

3x08 THREE!

[8.2/10] Hell of a bounce back for the show. It’s amazing how much better Black Monday is when you get all the major players in the room together. In addition to moving the plots along (both the business plot and the murder plot), this one has the fun of just geeing the gang back together.

There’s such brilliant comic farce to Blair, then Keith, then Larry, each blowing Dawn’s surprise going away party in turn, only for Larry to finally mess it up for good when he explains what happened after Keith botched the IPO. Everyone’s efforts to apologize/make good, confusion about who’s’ doing what for whom, and poor Karen’s complete inability to understand what to do are all a hoot.

I also like that after spinning its wheels for a while, Black Monday actually makes good on the house of cards it set up in the opening episode. Mo’s ploy to get Dawn out of jail (thereby saving her) indebted him to Larry, which gave the Leighmans’ control over Moco Records when Keith botched the IPO, which allows Larry to prevent Dawn from leaving for L.A. It’s a little convoluted, but there’s some poetry in Mo trying to help Dawn (albeit in a way that makes him into a savior) and inadvertently stymieing her in the process.

Plus, it gives the crew a chance to scheme again! Mo, Dawn, Blair, Keith, and Yassir just sitting in a room, with a white board, debating honey pots, and the timeline being confusing, and whether Keith’s wearing a wire was downright hilarious. You forget how well this show can do half-naturalistic, half-stylized dialogue in rapidfire comic settings, but this is the perfect vehicle for it.

Their confrontation with Larry is good too, getting what they want but finding themselves accused of being every bit the monster Larry is. They celebrate their victory over him, but when toasting and walking down memory lane, they recall the ways they’ve fucked Blair as much as he’s fucked them. There’s something warm about them inviting him back to the table after banishing him earlier, in what feels like a last ride and final benediction for the show before the endgame. It’s a reminder of what worked in season 1, and how far they’ve all come since then.

Of course, Larry’s death throws a big monkey wrench in that (and the post-credit scene with his severed member is one of the strangest tags I’ve ever seen). But it’s nice to get one last jocular moment of camaraderie with this group before things go to hell.

Speaking of which, I love the Blair/Tiff half of the episode as well. They play the American Psycho homage well, and I appreciate the show going back to what made those two characters work in the show’s first season as well. The idea that after everything, they’re still friends and confidantes who can help each other through tough times is an unexpectedly sweet one. The performers play it well.

Plus, the confrontation with Corky is the right mix of charged and absurd. Corky’s climbing my list of possible killers, given how much motive she has and how much she’s been featured this season. Tiff “quitting her job” and Corky’s reaction to it is the right blend of serious and silly.
If that weren't enough, there’s something legitimately a bit tragic about Tiff finally finding her bliss in life, deciding she wants out and patching things up with Blair, just before her life is snuffed out. (Granted, we saw Blair get shot and survive, so maybe this isn’t the end for Tiff.) Her and Blair finding equilibrium and some measure of happiness, just before she dies, is weirdly sad considering theirs is a relationship between two terrible people.

Still, that’s what we’ve signed up for with Black Monday. Everyone here is some flavor of terrible and yet we find ourselves rooting for the funny and human parts of them. Those aspects of the major players on prime display here for once, and I welcome it.

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