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Vinyl recap: Cyclone

Richie Finestra reaches new highs (and lows) in one wild, messed-up bender of an episode

Posted on

Macall B. Polay/HBO


TV Show
Current Status:
In Season
run date:
Bobby Cannavale, Olivia Wilde, Ray Romano
Drama, Music

All was not well the last time we checked in with Richie Finestra: In episode 5 alone, he lost one of his biggest clients (the funkadelic soul alien Hannibal), his privacy (the NYPD is bugging his office, unbeknownst to him), and possibly his marriage (that tends to happen when you pull the C U Next Tuesday card on your wife). So episode 6 opening on poolside “Tequila” and sunshine feels surprisingly upbeat. But Richie’s not splashing around in water wings, enjoying a beautiful day with his children. He’s inside with the blinds drawn, drowning in beer and blow and self-pity. (Can we talk for a second about what a weirdly exaggerated snorter Richie is? He sucks up every line like a crazed Dyson and then makes the same “I just inhaled a Bengal tiger!” face every time. It’s kind of a lot to deal with.)

At least he’s not alone: His Brian Jones-y looking friend Ernst (played by Carrington Vilmont, which is an amazing name for a soap-opera bad guy who is also secretly a count) is back and riding shotgun on this bender, while also encouraging him to at least take a shower. “This is why Warhol told her not to marry you,” he says, referring to the AWOL Dev in his Deiter-from-Sprockets monotone. “He knew it would come to this.” But then he’s calling Dev a “spoiled leetle bitch,” so it’s not exactly clear whose team he’s on. And when he drops the n-word, we learn that Richie’s mom was half black. Who knew? Then the nanny brings the kids in, and Richie takes a minute to hug them and maniacally scream his love at them, even though he probably smells like hot Tijuana garbage.

The “leetle bitch” meanwhile, is at the Chelsea Hotel with her old friend Ingrid (Birgitte Hjort Sørensen), immersing herself in the downtown world again. You can see the pain and determination to get past this Richie mess on Olivia Wilde’s face — though sadly, the scene will probably mostly live on as a freeze frame on celebrity nude sites since she goes full frontal (era-appropriate pubic hair and/or merkin, we salute you!) to have her body cast in plaster by Ingrid’s perfectly pretentious artist lover.

At the American Century offices, Ernst is apparently Richie’s new consigliere. And lest we forget, PR-queen-turned-partner Andrea Zito (Annie Parisse) works here now, too; she and Zak (Ray Romano) are so cute and happy to see each other that I’m about to start shipping them already. In fact, everybody loves Andrea: The conference room is like a welcome-home party that Richie immediately crashes, bulldozing everybody with his obnoxiously coke-y energy. He wants her to give the staff her mission statement, which is basically that the place needs to be modernized and the label’s logo looks like a toilet. She’s also got a lead on David Bowie and a Biafra benefit. 

This place clearly needs her like crazy, especially since Richie’s left the meeting to bang the brunette receptionist in the executive bathroom. (Too bad he can’t follow through, though. Maybe it’s the three-plus days of nonstop stimulants?) He’s actually getting ready to take a nap after his failed over-the-sink coitus, but his presence is required at auditions for the Nasty Bits’ new guitarist. It turns out only hippies showed up, and frontman Kip is not having this kind of “bland toast” in his band. So Richie screams at him to choose someone before he rips his head off his neck, and weirdly that doesn’t work. Jamie Vine rightly points out: “The whole act is about raw emotion. If there’s no chemistry, it isn’t gonna work.” But Ernst is already back from his Dev recon mission and telling Richie that she’s high and probably having sex with a nation of dudes, which is almost certainly untrue. Also though, he says, he overheard that they’ll be at Max’s Kansas City later that night and that they can retrieve her. First, though, they need more drugs, which Richie roughly paws out himself from inside Jamie’s halter top. It seems we may have reached peak Richie assholery for this episode, and we’re not even halfway through.

NEXT: Richie manhandles Warhol