Vinyl recap: Rock and Roll Queen
This season's secrets come to a head with sex, lies, and audiotape
Lie down with dogs, wake up with roaches. After a sleepless, vermin-infested weekend in lockup, Richie is finally released, but he looks rougher than he has coming off the most epic my-dead-German-friend-is-alive bender — and his claim of killing Buck Rogers in self-defense is not going over well at all, even with his own lawyer “(You rolled him in a rug and dumped his body!”). Now he’s looking at a laundry list of charges: manslaughter, obstruction of justice, aiding and abetting, destruction of evidence.
The coke-y Keystone Cops who’ve been riding Richie since the beginning are happy to suggest that he’ll get 30 years for the murder, but what his lawyer wants to know is why the assistant U.S. attorney is there in the room at all. He answers that question with a pointed question of his own for Richie: “Corrado Galasso. How long have you been working for him?” Of course: they’re here to hook a way bigger fish, and they’re happy to let Richie fry for Buck if he won’t help. If he does, though, they say he just might get to keep his business, his wife, and his bank account. “You want me to rat on Corrado Galasso?” Richie asks. “Why don’t you just put a bullet in my head now?” Well, it would be quicker than Galasso’s usual methods — and probably less painful than his lawyers’ description of prison, which involves gang rape and some graphic dental rearrangements.
It’s a rough day for Jamie Vine, too; her mom has gotten her kicked out of her aunt’s apartment, a hobo just stole half her clothes, and the ensuing fight with her aunt gets her shoved down the stairs. At least Devon seems good; she and her new British photographer boytoy are having a cozy postcoital morning in bed at the Chelsea Hotel. But when she casually mentions that she has rolls of undeveloped film from the time when she was “a professional entertainer of musicians either nurturing or kicking smack habits,” the guy’s opportunivore antennae immediately start twitching. He wants to go find those old shots of Jimi Hendrix wearing Devon’s underwear or whatever she’s got, and his eyes are practically dollar signs; she clocks it and doesn’t like it.
At an office meeting, Andrea tells Richie she thinks they can get Hannibal back — his new contract with rival record mogul Jackie is not actually signed yet, and if he’ll agree to swallow his “mammoth f—in’ ego and take the guy out to dinner” he can probably woo him again. The table nixes it anyway, which really makes you wonder once again why she’s sticking around, and Richie agrees to Maury’s dusty idea of putting out a 1950s compilation instead of giving Zak the money to nurture his baby-Bowie wonder, Gary, now officially rechristened Xavier. (To be fair, Richie does have other things on his mind right now.) Jamie, still banged up from her bad tumble down the stairs, has found a new temporary home with Nasty Bits frontman Kip, and he’s actually being pretty sweet about the whole thing.
Meanwhile, Maury is sharing what would be idle gossip about Galasso and his family with Richie, except they’re in Richie’s bugged office and it also involves a casual mention of murder (Apparently Galasso recently rage-killed a Hispanic guy his “half-wit” daughter gave a BJ to. Overprotective dads, they’re crazy like that!) All helpless Richie can say is that maybe they should start meeting in the conference room instead: “You know, more business-like.”
But hey, A&R guy Julie comes by, and he has an idea for Richie: a young artist named Bruce Springsteen. His records aren’t really selling at Columbia, so there might be an opportunity to poach him. Is that what Richie wants, though, “an approachable Dylan” type artist? Julie says he doesn’t even know what his boss is looking for anymore if the Nasty Bits and ‘50s nostalgia comps are where his head is at. This leads Richie into a whole semi-coherent monologue about truth and music and what it costs to bring real art to the people. So…no to the Boss? It’s unclear.
NEXT: Richie wants Dev to come back home
There are a few more immediate problems, though: Andrea wants to know why Jamie is sleeping with her first big signing and why they can’t talk about Hannibal at a meeting without Cece the secretary crying about it: “Nobody told you girls not to f— the American Century artists?” she says incredulously. “No one wants to make girls A&R reps because A&R reps give direction and criticism. Which is almost impossible to do with a c–k in your mouth.” And finding out Cece’s got a Hanni-bun in the oven definitely doesn’t put her in a better mood.
Lester is equally unthrilled to see his old nemesis Maury in the office; he knows wherever that guy goes, Galasso — the man who permanently destroyed his dreams and his larynx all those years ago — lurks too. And Devon is trying not to show how disappointed she is with Ingrid’s childcare skills; her daughter returns from their big day out having sat in her own urine for hours. But Ingrid is can’t be fazed: “Stop it. You escaped prosperity with your two little goslings and landed in the arms of a handsome rake in the largest apartment in the building. You’re living your divorce fantasy.”
That fantasy probably doesn’t include Richie and the rake male-bonding over a little black bat they chase around Dev’s room and destroy with a tennis racket. Richie’s there to see the kids, but Dev is already beyond pissed that Richie stood them up the weekend before; of course, she has no way of knowing it was because he was in a holding cell. “They waited for you. You will not break their hearts like you did mine.” And Richie, not surprisingly, is focused on the rake now that he’s connected the dots. But then he softens: “I want you home. I want our children home.” It doesn’t work, at least not yet. And she won’t let him take the kids to dinner without bad babysitter Ingrid as an escort.
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Back at Kip’s apartment, we finally get the Mott the Hoople song this episode is named for, and guess what it’s soundtracking: a tumbling threesome between Kip and Jamie and the new guitarist, who is clearly being more than fairly rewarded for agreeing to cut his hair for the band’s photoshoot earlier that day. I know it’s the ’70s and everybody’s got a bucket list, but Jamie is really doubling down on this sleep-with-the-talent thing.
Late night at the office, Richie is confessing to Zak how rough it was to see Devon before we cut to last episode’s dance club with Clark and his mailroom buddy. Their gamble on getting the DJ to drop an Indigo track works; the crowd takes a minute to warm up, but they go for it. Satisfied smiles all around. Back at the office again, Zak picks up the phone, and it’s the casino in Las Vegas, thanking him for his patronage and offering him a free return visit as a “premium player.” Is dropping 800 drunky dollars at blackjack premium? No it is not, but $50K-plus is. And with a montage flashback to that night in Vegas, Zak — who is suddenly somehow Sherlock Holmes and a Psychic Friend all rolled into one — knows it was Richie who lost the money at the tables and then let him take the fall for it. He catches Richie at the elevator and gives him a beating so fierce Galasso would probably slow-clap his approval before finally walking away in tearful disgust.
A bloodied Richie shows up at Dev’s place, and the Buck story comes tumbling out: the accidental murder, the cover-up, how it made him fall off the wagon. “I lost my mind. I didn’t know what to do… I couldn’t stand the idea of you thinking I was some kind of f—ing animal. I just tried to hold onto it. I didn’t want it to touch you. But it didn’t work. ” She’s speechless, and he turns and walks away without another word. Then he’s at the office again, clutching Dev’s crumpled photo of the TV he smashed in a rage back in Connecticut and blasting the Nasty Bits’ take on Lester’s long-ago R&B song. He picks up the phone and makes a call: That Galasso-or-bust deal they offered him; he wants to take it.