Claws: Season 2, Episode 1 “Shook” [Season Premiere] – Recap/ Review (with Spoilers)

Zlata coercing Desna to force everyone to respect her authority.
Zlata (Franka Potente): We all have to do what we have to do.

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The Russian takeover goes anything but smooth, especially as Riva’s sister Zlata comes about and decides she doesn’t like the way Riva handles things.


Network
TNT
Director(s) Martha Cunningham, Dale Stern
Writer(s) Eliot Laurence
Air Date 6/10/2018
Actors Introduced
Zlata Franka Potente
Olga Katherine Reis

Change in Management: Riva, Zlata, Olga, Desna, Clay, Roller, Bryce, Ken

It isn’t necessarily clear how much time has passed, but what is clear is that Roller and Clay aren’t paying a bit of mind to Desna. Roller because he lacks motivation, and he is lazy as hell. Bryce? Well, he isn’t necessarily for the power shift and Clay?! HA! Between moaning Juanda, conspiring against the Russians and Desna talking like she runs the place? He pays her not one bit of mind.

Which is increasingly becoming a problem. Desna is trying to keep everyone happy but Clay, Roller, and Bryce aren’t doing their part. Something that leaves Ken with over $100K in $1 bills and is making Desna look bad. However, bad becomes so much worse when Riva wants Desna to get Clay to sell coke from the She-She and he not only doesn’t sell it but doesn’t pick it up from the senior citizen center.

With that done, it seems like Riva is going to just take out Desna for she is inept at what she was tasked to do. Something that Riva’s sister, Zlata, decides to come along for. You know, for family support.

However, being that Zlata never liked Riva and how she would turn everyone against her, even her own daughter Olga! She shoots Riva between her eyebrows and takes over.

Commentary

Desna covered in blood after Zlata shot Riva.

In the promos I was wondering who the hell this woman was and damn if she didn’t make herself known. But, I’ll give Zlata this, she is making the idea of a Russian mobster interesting again. Because, let’s face it, going against the Russian mob is so tired out at this point. However, there is something about Zlata which makes it feel modernized and entertaining. Be it because she is a mobster feminist, that she likes Desna and pushes her to do better, or she doesn’t seem cold-hearted and evil.

Is Zlata a gangster? Absolutely. She killed her sister in cold blood like she was an evil ex-husband. Yet, her wanting to win back her daughter, maybe redeem herself in her family, and how she approaches Desna makes her a welcome addition to the show.

We Are Going To Make Some Changes Around Here: Desna, Zlata, Olga, Roller, Bryce, Jennifer, Clay,

With Zlata in power now, and higher expectations for Desna, she decides she needs to empower her new management. First by making a gift of money to her and her girls, for loyalty is everything. Following that, she shows the different ways she is willing to pursue loyalty. One being a sit down and trying to hash things like adults. Doesn’t work. So, she has Bryce watch his wife get bent over by the rabbi, and torches Clay’s home – with Desna there so they are aware that she participated.

As for Roller? Well, with Desna being very accommodating, this leads her to learn Clay is very family oriented. So, being that Olga has a kid with Roller and very much loves him, she forces him to marry her daughter. Thus begins the process of her daughter loving and trusting her again and hopefully killing any need for insurrection and bringing peace. For now, like in medieval times, the families are one by marriage.

But, one last thing remains. While Zlata loves how loyal the girls are, then there is Jennifer. While the others decide to volunteer for tasks, Jennifer does not. This bothers Zlata, as well as taking note how nice Jennifer lives but Desna still lives in the hood. So, she coerces Desna to take Jennifer’s home. Something Desna doesn’t want to do but is given no choice for, in a way, this is Jennifer’s punishment and Zlata can’t have it seem she doesn’t treat the leaders of her organization right.

Commentary

Based off of promos and previews, there is a serious need to question if Zlata is going to be Desna’s guide to the dark side? For while a hard worker, Desna doesn’t know luxury. She hasn’t had a boss that believed in her. Hell, even growing up all she had was her mentor who got her into nails. So this woman, Zlata, believing in her, encouraging her to not be ashamed of her hard work leading to rewards? Much less being a boss and having nice things? You have to wonder how this may change Desna?

Especially since she, with hesitation, came into this life but is so good at it. With the only lip she gives to Zlata being trying to look out for her girls. Never mind herself, she is down for anything, but she doesn’t want them going back to jail or getting in too deep. Thus making Zlata love her even more and feeling like there is an understanding.

However, while things seemingly are good with Zlata, you have to also wonder how the girls will handle these changes? Heck, Dean too! He doesn’t like Desna in this line of work and with Virginia revealing to him she is pregnant?! HA! I’m not sure where he is on the spectrum but you can be damn sure he is going to be a protective father no matter what.

But, going back to the girls, while Virginia probably will just look at the money and probably not care much, Polly is already losing it and while Quiet Anne is do or die, she has her limit as well. Though when it comes to Jennifer? Lest we forget, she and Desna just reconciled. So her taking her house, be it in the form of living with her or fully kicking them out, that is going to cause so much trouble that it is delicious.

Momentary Bliss: Desna, Ruval, Clay

While Desna still knows nothing about Ruval’s true business, or him conspiring against the Russians with Clay, she does know the man can cook, dance, put it down and is quite romantic. In fact, he talks about meeting Dean and getting to know him too! Making her wonder how is this man so perfect? All the while we are left to wonder, what is going to happen when one of these two learn the truth about the other?

Commentary

Desna and Ruval giggling.

Don’t you hate it where a character like Desna has a relationship you know is doomed? They come from nothing, make something of themselves, aren’t selfish and quite loyal, but you know the shoe is going to drop any minute. And even with Ruval hiding he is about that action too, we could only hope, like how Olga and Roller’s marriage may have helped things, maybe Desna and Ruval marrying could mean peace. I mean, Zlata says Desna is family so that should count right? At least enough for a cease fire or them not conflicting with each other’s territory.

Highlights

  1. Zlata and how she reinvents the Russian mobster trope.
  2. Ruval and Desna being quite happy.
  3. Dean and Virginia’s relationship.
  4. Polly, Ken, and Marnie’s sort of odd but cute family dynamic.
  5. The trajectory this show could go.

On The Fence

  1. Watching Olga and Roller as a couple.
  2. Dealing with Uncle Daddy Clay’s whining and b****n’.
  3. Seeing how Jennifer and Bryce’s relationship may become.

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About Amari Sali 2988 Articles
New Jersey native Amari Sali takes the approach of more so being a media advisor than a critic to sort of fill in the gap left between casual fans of media and those who review productions for a living. Thus being open about bias while still giving enough insight, often with spoilers, to present whether something is worth seeing, buying, renting, streaming, or checking out at all.

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