Claws: Season 3, Episode 8 “What Is Happening to America” – Recap, Review (with Spoilers)

Desna (Niecy Nash), covered in blood, exhausted, and just wanting to go home.
Desna (Niecy Nash)
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For years now, Desna has dealt with different world-renowned gangs to make it out of poverty. Has she finally reached the end of her rope?


Network
TNT
Director(s) Carrie Preston
Writer(s) Doug Stockstill
Air Date 7/28/2019

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Recap

24 Hours: Benedict, Melba, Mac, Desna, Dean

Benedict, aka The Professor, decides as restitution that Desna, Mac, and Melba have 24 hours to get him 3 million dollars. Otherwise, they’d all die and to encourage Desna, he makes it clear Dean will join them too. Since, you know, Triads believe in wiping out a whole family tree and not just pruning a branch.

Embrace The Darkness: Polly, Joe, Governor Patel

Polly (Carrie Preston) noting she can see clearly now the darkness is gone.
Polly (Carrie Preston)

While Desna is worried about making money, Joe is worried about loose ends. Specifically, Governor Patel since he is part of what has the Triads feeling exposed. So, Polly, per Desna, is tasked to go with Joe and she ends up crossing a line. Not with Joe, but a mental line. One in which, as Joe strangely struggles to kill the governor, Polly assists and with that, she has either snapped – period – or maybe snapped back into place.

It’s hard to explain, but it seems Polly used to operate in fear, but in keeping Joe from dying, the issues stemming from not saving her twin were lifted. Thus she may not have returned to a sense of normal, for herself or the viewer, but definitely has reached a new chapter in her life.

Paying The Cost To Be Middle Management: Mac, Melba, Desna, Benedict, Quiet Ann, Chad, Bryce

Despite all the property Ruval left, which I assume the government must have seized, Desna is freaking out about that money. Luckily for her, Mac and Melba know Chad. You know, Chad who gave Bryce a book deal which he was excited about until he learned Chad was a white nationalist. That Chad.

Someone who happens to hold not only confederate memorabilia in his home but gold bars. Which the team steals but they lose Mac in the process. But, at the very least, Benedict is happy. Granted, he tasks Desna with killing Melba since he can already see her becoming a liability, but who is Melba compared to Ann, who is getting sick with worry?

Quiet Ann (Judy Reyes) asking where her wife is.
Quiet Ann (Judy Reyes)

Luckily for Desna, despite the trying few days she has had, she has just enough left in her tank to lie to Ann and end the drama.

Collected Quote(s) & .Gifs

It’s like after looking into all that darkness, I can finally see.
— Polly

Review

Highlights

Polly Embracing The Darkness

On Claws, character development leans more towards things happening to characters and them adapting than us really exploring their psyche and watching them grow. For example, with Jen and Bryce, because of Desna and the whole Dixie Mafia stuff, their development has been all about outside forces testing their marriage and them adapting. On the flip side, with Desna and Polly, we got their history, and see them not just knowing better, when it comes to how to act in certain environments, but have a sense of their mental and emotional state.

Like, when it comes to Desna, you can see when she is at that line before she is going to start hallucinating, we’re seeing dance numbers or people from her past. With Polly? While she is more tell than show lately, who needs subtly to be the only driving force of a narrative right? Sometimes you need a character to just lay it out, as Polly does.

Thanks to not saving her sister, Polly has lived with a sense of guilt which contributed to the negative state of her mental health. For at that moment she could have saved her sister, she froze, and it seems the world went dark. Luckily for her, however, Desna became a lightbulb that kept the shadows of past regrets away, but with Desna pushing Polly towards Joe, who doesn’t have a glow to him, it forced her to walk into the darkness and realize her eyes can adjust. That maybe she isn’t as mentally or emotionally weak as she thought. It’s just between her grifting and coddling by Desna, she didn’t get to know her full potential.

And that ladies in gentlemen is development. Scared Polly, the odd white girl who tries to be down and often times is struggling to find her place, to one ready to serve, now maybe even kill, for the mental block in her mind could be gone.

Clay Is A Big Boy Now

Let’s not discount Clay’s development, just because Desna and Polly’s is a bit more noticeable. While his seemed random, particularly due to it being part of Virginia’s off and on awakening storyline, it has stuck since earlier this season. So we must note how nice it is that with Toby clearly in his feelings, missing his sugar daddy, Clay honors his feelings over this longing for someone to step into the place Juanita used to inhabit. Maybe even embraces the idea Toby could possibly step up and give him that emotional support?

That is, rather than keep seeing Brenda, lie to Toby, and then Toby popping a cap in Brenda and maybe Clay too.

On The Fence

Benedict, Like Every Other Villain, Seems Like A Reem In A Giant A** Ladder

Benedict (Nelson Lee) as he tells Desna that Melba has to die.
Benedict (Nelson Lee)

Point blank: Escalation is one of Claws’ biggest issues. There always has to be this new gang, this new threat, one bigger than the last, and it is at a point where it has found a routine it is likely going to stick to. Which sucks since it shows the program doesn’t really have much of a desire to coerce us to take its villains seriously.

Take Zlata. With her we could have had a multi-season villain, perhaps a frenemy, who taught Desna the ropes, helped her expand under her, and maybe once Desna got too good, and was threatening, we could have transitioned to showing Zlata trying to backstab Desna. However, Claws is mid-key like fast food. It’s more about the quick fix than really taking its time to deliver something that gives you long term satisfaction. But, let’s be real, and never forget, Claws is a comedy with dramatic elements and a satirical tone. So it is a bit unfair to expect the world from a show which doesn’t want you taking it too seriously.

Chad

A great example, and I know this review has way too many of them, is Chad. Between the cops showing up to break up his protest, and him being friends with the cop, to the stuff he says on his porch, Chad is the epitome of a Claws character. Someone based off a stereotype amped up a bit to maybe not be fully three dimensional but can present the ruse of being human. Which makes the idea, as Mac and Melba exit, him playing the B-story villain, as the Triads take over for being “Big Evil,” worth hunching over a bit. Even if he fits the times we’re in and what Florida is known for, to a point.

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Season Reviews

Season 2

Season/ EpisodeSynopsisEpisode InformationTopics & Focused Characters
Season 3, Episode 9 “Melba Toast”In the penultimate episode of the season, a lot of feelings are aired out, and a familiar threat is presented to challenge Desna’s crew.
Director(s) Erica Watson
Writer(s) Emily Silver
Air Date 8/4/2019
  • Am I A Killer: Desna, Quiet Ann, Polly, Melba, Virginia, Jenn, Benedict
  • Zaddy Don’t Preach: Toby, Clay, Bryce, Roller
  • Another One Bites The Dust: Melba, Desna, Dean
Season 3, Episode 6 “Fly Like An Eagle”All eyes are on Dean as Desna becomes desperate to bring him back under her wing. Leading her to boss up to accomplish that goal.
Director(s) Clare Kilner
Writer(s) Sharon Lee Watson
Air Date 7/14/2019
Introduced This Episode
Governor Patel Bernard White
Etienne Richardson Chery
Gretchen Seana Kofoed
  • Goodbye Dean: Desna, Virginia, Dean, Mac
  • Will My Heart Go On?: Polly, Arlene, Quiet Ann, Etienne, EJ, Jenn, Virginia, Brenda, Clay
  • By Any Means Necessary: Governor Patel, Desna, Jenn, Melba, Mac, Dean
Season 3, Episode 7 “Chicken Pussy”Quiet Ann finds herself blowing up Mac, Melba, and Desna’s spot and with that, it is determined someone has to die – and someone does.
Director(s) Jamie Travis
Writer(s) Sigrid Gilmer
Air Date 7/21/2019
Introduced This Episode
The Professor Nelson Lee
  • Trying To Get Dean Back: Desna, Roller, Dean
  • The Struggle Continues: Toby, Brenda, Clay, EJ, Virginia, Bryce, Jenn, Joe, Polly
  • Things Will Be Changing Around Here: Dr. Ken, Desna, Arlene, Quiet Ann, Mac, Melba, The Professor, Henry, Governor Patel
Season 3, Episode 8 “What Is Happening to America”For years now, Desna has dealt with different world-renowned gangs to make it out of poverty. Has she finally reached the end of her rope?
Director(s) Carrie Preston
Writer(s) Doug Stockstill
Air Date 7/28/2019
  • 24 Hours: Benedict, Melba, Mac, Desna, Dean
  • Embrace The Darkness: Polly, Joe, Governor Patel
  • Paying The Cost To Be Middle Management: Mac, Melba, Desna, Benedict, Quiet Ann, Chad, Bryce
Season 1/ Episode 2 “Funerary”
  • Bad Girls: Polly, Ann
  • Secret Shopper: Desna, Jen, Dr. Ken
  • Dealing with the Death of Roller: Uncle Daddy, Desna, Virginia, Bryce, Jen
Season 1/ Episode 3 “Quicksand”As Virginia comes up with an elaborate tale of what happened to her, Uncle Daddy also works up some manipulation to get what he wants for this situation.
  • Story Time with Virginia Young: Virginia, Desna, Uncle Daddy, Chip
  • Planning for Life After Money Laundering: Jen, Desna, Mandy
  • Back In The Game: Uncle Daddy, Bryce, Jen, Desna, Dr. Ken
Season 1/ Episode 5 “Batshit”With uncle daddy paid off, now the only thing Desna has to worry about is someone learning about her and Virginia’s involvement in Roller’s murder. Well, that and Dean losing his mind over the Coombses.
  • Family Matters: Uncle Daddy, Juanda, Desna, Virginia, Bryce, Jen
  • Meet The Coombses: Dean, Desna
  • Two Birds, A Slew of Bullets: Virginia, Polly, Dean, Desna, Bryce
Season 1/ Episode 4 “Fallout”As PTSD starts to effect Desna heavily, and Uncle Daddy gives Bryce a reason to have it too, we finally learn the truth about Polly.
  • Virginia’s Lies Catching Up On Her: Virginia, Uncle Daddy, Dr. Ken, Bryce, Desna, Jen
  • Trying To Pay Uncle Daddy Off: Desna, Polly, Uncle Daddy
  • We’re All Trying To Leave Something Behind: Dean, Desna, Polly
Season 1/ Episode 6 “Self-Portrait”Desna may actually have a quality man in her life. But will he be willing, and able, to deal with her being a rock for so many people?
  • Mr. Emerson: Gladys, Roller
  • Who Can I Run To?: Dr. Ken, Virginia, Desna, Gregory (Jimmy Jean-Louis)
  • Nail Palm: Jenn, Desna, Uncle Daddy
Season 1/ Episode 7 “Escape”It’s time. Desna is going to ask to be free but with Jenn being a bit unstable and Dean off with Virginia, there is so much that could go wrong just in one day.
  • Odd Lovers: Ann, Arlene, Dr. Ken, Polly
  • Odd Lovers (2): Dean, Virginia, Roller, Gladys
  • It’s Hard To Say Goodbye: Desna, Jenn, Uncle Daddy
Season 1/ Episode 8 “Teatro”Roller somehow goes from kidnapped by the Russians to walking around freely. Alongside this, he is acting funny. Making Desna, Virginia, and everyone else who knows the truth about him getting shot, antsy.
  • Memory Lapse: Desna, Roller, Bryce, Uncle Daddy, Virginia, Dean
  • Sibling Rivalry: Bryce, Roller, Uncle Daddy, Jenn, Desna
  • The Russian Connection: Roller, Desna, Riva (Andrea Sooch)
Season 1/ Episode 9 “Ambrosia”As Roller tries to get a handle on his situation, Bryce’s unraveling causes a major threat to Uncle Daddy’s operation. Alongside this, we get to see how Desna became part of Uncle Daddy’s operation and got with Roller.
  • Anything for Desna: Arlene, Ann, Polly
  • Who We Were: Desna, Roller, Jenn, Polly
  • Who We Are Now: Roller, Desna, Bryce, Uncle Daddy, Dean, Virginia, Polly
Season 1/ Episode 1 “Pilot” [Series Premiere]Claws is not a show to be slept on. For with Niecy Nash’s experience, combined with her co-stars, you get a program which certainly will make your jaw drop. If you don’t find it predictable.
Season 1/ Episode 10 “Avalanche” [Season Finale]Many sacrifices are made, financially and by means of body count, for some semblance of peace. Leading Claws to have a finale which has Desna break even, but with a whole lot more on her plate.
  • The Tides of War: Desna, Uncle Daddy, Roller, Jenn, Riva, Juanda, Jenn
  • What The Future Holds: Desna, Uncle Daddy, Gregory
Season 3, Episode 5 "Zaddy Was A Rolling Stone"Just as it seems Mac and Melba have cut ties and made peace with Desna, Mac tries to hold onto Dean and stirs up trouble.
Director(s) Niecy Nash
Writer(s) Darrin Dortch
Air Date 7/7/2019
Introduced This Episode
Calvin Simms Glynn Turman
  • You Thought You Was The Only One: Polly, Yolanda, Joe
  • Some Are Naturally Gifted: Brenda, Jen, Bryce, Uncle Daddy, Toby, Virginia
  • Daddy’s Here: Dean, Calvin, Mac, Melba, Desna, Roller
Season 2, Episode 1 “Shook” [Season Premiere]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.
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
  • We Are Going To Make Some Changes Around Here: Desna, Zlata, Olga, Roller, Bryce, Jennifer, Clay
  • Momentary Bliss: Desna, Ruval, Clay
Season 2/ Episode 2 “Cracker Casserole”Zlata continues to be an empowering force in Desna’s life. Something needed as Dean and Virginia present some surprises.
Director(s) Dale Stern
Writer(s) Janine Sherman Barrois
Air Date 6/17/2018
Actors Introduced
Brenda Lusia Strus
  • Karma’s a B****: Brenda, Bryce, Desna, Jennifer, Hank
  • Doing Things Out Of Order: Virginia, Desna, Dean, Quiet Ann
  • Make Zlata Proud: Zlata, Desna
Season 2/ Episode 3 “Russian Navy”With the introduction of Ruval’s mother comes Desna questioning if it is over as it has just begun. However, Zlata, through Clay, shows her what she needs to do.
Director(s) Cheryl Dunye
Writer(s) Rick Cleveland
Air Date 6/24/2018
Actors Introduced
Matilde Sheryl Lee Ralph
  • Heading Down The Rabbit Hole: Jennifer, Bryce
  • Consolidation of Assets: Clay, Zlata, Chip
  • Mommy Dearest: Desna, Ruval, Matilde, Zlata
Season 2/ Episode 4 “Scream”Quiet Ann comes into full focus as her family, inner thoughts, and a few things she has been holding back are revealed.
Director(s) Bille Woodruff
Writer(s) Maisha Closson
Air Date 7/2/2018
Actors Introduced
Henry Ivan Hernandez
  • There’s Too Much Going On: Quiet Ann, Zlata, Bryce, Jennifer, Roller, Clay, Desna
  • It Runs In The Family: Henry, Quiet Ann
  • No One Can Read Your Mind: Desna, Quiet Ann, Polly, Arlene, Ken
Season 2/ Episode 5 “Vaginalologist”Desna comes to a crossroad in which her loyalties will lay and Zlata does something which makes the decision go from difficult to easy.
Director(s) Dale Stern
Writer(s) Emily Silver
Air Date 7/8/2018
  • Finding Myself In Someone New: Jennifer, Bryce, Uncle Daddy, Polly, Dr. Ken, Juanda, Marnie, Arlene
  • When Things Seemingly Were Going Good: Ruval, Desna, Zlata
  • Bang Bang, Zlata Shot Me Down: Bryce, Desna, Zlata, Uncle Daddy, Ruval
Season 2/ Episode 6 “Double Dutch”After Desna’s discovery in the last episode, and what happened to Bryce, she finds herself retreating to the last person who made her feel safe to rediscover herself.
Director(s) Clare Kilner
Writer(s) Sam Forman
Air Date 7/15/2018
Actors Introduced
Ms. Wallace Aloma Wright
  • Fallout: Jennifer, Desna, Bryce
  • Rediscovering Desna: Ms. Wallace, Desna
  • Trying to Make Things Right: Jennifer, Desna, Polly, Arlene, Dr. Ken, Roller, Uncle Daddy, Chip
Season 2/ Episode 7 “Burn”Desna begins to make moves which will have dire consequences. Including possibly pissing off the wrong people.
Director(s) Jamie Travis
Writer(s) Sigrid Gilmer
Air Date 7/22/2018
  • Bryce In Recovery: Jennifer, Zlata, Bryce
  • Pulling Rank: Quiet Ann, Desna, Clay, Virginia
  • The Stumble Before The Fall: Dr. Ken, Arlene, Desna, Ruval, Roller, Zlata
Season 2/ Episode 8 “Crossroads”With Desna hitting rock bottom, the question isn’t when she’ll pick herself up but how and whether her next plan actually succeeds.
Director(s) Cherie Nowlan
Writer(s) Jeff Augustin
Air Date 7/29/2018
  • Welcome To Rock Bottom: Desna, Mandy, Clay, Roller, Zlata, Polly
  • This Is Goodbye: Desna, Dean, Virginia
  • Don’t Call It A Comeback: Hank, Jennifer, Bryce, Ann, Arlene, Desna, Zlata, Ruval, Dr. Ken, Polly
Season 2/ Episode 9 “Til Death”We finally get to “meet” Polly’s twin sister Lillian as Desna makes her final plans for her wedding to Ruval.
Director(s) Jamie Travis
Writer(s) Maisha Closson, Janine Sherman Barrois
Air Date 8/5/2018
Actors Introduced
Clint Michael Drayer
  • We’re Moving to Tampa: Bryce, Jen, Clay, Roller, Clint, Hank
  • Hidden Assets: Desna, Ruval, Zlata
  • Who I Am, Who We Are: Desna, Polly, Roller, Dean, Virginia
Season 2/ Episode 10 “Breezy” [Season Finale]The saying goes, “You have to pay the cost to be the boss” and damn has/does Desna pay for the title.
Director(s) Dale Stern
Writer(s) Eliot Laurence
Air Date 8/12/2018
  • Pre-Wedding Jitters: Desna, Clay, Roller, Clint, Zlata
  • Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang: Olga, Ruval, Roller, Desna, Zlata, Matilde, Arlene
  • And You Thought You Had It All Figures Out: Desna, Clay, Clint, Roller, Virginia, Ann, Jennifer
Season 3, Episode 1 “Just the Tip” [Season Premiere]Claws returns in style and with drama. Including a twist you might not have seen coming in a million years.
Director(s) Dale Stern
Writer(s) Eliot Laurence
Air Date 6/9/2019
Introduced This Episode
Mac Michael Horse
Melba Rebecca Creskoff
  • New Money, New Rules, New Enemies: Mac, Melba, Desna, Virginia
  • Who Can Really Sit Idly About During All This Chaos?:Bryce, Jennifer, Clint, Uncle Daddy, Roller, Dean, Desna, Polly, Ann, Arlene, Toby, Virginia
  • It’s Always The Unexpected: Toby, Uncle Daddy, Desna, Mac, Melba
Season 3, Episode 2 “Muscle & Flow”Desna starts feeling the pains of being a boss as Mac and Mable assign her duties which may not make big money, but are necessary for the day to day.
Director(s) Jamie Travis
Writer(s) Janine Sherman Barrois
Air Date 6/16/2019
Introduced This Episode
Joe Juan Riedinger
EJ Bechir Sylvain
Brienne Aadyn Encalarde
Yolanda Andrene Ward-Hammond
  • Daddy’s Home: EJ, Jenn, Bryce, Brienne, Virginia
  • The Church of Tanika: Virginia, Uncle Daddy, Bryce, Roller
  • Pay The Cost To Be A Boss: Virginia, Joe, Desna, Mac, Melba, Clay, Polly, Ken, Jenn, Quiet Ann
Season 3, Episode 3 “Welcome To The Pleasuredome”Just as Desna thinks she got Melba and Mac in check, they remind her all that ambition won’t make up for lack of experience.
Director(s) Dale Stern
Writer(s) Maisha Closson
Air Date 6/23/2019
  • Brienne Meets EJ: Brienne, EJ, Bryce, Jennifer
  • When You Know Better, You Do Better: Uncle Daddy, Bryce, Toby, Brenda, Virginia, Dean, Desna, Roller, Polly
  • Making Boss Moves With Limited Experience: Mac, Melba, Desna, Polly, Roller
Season 3, Episode 4 “Boy, Bye”Desna comes to fully realize she may be way out of her depth as Melba checks her. Also, as that happens, Dean pushes away Virginia for Mac.
Director(s) Sheree Folkson
Writer(s) Sam Forman
Air Date 6/30/2019
  • The Ghost Of Brenda: Brenda, Jen, Bryce, Clay
  • Dean Loses Focus: Dean, Mac, Eric, Desna, Virginia
  • What You Won’t Do For Love: Ken, Joe, Polly, Desna, Mac, Melba, Roller, Clay

How Would You Rate This?

Negative Mixed Positive

REVIEW OVERVIEW
Chad
70 %
Benedict, Like Every Other Villain, Seems Like A Reem In A Giant A** Ladder
75 %
Clay Is A Big Boy Now
80 %
Polly Embracing The Darkness
85 %
SOURCETNT
New Jersey native Amari Allah has been writing reviews, in a "Media Advisor" capacity since 2011 and has been touching upon television, movies, books, live performances, video games, and more ever since. Using a fusion of his varied knowledge of entertainment, partly gained from being a Communications major in college, his love for visual and written media, as well an ever-evolving respect for both creators and the consumers they sell to.