Claws: Season 3, Episode 9 “Melba Toast” – Recap, Review (with Spoilers)

Clay in a confession box.
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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.


Network
TNT
Director(s) Erica Watson
Writer(s) Emily Silver
Air Date 8/4/2019

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Recap

Am I A Killer: Desna, Quiet Ann, Polly, Melba, Virginia, Jenn, Benedict

While Desna has had blood on her hands, usually there was a struggle of some kind. Killing someone in cold blood hasn’t really been her thing. For while she has crossed many lines and season 1 Desna may not recognize season 3 Desna, at the very least she could say any kill she personally made, was self-defense. Yet, with Benedict pressuring her, killing Melba is made a priority.

Problem is, with her telling Quiet Ann that Mac killed Arlene, and the crew wanting to support Desna, it makes killing Melba harder than it should be. In fact, even with them kidnapping her, this leads to Melba revealing Mac didn’t kill Arlene but Benedict doing so and with Quiet Ann flipping out leads to secrets being spilled. For example, Joe being married, what Polly knows about Joe being Benedict’s mole, and let’s just say things get really messy.

Zaddy Don’t Preach: Toby, Clay, Bryce, Roller

With Clint’s body found and the pressure being on, Toby is questioning what should he do? Clay may say he will protect him, but Roller is on the prowl, and his record of getting revenge is a bit better than Toby’s zaddy. So, he talks about confessing.

Toby talking to cops.

In Clay’s mind, this means going to see a priest, since Toby was raised Catholic, and also molested by a priest. But, what Toby meant was cops. This isn’t known to Clay so while he is killing a priest, with Bryce likely praying he won’t go to hell by association, Toby is setting up the drama to be dealt with in the season finale, and possibly season 4.

Another One Bites The Dust: Melba, Desna, Dean

Tied up in front of the crew, in the nail shop, with the constant threat of being shot must really open a person up. For despite, when Dean arrives, trying to play on his feelings, even noting, before his arrival, she doesn’t believe Desna has the ovaries to shoot her, Melba decides to reveal the truth. She tells Dean that he wasn’t loved, about the plan, and the need to wonder why is strong.

But, with her confession, it does open up another reason for Desna to shoot Melba and be done with it. However, Dean talks about how shooting changes a person, makes it seem Desna is better than that, so that idea is scrapped and Melba is let go. Only to, moments later, get hit by a chicken truck and die.

Review

Highlights

Letting It All Hang Out

After a certain point, all shows need their characters to let their secrets out, air grievances and release their judgement. It’s required for thing to truly move forward. So Polly’s stuff coming out, Desna being called out, Jenn saying what she really thought of Virginia earlier this season, it is all very much necessary. Especially for a show like this which needs its core group to be connected for, as consistent as the show is when it comes to how it handles its villains, sometimes the villains aren’t going to pop. Mac and Melba surely didn’t. So it makes those core characters and relationships all the more important for a show’s continued survival.

The crew in the process of going in on one another.

Low Point

Why Would Melba Confess?

To be fair, Claws doesn’t have the same leniency as Insecure or Atlanta, even Fleabag, in which the entire team can afford to take time off to come up with the best ideas for villains, stories, development, and what have you. Sometimes you just got to turn something in because there is a deadline and punch it up as filming happens. However, Melba deciding to confess after trying to punk Desna made no sense at all.

At least, it made no sense as to why she would do it. In terms of breaking the spell she had over Dean so that he and Desna could reconnect, that made sense. Also, considering maybe the actress who played Melba only wanted to do one season, and didn’t want to evolve like Roller or Clay, that might have been a factor. Either way, while there are reasons for what we saw, it doesn’t take away from a delivery which may leave you hemming and hawing.

On The Fence

Melba’s Exit

We knew Melba wasn’t going to live through the season. Very few people who present themselves as enemies to Desna ever make it past the season. Hell, Roller had to be baptized in swamp water for him to be who he has become. Then, with Clay, he had to be humbled and perhaps the sole reason Clay isn’t plotting on Desna anymore is because, even with her infrastructure of a team being weak considering her assets, she is technically family through Roller. That and her girl Jenn is married into Clay’s family, and they have kids.

So really, what chance did Melba have? Especially when she adopted Dean to use and exploit him. Kill him eventually?

Clay Killing The Priest

With Clay choosing Toby, it makes sense for him to kill someone who molested him and took advantage of his youth. Yet, with it also working as maybe Clay giving up this peaceful thing Virginia started and didn’t foster much, there is the need to question if Clay was just being put on ice. That, with Desna beyond someone he could touch or help much, Clay was given something to push him maybe evolving. Perhaps have it where, unlike Dr. Ken, he isn’t floundering but still appears to have purpose on this show.

Toby Going To The Cops

While Benedict could be the new Zlata, in terms of training Desna for the next level, what he is not is the kind of villain who can die due to her actions, or around her, without Palmetto getting wiped clean. Also, with him being part of the Triads, and not a local sect but part of a major organization, it means that, unlike the Russians, the Haitians, even Dixie Mafia, he can’t come and go in a snap. He has to last past the season introduced. Which isn’t to say he might not be gone in season 4, but he’s safe for now.

Making it where Toby going to the cops only makes sense. For one, it solves the issue of what to do with Toby since he’s coming to that point of needing prominence. Secondly, as with the ladies of Desna’s crew, Toby has seen and known a lot which has gone down and needs to cleanse himself as much as them.

But, what remains to be seen is whether or not Toby may reveal to Desna, or someone else reveal, he tried to kill her.

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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

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