As the cast is fleshed out and dreams begin become a reality, we’re reminded how for some, they may need to adjust their dreams, or they’ll die.
|Directed By||Daniel Minahan|
|Written By||Ryan Murphy, Ian Brennan|
|Introduced This Episode|
|Ms. Kincaid||Holland Taylor|
This content contains pertinent spoilers.
Life Is Easier If You Pass – Camille, Anna, Raymond, Dick, Archie
Raymond Ainsley, a Navy vet with a dream, he finds his way to legendary film star Anna May Wong’s house with a film script. One which will get the Oscar for her she should have gotten in “The Good Earth,” and while flattered, Anna is also realistic. In the times they are in, her playing anything beyond a stereotype, never mind a lead, is not only laughable, but making it seem like it could happen is cruel.
Yet, that’s the thing about passionate people. They make you want to believe and push aside the pessimism life handed you. But, while Raymond is able to get Archie’s “Peg” script off the ground, “Shanghai Angel” dies in the pitch. Leaving Anna back to the only thing which comforts her anymore, alcohol.
But, she isn’t the only one dealing with the pitfalls of Hollywood. While Archie has Raymond ushering him in, his girlfriend, Camille, she finds herself trapped in Hattie McDaniel’s shadow. Meaning she can only play the help and do so in a certain way. Making all the airs and graces taught in her acting class a waste since there may never be the chance to use a mid-Atlantic accent when you are stuck being a maid.
It’s All About The Look – Jack, Claire, Ms. Kincaid, Roy, Henry, Avis
Both Jack and Roy get the chance to possibly get a contract, and based on their screentest, they both fail. However, what they have is the look. Well, that and Jack, through sex partners, has a healthy network of women willing to go to bat for him as long as they still get d***ed down. So, he ends up getting a contract thanks to Ms. Kincaid. A woman who claims discovering Judy Garland and Lana Turner and who just so happens to be a friend of Avis.
Now, as for Roy? His start is a bit more complicated yet still involved sex. You see, Henry Wilson, a big-time agent, is a gay man, and he sees Roy is also one on sight. So, since Roy has the look, be it stature or vulnerability, he wants to take him on, mold him, if you will. But a caveat, beyond Henry’s 10%, is he gets to have relations with Roy. Mind you, not at the level Jack and Archie do at the gas station, but definitely something that makes Roy uncomfortable.
Leading to the need to talk about Claire. In many ways, Claire is Camille’s main rival, but with Claire being white, she has a huge advantage. That and the fact she is a bit nosy and keeps her ears open. Which causes her to hear about Archie and Raymond’s new movie and hone in on Jack for her potential love interest. A plan which likely isn’t to be nice, but could be for something a bit more sinister than that.
Welcome To Hollywood – Archie, Jack, Ray
It isn’t clear if Ray may change things as he thinks he will, but it is clear that he has that glow that makes people believe this man could change things. I mean, with Archie by his side, he drives onto the ACE Studios lot, walks beside him, and makes him feel valued and seen. Mind you, Archie still side-eyes some of Ray’s optimism, but getting on the train near the front, even if you think you may end up on the back, is better than not being on at all.
Plus, for Jack, with knowing Archie, sharing the bond of being sex workers, it gets him an in. After all, Claire said she is going for the part of Peg, and she’ll need a love interest. So in the place where knowing people can get you everything, how great is it to know the writer, the wife of the head of the studio, and have a power player behind you? The boy got it made.
Roy and Archie’s Relationship
With Jack and his wife just, well I don’t know why they are together, it has made Roy and Archie the premiere couple. Not to say Camille and Raymond aren’t cute, but something about them just doesn’t click. So with Archie telling Roy his dreams, Roy talking about dating, and how they practiced that scene together, it just warms your heart and leads you to hope Henry doesn’t ruin it all.
How Those Who Are Half and/or Pass Are Treated
The side-eye Raymond gets ticklees me in ways I cannot explain. Perhaps because it mirrors so much how things are in modern times where someone who is bi-racial, can pass in certain lights, are given the means and allowed the optimism to think that is true. All the while, everyone who can’t hide their ethnicity, or be seen with ambiguity, is forced to roll their eyes.
I mean, with Ray, you see the privilege that comes from having one foot in an oppressed culture and knowing that struggle, yet also the opportunities that can come with whiteness. Plus, while there has always been conversation and films about being bi-racial, and TV shows as well, passing has not been as big of a thing. Though, considering the times, it is the perfect opportunity to present how that played into presentation and a person’s psyche. Especially if, like Raymond, you wanted to use your abilities to open the doors for others.