black monday showtime recap episode 5 season 1
Erin Simkin/SHOWTIME

'Black Monday' Races Closer To The Collapse: Episode 5 Recap

Mo takes Dawn to Los Angeles to help secure necessary funds for the Jammer Group (and to keep her away from Blair), while the rest of the team destroys documents in anticipation of a Securities Exchange Commission (SEC) investigation.

After five episodes, episode “243” marks the midway point of Black Monday’s 10-episode first season and the pacing is noticeably quicker. The first three episodes spanned the first 26 days before the Black Monday collapse with only disparate clues about the cause of the collapse. The last two episodes span 96 days with Black Monday jumping 52 days between last week’s episode and this week’s. Now, the Black Monday roller coaster is starting to feel like its approaching its descent.

One of the sub-plots of this episode is the news of the SEC sending two new agents to come down hard on the illegality of Wall Street trading groups like Jammer Group. The last four minutes of the episode alone have enough potential blackmail, character dynamic shifts and a climactic reveal that could make Black Monday more cutthroat and violent than it already is. While racing through the Black Monday timeline will almost assuredly yield the sort of reckless humor that makes the show what it is, it also complicates the verisimilitude of parts of its world.

Before, the time skip from episode “339” to episode “295” helped quicken Blair’s character development. Now, Black Monday wants us to believe the same Mo that has an emotional moment of clarity at the end of every episode took the 52 days between the time he saw Dawn locking lips with Blair to find a crude way to tell Dawn he disapproved. That, and the ball-busting, outspoken Dawn taking the same amount of time to address the kiss to Blair didn’t seem plausible for people who have implicated their own families in crimes just to make money.

The Mo Mirror

Black Monday employs this fascinating narrative method we call “The Mo Mirror,” where characters that meet Mo become corporeal ills of his life. In episode “293,” turned Blair into a party animal who literally died on the dance floor, momentarily. His intention was to have Blair see how emotionally unfulfilling that lifestyle is and reunite with his fiance, Tiffany Georgina (Casey Wilson). In the process, he was on the outside looking in at his own life and how unsatisfying it is.

In this week’s episode and one of the more emotionally engrossing scenes of the series, Mo faces his future self when he visits The Jaminski Institute treatment center to visit Rod “The Jammer” Jaminski for the first time in years. Rod’s an old, rich white man relegated to hospital bed rest who believes “everything I am, was, will be, is about money,” and appears to be the man who molded Mo into the amoral trader he is.

In one three-minute scene that may surely awaken award voters to Don Cheadle’s magnetic performance as Mo, we find out his idea for the Georgina [jeans] play, the watch on his wrist, his signature “f**k em all” mantra — even his core belief that he’s the only person who loves him, which fuels his ravenous quest for money — were all instilled by Rod. Mo saw a man whose loneliness was so irreversibly deep-rooted that Jammer has delusions of appointments with Hugh Hefner and is genuinely moved by Mo simply touching him. It’s when Mo faces the mirror that love’s value over money becomes clear. The predictability of Mo having his moment of clarity after he leaves Rod doesn’t cheapen it, it emboldens its relatability, with superb writing.

The tragic irony that it’s that moment of surrendering to love that could ultimately be the undoing of his entire quest for money that makes Black Monday must-watch TV every Sunday.

The Absurdity of Wealth

Wealth affords a lot of room for inventive comedy because the unthinkable becomes believable now that it’s accessible. It’s that same specter of absurdity that Black Monday expertly uses to distract viewers from the true intentions of its characters. In the premiere episode, it was hard to see Mo’s grand scheme to lure Blair into his trading group after taking a risk with the Lehman Brothers because blindly arrogant risks based solely on enrichening himself seemed like Mo’s M.O. Similarly, Black Monday has been stitching together a potential criminal mastermind in front of our eyes in TIffany Georgina, and this episode it became salient in the most subtle ways.

When Blair tells Tiffany he has to stay late at work to do compliance, she instinctively knows he means shredding incriminating business documents. She says the only reason she knows this is because her family is rich, implying these sort of legally duplicitous actions are standard for the wealthy. But, these aren’t the first clues of a more calculated Tiffany in the series. When Mo and Tiffany first meet at the end of episode “295,” she remarks how she’s heard so much about him before shooting him an icy, blank stare when he tells her he hopes what she’s heard is all good. She even deems the tie pin she gave Blair as bad luck moments before deciding to give it to Mo.

That same tie pin is seen worn by the person who fell from the sky through Mo’s Lambo Limo in the opening sequence of the series premiere. For a show with as meticulous writing as Black Monday, that seems too coincidental to not be intentional, and Tiffany Georgina could factor into the eventual Wall Street collapse than previously believed.

Cheadle said in his VIBE interview  “things get crazy” in the second half of the season, with the actor requiring a stunt double for certain episodes. Let’s see what unfolds and who survives the crash.

From the Web

More on Vibe

Getty Images

Halle Berry Is #TeamZoeKravitz As Catwoman For Upcoming 'Batman' Film

Earlier this month, it was announced that actress/musician Zoe Kravitz would step into the sleuthing role of Catwoman for Matt Reeves’ The Batman. Joining in on the chorus of people that are elated to see Kravitz in this role is fellow Catwoman Halle Berry.

The Oscar Award-winning actress took to Twitter to congratulate Kravitz on her new job, writing “Keep shining queen and welcome to the family!” Kravitz will star opposite Twilight’s Robert Pattinson who’ll play the Dark Knight.

Special shout-out to your new #CatWoman, the eternally graceful & extremely bad ass @ZoeKravitz. Keep shining Queen & welcome to the family! ♥️✨ pic.twitter.com/9YJ2EekcNG

— Halle Berry (@halleberry) October 17, 2019

In 2004, Berry starred as Catwoman in the film of the same name. Directed by Pitof, the movie also starred Alex Borstein, Benjamin Bratt, Frances Conroy, and Sharon Stone. Although the movie wasn't a box office success, Berry said it opened up a world of opportunities in Hollywood.

"Everybody around me said, 'Girl, don't do it. It's going to be the death of you. It's going to end your career.' But guess what I did? I followed my intuition and I did a movie called Catwoman and it bombed miserably," Berry said at 2004's Matrix Awards, per Glamour. "While it failed to most people, it wasn't a failure for me because I met so many interesting people that I wouldn't have met otherwise, I learned two forms of martial arts and I learned not what to do."

Continue Reading
Bob Levey

A Tekashi 6ix9ine Documentary Series Is In The Works

Showtime is set to debut a new project about Tekashi 6ix9ine.  Supervillain, a three-part limited docuseries produced by Imagine Documentaries, Rolling Stone  and Lightbox, will explore the rise of the New York native.

“The bizarre and complicated rise of Tekashi 6six9ine is a story of our times,” said Vinnie Malhotra, EVP, Nonfiction Programming, Showtime Networks. “Beyond becoming one of the most notorious hip hop artists of this generation, his story speaks volumes of the impact of social media and manufactured celebrity in our society. We’re excited to be partnering with such heavy hitters in the world of music and documentary to bring Supervillain to life.”

The series is inspired by the Rolling Stone article, Tekashi 6ix9ine: The Rise and Fall of a Hip Hop Supervillain, released earlier in the year.

“Tekashi 6ix9ine is one of the most enigmatic music artists of a generation,” said Gus Wenner, President and COO of Rolling Stone. “Rolling Stone is thrilled to work with Showtime and our other partners to bring the gripping story of Tekashi’s meteoric rise to stardom and infamy to viewers around the world.”

Supervillain isn't the only Tekashi-inspired project on the way. Snapchat is working on a doc about the 23-year-old recording artist, and 50 Cent is reportedly producing a biopic about him.

Tekashi, whose birth name is Daniel Hernandez, testified against former gang affiliates in federal court last month in exchange for a lowered prison sentence.  Though it’s unclear when he will be freed, the “FeFe” rapper -- who was facing up to life in prison -- recently signed a record deal worth a reported $10 million.

Continue Reading
Daniel Kaluuya attends the 90th Annual Academy Awards at Hollywood & Highland Center on March 4, 2018 in Hollywood, California.
Christopher Polk/Getty Images

Daniel Kaluuya To Produce Live-Action ‘Barney’ Movie

Daniel Kaluuya is taking a step away from in front of the cameras to stand on the other side of the lens. According to The Hollywood Reporter, the Get Out star’s 59% company will produce a live-action film on the beloved children's television character Barney. The movie will be produced alongside Mattel Films.

“Barney was a ubiquitous figure in many of our childhoods, then he disappeared into the shadows, left misunderstood," Kaluuya said via statement. "We’re excited to explore this compelling modern-day hero and see if his message of ‘I love you, you love me’ can stand the test of time.”

Given this new take on the jolly purple dinosaur, Mattel Films’ executive Robbie Brenner believes audiences will appreciate a new approach to telling Barney’s story and “subvert expectations.” Brenner continued to state the film will not only resonate and entertain this generation’s youth but “the project will speak to the nostalgia of the brand in a way that will resonate with adults.”

In 1992, Barney & Friends premiered on PBS, launching a decades-long run (1992-2009) of kid-friendly programming. Sheryl Leach first came up with the concept of Barney when she desired programming crucial to the social development of her son. Along with a team that helped to shape the premise of the show and its characters (B.J., Baby Bop), Leach’s creation made its way to PBS’ developers and the rest is history. The show also produced resounding melodies like "I Love You" written by Lee Bernstein. The song was a staple to the end of most episodes and promoted the show's message of compassion, consideration, and optimism.

Kaluuya is gearing up for the release of Queen & Slim directed by Melina Matsoukas and co-starring Jodie Turner-Smith.

Continue Reading

Top Stories