The following are extensive scene-by-scene recaps on ‘Hollywood’. A Netflix social issues drama created by Ryan Murphy and Ian Brennan.
As a special treat, I will be recapping the first 4 episodes of the Netflix original series ‘Hollywood’ using a good amount of screenwriting prose, for what’s arguably, the most extensive scene-by-scene recaps you’ll be able to find on the internet. You can also find recaps on the first two episodes: Hooray for Hollywood Part one and Hooray for Hollywood Part two.
Episode 3: Outlaws
An enthusiastic Ernie (Dylan McDermott) arrives at the Golden Tip Gas station where Jack (David Corenswet), Archie (Jeremy Pope), and the other pump jockeys gather around. They’re informed that they’re being hired for George Cukor’s party, where all types of Hollywood’s finest — stars such as Tallulah Bankhead and Vivien Leigh — will attend.
In a cutaway, we see glimpses of tonight’s party: as various people trying to make it in the business, partying and dining together, along with stars such as the infamous Tallulah Bankhead (Paget Brewster), who snorts drugs off her wrist with Ernie. We also see a series of naked young men hanging by the pool in the evening getting intimate.
Back in the station, Ernie reasons that to be openly gay in Hollywood is frowned upon. This party, and the copious amounts of gay sex work, is a service only they provide — an honor Ernie considers in Hollywood. Jack winces. The opening credits roll.
In a kitchen, Archie prepares biscuits and gravy for him and Roy (Jake Picking), who still awestruck from the night before. Roy can’t believe he let Henry Willson suck his dick. Unfazed, Archie is supportive as people do what they have to in Hollywood; however, what Archie is shocked about is Roy’s new stage name: Rock Hudson.
They eat the biscuits, and Archie compares them to his mother’s. Rock admits his family wasn’t there for him growing up and he misses someone taking care of him. Archie thinks he’d be perfect for the love interest role in his script: Peg.
At same moment, Jack sits at the dining hall of Ace Studios across Dick Samuels, sitting down, and pitching himself for the same role. Dick has seen Jack’s tapes and thought he was outright awful, but that Mrs. Kinkaid sees something in him, and so he gives Jack an audition. Both Jack and Rock realize this part has major star-creating potential. They also, believe they’re perfect for this role: both being sincere All-American types though with shoddy acting ability.
Later, Henry Wilson (Jim Parsons) sits at an empty table two martini’s in. Rock arrives late, then greets his agent, who is unamused. Henry tells him how he once almost fired Lana Turner for being and Rock apologizes. Henry has a frank conversation: he wants Rock to masturbate, Regularly, as he can’t afford him ever being caught by police who are always hunting for homosexuals. He pulls out a copy of the Peg script and tells Rock he may have an audition for him but at catch: spend Tuesday night with Henry at his place.
Rock comments that Tuesday night is right now.
Back at Henry’s place, Rock sips a drink in an armchair as Henry twirls about the room lacey undergarments. Rock is uncomfortable but Henry tells him to ‘shut the fuck up’. When he finishes, Henry leads Rock into the bedroom, then asks to spoon. They spoon the entire night. The next morning, Rock bumps into a nightstand while sneaking home. When asked where he’s going tells Henry, the gym. Satisfied, Henry tells Rock they’re going to George Cukor’s party and will meet head of production at Ace pictures.
At her classroom, Ellen (Holland Taylor) coaches Jack on how to convey emotion with his eyes. He follows orders well, as Ellen shares this new technique known as ‘Naturalism’ is the new standard of acting. He thanks Ellen. She informs him about his competition: Rock Hudson; to win, Jack must woo Henry Willson over. She invites him to the George Cukor party to meet Henry.
Elsewhere, in a home office office, Ace Amberg (Rob Reiner) gets a blowjob from a blonde before being called in for dinner. He then joins Avis (Patti LuPone) and Claire (Samara Weaving) — revealed to be his daughter — at the table. Avis tells her family she’s trying to rally some Hollywood girls to cheer up Eleanor Roosevelt. Claire complains that neither parent wants her to be an actress, as her mother’s jealous of her beauty and talent, and her father Ace, thinks actresses are all whores.
Claire reveals she’s changed her name and isn’t using any sort of leverage from her family. She also says that she wants the role of Peg in the new movie. Avis is all for it, if only to get her daughter to be revolted by Hollywood. Ace says he’ll do it, so that she’ll see that she doesn’t have what it takes.
Later on set, Camille (Laura Harrier) approaches her director and is confused why despite years of being in this role, she’s being told to become an even bigger black stereotype more than ever before. She’s reprimanded for wanting character growth and not performing the line as delivered and is threatened to be fired.
At home, Camille talks to Raymond (Darren Criss) and asks if she can be Peg. He doesn’t know how that would work, as the real-life Peg was a white woman, but Camille has an idea: the camera cuts away to them having sex. She straddles Raymond, and while riding him, pitches a new backstory for a colored character named ‘Meg’ instead of Peg in the movie. Raymond agrees.
At the dining hall at Ace Studios, Claire finds Jack reading script pages and offers to run screen test together; perhaps, even work on their chemistry: as Peg and boyfriend. Taken aback, Jack hates to decline, but says he has the George Cukor party. Claire gets jealous, as apparently all the top Hollywood types are going.
At the party, several scenes happen over a Long dinner table. Dick (Joe Mantello) sits next to Raymond and talk business. Jack is coached by Ellen to speak with Henry about securing the Peg role away from Rock. Vivien (Katie McGuinness), from Gone With The Wind, swaps stories with other movie stars. Henry coaches Rock to meet Vivien. Jack meets Noel Coward ( Billy Boyd). Ellen turns to Avis, commenting on how Richard is the perfect gentleman, as Avis teases Ellen as becoming an Old Maid. Vivien is introduced to Rock Hudson, though Rock is not fully sure who she is in Gone with The Wind — to which Henry gets angry about, as she’s the most popular actress in the world right now, as Scarlett O’Hara. Dick recommends to Raymond that he leave early after Dessert, as nothing good comes from these parties.
Just then, Ernie arrives with the Gas boys as Avis enters the foyer. Ellen is driving her drunk friend home, just as Ernie greets Avis and squeezes her backside goodbye. Finally, George Cukor (Daniel London) comes downstairs and hugs Ernie, as he mentions Vivian’s in the guesthouse having an episode. George greets the pump boys.
Afterwards, the swanky soiree continues as guests cluster about a large pool and a live band plays. Ernie immediately notices Jack, who freezes and explains he was invited. Ernie tells him ‘fuck you’ and orders him to work and keep Tallulah Bankhead (Paget Brewster) happy.
At the bar, Rock meets Raymond just as Dick stumbles outside, drunk. Dick fixes Raymond with a negative look, telling him he should’ve left already. He does. Inside, Raymond surprisingly runs into Archie, but learns that he’s there not there for business but to work with the boys from the gas station. Raymond admires he does what he needs to follow his dreams. Archie spots Rock and then heads the other way.
Suddenly, Henry sees Rock and approaches. He Tells him to only drink water at industry functions. He tells him to comb his hair and approach Dick now that the executive’s good and drunk. As Dick tries to leave, he sees several handsome young men in matching red cardigans arrive, then sheepishly looks up and then decides to. Henry notices this from a distance confirming suspicions: Dick is gay.
On a patio, Noel meets Archie and extends a hand revealing he’s a screenwriter. Together, they watch some scantily clad football quarterbacks jump into a swimming pool. From outside, Rock sees Noel and Archie embracing, and now saddened, calls out to Archie. He tells him he dislikes him being here. Archie tells Rock that he’s working. Henry asks what’s going on to Rock, as Noel approaches Archie, and takes him away for a dance. Rock scowls.
Else, indoors, Ernie finds Vivian. She mentions that she’s been hospitalized recently, after reading for ‘A Streetcar named Desire’. She maniacally organizes her bracelets. Ernie gently kisses her hand and tells her they need to just ‘feed the kitty’ a couple of times to help calm down. They kiss.
Back at the party, Tallulah jumps into the pool while in a velvety golden dress. Meanwhile, Dick watches several naked muscular men walking by. Henry walks up behind him and joins, the two men secretly enjoying the view. Henry implies Dick’s always been a flawless person, though he stayed here tonight: implicating he thinks he’s gay. Dick tells Henry to fuck off, then leaves, as Henry calls over Rock and introduces the two. He asks Dick to perhaps mentor Rock a bit… in private. He agrees.
Inside, Tallulah lounges between two muscular robed men and fools around with them. Jack watches from a room on the other end. Henry comes up behind him and asks what he is doing. Jack Castello introduces himself to Henry, and realizing they are talking business, Henry grabs a bottle and tells Jack to walk with him.
Finally, Claire arrives at the house as she catches Henry leading Jack down a narrow garden path away from the party. She follows them at a distance. The men step on an empty tennis court. Henry eyes up jack. Claire watches from behind a fence, unseen. Henry commands him to take his pants off. Jack obliges. Henry asks to suck his cock. Jack refuses, feeling guilty about doing this to his wife again-and-again. Henry makes him realize: Jack doesn’t love his wife and only married her out of needing a sense of security after the war. Jack just wants to be a somebody. Henry says Jack needs him. Jack backs away, saying the dream isn’t worth it if this is how he obtains it. Henry threatens Jack’s career is done if he won’t let him suck him off. Claire watches Jack leave.
In the cottage, Rock plays a record, then begins undressing in front of Dick. He takes the older man’s hand, and places it on his side. Dick strokes his chest and then cheek, and then removes his jacket and sits on the couch. Rock takes off his pants and underwear as Dick looks at a chiseled, naked Rock. Before they fuck, he asks for the role in the movie. Dick thinks hard about it and then gulps his scotch and tosses the glass, shattering it.
Dick angrily steps away. He commands Rock put his clothes back on as neither of them are these kinds of people. Dick smokes a cigarette and asks Rock’s real name — revealed to be Roy Fitzgerald. Dick repeatedly says he’s sorry. That he’s been a good man his whole life, but tonight: he slipped. He regrets that he couldn’t be who he really was inside or risk his career. That he accepted it year-after-year, playing the part of bigshot stoic Hollywood executive. Somehow, Dick admits, he lost the person he was — or worse — the person he wanted to be.
Rock, in tears, embraces Dick, who then apologizes for all of this happening. Rock tells Dick not to worry, as nothing happened, and Dick may be the first good man he’s met in Hollywood. In return, Dick tells Rock that he shouldn’t ever let Henry sexually abuse him…
Back at the party, Archie and Noel dance as Rock tells him to get his hands off his boyfriend. Archie says he doesn’t belong to Rock, but the man sternly rebukes him, as confesses: he belongs to Archie. He confesses his love to Archie as the two men sway in the now empty room.
Later, Camille lies in bed reading a book as Raymond enters the room. She tries to apologize for manipulating him during sex, but he reveals that the idea was actually rather good. That he loves her and wants to see her be the star of Meg.
Later, Jack arrives home late as Henrietta (Maude Apatow) rubs her belly. Jack crouches beside her and lays his head on her lap and cries, promising to do better. She tells him she loves him, and he avoids her gaze. They go to bed.
The next morning, Raymond reveals he’s half-Filipino to Dick. He wants to be who he is and takes risks, insisting on Camille Washington to play the lead role. Raymond says he won’t direct if she doesn’t get the lead. Dick admits he’s right, and so they’re going to do it — feeling bad for not fighting for Anna May Wong and so many others throughout his career. Ellen Kinkaid, who is also in the room, is overjoyed. They agree to test her.
Later, Henry talks with Rock who admits he did not sleep with Dick. He agrees to help Rock as he seems to be bringing out the best in him — believing that Rock is something special. Henry reveals a large reason he is the way he is, was because a long time ago he was in a relationship with Trent Durkin — whom he had a relationship with. He lost Trent in a car crash. Something just broke. Henry finds passion in Rock Hudson again.
Henry cries. Then drinks. Rock hands him a tissue. He tells him the screen test is this Friday. Henry reveals he was wrong in that Rock could use new friends, then he opens a door and introduces him to two half-naked men: Rory Calhoun and Tank Meyers. Henry then tells Rock to sit on the bed with the two men while he watches.
I loved Katie McGuinness as Vivien, though it could also be because I loved her a Keira in ‘The Witcher 3’.
I also loved how deep we get into Dick’s story, and wholeheartedly thought Joe Mantello gave a rousing performance. His vulnerability between himself and Rock was the tiny bit of light, in what’s so far, been a morally ambiguous message in my opinion. I also loved Archie and Rock in this episode and find their gay love story compelling — especially with how accepting they are of one another. Sex work and all.
But as much as I loved Jim Parsons as an actor, I loathe his character, Henry. He very much embodies the casting couch narrative but puts a homosexual vibe to it, which doesn’t make it all the better. It’s strange, because the show makes light of rape by having it be Henry who wants to suck men off as compared to penetrating them? It makes the taboo lighter in a sense, though I don’t think rape should be taken lightly in TV, and it especially bothers me they try and humanize/have fun with this serial rapist of a character.
And I can’t even say, ‘that’s Hollywood’ because this is the show’s version of Hollywood. With full respect to Jim Parsons, who’s nailing it, but with some serious questioning of what Ryan Murphy was thinking…
Then again, I remember it’s Ryan Murphy.