Richie Finestra is still behaving like a bull in a china shop.
By the end of Vinyl Season 1 Episode 2 Richie has been an accessory to a murder, stopped a mega million sale of his record company, beaten up his business partners, fired his entire A&R staff, fallen off the wagon, been in a building collapse, been questioned about a second murder and broken down in tears in his wife's lap.
He's unwittingly set his wife to thinking about their past, not shared with her the news about the sale, caused one of his partners to lie to his wife, contemplate suicide and batter his car and on the plus side, Richie may be making amends with a friend from the past.
Richie Finestra accomplishes a lot in the span of 72 hours or less. It's highly commendable.
I've never done cocaine, so I have no idea what it does to your mental capacity. Would doing it cause Richie to make some decisions he'll later come to regret, or would it heighten his senses and perhaps make him too clearly, maybe disregarding the side of caution he'd have without it?
Standing all day in a movie theater watching Bruce Lee and then taking your new-found skills back to the office to cap off tossing aside a deal of the lifetime for your business with Polygram doesn't seem like the best idea with or without drugs.
But when Richie started talking about the business aspect of keeping the record label, it made sense.
It's all about the songs, guys. Can you hum it? Will you remember it tomorrow? Does it make you want to call the radio station and ask who the band they just played was? Think back. Think back to the first time you heard a song that made the hairs on the back of your neck stand up, made you want to dance, or fuck or go our and kick somebody's ass! That's what I want! In two weeks.Richie
Wanting to rediscover that feeling, that sound in the music is a worthy adventure. It proves that he felt he had lost that. Richie already mentioned on Vinyl Season 1 Episode 1 that their catalog of music was all over they place. Donnie Osmond and Led Zeppelin are hardly indicative of any one sound.
If Richie feels like he lost what he signed onto the label to do and can really do it better, if he really saw in the faces of that New York Dolls audience something he can grab and make a fortune from, then it's worth doing.
But not if it's a fly-by-night line of coke up the nose decision.
While I think the coke and booze helped him make the decision, he had already started on the road to it well beforehand. His birthday, the unfortunate murder, the trip to Germany. Through all of those things, he was well on his way to telling Polygram to take the money and shove it.
He's not in it alone, however. The two people we saw it affecting during "Yesterday Once More" were Zak and Devon and for very different reasons.
Zak is in a really bad way financially. He appears to be in debt up to his eyeballs, and his wife is planning a birthday party (or something I missed) for his daughter. Out of anger for his not being there to help with the whole thing, the wife decided to go the extra mile and make the party even grander.
Of course, she has no idea by sticking it to her husband, she's sticking it to herself. The sound of that calculator as Zak walked behind the event planner was horrifying. One night in bed with the woman and one more lie about the car and how his face was smashed, and he considered suicide.
Richie isn't really in a better place mentally, but I don't think he realizes the extent to which Zak and Skip were counting on the sale. They talk, but they don't talk. Maybe they'll start?
Devon was counting on the sale for a different reason. And she still is. Richie hasn't told her yet that it didn't go through. We learned what they were like when they first met, and they were very much in love. Drugs and drink were very much a part of their union.
But when Devon got pregnant, she seemed poised to change. Somewhere along the way, they both got sober. Richie doing drugs and wanting a drink really threw her. Thinking about how they were, she left her kids behind and drove off. That's got to be frightening.
It's unclear exactly what happened to them that selling to secure their happiness became necessary, but I'm sure we'll find out. And it's highly unlikely Devon will like not being included in the decision making process. The scenes with Andy Warhol proved she's an independent and opinionated woman.
Being a huge fan of the 70s and Andy Warhol stuff, I enjoyed scenes of Richie and Devon meeting with The Velvet Underground playing in concert. Also the casual reference to Andy at first. Whoever is playing him does a good job of making him more human than a lot of portrays, in which he can seem larger than life and eccentric.
With comments Richie made about Bob Dylan his thoughts on other music in passing as the show progresses, it's really hard to understand why he has Julie by his side, or why he would want him in any way tutoring Jamie with the Nasty Bitz.
It was pretty clear Julie would hate the Bitz, and he did. Wanting them to play The Kinks goes against what Richie is seeking in new music for the label. Fresh, exciting and...something we've all heard before? Julie seems like an ass kisser in the worst possible way.
My favorite musical moment of the episode came from the title "Yesterday Once More," and the Aimee Mann cover of The Carpenters song. Could two more beautiful things ever meet? If Aimee could cover every one of my favorite Carpenters (or, heck, favorite 70s ballads), I'd die and go to heaven.
A David Bowie song was also included. Of course, they had no idea he'd be gone by the time this came out. It's still hard to believe he's no longer with us.
What did you think of the second installment? Do you like that they're expanding a bit? Are you eager to find out what, exactly, Richie will be up to with Lester Grimes? His story will get far more interesting, I promise you. Drop me a line!
Carissa Pavlica is the managing editor and a staff writer and critic for TV Fanatic. She's a member of the Critic's Choice Association, enjoys mentoring writers, conversing with cats, and passionately discussing the nuances of television and film with anyone who will listen. Follow her on Twitter and email her here at TV Fanatic.