Wednesday, May 22, 2024

Loot 2x09 Recap: “Mood Vibrations” (The Good and Bad Kind of Tension) [Contributor: Jenn]

(Image credit: Apple TV+)

“Mood Vibrations”
Original Airdate: May 22, 2024

This week’s Loot is all about relationships and conflict, as simmering tensions between Arthur and Molly almost boil over, Molly faces her anger at John, and Sofia and Isaac break up. Let’s dive into “Mood Vibrations,” shall we?

At the Wells Foundation, Molly shows Grace around the office, pretends to work, and then bumps into Arthur (quite literally). As Grace watches the exchange happen — an awkward one, might I add — she deduces that Molly has feelings for Arthur. (More on that momentarily!)

Later on, Molly and Grace announce that they’re working with Sofia to recruit other billionaires and have found that the greatest motivating factor for the billionaires to give to the Wells Foundation is... just how much they all hate Molly’s ex-husband, John. There’s only one issue: John, in promoting his company’s rocket launch, decided to use his press conference to insinuate that he and Molly were back together again. He claims that as he heads into space on the rocket, he knows someone — Molly — will be waiting for him back home.

Molly, of course, is furious. But things go from bad to worse: the donors are backing out if Molly is actually in a relationship with John again. In the midst of all of the chaos and rumors and frantic phone calls trying to reassure billionaires, Molly begins to be hounded by paparazzi at the office. Somehow, three of them have even made their way up to the Wells Foundation floor. So Arthur decides to sneak Molly out of the building via the freight elevator and bring her to his house where no one will be looking for her. Unfortunately on the way out, Molly twists her ankle and has to rely on Arthur’s help to get to the car.

While at the house, Molly — relaxing while Arthur gets her ice — plays the vinyl in Arthur’s record player and discovers it’s “Christmas (Baby Please Come Home),” which is when Arthur admits whenever he’s in a bad mood or feeling down, he plays Christmas music to cheer himself up. Every time Arthur speaks, Molly becomes more and more endeared toward him. And while it’s so sweet in this episode to see how much she genuinely cares, it’s also heartbreaking to see how much longing there is behind every glance she gives him.

Then there’s a moment: Arthur helps Molly to her feet, they’re standing too close, a Christmas song is playing, and then they very nearly kiss. Sidenote: Arthur is the one to lean in! The moment is interrupted, of course, by Molly’s phone alarm and the two have no idea how to navigate the tension of what just happened. It goes about as awkwardly as you’d expect. I don’t champion Arthur cheating on Willa but the fact of the matter is this was Arthur and Molly’s chance to finally confess how they feel — especially because even after all the longing we have seen from Molly’s side of their dynamic, you’d expect her, not Arthur, to be the one to lean in. It was a moment of tension that had built up, and they could have navigated what that means for them.

But, alas, if relationships were easily navigated by just having conversations, that would mean there would be no romantic comedies ever. Since the paparazzi are gone, Molly and Arthur return to the office where the rest of the team is gathered together to watch John’s rocket take off. Molly is irritated and her irritation grows into anger.

Just as Molly is ramping up with a speech insulting John — talking about the harm he’s done to the world and how karma will eventually get him — we get a shocking twist: the rocket explodes upon launch on live television. Before Molly even has the chance to fully process her grief, later that evening, she receives a phone call from... John. 

When she shows up to meet him in person and sees him standing there, she’s initially stunned. And then her anger begins to grow as he explains himself. John claims there was an issue with the rocket that he noticed before launch, so no crew members ended up on it. Much like a stubborn child, John then tells Molly that he’s done every grand gesture and can’t comprehend why Molly still won’t take him back. He insists that she must still love him if she was sad that he (in theory) died, but Molly calls him out on his manipulation and selfishness and then gets him to admit what is perhaps the most emotionally manipulative act we’ve seen from John: as it turns out, there wasn’t an issue with the rocket; John just wanted to see if Molly still cared about him. He blew it up on purpose.

Horrified at his behavior (and the $4 billion he just threw away while she is trying to recruit billionaires to actually help solve the issue of homelessness across the country), Molly blatantly tells him that she will never get back together with him, and nothing he can do will change that. Then she tells him why: because she’s in love with someone else. Maya Rudolph absolutely stunned me in the best way in this scene as she expresses such a range of emotions in her facial expressions alone. You can tell clearly that Molly almost doesn’t want to admit the real reason to John — in her mind, I wonder if she thinks it won’t make a difference anyway since Arthur is with Willa. But she takes the brave step of admitting it just for herself, not for John. Of course, her ex-husband is baffled at the notion that Molly would be in love with someone who is 1) not him and 2) not rich, famous, or anything else notable.

In a way, though, I think this moment is exactly what Molly needed — not just for emotional growth in her relationship with Arthur, but in emotional closure with John. It’s the moment where she truly realizes that nothing John does or doesn’t do can hurt her anymore. She’s done with him. She’s done with his manipulation, his pathetic attempts to win her back, and she’s done putting any more energy into a conversation with him. John is furious and rants as a very disinterested Molly leaves him. It’s such a beautiful, perfect way to prove just how far Molly has come in her emotional journey.

Elsewhere in the episode, there are two additional side plots happening: Howard is preparing for the opening match of his wrestling league and everything — from food to costumes to his big star dropping out — is falling to pieces. Luckily, he has Nicholas to bolster his self-esteem. Howard is panicking because he’s used to being the guy on the sidelines, cheering people on, instead of the guy in charge of the whole show. But Nicholas reminds him that if he doesn’t see this project through, he’ll regret it. In a delightful little twist, with no headliner to fight Nicholas, Howard himself decides to step into the wrestling ring and take him on. This storyline is such a lovely example of the friendship that has grown between Howard and Nicholas and, specifically, the way that Nicholas selflessly asks about Howard’s feelings and emotions. Yay growth!

Also in this episode (a lot happens, I know), Isaac tells Sofia that he wants to take a sabbatical from work to pursue music with his old band, whom Sofia met at the beginning of the episode. Sofia is thrown, and avoids talking to him about his decision. The truth is that Sofia is driven and goal-oriented — so much so that Isaac’s go-with-the-flow attitude initially turned her off. He’s passionate about things and for someone as rational and practical as Sofia is, that’s exhilarating but also terrifying and confusing. She has an idea of the kind of person she wants to be with — someone who shares her value and passion for work — but in this episode, she realizes that Isaac may not prioritize work and life the same way she does... especially when he asks her to come visit him in New Orleans.

Sofia then gives an analogy about how Isaac is a feather, floating on his passions, and she’s a rock. Isaac initially views that as Sofia talking negatively about herself, but she honestly emphasizes how much she loves being a rock. She’s sturdy, dependable, and she’s grounded. She tells Isaac that she’ll never be a feather, and the two of them realize they’re at an impasse. Sofia is the one to bring up the idea that instead of pursuing their relationship, which seems doomed to hurt them both, they should just end things. It’s heartbreaking and we’ll definitely see the fallout from that next week.

With only one more episode to go in this season of Loot, what are your predictions for how things might end?

Notes & Quotes:
  • “Is the blonde girl real?” Speaking of: Ainsley and Rhonda didn’t contribute much to this episode.
  • “I’ve never been in a Nissan Sentra moving that fast before.”
  • I really love a good almost-kiss. Nat Faxon and Maya Rudolph sold that moment 110% with their tension. Bravo.


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