Loot, the Apple TV+ comedy about a woman with everything who learns from people who have nothing, has a play, a zoning board meeting and a summit to prepare for this week.
Howard and Nicholas must patch up their friendship. Sofia and Molly need to work out their differences of opinion and ambition. Molly comes face to face with the bad side of charity work. And in general, the characters needs to make some hard choices about the people they want in their lives.
Loot recap: ‘Cahoga Lake’
Season 1, episode 9: In this week’s episode, entitled “Cahoga Lake,” charity director Sofia (played by MJ Rodriguez) gets some good news. The board of supervisors will vote yes on the organization’s zoning proposal. They’re getting a new housing project off the ground!
Molly Wells (Maya Rudolph) has good news, too. They’re getting an all-expenses-paid trip to Corsica for the Silver Moon charity summit, and Jean-Pierre (Olivier Martinez) wants to partner with them on a water-filtration system.
“Oh, it’s the same weekend as my wedding…I’ll push it, it’s just 600 people,” says Ainsley (Stephanie Styles).
Nicholas (Joel Kim Booster), too, has his own good news, but it’s loaded. He was going to be in a play this week but the lead got sick, so now he’s got to step up and take the bigger role. Nicholas is nervous and tells Howard (Ron Funches) about the predicament.
Unfortunately, they’re still in a fight because Nicholas told Howard that his girlfriend, Tanya (Amber Chardae Robinson), doesn’t want to marry him — and she lied when confronted with this disturbing info. Howard misses Nicholas, and Tanya’s being more demanding than usual, which says to him that maybe Nicholas wasn’t lying.
Things go sideways at the zoning meeting
Sofia and Molly hit the zoning board meeting and they are surprised anew by the comments from the public. Everyone lines up to chastise Molly for being rich and ruining Los Angeles. Then, on the way out, they get pied by protesters. Arthur (Nat Faxon) and Molly bond a little when he comes to her rescue, but it’s short-lived, because Jean-Pierre shows up to take her home. Arthur has no one to go home with.
Molly must choose between Corsica with Jean-Pierre and supporting Nicholas during his play. And Howard must choose between Tanya and the very same play. Howard chooses Nicholas and makes a display of saying sorry and calling him his best friend. It’s quite moving.
If the show is going to be feel-goodery like Ted Lasso, at bottom Loot’s actors are better equipped for the outbursts than the soccer drama’s cast. Everyone goes except Molly, which breaks Nicholas’ heart. She flies to Corsica, choosing a private jet with Jean-Pierre over her friends.
Finally, a funny David Chang joke
Loot unleashes its first successful David Chang joke this week. Other than the running joke that the celebrity chef is Molly’s in-house chef — which is kind of funny, if never funny haha — the writers haven’t been able to wring much comedy out of his appearances.
But Nicholas confronts him in this episode’s opening about the declining quality of his meals lately for Molly.
“I’m opening a restaurant in Macao tonight,” Chang says. “I’m a little overwhelmed.”
“Does that sound like a ‘me’ problem or a ‘you’ problem?” Nicholas counters.
“You’re right…I’m sorry,” says Chang.
People just taking abuse is always at least a little funny. (Strangers With Candy is the apex of this joke form.)
Maya Rudolph will make you laugh
Maya Rudolph gets off some classics in this episode, too. At the zoning board meeting, Molly’s about to fight back when the people keep yelling at her, but Sofia stops her midstream.
“I’m trying to help you pieces of … Los Angeles … beautiful Los Angeles. Home of beaches … and Holllywooood.” Rudolph says “Hollywood” like it’s never been said before.
Then, on her way out the door, Molly confesses to Sofia that she’s feeling more attacked than usual.
“I don’t expect a parade, but I also didn’t expect to be called a ‘money-shitting ass witch!,’” Molly says. Hilarious. Later she says they called her “Scrooge McFuckface.” They should have let Rudolph keep doing these.
So, with all this drama about choice, obviously Molly’s going to pay dearly for having abandoned her crew in their collective hour of need. Especially since Nicholas’ work friends came through for him in a way she didn’t.
The trouble is the framing. Jean-Pierre isn’t really some kind of villain, at least not in the way he’s presented here. He’s really just another rival for Molly’s affection and attention from the rest of the charity crew she hangs with now. But when she chooses to fly with him to Corsica, it’s seen as a betrayal. That’s fair enough, I guess, but Molly already had access to all of these things.
The trouble, in the writer’s mind, is that she isn’t choosing to be rich the right way, which is a flimsy problem indeed. I think if Loot just embraced the monstrousness of wealth and let Rudolph be as funny as she is for the bulk of this episode, the showrunners might have really had a sensation on their hands.
Loot has been fine so far, but it’s too often at war with itself about propriety and direction.
Watch Loot on Apple TV+
New episodes of Loot arrive Fridays on Apple TV+.
Watch on: Apple TV+
Scout Tafoya is a film and TV critic, director and creator of the long-running video essay series The Unloved for RogerEbert.com. He has written for The Village Voice, Film Comment, The Los Angeles Review of Books and Nylon Magazine. He is the author of Cinemaphagy: On the Psychedelic Classical Form of Tobe Hooper, the director of 25 feature films, and the director and editor of more than 300 video essays, which can be found at Patreon.com/honorszombie.