[For Vinyl “He in Racist Fire” or any other recaps on Fetchland, assume the presence of possible spoilers.]
He in Racist Fire. Richie visits a relative; Devon plays the vixen at dinner with Richie, Hannibal, and Cece.
Vinyl episode five explores themes of envy and disappointment yet still manages to feel kinda fun and invigorating, albeit ridiculous at times. The main course of envy presents us with a veritable platter of furious greens with virtually all the main characters reeling with rage that somebody else has what they want. But there’s a fair share of disappointment to go around too with staff firings and demotions at American Century and the loss of a major client. We find out lots more about Richie’s screwy life history with the introduction of his easily corrupted father. Then we also learn that Richie had a major love affair with Jarvis’s hot PR lady, Andrea when he was first with Devon and she’s coming back into his life now big time.
Coked-out-as-usual Richie asked his father for help with an alibi at the end of the last episode. So, at the beginning of “He in Racist Fire” his father tells still-coked-out-to-infinity Richie he gave the cops an alibi that they were at the movie Enter the Dragon when Buck was killed. Then Daddy wants to know what shit Richie’s messed up in because the cops showed him pics of Buck’s beat up body. Richie, paranoid about phone tapping, says to come by his office to talk about it. When he visits Richie’s office, dad entertains employees with stories of their boss’s adolescence while waiting on his couch. Then Richie shows up to yell contempt at him and Daddy yells envious disappointment back. Then, in a rare moment of peace between them, his father says he wants to see his granddaughter once in awhile and Richie says they’ll have him out the house… but it seems like a lie. After his dad leaves Richie pulls out a yellow legal pad and writes “Alibi Records” in block letters. So, at least he got inspired by all that family vitriol.
That morning was final firing time for those A&R reps with the chance to earn their jobs back and Clark was one of several that didn’t cut the mustard. It seems like he’s fired for reals this time until Clark cries and begs Julian for his job back, he’ll do anything he says. Then Julian offers Clark Jamie’s old job getting sandwiches and coffee, though it’s a pay cut and pretty humiliating to boot. Clark takes it although his Yale degree grants him a belief that he’s better than this. Jamie asks Julian if this means she’s promoted and he says she’s gonna do what A&R peeps do with the Nasty Bitz BUT for the same money she’s already making because American Century is barely staying afloat.
Afterwards Ms. Jamie Fine has lunch with her mother, “Mrs. Fineman” who turns out to be Lena Olin, the same woman that threw her out of the restaurant basement. She demands the key to the restaurant and Jamie hands it over. Her mother speaks to Jamie almost entirely in Polish and makes it clear Jamie is an embarrassment because of her job. Who is she supposed to leave the restaurant to? She threatens Jamie, who seems oddly comfortable under matriarch assault, with fork stabbery. No wonder Jamie wants to work in the music business – it’s just like home.
Richie insists that The Nasty Bitz get rid of Duck, the lead guitarist and the lead singer, Kip pulls a major punk-ass pout, insisting no. But then in the very next scene he gets Lester to do the deed for him. Lester tells Duck he may play better than Kip, but their fans come to see the hot lead singer, not him. Afterward Kip takes Jamie back to his place. Aggrieved about the loss of Duck, he pulls out his heroin cigar box to play junkie sad sack but then Jamie sexes him out of his punk-ass blues. But as soon as they finish he’s got a needle in his arm.
Cece comes in to work amidst envious office whisperings that she’s been doing a lot of late nights with Hannibal. Then Richie asks her if maybe he needs a new secretary since she’s so committed to Hannibal even though he’s married and thus otherwise committed and then it’s finally time to hear from Cece. She tells him Hannibal’s seriously considering leaving him for Jarvis, mainly because of his hot PR lady, Andrea. Andy is super smart, Cece explains, and has better ideas for Hannibal’s career track. So, Richie sets up a dinner with Devon, Hannibal and Cece that night. Then he brings Andrea lunch. He offers her a job at American Century in between them battling over the fact that they used to sleep together and maybe even love each other. Andy says she’ll only come into AC if he makes her a partner, not just the PR girl.
That night at dinner Devon, Richie, Hannibal and Cece have a dandy ol’ time. Hannibal does an impressive party trick, quickly constructing anagrams on demand for people’s names. The guy’s a genius. One of them for Richie is “He in Racist Fire” and thus we have the episode title – though it doesn’t seem to hold much resonant meaning. Then Richie and Devon take them back to their NYC apartment for dancing and more drinks. Richie cokes himself further into oblivion and then joins them in the living room where Hannibal gets exceedingly handsy with Devon. So then Richie pulls Cece into his lap and they both dart envious eyeballs at the gyrating Devon and Hannibal, who keep dancing ultra close. So Richie turns off the music and says he’s gotta bring Devon home to relieve the sitter. He tells Hannibal he’s a “fucking God” and leaves him there in the apartment with Cece. In the elevator he and Devon start to get down and dirty but then Richie gets majorly paranoid and accuses her of planning to bang Hannibal. Devon says she just wanted to remind Richie that he’s into her. But then he retorts that “your cunt doesn’t lie” so she slaps him with meteoric ferocity and walks away.
Next we see the detectives listening to a recording of Richie telling his dad info about the fake alibi. Turns out they weren’t tapping his phone but somehow got a recording of their office conversation. So, either Daddy wore a wire or Richie’s office is bugged. But the cops aren’t the only one’s gloating. Jarvis calls Richie and tells him he just signed Hannibal. So, now Richie’s out for vengeance. He finds Andrea at a Lou Reed show and insists she join him at American Century. This would give him both the revitalization his label needs AND revenge on Jarvis. We find out through their convo that Richie chose Devon over Andrea back when they were all romantically entangled at the same time. But now Richie seems like he thinks he should’ve chosen Andrea and talks about how they even look kinda the same. Andy ends up taking his offer to join AC but insists that she get partial ownership and won’t be his mother or secretary or work wife. It’s clear that Richie feels like this is just the victory he needs.
There’s virtually nothing going right in Richie’s life at this point as he circles the drain yet remains cocaine-fueled confident. We watch in awe as Richie sinks farther and deeper into delusions while the shit storm of his life swirls around his oblivious and massive head.