Claws’ eventful but somewhat uneven final season puts relationships to the test

Carrie Preston, Karrueche Tran and Niecy Nash-Betts in Claws

The Russian Mafia. Undercover drug lords. Snooping cops. Cartoon threatening casino owners. The Dixie Mafia. We’ve met quite a few characters since we entered Claws‘Nail Artisans of Manatee County over four years ago.

Each character has uniquely contributed to the chaos underlying this neon drama which has been classified by some of the show’s creators as a “black Florida”. While circumstances have often escalated its more absurd elements, the show has always revolved around a quirky group of manicurists and friends chasing complete control over their own lives. More precisely, Claws largely followed the rise of salon owner-turned-crime boss Desna Simms (Niecy Nash-Betts), who grew from simply wanting to quit her business from a long-standing money laundering program date looking for the title of “Queen of Palmetto” with each new gambit.

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It’s fair to say that season three turned into a distraction, a seemingly endless chain of bizarre events that obscured the main focus and made the story, in part, quite difficult to follow. After the demise of Bayside Rapture Casino, season four leaves behind the cabal of insane side characters and returns the brunt of the conflict to Desna’s crew and Clay “Uncle Daddy” Husser (Dean Norris). While it can sometimes be difficult to discern exactly what the writers really mean about him, Claws“The fourth and final season is a successful example of how Desna’s growing ambition has impacted everyone in her social sphere.

The most compelling common thread that runs between these latter episodes is the strained nature of the close relationships we’ve come to know over the years. Season four picks up sometime after last season’s (literally) explosive finale. After a pregnant Quiet Ann (Judy Reyes) sets the casino on fire and effectively draws a line in the sand between her and her former close friend Desna, the final season focuses on the group’s struggle to overcome the split and the repercussions they suffer in their attempts. stay neutral. Jenn (Jenn Lyon), Virginia (Karreuche Tran), and Polly (Carrie Preston) are often tasked with secretly engaging with Ann, which gets more and more complicated once Ann teams up with Clayton.

This development reveals Claws“Strengths and weaknesses at the same time. The ongoing and rather violent breakup itself is testament to the series’ willingness to explore deeper, momentum-rocking consequences. Ann and Desna’s conflict adds a new set of issues that extend far beyond the tattered remnants of their friendship: As Clayton’s new right-hand man, Ann is now a dangerous opposing force and almost a responsibility. deadly, as intriguing as it is heartbreaking.

But even before the rise of her new alliance, Ann is someone who now finds herself on the periphery of the Craftsman’s illegal trades, making her dangerous enough that the rest of the women approach her with extreme caution. . Yet years of criminal activity have apparently failed to sharpen women’s collective instincts, resulting in complications that resemble easily-set traps. Even in the midst of all the fun and intrigue, it sounds like a wasted opportunity to really develop some of these beloved characters beyond the caricatures they’ve slowly become, leaving most of the meaty development to Desna. and Ann.

Kevin Rankin and Jenn Lyon

Kevin Rankin and Jenn Lyon

Even in Desna’s case, her usual intuitiveness is blunted to make way for a new love, a delivery guy named Tony (Anthony K. Hyatt). Without any remarkable tension to speak of, the addition of Hyatt largely functions as an additional wrinkle in Desna’s general plans for domination – one that is neither necessary nor really powerful, considering all that this group. has endured over the years. The same can be said of guest star Linda Hamilton, who plays Eve, Zen wellness coach and Dean’s (Harold Perrineau) new girlfriend. Their sudden bond isn’t as exciting as their relationship with Roller (Jack Kesy) and Virginia, so it feels like energy spent that could have been spent on more pressing matters, especially when we’re so close to the end.

Ultimately, Claws works best (and is the most engaging) when he sticks closely to the five women who have defined this show’s appeal from the start. When you take down the carousel of goofy guest appearances, bizarre vignettes, and the most distracting B-storylines, you still end up with an ensemble that has developed a truly rare chemistry that sets this drama apart from the rest. Nash-Betts continues to find and revel in new levels of ambition in Desna, balancing the business-owner mother and the ruthless femme fatale. Watching her go up against Reyes, who telegraphs Ann’s determination to build a better life for her child with such desperation, leads to some of the most rewarding moments of the season.

Preston resumes his position as the show’s charming joker, as Polly effortlessly switches from personality to personality. Lyon and Tran remain stable as Jenn and Virginia’s loyalty to Desna is put to the test in a major way, forcing the two women to reassess their relationship with the burgeoning crime boss. While Ann’s choice to go it alone means we don’t see these women together as much, the few moments they share are intense enough and offer a glimpse into how these seasoned actresses work together.

There is still a mystery as to how it ends (only the first eight episodes of the season have been screened for critics). For a series that has hosted its fair share of twists and turns throughout its four years, the fate of each character – and their various relationships – remains unclear. And this is where the last crackle of excitement lies: although he’s been through a lot, one thing Claws has never been, is predictable.

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