Glittery, polished and fierce — TNT’s new drama, Claws, debuted a crew of badass female characters on the Sunday, June 11 premiere. The new series centers on Desna Simms (Niecy Nash) and her sisterhood of manicurists — four very different personalities — who work hard and play hard while bedazzling nails at a Florida salon.
While there’s plenty of legitimate business painting nails, Desna’s dream of a better life leads her to get involved with Roller (Jack Kesy) and Clay, a.k.a. Uncle Daddy (Dean Norris), of the Dixie Mafia. In exchange for a large payout at the end of the year, Desna launders funds from Roller’s barely legal medical clinic through the nail salon.
Pretty Baby’s Settling Right In
The episode begins with Desna, Jennifer (Jenn Lyon) and Quiet Anne (Judy Reyes) welcoming back unassuming ex-con Polly (Carrie Preston) who’s just returned from a stint in the slammer in time for New Year’s Eve.
When Roller stops by the salon for a steamy rendezvous in the back room with Desna and tells her she has to go on one more run to the clinic, it piques the interest of newcomer and pretty young thing Virginia (Karreuche Tran).
Desna takes her into the back to set her straight. “What is it you think you know?”
“That there’s a whole lot more to life than just ‘painting hooves,’” Virginia replies.
Happy New Year, Baby
Things take a turn at the New Years Eve party that night when Desna’s bonus from Uncle Daddy is not what she expected. “You asked me to help you for a year,” Desna later says to Roller. “I did that. We had an expiration date, Roller, and guess what, that bitch just happened.”
Without the money, Desna’s hope of separating herself from the mafia and opening her dream salon begins to slip away, forcing her to look for other ways to secure her future.
Desna’s obviously got her fair share of worries. Besides her entanglement in the money-laundering scheme, she also lives with and cares for her mentally disabled brother, Dean (Harold Perrineau).
The loss of her bonus doesn’t only mean she’s short the deposit on her new salon, but it also puts a hold on her promise to Dean of a new house.
“Soon, I’m going to get us that castle by the sea and we’re going to live together for ever and ever,” she promises him.
After her confrontation in the salon with Desna, Virginia worms her way into Roller’s good graces and his bed.
Desna calls Roller to say that Virginia didn’t show up for her shift again but Roller assures her that she’ll be there: “You might as well make some peace with Virginia cause she’s going to be here for a while. So bring her in a little more.”
But Virginia hasn’t just angled herself into a position to become a part of Desna’s crew — she’s also become his informant. While on the phone, Roller also tells Desna that Polly can’t work at the salon anymore because of her ankle monitor.
When Des asks who told him about it, he responds, “A little bird.”
Don’t Mess With Des
After Virginia finally returns to the salon after not showing up for several shifts, Des surprises her with a fist to the face.
“Out. Now, private dancer. You’re done here,” Desna tells her.
Virginia gets up and says that she doesn’t have to answer to her anymore, but Jenn descends on her immediately, grabbing her by the hair and throwing her out into the parking lot with Quiet Anne and Polly trailing behind.
Des follows them out, spitting out a string of colorful insults and getting in Virginia’s face with her inch-long acrylics. “You thought you were going to skip a couple steps, huh bitch? Look at you. I know you were the one who told Roller about Polly’s ankle bracelet. Shame on you! You’re done, bitch. You were never going to be in my crew.”
Even Polly gets in the drama, emptying the contents of Virginia’s purse onto the lot and kicking her gum across the pavement with her sensible flats.
Get Your Threads
Set on capitalizing on Roller’s penchant for manscaping by stealing the stacks of money Desna’s previously seen lying around his house, she lets herself in and discovers Roller choking Virginia while in the act.
Desna tells Virginia to get out, while she and Roller head to the pool so she can thread his eyebrows. But while Roller lectures her about knowing her place and talks about future business, Desna imagines herself in the house by the sea she’s always promised Dean. Before she knows it, she’s drowning Roller in the pool.
But when Roller comes back swinging at Des, it’s Virginia who interrupts them and makes a decision that will force her and Desna closer together forever.
Claws airs Sundays at 9 p.m. ET on TNT.
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