Episode Two of Claws airs on TNT in a few hours and I can hardly wait. Admittedly, I watched the premiere last Sunday with low expectations, but the ensemble cast was so enticing--Neicy Nash, Carrie Preston and Harold Perrineau to name a few--I couldn’t resist. I'd also learned that the show was originally developed for HBO, a network that consistently produces iconic television, so I was anxious to see the programming they had passed up.
TNT’s marketing campaign for Claws convinces the viewer that this show is about a group of misfit women that work in a nail salon and go up against gangsters. Technically, this is an accurate summation of the plot, but the characters build the groundwork for a show that is much more complex. Densa (Neicy Nash) is a prime example of this. She presents in those outfits, that hair and those nails; a device clearly designed to perpetuate a stereotype (a stereotype that the men in the series clearly embrace), but, as you watch you learn that Densa is a human being of many layers. She dreams. She hopes. She loves.
I interpreted the salon as sort of a safe haven for the nail technicians with Densa’s character at the helm as sister and protector. Unfortunately, the salon is also laundering money for an illegal opiate operation led by Uncle Daddy, a hilarious over the top character played by Dean Morris. Densa had an agreement with Roller (Jack Kesy) to launder the money in exchange for a $20,000 cut. When this agreement isn’t honored and someone gets killed, the ends fail to justify the means.
It was painful to watch Densa neglect her own needs to take care of everyone else, only to be rewarded with blatant, unforgiving misogynoir. Densa’s by no means a pushover, but I believe her experiences will ring true for many women, particularly women of color, who have remained in unpleasant and even abusive situations in an effort to achieve a goal. In spite of this, I am eager to delve into the backstory of these characters and hopeful that they will kick ass and be victorious in the end.
PS - This show is rated TV-MA so if you’re sensitive about nudity and other MA type stuff, watch something else.