This blog recaps episode ten of season one of Vinyl entitled ‘Alibi’. Needless to say, it contains spoilers.
Much like a classic rock show, Vinyl couldn’t quite seem to finish last night. It wasn’t the much over-used encore that kept the closing credits at bay though. It was the umpteen different endings instead. From blowout punk gigs to hand-over-face mob executions, the showrunners had ample opportunity to close on a cliffhanger, but instead opted to come back for a couple more numbers. Equally infuriating as it was captivating, the hell-raising finale perfectly encapsulated all that is wrong (and so, so right) about Scorsese’s passion project. But let’s dig a little deeper shall we?
Cops and robbers
Vinyl’s tenth outing followed on perfectly from episode nine’s bombshell finish. Things opened on a tense, but agreeable Richie committing to spy on big, fat gangster Corrado Galasso for the FBI, in return for keeping his arse out of jail. It’s a risky business considering the Italian’s penchant for strangling those who cross him, but hey, it’s nothing the always reliable Mr Finestra can’t handle, right?
Meanwhile, bumbling partner Zac Yankovich is busy getting his sweet, sweet revenge on our misguided protagonist. A quick trip to Galasso’s mobster hidey-hole is on the agenda, where he tells of his plan to get the “drug addict” kicked off the board. Needless to say, Corrado’s used to this kind of dastardly double-crossing and one-ups him in the evil stakes. Straight to Mr Finestra he goes, where the fear of God is well and truly put upon both the boss and his scheming adversary -“In what universe do you think I give a shit who runs this fuckin’ company?”
It’s more screen time for Armen Garo, who’s fabulously bullish as the crook kingpin. Zinger after zinger is fired out of his sneering mouth faster than the money draining from American Century’s bank balance. The funny thing is, whereas before the gangster stuff fell reasonably flat, here it really starts to pop. A bit like Joe Corso’s head after Corrado decides he’s had enough of the shady businessman’s small talk. Yup, he’s not going to be spilling any more secrets for a while, what with his brains being splattered all over the walls. The only problem is he already revealed to Galasso and Zac that Richie was the one who bashed DJ Buck Rogers’ head in at the start of the series. Typical.
Overdosing on jealousy
It’s just one of many shocks in this week’s finale. Another is when Kip quits The Nasty Bits and throws out lover Jamie during a furious strop at her sexy shenanigans with bandmate Alex. It might just be the nadir of James Jagger’s turgid performance, but he follows it up well with a remarkable turn as a limp corpse overdosed on smack. It’s a dramatic moment, but Jamie and Lester arrive in time to save the day, chucking the floppy rock star in the bath. Genius!
Eventually, after some other drug-related plot stuff (did you know musicians take drugs?), Kip and the other Bits nail their support slot for the New York Dolls. So they’re neatly set up as frontrunners for next season. Even Lester’s back on board after slyly outfoxing Richie in contract negotiations. Everyone becomes friends again quite easily in Vinyl don’t they? What a forgiving bunch.
Unfortunately no one else gets their bonce blown off in the series closer, but Jamie is fired as the Nasty Bits’ rep and Clark continues in his role as the messiah of disco. He cleverly held back the letter dropping Indigo – now charting like crazy – from the label. Not so dumb now, huh? Still creepy as hell though.
In other less prominent news, Zac’s golden boy Bowie-replica Xavier is in the studio demanding this, that and the other, and legal chief Scott still seems determined to sleep with him. Expect more from this storyline next season. Also conspicuous in their absence are Devon and the kids. Although it kind of feels like their story was parked in the right spot previously, with Richie’s wife reeling after his sudden murder confession at the end of ‘Rock And Roll Queen’.
Big office blowout
In the end, Vinyl season one finishes how it started, with a huge fucking party. Richie gives a full-of-shit speech about how he’s turning things around (what’s new), while the onlooking Zac gives him one of the meanest death stares you’ll ever see. This is all happening while office clown Julie is leading the rest of the cast in desecrating the building. Shredded papers, spray paint and soapy beer suds fly everywhere, all set to the rocking sound of MC5’s ‘Kick Out The Jams’. It’s not a perfect scene, but it is entertaining. And that’s exactly how Vinyl‘s first series should be remembered. Pretty much all over the place plot, character and pacing-wise, but raucously thrilling when it got it right. Just like the seventies huh? Roll on season two!
“One more word and I’ll cut out your fucking tongue.” – Better keep schtum Zac, Corrado means business.
“You can suck the permission out of my dick.” – Lester Grimes, aka sassy, comic-wizard extraordinaire.
“Whatever happens tonight, I remain as confused as ever.” – A&R big-wig Julie reels off the funniest line of the episode.
“Freddie Mercury? That can’t be his real name, can it?” – Well deduced Mr Yankovich, the Fredster was in fact born Farrokh Bulsara.
Loved Vinyl? Read our interview with music supervisor Randall Poster plus an exclusive playlist from the show here.
Check out more of Martin Scorsese’s finest music moments here.
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