Episode 3 of Hollywood begins with Ernie and his boys invited to a big time party hosted by George Cukor. Jack decides this isn’t his scene, especially given the homosexual implications of this, but Ernie exudes a convincing speech about hostility towards gays, convincing the aspiring actor to go nonetheless.
Roy (now going by the alias of Rock) returns to Archie and they eat together where he talks about his troubled past involving his family. Archie realizes he’s perfect for the role in Peg and decides Rock should go ahead and audition. At the same time, Jack interrupts Dick’s lunch and pitches himself as one of the lead roles in that very same picture.
Rock then meets Henry and he’s brutally honest with him, telling Rock to keep a level-head and invites him to his house that evening. After a bizarre dance and a night in his arms, Henry phones through to Dick and organizes a screen test. Jack catches wind of this and Ellen tells him he needs to step up his game in the wake of Henry’s new client.
Meanwhile, Camille continues her role in the black and white picture, told to keep things as comedic as possible. When she changes her lines, it annoys the Director and she walks off set. While Claire gets a screen test to be Peg, Camille meanwhile sleeps with Raymond and tells him she should screen test for the same role but change Peg Entwistle’s name to Meg and make her from Mississippi.
With all the pieces set into motion and revolving around this film, all our different characters show up at George Cuker’s party. Dick gets nice and drunk, prompting Henry to watch from the shadows while all the different boys from the gas station start working.
Henry manages to get Rock to speak to Dick in private before he runs into Jack inside. Jack tells Henry he needs an agent and agrees to speak to him in private to talk. They head to the tennis court while Claire watches from the shadows as Henry forces him to get undressed. As he does, Jack realizes he doesn’t love his wife and rushes away, unable to go through with this, as Henry promises him he’s now finished.
After convincing Dick to head home and calling him a good man, Rock speaks to Archie and tells him he loves him. At the same time, Raymond tells Camille that she’s perfect for the screen test and is determined to set out and get her the role. So much so that he heads back to the studio and tells Dick that if he doesn’t screen test Camille then he won’t Direct. Dick decides to give it a shot, especially after the incident involving Anna Wong all those years ago, which is where the episode ends.
With lots more exposition and big speeches, Hollywood is a bit of a mixed bag when it comes to the dialogue. The idea of changing history and casting Camille as Peg is actually really clever and certainly a bold choice but the very notion of them rewriting that entire back-story and making her from Mississippi and changing her name to Meg almost undermines the tragedy itself.
Still, the real star here though is Jim Parsons and he’s excellent in the role of Henry. He’s played these sort of roles before but here the script perfectly complements his style. Alongside this is the usual array of excellent costume and production design choices but the male leads, especially Jack, feel like they’re being pushed aside in favour of more supporting players coming to the forefront which does feel a bit messy.
It’s still enjoyable of course and there’s enough here to keep you sticking around for the next episode but it does feel like the show has lost its way slightly.