Hollywood – Season 1 Episode 4 Recap & Review

(Screen) Tests

Episode 4 of Hollywood begins with Dick attending a pitch meeting with Ace as they talk about the different movies being made. When Dick mentions Peg, Ace scoffs at the notion of it being made until he agrees to make the other movies too.

Archie meets with Raymond and exhibits concerns that Peg being changed to Meg in the wake of Camille auditioning is going to be seen as a message rather than a showcase of Archie’s writing. When Ace learns that Archie is the one who’s written the picture, he kicks off big time and speaks to Dick, telling him he won’t allow “a colored person” to write a picture and demands his name be scrubbed from the credits.

Ace is rushed into hospital with a heart attack not long after, thanks in part to a steamy weekend away with Avis’ friend Jeanne. With Claire’s screen test on Friday, Avis exhibits concerns for Claire, telling her that Ace is on death’s doorstep and she’s more interested in working. Only, this does come with a certain sense of irony given Ace’s instructions are to turn authority over to Avis and give her sole authority to run Ace Pictures.

Avis and Jeanne patch up their differences while Archie heads to Raymond’s and exhibits his concerns about his name being removed from his script. Instead, he turns his attention to Camille and tells her she needs to get the part for him as much as herself.

Screen tests go ahead and Rock bombs but he just about manages to pull it together for the end. Henry blackmails Avis to twist her hand and give Rock the part but the role of Peg is split between Claire and Camille. Jack gets his shot to fame despite the blackmail attempt while Claire is given the role as Peg… for the time being anyway.

As the episode closes out, Avis is torn between what to do surrounding the role of Peg and contemplates whether Camille might actually be better for the role.

Halfway through this mini-series, the biggest problem Hollywood faces is a lack of dramatic tension and struggle. The first episode deceptively sets up a series that looks like it’s going to follow a group of aspiring actors as they struggle to make it to the big time, facing struggles and obstacles every which way they turn. While we do get that in some part, instead every challenge these main characters face are resolved either in the same episode or even in the next scene.

Jack being arrested early on is resolved in the first scene of the next episode and never mentioned again. Camille and Archie’s racial struggles are resolved through the contrived deus ex machina of Ace having a heart attack and Jack’s rise to fame sees him overcome his own reservations about cheating on his wife and continuing to engage in illicit behaviour. In doing so, this bags him a screen test and seemingly winning over the women who see him as having star potential despite a disastrous screen test.

Despite the plot issues, the show looks absolutely stunning and the various Hollywood studios look great here, backed up by some fantastic costume and production design throughout. The actors are enough to keep you hooked on this one, even if the narrative itself starts to suffer from contrivances and plot conveniences.

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