Welcome to Chippendales – Episode 5 “Leeches” Recap & Review

Leeches

In Welcome to Chippendales Episode 5, Steve pays a visit to New York’s wildly successful Chippendales East, where Denise sits him in the VIP section.

Nick worries that people, including Steve, will hate what they’re opening with: Dr. Hunkenstein’s Manster. While the production goes on, Nick unhappily remains behind-the-scenes–until he hears the cheers coming from the audience.

Steve surprises him with congratulations. Of course, Nick brings up the fact that Steve once nixed that same production. Steve tries to deny it and only congratulates him again, with notedly less exuberance. The two walk outside in the snow, which Steve has never seen before.

Nick teaches Steve how to make a snowball, catalyzing a snowball fight between them. Soon enough, Steve calls for Nick to stop. But when he doesn’t stop pelting him, Steve pushes him into the wall. Labeling Nick a bully, he walks away.

Later, a pregnant Irene welcomes Steve home. Steve shares the good news that everything about the New York club was bigger and better than the one in LA–though it doesn’t exactly feel like good news to him.

It turns out that Steve has worse things to worry about. His club is being sued for racially discriminatory practices. One man is (rightfully) claiming that they keep out minorities with fake VIP cards, so Steve tells his doorman they must act like VIP cards don’t exist.

It’s smooth sailing for Nick, however, as he gets an invite to go on Phil Donahue’s talk show. In LA, Steve and all the employees at his club turn on the TV to watch the New York men of Chippendales dance on Donahue’s show. Donahue then introduces NIck to the show as “Mr. Chippendales himself,” causing Steve to seethe as he watches. Ray, angry himself, takes note.

Irene stops Steve from going into a rage by making him see everything that’s going well for them. Afterwards, Irene goes looking for aspirin and discovers the VIP cards Steve has hidden. She throws them in his face and yells at him that their club can’t run on exclusionary practices.

Ray then comes in to inform Steve that Nick was on Mike Douglas, and that he again took credit for Chippendales. Steve calls Nick, who says he never told anyone to call him Mr. Chippendales. When Steve yells at him, NIck threatens to take even more credit.

Talk shows that have him on start to introduce Nick not only as the choreographer, but as the founder of Chippendales. So Ray encourages Steve to go on some shows himself.

But Steve doesn’t have the stage presence that Nick has. Steve soon notices during his first interview that everyone around him is uninterested in what he has to say, and he almost completely shuts down.

On his way back from the failed interview, Steve notices another club called The Electric Tomato boasting “Male-Stripping Mondays.” He confronts the owner about ripping him off, but he doesn’t even believe that Steve is the real owner of Chippendales.

When he and Ray return to Chippendales, Steve tells Ray to burn that club to the ground. Later, Steve tunes into Channel 5 to see The Electric Tomato going up in flames.


The Episode Review

The opening scene of this episode shows one part of Somen “Steve” Banerjee–the prideful man who has the arms of his suit tailored just high enough to show off his gold Rolex. But there’s another side to him as well, seen in the childlike glee he can barely contain at his first sight of snow. It’s ultimately a joy he won’t let himself fully experience, too conscious of judgmental eyes watching and bullying.

The Hulu series has long emphasized the bad energy between Steve and Nick, but this episode portrays it best, clarifying how the men perceive their existence as a battleground. Both know what it is to live in the margins of society, and are so constantly aware of the ways others might exploit them.

Steve, especially. His concern for the way he is perceived drives him to be successful–but to also step on others (minorities especially) in the process. Otis experienced this–and now Ray has too.

Welcome to Chippendales has so far painted a grim picture of the club’s founding–ultimately working toward, I believe, and indictment of this corrupt leveraging of power.

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