After the opening title card, we’re outside a California prison, where Jason and Damian (Andre Hyland and Tobie Windham), the same two inmates who once taunted Monroe Fuches (Stephen Root) in jail, pick up …well, they pick up Monroe Fuches. And this time, Fuches has really managed to reinvent himself. He’s now heavily tattooed, with slicked-back hair, black-painted fingernails (well enough with the guards to secretly greet them), and picking up a Coffee Bean barista (Carrie Gibson) after drinking coffee from she. And yes, he still goes by The Raven, but now, the moniker seems to have stuck in the fiercest way possible. Fuches is led to a slick business campus called NoHoBal, overseen by NoHo Hank (Anthony Carrigan). While we know NoHo Hank was cold-blooded when his mistress Cristóbal (Michael Irby) was killed, Cristóbal’s presence is a big part of campus, from old photos to a statue in the center of the lobby. Hank looks much the same, though he is shocked by what he happened to Fuches. “My body tells the story of my journey,” Fuches even tells him about his body art. (He also claims that he’s become a sadomasochist because of the torture he received in prison, which is…er…funny!) Hank promises that any job Fuches does for him will bring him a lot of money, but Fuches has two conditions: live on Hank’s best property and bring him Barry Berkman.
Well, some good news on that front, Raven! Barry is at a local airport listening to a religious podcast before boarding a plane to Los Angeles. (Notably, he shuts down said podcast as soon as the host, Pastor Pat, points out that while ranking sins is fruitless, the worst sin is obviously murder.)
Back in California, Gene is back in his house, which has been outbid by his agent Tom (Fred Melamed), who wants Gene to ignore all the dolls Tom collects and has placed around the house so they can listen to a speech from Warner Bros. (During launch, we heard that the “article turned out great”…does that mean the Vanity Fair article passed? We haven’t heard, nor will we in this episode, hear from Lon Oneil directly, and we don’t have idea if it’s still… working after his encounter with Jim Moss.) The idea is simple: a thriller with the murderous student as the lead, but the older acting teacher as the hero who outdoes the student. While that would seem to appeal to Gene’s most basic instincts, there’s a surprise: “You can’t make this movie,” Gene says firmly. After describing the eight years she spent in Israel on a kibbutz, Gene puts it more clearly, emphasizing that glorifying Barry’s murders only exploits the memory of her deceased girlfriend, Janice. “What I’m comfortable with is this movie disappearing,” she says. (If only Barry knew that they agree on this point.) After the WB executive points out that they can make the movie with or without Gene’s help, they are interrupted: the DA demands Gene’s presence.