What to Watch Verdict
Events in and out of the office give a chance for different characters to take control, which is a benefit to the overall story.
A flustered Doug
Tina taking charge at the office
The Minx team figuring things out while Joyce is elsewhere
Compromise is an overarching theme
Joyce is still incredibly naive (even when she wises up)
We don't get to see Joyce explaining why her article has merit
NOTE: This post contains spoilers for Minx season 1 episode 5 "Relaying news of a wayward snake."
The first issue of Minx is hot off the presses and ready for distribution, but there is still time for another snag to throw this debut issue into a tailspin. Doug’s (Jake Johnson) shipping company happens to have connections to organized crime and the first problem arises when the wife of mob boss Vince (Al Sapienza) spots an article proclaiming "Now Single Girls Can Get the Pill." This goes against Francesca’s (Lesli Margherita) Catholic beliefs and it's enough to bump Minx off the delivery trucks unless Doug removes the offending article.
Luckily for the Minx team, the article is relatively easy to remove, but it is a time-consuming task when there are 500,000 issues and only so many hands to do the job. Joyce (Ophelia Lovibond) takes a moment to raise her objections to Doug’s business dealings with the mob before asking if she can at least talk to the offending party so she can explain the content of the article.
Doug doesn’t entertain this suggestion but quickly finds himself in a stickier issue when Vince’s workforce starts making demands regarding their conditions. This occurs at the shipping warehouse while they are pulling the article and Joyce has gone to suss out the coffee situation. While doing so she hears about long hours and unsafe conditions, so she helpfully fills the employees in on recent legislative updates.
Obviously, it's a good thing to educate employees on what they can do to protect themselves, but all Doug sees is his business crumbling from within. He comments that in 15 years he has never had any problems with his supply chain but all it took was six months for Joyce to throw a spanner in the proverbial works. "You’re going to talk to the mob," he informs her about their field trip to a party in the suburbs for Little Vito, which Doug wrongly assumes is an ironic nickname. Instead, the pair turn up at Vince’s young son’s birthday party with a basket full of porn mags — which quickly get ditched. Much to her horror, Joyce is immediately relegated to the kitchen with the other women and Doug takes a seat alongside the guys watching the big game.
One of them does far better than the other in this pressure cooker environment. For once Doug’s unflappable energy is put to the test, and the level of sweat dripping off his head onto his glorious safari suit highlights how out of his depth he is.
Earlier, Doug said these mob guys are essentially harmless, but his demeanor quickly shifts when he thinks he is in trouble. When the guys make racist comments about the type of people who steal, Doug makes similar generalizations about Sicilians as a way to make a joke and point out their hypocrisy. He mentions his top lieutenant is a Black woman, which they can’t fathom.
In private, Vince admits Doug is spot on with his assessment that those closest to him are the likely thieves and he wants to know what Doug’s workplace secret is. "Hire the best people for the job," is the foolproof method that makes him seem enlightened in comparison. Doug was under the impression he was about to get whacked so this turn of events is a surprise to the Bottom Dollar proprietor. Yes, Vince will deliver his magazines again, but it is still a no-go on Minx. But once again, Doug has misread the room.
Joyce’s experience with the mob wives is eye-opening. The show doubles down on the idea that Joyce is book smart but incredibly naive to the ways of the world. The killjoy vibes that threaten to overwhelm this character as someone to root for are present but tempered, as she quickly learns some important manipulation lessons from this group of women. She uses the informal setting to bring up her article and it turns out Francesca didn’t read it.
The Minx founder has caught on quickly to the persuasive game and uses the methods she has witnessed to get her point across. Unfortunately, we don’t get to see how Joyce convinced these women that her article had merits. Instead, Doug initially thinks he is the hero until the final shot shows his expression shift from smug to knowingly played.
With Doug out for the day, Tina (Idara Victor) is in charge and she makes it clear why she is the number two in this company. Grumbles in the office about Minx’s preferential treatment grow louder until there is a mini-revolt when Minx runs over its studio time by a couple of hours.
Before it turns into a riot, Tina lays down some new ground rules that will allocate specific hours in the photo studio to each publication. It is a relatively simple but elegant solution to bickering and office politics. Tina’s strengths complement Doug’s freewheeling approach in more ways than one.
I’ve talked about their dynamic before, but is it just me, or is there a hint of romantic tension when they debrief each other? Both claim they had uneventful days, which is far from the truth but it might not be the only matter they are denying.
Before Tina gets involved, the Minx shoot was delayed because Shelly (Lennon Parham), Bambi (Jessica Lowe) and Richie (Oscar Montoya) were finding it difficult to execute Joyce's vision for the subverted expectations of David (as in Michelangelo's David) centerfold. The trio might lack feminist specificity when pulling together a concept, but they know what will arouse. Bambi is also convinced that Joyce will be able to find meaning in the images they snap, which is a spot-on assessment.
It's another episode that throws up a big obstacle before a compromise can be met, which sounds rather repetitive but Joyce gets to be the hero of sorts and Doug’s armor has been dented. In doing so the story moves forward and maybe Minx will reach viewers in the next episode.
Emma Fraser spends most of her time writing about TV, fashion, and costume design; Dana Scully is the reason she loves a pantsuit. Words can also be found at Vulture, Elle, Primetimer, Collider, Little White Lies, Observer, and Girls on Tops. Emma has a Master’s in Film and Television, started a (defunct) blog that mainly focused on Mad Men in 2010, and has been getting paid to write about TV since 2015. It goes back way further as she got her big start making observations in her diary about My So-Called Life’s Angela Chase (and her style) at 14.