Even though we knew it was leading here, it was still a shock to see how everything played out.
I would say Welcome to Chippendales Season 1 Episode 7 was Steve’s official downfall, but he’s been falling for a while. With each passing year, he became increasingly obsessed with a need to prove his worth and relevance, and when things started to fall apart, he took the most drastic measures to pull himself up again.
But it’s hard to imagine the fallout was exactly what Steve wanted.
It never had to end like this.
Steve was successful; for all his shortcomings, and there were many, he was very much a significant part of getting Chippendales to the heights it reached. He wasn’t just some investor or a “boss” in name only. He was there every day, working to sustain a successful business, but he could never get out of his own way.
This idea of sticking it to the man and showing up anyone who didn’t think he was worthy of success ultimately proved to be his downfall. And in the end, he was truly no better than those he was looking to upstage.
They frame the hour in such an interesting way because, on the one hand, they continue this narrative about beaten-down Steve, who was just looking to achieve his own American Dream. But he couldn’t because of all the obstacles put in his way.
But Steve wasn’t a good person. He wasn’t doing things the right way as much as he did whatever was necessary to make money.
His rant to the FBI agent is excuse after excuse to try and color his actions with rainbows when at the end of the day, nothing he’s done makes him any better. Steve convinced himself that he wasn’t given a fair chance; therefore, he had to make things happen for himself, and he shouldn’t have to feel bad about that.
But people got hurt continuously because of his actions. And Nick de Noia ended up dead.
Whether or not you knew that, ultimately, Steve was behind Nick’s murder, the series isn’t interested in keeping it a secret. Steve is immediately on the defensive with Irene, but what’s most intriguing about how he behaves is that it isn’t his guilt that gives him away.
It’s his complete lack of indifference.
The Steve and Nick saga has played out for weeks, with each man doing their part in adding to the ongoing feud between them. They both do the most when it comes to the other and know how to needle each other in ways that push the other very close to the edge.
The napkin ordeal ends up biting Steve in the butt, but he acts as if Nick duped him outright when he gave him a chance to take the deal to a lawyer. That whole situation was much more about Steve trying to act big and bad than Nick trying to con the man.
But Steve can’t see it like that because he has blinders on when it comes to Nick. He’s so jealous and intimidated by the way Nick makes things happen that he’s never been able to work alongside him,
Imagine what could have been if he’d put his envy aside and just run with Nick instead of tripping him to reach the finish line first.
Irene: It’s over, Steve.
Steve: What’s over?
Irene: The club. Chippendales, Los Angeles. It’s over.
The closing of the Los Angeles club appears to be the catalyst to Nick’s death, but that’s a very simplistic conclusion to reach when the truth is that Steve has wanted to get rid of Nick for a long time.
But with his failure staring him in the face and the news cycle ready to run every unflattering detail about it, Steve decided to regain control. And in his mind, he would never fully have control of Chippendales again as long as Nick de Noia was alive.
Nick isn’t really portrayed in this series as anything other than a human being. Nick isn’t put on a pedestal, but he is shown to be an ambitious man who brings a lot to the brand. He was Chippendales in many ways, even if he couldn’t rightfully claim to be the one who created it.
But above all else, he was a guy making a pretty good living and having fun along the way. He found this second gear with Chippendales, and he was thriving up until the very last day of his life.
His relationship with Bradford was better than ever, the two having forged a true partnership and genuine connection that started after what looked like it was going to be a one-night stand. Bradford was more than just a sounding board for Nick; he actually helped him work through many of the business decisions he made.
More importantly, Bradford appeared to let Nick be himself. And he was very patient with Denise and the relationship between her and Nick, which would be a lot for anyone to handle.
Nick and Denise’s friendship was always a bit inappropriate, and while it did seem like Denise wasn’t ever Bradford’s biggest fan, her petulance toward Nick’s decision to move forward with Bradford didn’t feel earned.
Nick: Denise, can you just be happy for me?
Denise: Fuck you very much.
There was never much indication that Denise’s issues with Bradford were rooted in a desire to be with Nick because they never showed us that. We never heard Denise tell someone she was in love with Nick and waiting for him; from our vantage point, the jealousy seemed more about Bradford taking her best friend from her.
Nick and Denise were a packaged deal for so many years, both personally and professionally, so it felt natural for her to feel threatened by his new relationship. But she also loved Nick and cared about him, so the way she completely shut him off felt odd.
And, of course, the two of them never making up before his death will haunt her forever.
Denise immediately recognizing that Steve was behind Nick’s death makes sense because she knew better than anyone what that relationship was like. It was beyond toxic, and for Nick to be gunned down so callously, it makes sense for Denise to jump to Steve, as he’s the number one person in Nick’s life who tried to make it a living hell.
Going to the police may have been a much better use of Denise’s time, but she raises a good question when she’s ranting and raving at Steve’s gaudy gates. Does Irene have blood on her hands?
My gut says no because she didn’t pull the trigger or know anything about it. But Irene idly sat by while Steve did several unsavory things, so is it fair to say that she was completely oblivious to all of the things Steve did and was capable of doing?
Welcome to My Extra Thoughts
I will continue to wonder why Ray Colon was willing to do ANYTHING Steve asked of him.
Steve is such a coward. The way he closed up shop and left his own club when it was getting shut down by the fire department was peak cowardice.
Andrew Rannells is so good with the very little given to him throughout this series.
We’ve just about reached the end of this sordid tale, and with only one hour left, we’re close to figuring out what inevitably happens to Steve Bannerjee.
Please let me know in the comments what you thought about this hour and what you’re expecting to see in the finale! And as always, please watch Welcome to Chippendales online, so you’re all caught up ahead of the epic conclusion!
Whitney Evans is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter.