Alex Levy has always been a narcissist — but that narcissism reaches new heights in “DNF.” I mean, the woman hears half a joke about a narcissist screwing in a lightbulb (it only takes one, but they need the whole world watching), and she immediately assumes that joke is about her! Okay, sure, the joke is about her, but that’s not the point! Do NOT tell me she heard poor Random Joel’s entire conversation, because I have studied the tapes, and the logistics are impossible. But Random Joel’s dumb joke is the most innocuous example of Alex Levy’s narcissist monster rearing its head in this episode. For it is in this episode that Alex uses the overturning of Roe v. Wade as a shield against having to talk about the news of her and Paul’s relationship coming out in the tabloids while trying to make herself look like some sort of feminist hero for doing it. It’s honestly impressive.
Look, I’m not saying that Alex Levy doesn’t actually believe the SCOTUS decision to overturn Roe is “the most important story for American women in 50 years” or that she isn’t genuinely outraged about it; I’m just saying it’s very convenient. Once The Vault broke the story of Alex and Paul dating, there was no way this woman was going to let her Alex Unfiltered interview with Paul go to air. Even though, as Cory correctly reminds her, she was the one who demanded the interview in the first place, and they have been promoting the hell out of it all week. If the Roe thing wasn’t going on, she would’ve found another reason to bump it, but now she gets to bump it and say it’s because how dare people want to make salacious gossip the news when something this important is happening. People are disgusting! Alex Levy is a beacon of integrity!
She isn’t wrong that Roe should be front and center, but she’s clearly using the timing to her advantage. She’s so deep into her self-righteousness that she can’t even entertain people pointing out where she’s gone wrong. Listen, Cory is a psycho (when Mindy Kaling, as Audra, refers to Cory as “oddly compelling in a kind of Patrick Bateman in a vinyl coat kind of way,” she isn’t wrong!), but when he points out to Alex that she was on the cusp of having all the power she wanted at UBA and instead has chosen to be “the girlfriend,” even Alex knows he’s a little right. Is he trying to hurt her and remind her who’s boss (for now)? Sure, but he isn’t wrong: She has completely opened herself up to wild amounts of scrutiny.
She also refuses to listen to Chip after a disastrous interview with the Roe-related guest meant to replace Paul’s episode. The conversation veers into a discussion of minority rule and unchecked power, meaning it lands directly on billionaires and their sway over the media. When Alex gets defensive and tries to remind EVERYONE that this is about women’s rights, thank you very much, her guest shows her how she just proved her point — Alex and her boyfriend, Paul Marks, get to decide what is news and what isn’t. Oh, Alex is steaming after this. When Chip points out that lots of people are going to be curious about exactly this (a few episodes ago, even Alex was curious about Paul’s influence on journalists, but she must’ve forgotten) and that Alex isn’t making things better by refusing to talk about the ramifications of her relationship or even put out any statement, Alex loses it. She fires him. He makes a passing comment about how he didn’t really have COVID when he showed up at her place to check on her and was just rescuing her like he always does, and honestly, it undermines his argument a little bit. Chip needs to learn about leaving people wanting more, you know? He is incapable of this.
It doesn’t matter. He’s fired, and the world has conspired against Alex Levy. At least, that’s what she tells Paul when he comes home for a little Sad Billionaire snuggle sesh. His test launch went horribly and he doesn’t know if they’ll make their actual launch date now — he’s coping by screaming at employees (offscreen, sadly), drinking a lot, and calling Cory Ellison “a small man” during an awkward photo shoot. But now, in Alex’s arms, as she once again ponders if spending her time and talent at UBA is even worth it anymore (she ponders this every single season, so it’s not too revelatory), Paul has a new idea. Or maybe it’s an old idea Paul is trying to pawn off as a new one (you never know with this guy). Regardless, he says that instead of investing in growing UBA, as he has promised, they could just dismantle it and sell off its parts for some sweet, sweet cash that he could funnel into his flailing rocket-ship program. Oh, and Alex could build her own studio or whatever. That part seems less important to him. Alex looks intrigued. Might she be less intrigued once she learns that Paul is already talking to good ol’ Fred Micklen, the truest of cockroaches, about pricing out UBA? She might! Or Alex Levy might actually be entering her true villain era. Time! Will! Tell!
Time is also ticking for Paul to pull off whatever scummy tricks he has up his sleeve because there’s something strange going on at Hyperion, and Bradley Jackson is on the case. Once Stella asks for her help getting in touch with her now MIA friend Kate Danton — who, you’ll remember, was unceremoniously fired by Paul and tried to raise some alarms with Stella, who was too busy contemplating Paul’s job offer — Bradley goes off on a real Deep Throat, dark-parking-garage-type journey. Honestly, I love that for our little Exhausted Queen. It’s completely ridiculous, but if anyone is tenacious enough to figure out what Paul Marks is up to, it’s Bradley. Kate doesn’t make it to their meeting — and she went through all that trouble to send Bradley coded messages via coffee orders, too! — but Bradley’s not deterred. Plus, she enlists the now-unemployed Chip Black to assist her? This could be a dream team-up right here.
In what is like a Russian nesting doll set of people being secretly investigated on this show, Bradley needs to watch her back too. Thanks to a hot tip from Audra at YDA, Laura is digging into Bradley’s hacked emails and texts. At first, Laura’s looking for evidence that Bradley and Cory have slept together — she finds the fact that Bradley spent an entire day with Cory and his mother strange, and she is right — but she starts noticing some strange messages regarding the January 6 footage and Hal and begins to piece the truth together. Does she have to do an almost unbelievable amount of math to get to that conclusion? Yes, but Laura’s a professional, okay? The question now becomes, will Laura out Bradley, and will she do it before Bradley has a chance to solve this Paul Marks mystery? We are barreling toward the season-three finale, and things are getting exciting, folks.