Advertisement

No Amount of Blow Jobs Can Keep ‘Feud’ From Feeling Tedious

FX
FX

Maybe it’s because there’s not enough Naomi Watts, or maybe it’s because the series is floundering as it reaches its final two installments. But any way you slice it, by Episode 6, Feud: Capote vs. the Swans is spinning in its wheels. Truman Capote (Tom Hollander) is trying to write his book without the support of the swans, and the swans are protesting his mere existence. Will anything new happen in this series, or will it continue to drown?

We’re in 1978 now, three years after where we were in last week’s episode, set right after Truman’s bombshell exposé came out in Esquire. All of the swans except C. Z. Guest (Chloë Sevigny) are ignoring Truman. Truman meets C. Z. in Manhattan to buy gardening hats, but they learn that the local haberdashery is shutting its doors in a few weeks. New York is changing, pushing old socialites like C. Z. and Truman to the sidelines.

Before Truman departs to purchase pearls from Tiffany’s for his young protegée, Kate Harrington (Ella Beatty)—daughter of ex John O’Shea, who has now changed her name to Kate Harrington in spite of her father—he asks C. Z. about Babe (Watts) and her cancer. Babe is surviving, says C. Z. Truman giggles. Babe, he says, has “a heart so cold even cancer couldn’t touch it.” Truman leaves, but not before C. Z. can snark at him for finding a new swan younger than his older women. Younger women are always the enemies of aging ladies like C. Z.

‘Feud’ Turns James Baldwin Into a Classic Racist Archetype

But Truman and Kate’s friendship persists, as he books Kate modeling gigs with the hottest photographers in town and introduces her to his favorite magazine editors. In this episode, Truman has landed Kate a modeling gig with famed photographer Dick Avedon (Jeffrey Grover) and is getting her dolled up around town. First up: Get some volume in that hair. Truman wants Kate to have an updo as tall as the Empire State Building—he even insists that the hair stylist shove a maxi pad in the poofs. Kate tells him to settle down; she’s still trying to look somewhat young. As the stylist wraps up, Truman slinks behind the chair and whispers, “Babe.” He’s recreated his ex-best friend.

The pair go to lunch at La Côte Basque, where everyone gives Kate a nasty look. Why is she trying so hard to become Babe Paley? A table over, Slim (Diane Lane) and Lee (Calista Flockhart) spy on Truman and Kate. The swans pity the young cygnet. She’s trying so hard and yet nowhere near their elegance. As Slim and Lee pile out, Truman confronts them. Slim evades his yaps, but Lee uses the opportunity to tease Kate, telling her she looks far too old for her age. Truman mutters something to Lee about Gore Vidal and her sister, Jackie Kennedy, before Lee rolls her eyes and flounces off.

C. Z. and Truman try out this new disco thing, but it’s not for them—they end up in a Daily News article looking like two old farts. C. Z. refuses to look at the photo. She says she looks like the grandmother from The Addams Family. But Truman wants to try again, not ready to become old like C. Z., who has resigned to spending her days in the garden with her children. Partying is fine, says C. Z.—as long as Truman vows to finish his book, since he’s sacrificed so much for it already.

Ella Beatty and Tom Hollander talk at a dinner table in a still from ‘Feud: Capote vs The Swans’
FX

Kate is pushing Truman to work on his book, too, but to no avail. Truman is racking up some terrible debt and downing a new bottle of booze every night, and Kate is not pleased with this. Truman retaliates against Kate, telling her she has no place to talk to him like this after he got her an agent and jobs, as well as mentoring her—effectively, he’s being an abusive parent. She realizes this, telling Truman he’s just like her father. Run, Kate!

The Swans grab lunch sans Truman at La Côte, where they chat about divorce and new marriage for a bit before Slim mentions He Who Shall Not Be Named. Gore Vidal is suing Truman for comments he made on a talk show about Gore inappropriately touching Jackie Kennedy and being kicked out of the White House. Truman is hiding out in rehab so that he can’t be served with papers. C. Z. wishes the women would just lay off Truman already.

But Slim is somewhat correct: Truman is hiding—but in Palm Springs, not rehab, sipping on some sort of alcoholic beverage while he ignores all responsibilities. A hot young stud named Rick (Vito Schnabel) swings by to fix Truman’s garbage disposal. After all is said and done, before Rick can leave, Truman can’t help but flirt. “I wonder if you’d be at all interested in having your cock sucked,” Truman offers, as if he were living in some sort of porn. But Rick is interested and, later, thanks Truman for the best blow job of his life.

Truman clings to Rick, although the pair have absolutely nothing in common. Truman speaks of yachts and Manhattan socialites; Rick, who is an appliance serviceman, gabs on and on about air conditioner parts. But Truman is obsessed with the idea of youth, grateful that Rick will introduce him to all the new songs and fads of the younger generation, and soon invites his new piece of meat back to New York to meet his friends.

Everyone Wanted an Invite to Truman Capote’s Party—and ‘Feud’ Got Us In

Lunch at La Côte with Truman, C. Z., Kate, Jack (Joe Mantello), and newcomer Rick is hilarious. C. Z. wants to talk gardening, dancing—usual socialite chatter—but Rick can’t stop talking about fixing air conditioners. Jack wants to know about Palm Beach. Nope. Rick wants to talk about compressors and evaporator coils. Kate is too awkward to insert herself in the conversation. Rick may not fit in with the crowd, but at least he’s far nicer than John O’Shea.

Because Truman has returned to New York, he needs to face this impending lawsuit from Gore Vidal. Truman thinks he convinced Lee to affirm his statements, so he asks his lawyer to reach out to her for confirmation. She won’t respond. Everyone in Truman’s circle advises him to apologize to Gore and take back his statements, but he refuses. It’s only when he calls C. Z. to check in about Lee—C. Z. says Lee is playing Truman and will never confirm anything—that Truman finally backs down.

On the call, C. Z. also tells Truman that Lee is going around calling him a “f*g” behind his back. Following Ann Woodward’s (Demi Moore) statement, this is the second time Truman has heard his name in conjunction with the slur—which hurts, especially considering these ladies used to be his friends. He confides in Jack, who tells him not to be upset. Truman cut the swans off, amputating them from his life. He never really needed them anyways. Finishing the book will make everything worthwhile.

There’s trouble in paradise following Rick’s move to NYC. Rick is no longer interested in sleeping with Truman and more fascinated by old TV shows he used to watch. Truman is only allowed to give any sexual favors during commercials. “Well, it’s finally happened,” Truman groans. “I’ve gone out of style.” Not long after, Rick packs his things. At least he’s nice about it, saying that there was nothing wrong with Truman—he just really misses fixing those goddamned A/C units.

What’s there left to do but write? Every episode of this show seems to end on Truman writing his final book Answered Prayers, but no progress has been made. Truman waxes poetic about how being with friends feels like warm sunlight hitting your skin, but he misses it—in the isolated heat of the desert, the unapologetic heat feels different. Alright, Truman. I’m with C. Z., Kate, and Jack. Get to the point and finish this damn book already!

Read more at The Daily Beast.

Get the Daily Beast's biggest scoops and scandals delivered right to your inbox. Sign up now.

Stay informed and gain unlimited access to the Daily Beast's unmatched reporting. Subscribe now.