[Editor’s note: The following contains spoilers for Black Monday, Season 2, Episode 8, “Lucky Shoes.”]
The Showtime series Black Monday is filled with high octane moments of comedy, but the half-hour series about a group of coked-up 1980s stockbrokers has dabbled in darker moments — the very first scene of the series, after all, featured someone plummeting to their death. However, the latest episode of the series, which just recently returned to finish its second season, pushed things even further as the love story between the deeply closeted Blair (Andrew Rannells) and Roger (Tuc Watkins) took a very dark turn.
As part of an extended video interview for our Collider Connected series, Rannells talked about what it was like to explore that relationship, and why it had to end the way it did. “I really applaud David [Caspe] and Jordan [Cahan] for, for, um, for just leaning into that whole story, because when we talked about it, I was like, are we really going to get into this? Are we really going to do this? And then they did,” he says.
While the two men have been sleeping together for some time, Roger and Blair (both married to women) have done so knowing that both of their positions could be in trouble should their relationship become public knowledge, which like most secrets ends up coming out in the most public way. When Blair and Roger’s deal for a bank bailout falls apart, Blair’s attempt to blackmail Roger’s father-in-law Pastor Newell (Michael Hitchcock) with a sex tape featuring him and Roger totally backfires when the pastor releases the tape to the media. Almost immediately afterward, Roger dies by suicide, with Blair being the one to discover the body. (The episode’s title, “Lucky Shoes,” is a callback to an earlier conversation between Blair and Roger, one which gets a new and tragic significance in that moment.)
It’s a plot choice that Rannells mentions is connected to the time period in which Black Monday takes place. “I think the turn that Congressman Harris takes — the decisions he makes… I think it is sadly emblematic of what might have happened to somebody in that position at that time. You know, hopefully, we have come past that, but I think that that might have been something that that character would have considered doing if he was put in that position and facing total career destruction and that in that moment,” he says.
Adding to the intensity of the episode is the fact that in real life, Rannells and Watkins are in a relationship, and Rannells appreciated the fact that “our writers did a really beautiful job of giving Tuc and me the space to sort of figure that out and, and for us to kind of step out of the half-hour comedy box for a second and do something that was very unexpected and very serious.”
There are two episodes of Black Monday left this season and where things go next, Rannells won’t say. But look forward to the full conversation coming soon, and in the meantime check out the rest of our Collider Connected video series, featuring Giancarlo Esposito, Dan Stevens, Jane Levy, Nathan Lane, and more.