'Black Monday' Season 2 Premiere goes back to 1978 while Blair and Dawn struggle without Mo in the present

'Black Monday' Season 2 Premiere goes back to 1978 while Blair and Dawn struggle without Mo in the present
Don Cheadle (Showtime)

Episode 1 of ‘Black Monday’ Season 2, Showtime’s Wall Street black comedy, begins a little less than a decade before the first season's story began. ‘Mixie-Dixie’ takes us to 1978 where we see Mo (Don Cheadle) and Dawn (Regina Hall) lock eyes from across the room on a busy trading floor. True to the show’s form, there’s no real moment there, only banter that’s soon interrupted by the show’s annoying reimagination of the Lehman Brothers (Ken Marino).

They obnoxiously ignore Dawn’s excellent advice, because she’s one, a woman, and two, a secretary. They also ignore Mo’s advice because, well, they are annoying and racist. They tell him, “You’re a brother (because Mo is black). But you’re not a Lehman brother.” And that sets the tone for the second season of one of television’s more underrated comedies.

Written by Daniel and Matthew Libman, one of the more hilarious moments of the episode comes in the form of a true-crime show within the show that examines Mo’s role in the events of Black Monday (the Wall Street meltdown) and also his role in the death of Rod 'The Jammer' Jaminski (Bruce Dern). In that sequence, Mo is played by none other than rap artist Snoop Dogg, who acts like a cocaine-snorting, gun-toting gangster who pushes Jaminsiki from the top floor of a building. 

Overall, the episode’s plot takes us to some time after the events of Black Monday. Dawn is moving in a new direction -- a feminist, women-centric Wall Street organization; and to cap it all, she refers to herself as a “professional b***h”, making the difference between her and Mo clear. She and Blair (Andrew Rannells) have found enormous success in life now, especially after stabbing Mo in the back at the end of season 1. 

Another moment of comedic genius in the show comes from the examination of how common English phrases -- “Say cheese”, “breakfast is the most important meal of the day”, or “cool as a cucumber” -- come from lobbying efforts of big corporations; something Blair learns when he is at a Washington DC party. 

Try as they might, both Blair and Dawn are not as good as (or even a fraction of how good) Mo was at business. Consequently, the business partners keep lying to each other. Dawn failed to acquire shares from the Lehmans for a bank they wanted to own. And Blair did not manage to lobby the Senate Minority Whip to repeal Glass–Steagall. He did, however, somehow manage to seduce him; a man who bragged to have innovated the “Parental Advisory” stickers for rap albums.

The only time Mo makes an appearance on the episode (except flashbacks) is when he calls Dawn from a motel. He doesn’t speak. But Dawn realizes it’s him. And Mo looks nothing like the Mo we remember. He has long hair, no mustache and he looks somewhat more melancholic than ever before.

It’s a bit of a downer to see Mo like that, but for most of the episode, every line is a banger, every joke hits its mark and as always, the acting is top-notch! It looks like ‘Black Monday’ Season 2 is going to be every bit as good as season 1.

‘Black Monday’ airs Sundays on Showtime at 10 pm ET.

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