The Offer (2022) Episodes 1, 2 & 3: Review, Recap & Ending Explained
The Offer Episodes 1, 2 & 3: Review, Recap & Ending Explained – The Godfather (1972) is undoubtedly one of the best movies of all time. It’s considered by many to be the best movie of all time. And as someone who has re-watched it multiple times over the past few decades, there’s truth in both of those statements. Now, how does a movie become such a massive hit? The answer to it is multi-fold. Mario Puzo’s story is amazing. Francis Ford Coppola’s direction is fantastic. Everyone from Marlon Brando to Al Martino gave it their best. Nino Rota’s music, Gordon Willis’s cinematography, William Reynolds and Peter Zinner’s editing, and Dean Tavoularis’s production design is masterful. But the name that seldom finds little-to-no-mention is that of Albert S. Ruddy and how without him, The Godfather wouldn’t have him as good as it is. Also, the movie probably wouldn’t have seen the light of day. Dexter Fletcher’s miniseries The Offer (2022) is a note of thanks for Ruddy’s work.
The Offer Episodes 1, 2, and 3 Review (Spoiler-Free):
The most important thing that everyone who intends to watch The Offer should know is that this isn’t The Godfather Part 4. This isn’t a story about the making of The Godfather as well. This is a biopic on the producer of The Godfather, Albert S. Ruddy (Miles Teller). It focuses on everything that went in and around the Godfather to shut the production down and how Ruddy fought to prevent such a catastrophe. It charts his sudden rise from an employee at a computer company to one of the most resilient producers at Paramount Pictures. His immediate boss is Robert Evans (Matthew Goode) who is not only fighting his personal eccentricities but also trying to stay afloat by securing a hit for the studio. And Ruddy’s spine is his secretary, Bettye McCart (Juno Temple), who stays beside him through thick and thin.
The other major players in this game (well, to be honest, there are a lot of them and these are just some of them) are gangster Joe Colombo (Giovanni Ribisi) who leads the attack on The Godfather. There’s Gulf+Western chief Charles Bluhdorn (Burn Gorman) who isn’t exactly an antagonist but an unintentional ally to Evans. Barry Lapidus (Colin Hanks), the executive between Evans and Bluhdorn, is definitely an antagonist who doesn’t want Evans to succeed in any way. And then of course there’s Francis Ford Coppola (Dan Fogler), the co-writer and director of The Godfather and Mario Puzo (Patrick Gallo), the writer of The Godfather. So, yes, it’s a lot. But at its heart, director Dexter Fletcher as well as writers Michael Tolkin, Nikki Toscano, and Mona Mira want to talk about the kind of resilience that’s required to get an original piece of work off the ground. And also shed some light on how reality and fiction are indiscernible even though we keep talking about separating them a lot.
For example, The Offer shows that Puzo’s inspiration for The Godfather is partially because of his relation with the mafia. But the work is fictional enough to warrant any parallels. Even then Colombo and the Italian-American gangsters manage to see themselves and influence the material in small and big ways. Additionally, we see how the demands of real-life people like Evans, Ruddy, and Bluhdorn make their way into the movie, for better or for worse, thereby blurring the line between reel and real. That said, the most important thing The Offer talks about is the human element and how emotion and spontaneity spark innovation and originality, two things that are seemingly going out of vogue in this world of algorithms. This show is probably going to be labeled as a cash grab governed by one such algorithm. However, it doesn’t seem like that because of the way it shies away from scoring nostalgia points by recreating scenes from The Godfather and focuses on the behind-the-scenes uphill struggle.
That brings us to the performances, which is undoubtedly the best aspect of the movie. Miles Teller is undoubtedly the protagonist of the show, his acting is quite muted in comparison to everyone else’s. That’s because his character is largely internalizing everything and doesn’t have the privilege to react appropriately to what he’s facing because he’s going to go insane if he does. But it’s actually Matthew Goode who steals the spotlight and makes it his own. Charm, wit, manipulation, and more just oozes out of the screen every time he is in the frame. After a point, you can’t even see Matthew Goode. You just see Robert Evans. The same can be said about Dan Fogler as Francis Ford Coppola. The man’s resemblance to the director is uncanny and he plays it so naturally that it doesn’t seem like he’s doing a bit.
Juno Temple is fantastic as Bettye. She can be defined as the heart of the show, always empathetic and always caring. Burn Gorman is at his over-the-top best. Colin Hanks generates so much irritation by doing so little. Giovanni Ribisi transforms himself into this amalgamation of Michael, Vito, and Fredo, and it’s fascinating to watch him as Joe Colombo. Patrick Gallo as Mario Puzo is equal parts funny and equal parts adorable. Gallo doesn’t go for resemblance but channels the essence of Puzo. Nora Arnezeder as Francoise Glazer doesn’t have a ton of material to work with but her screen presence is so strong that you cannot look away. And if we start talking about the supporting cast, we’re going to be here all year because everyone from Stephanie Koening’s Andrea to Anthony Ippolito’s Al Pacino are mind-blowing. The casting department should get a bunch of awards for their work.
On a side note, which is the main note, the production design, costume design, art direction, and the invisible visual effects are worthy of applause.
Spoiler warning: From this point onwards, this article contains major spoilers for The Offer Episodes 1, 2, and 3.
The Offer Episodes 1, 2, and 3 Recap:
The show starts in Little Italy, New York City, Colombo has a conversation with Joe Bonnano (Sal Landi) about taking a seat at the table (of mafias). He’s reprimanded for not acting like one and how he won’t get to be a mob boss if he doesn’t step up. Colombo asks whether there’s a way around the whole process of gaining prominence and Bonnano says that prominence cannot be organically gained, they’ve to take it. After Colombo’s character introduction, we get a glimpse of the charismatic and electric Robert Evans. Amongst many things, it’s established that his primary concern is Paramount Pictures’ finances and if The Odd Couple (1968), his boss at Gulf+Western, Charles Bluhdorn has a metaphorical poker with Evans’s name on it. Finally, we get to Albert S. Ruddy who works at a mundane computer company and in a post which he’s clearly overqualified for.
Later that night, Ruddy meets up with an old friend of his who takes him to The Château, which is kind of the place to be to rise socially. That’s where he gets the idea to not only get into entertainment (because he has a knack for it), but also falls in love with Francoise Glazer, the owner of said The Château. In some other part of the town, Mario Puzo is coming out of the dismal run of his latest book, The Fortunate Pilgrim (1965). His publicist says that the readers really liked the part where he talked about the mafia and asks him to consider writing an entire book on that. Puzo is hesitant but after a literal punch to the gut from the people he owes money to and some persuasion from his wife, he agrees to write a story about the mafia.
While Puzo narrates the story about Don Corleone to his wife, Ruddy (despite being on the brink of rejection) narrates the story of Hogan’s Heroes (or what’s going to be Hogan’s Heroes to the execs at CBS. Puzo submits the draft for publishing, while already excited that it’s being optioned to be turned into a movie. Evans is busy pouring his heart and soul into Love Story (1970), quite literally by forcing director Arthur Hiller to cast his then-girlfriend Ali MacGraw (Meredith Garretson) in the movie. Colombo attends a meeting with Tommy (Michael Rispoli) and Carlo (Anthony Skordi) with the intention to kill them and gain power. But he doesn’t do so, he even spells out his ill intentions and convinces them to take care of Bonnano so that he can take Bonnano’s place.
Ruddy has an epiphany about making movies for the big screen. Barry Lapidus meets up with Evans to talk about Paramount’s financial problems and how the studio needs a hit. Luckily, this need coincides with a motivated Ruddy who crashes into the Paramount lot and meets with Evans to talk about producing a movie. Bettye McCart crashes Ruddy’s assistant hiring process and becomes Ruddy’s assistant just because she knows her way around the lot. Ruddy tells Bettye that he doesn’t have a lot of time in the position he has scammed his way into and hence they desperately need to greenlight the movie if they want to keep their position in Paramount. In another lucky coincidence, Puzo’s The Godfather. But Al Ruddy gets Little Fauss and Big Halsy (1970) greenlit with Robert Redford starring in it. Yes, that’s Billy Magnussen as Robert Redford.
Bluhdorn meets up with Evans to talk about their next tentpole movie and they zero in on The Godfather, largely because the book has been #1 for a whole year. The mafia has a different look on it as they think it’s making them look like fools and because Sinatra’s throwing a hissy fit about it because he thinks the character of Johnny Fontane is based on him. Colombo earns a seat at the table. Little Fauss and Big Halsy flops. But Evans hands Ruddy the reins to The Godfather and despite reading it on the go, he manages to convince Bluhdorn to greenlight it. Ruddy forces Evans to agree to get Puzo to write the script. Puzo agrees to write said script in three days. Things go slightly off the rails after Puzo meets Sinatra (Frank John Hughes) about basing Fontane on him, causing Puzo to fail to write a single page of the screenplay.
Ruddy meets up with Francis Ford Coppola and initially passes on it because it re-glorifies mafia violence. That’s when Ruddy gets to convincing Coppola and then Ruddy convinces Evans to let Coppola co-write and direct The Godfather. Well, actually Coppola convinces Ruddy with a brilliant pitch. Colombo gets a wreath from Sinatra to basically tell Colombo that he wants The Godfather to be shut down. And Colombo sends a message to Ruddy and Bettye via Mickey Cohen (Louis Mandylor) by shooting up Ruddy’s car. In Episode 2, we see Colombo doubling down on the hate campaign against The Godfather via the Italian-American Civil Rights League (ICRL) rally. Ruddy and Bettye are understandably shocked by the whole affair. The duo is visited by Special Agent Hale (Kirk Acevedo) and Moran (Ross McCall) who warns them about what they’re doing.
Coppola and Puzo begin collaborating and their conversation leads to the topic of bringing in Marlon Brando (Justin Chambers) to play Don Corleone. Puzo reveals that he has in fact sent a letter to Brando, requesting him to star in the movie, along with a signed copy of the book. This then leads to the thought that they have to eventually pitch it to Evans who is going to gut his movie. Bettye contemplates leaving because of the shooting but she eventually agrees to stay because of Ruddy’s motivation to keep going. Ruddy talks to Francoise about Cohen who in turn says that she once came face to face with Cohen, which I guess gives Ruddy the courage to meet Cohen. Cohen advises Ruddy to make a different movie. Ruddy refuses and asks Cohen what happens now. Cohen says that if he doesn’t make a different movie, he’s eventually going to have to deal with the mafia.
At the meeting with Evans, despite Ruddy’s absence, things seem to go fine. But as soon as Barry and Jack Ballard (Paul McCrane) unceremoniously enter the meeting, spewing all kinds of nonsense about budget cuts, the meeting goes downhill very fast. Coppola leaves in a huff and Ruddy catches him at the last minute to convince him to write an “undeniable” script so that the executives cannot enforce any cuts on it. Ruddy confronts Evans for not backing Coppola and Puzo in front of Barry and Jack and Evans basically says that he was pretending to agree with them because countering their demands would just make things worse. So, he tells Ruddy to stop worrying about what Barry and Jack wants from The Godfather and continue making The Godfather by putting his brains and balls to use, preferably simultaneously.
While talking about casting, the topic of casting Vic Damone (Michael Landes) in the role of Johnny Fontane comes up. Ruddy, Puzo, and Coppola go all the way to Las Vegas to meet up with Damone and it goes well with Damone confirmed to play Fontane. Word of Fontane’s involvement reaches Sinatra who then tells Colombo to take care of Damone who then goes to Carlo to talk about it but instead gets an earful about the ICRL. Back in Vegas, Ruddy, Puzo, and Coppola happily enjoy Damone’s performance, since they’re sure he’s starring in their movie. However, Damone backs off from the movie as soon as one of Colombo’s guys threatens him while he’s on the stage. This breaks Coppola’s heart but Ruddy says he’s not going to stop here. They get in a group hug and Puzo joins in too.
Francoise and Bettye meet up to talk about Ruddy and what he’s hiding from Francoise. Bettye refuses to tell her anything that Ruddy hasn’t told Francoise already and Francoise respects Bettye’s loyalty towards Ruddy. In the casting room, Andrea (Stephanie Koenig), Ruddy and Coppola have an argument about who is going to play Michael Corleone. As the studio’s casting director, Andrea tries her best to get a star but Coppola keeps asking for Al Pacino. Evans confronts Barry and Jack about them crashing his creative meeting (yes, the one with Coppola and Puzo). Bettye and Andrea have a little heart-to-heart about their position as women in such a male-dominated society. Coppola and Puzo discuss the iconic scene of Michael becoming Michael after killing Sollozzo and McCluskey. Ruddy meets up with Congressman Mario Biaggi to get the permission to shoot in New York and he hits another speed bump because Biaggi rejects Ruddy’s offer.
Ruddy and Francoise meet up with Al Pacino and he agrees to read for the part of Michael. Evans receives a threat from the mafia, telling him to not make The Godfather. He rushes to meet Ruddy and tells him all about the threat and orders him to “handle it”. Jetlagged, Evans comes back to LA to hear rumors about him getting fired from Paramount. Back in New York, Ruddy goes to get a croissant for Francoise and gets kidnapped by Colombo’s men. He’s taken to Colombo, who tells him the same thing he’s been told a hundred times now: don’t make The Godfather. Ruddy says he can’t do that and pitches the movie in a way Colombo understands. He doesn’t stop there. He even invites Colombo to come to the Gulf+Western office to read the script. A script that’s still unfinished because Puzo and Coppola just aren’t that fast.
Evans starts making preparations to counter the rumors about his firing and he thinks Barry is behind all this. He asks for the script of The Godfather because he plans to double down on its production and make it successful enough to not get fired. Bluhdorn gets talking with Bettye because he can’t get through to Evans. Ruddy finally returns to Francoise and the rift between them starts to open. Ruddy calls Puzo and Coppola to get a copy of the script because Colombo is going to read it. While Bettye runs over to the mansion Puzo and Coppola are holed up in, Francoise gets her hands on one of the scripts lying on Ruddy’s office table. While Puzo and Coppola chill out, Bettye makes a run for it with the unfinished script. So, Ruddy basically pads out the script with empty pages in the hopes that Colombo won’t read all the way through.
While Ruddy takes Colombo for the script-reading, Bettye takes Bluhdorn for a date so that he doesn’t see Ruddy having a meeting with a mafia boss. As expected, Colombo doesn’t read all of it and hence doesn’t find out about the empty pages. The only demand Colombo comes up with is that the word “mafia” has to be removed from the script. Ruddy thinks that is doable and says it will be done. Coppola meets up with Ruddy and Ruddy takes Coppola to visit the location which’ll be the Corleone household. Coppola almost instantly likes it and since he’s in a good mood, Ruddy slips in the idea to remove “mafia” from the script.
The Offer Episode 3 Ending Explained:
After confirming the house in which The Godfather is going to be shot, Ruddy goes to Copacabana, New York City to meet up with Colombo. It’s one of many public appearances with Colombo to make it official that his hand is on Ruddy’s shoulder and the movie has his blessing. Ruddy notices that Congressman Mario Biaggi is also present in the building and insinuates that Biaggi didn’t treat him well because he rejected his application for shooting the movie in New York. Colombo gives him the “my friends are your friends, your enemies are my enemies” speech to assure Ruddy that he doesn’t have to worry about all that anymore. Ruddy proposes the idea of bringing Colombo to LA for the premiere, as a gesture for his help, but Colombo respectfully refuses because he hates LA.
Back at the Paramount lot, Evans confronts Bluhdorn about the rumors of him being fired. Bluhdorn rubbishes those rumors by saying that as long as he owns this place, Evans is not getting fired. That said, Bluhdorn reports that there are other problems on the horizon because the board members are eager to see the quarterly reports. Evans says that he’s sure that Love Story (1970) is definitely going to be a hit and The Godfather will rake in the big numbers. If it doesn’t, Evans says he’s ready to fall on his sword. Bluhdorn abruptly hangs up, causing Evans’s paranoia to spike up again after the reassurance that he hasn’t been fired.
Al Pacino and Coppola discuss Michael’s character before a test shoot. Ruddy returns home to find that Francoise has arranged a lavish dinner for him. Right after gorging on all the delicious food, Francoise comes up with a business proposition. She says that Sue Mengers (Mimi Gianopulos) saw her reading a script that she had picked up from Ruddy’s office and Sue wants in on it. So, Francoise thinks that that should be Ruddy’s next movie. Ruddy says that he can’t focus on anything else other than The Godfather. Francoise says that she knows that and hence she wants to “help” me greenlight all the good scripts that are coming his way and collecting dust in his office. Ruddy urges Francoise to reconsider. But after seeing how adamant and confident she’s about this job, he agrees.
The kicker comes when Francoise starts working from Ruddy’s office, thereby disrupting the balance between Ruddy and Bettye. Not just that, she angers the hell out of Evans (who is already angry that Puzo and Coppola haven’t finished the script) by saying that the studio should just hire Frank Sinatra as Vito Corleone. Evans doesn’t express that instantly but after having a chat with Ruddy about the script away from Francoise and Bettye, he lets Ruddy know that he shouldn’t shit where he sleeps. Bettye non-verbally asks Ruddy if this situation with Francoise is going to be a permanent thing. Before Ruddy can answer, Francoise interrupts him. Before Ruddy can answer Francoise, Coppola walks in (thereby inadvertently saving Ruddy from taking any side) to deliver the script which is meant for Ruddy’s eyes only.
Ruddy, Francis, Evans, Bart (Josh Zuckerman), and Eastman sit down to view the test footage. Evans seems happy for a millisecond but optimism turns into a rage as soon as he sees Pacino on-screen. Coppola tries to convince but Evans says that there is no way Pacino is going to star in the movie because he is not a star. And as if Evans screaming wasn’t enough, Coppola also expresses his disappointment by screaming, while Ruddy continues to absorb it all. Later that night, Ruddy sits down to finally read the script and he’s simply mesmerized by it. However, that awe is short-lived as Evans pays him a visit, throws the copy of the script at his doorstep(that he acquired from somewhere because Ruddy didn’t give him one), claims that the movie is unproducible, and drives off.
‘Crazy’ Joe Gallo (Joseph Russo) regroups with Nicky Barnes (Derrick Baskin) while Colombo and the rest of the mafia decide what they’re going to do with Gallo. After a lot of deliberation, Colombo says that he’s going to take care of Gallo and teach him how to respect the mafia families because Gallo’s actions led to a war between them. Ruddy and Coppola have a sit-down and Ruddy says that although the script is flawless, they need to cut out some stuff for monetary reasons. Specifically, the entire Sicily section. Coppola says that’s impossible because that section is the catalyst for Michael’s transformation into darkness. Puzo walks in with a smile on his face and a letter in his pocket that says that Brando wants to play Don Corleone. They celebrate, which is then interrupted by Francoise running her business from Ruddy’s office. The episode ends on an ominous note as Gallo promises that he’s going to burn down Colombo and everything he loves.
The Offer Episodes 1,2 & 3 are now streaming on Voot & Paramount+
The Offer (2022) LINKS – IMDB, WIKIPEDIA
The Offer (2022) CAST – Miles Teller, Matthew Goode, Juno Temple, Giovanni Ribisi, Dan Fogler, Burn Gorman