Welcome To Chippendales (Miniseries Finale), Episode 8: Lately, there has been a noticeable scarcity of the kind of shows that makes me wish that there were more episodes. It has actually been the sad opposite in most cases with shows being weighed down by unnecessary sequences that drag on for what feels like an eternity. Bidding adios to Welcome To Chippendales has, however, made me wish that it went on for just a little while longer. Not because the narrative left an incoherent longing. Not even because significant questions were deserted along the way. The wish has come from a place where I hold an absolute untethered appreciation for Robert Siegel and his applaudable journey of giving the story of the world’s most controversial striptease business a phenomenal stage. I wouldn’t be surprised if Kumail Nanjiani’s long-suffering career where he has hardly found a valid outlet to prove his worth, soars after his tremendous effort that has made Steve Banerjee a character we won’t forget anytime soon.
There are stories that bring enough cachet along and the goal of their representation is solely based on their original worth without question. And then there are stories that categorically need excellent execution in order to even earn the value of being depicted. Siegel’s treatment of the infamous life and death of Steve Banerjee has definitely done more expressive justice to it than any of the documentaries ever did. Granted there are elevated chances of impact when a story is dramatized. But the same comes with myriad risks that can certainly make or break it. Needless to say at this point, especially after I’ve gone on about my feelings toward the show, Welcome To Chippendales is likely the most earnest and indifferent representation the story of Steve Banerjee will ever get. Now without further ado, let’s walk through the finale.
Welcome To Chippendales (Miniseries Finale), Episode 8 Recap:
The penultimate episode fooled us pretty well. We thought that the bankruptcy had buried Chippendales and Steve Banerjee went down with it. But as the finale shows, Chippendales is far from over. In fact, within five years of Nick’s murder, Chippendales has four clubs in the country and several successful tours on multiple continents. Although the flourishment of his business is, all Steve has to his name. Clearly burdened with an anxiety disorder, Steve hides his guilty conscience in Switzerland.
Let’s get one thing out of the way. Steve’s crimes have never never been about Chippendales. His criminal tendencies have often used the business as a crutch to justify his actions. But Steve’s wrongs are on him and him only. His horrible impulses have gotten to the kind of extremities that makes him hire Ray to assassinate three Adonis strippers. And that is what Ray has come to discuss with him at a Switzerland eatery. Devoured by panic, Steve sees everyone he encounters from a suspicious perspective. The whole world is out to get Steve Banerjee, and he is at constant risk. Ray sways him away to the privacy of his hotel room to discuss his failed murder attempt.
Ray is acting shadier than usual in the hotel room, and while we can assume why that is, Steve doesn’t necessarily have a clue. It’s not that he doesn’t suspect that Ray has something on his mind, but he doesn’t trust himself enough to put two and two together. While talking about why he couldn’t finish or even start the grim job with the Adonis dancers, Ray tries his hardest to make Steve say the words about his crimes–especially Nick’s murder. What we are assuming about Ray’s intentions here will soon prove to be right.
A flashback takes us to the time of Nick’s assassin getting arrested in an undercover police job. Checking his phone leads the police to Ray, the middleman in Nick’s murder. It doesn’t take the cops long to break Ray and convince him to come clean about Steve’s criminal activities. But what the FBI still needs in order to bring Steve into custody is either hard proof or a recorded confession. In Ray, they find the perfect weapon to use against Steve. So while Ray is trying to get Steve to verbally mention his involvement in Nick’s death, the FBI agents in the adjacent room are waiting for the perfect opportunity to pounce.
Welcome To Chippendales (Miniseries Finale), Episode 8 Ending, Explained:
Why does Steve Banerjee commit suicide?
The ambiguity of the characters makes Welcome To Chippendales a show where anyone can surprise you at any point. And it is something that adds to the authenticity of the dramatization. The kind of freedom that writers have when it comes to writing someone entirely fictional is definitely not the same as writing a dramatized reimagination of real people. And while that can be considered a con when it comes to artistic expression, it also leaves justified room for things that can be unexplored for the sake of individual interpretation. For instance, our image of Ray changes significantly in the final episode. Sure he started off as someone who only saw Steve as a hopelessly naive person to manipulate and extort. But his struggle with betraying Steve proves that he has come to actually care about him. If his back wasn’t against the wall, he would not have manipulated Steve into being enraged and confessing to his crime. The pain of betraying someone he clearly considers to be a friend is staring right back at us when we see him cry as Steve gets arrested.
In prison, Steve begs Cheryl to represent him and get him out. His concern, however, is more for Irene than himself. By the time Cheryl tells him that he needs a good criminal defense lawyer, Steve has already given up hope. He still wants to make sure that even if he loses the case, Irene receives the entire Chippendales empire. Too bad for Steve, his imprisonment will make sure that the government seizes his infamous business. Going back to his cell with the awful realization that Irene will not be able to own Chippendales or get any of his assets, Steve feels regret for the first time. A Shakespearean ghost of Nick only comes to taunt Steve about his doomed actions and make him feel worse than he does already. And before you know it, Steve is found dead in his cell. It will be a noble assumption to think that Steve killed himself to make sure the government doesn’t seize Chippendales. But from what we’ve seen of Steve, it will be too far a reach to conclude that Steve even knew about that crack in the system.
If there’s anyone he ever truly loved, it was Irene. Steve couldn’t live with himself knowing that he has taken everything from her. It is suffocating guilt and irreversible regret that makes Steve take his own life. But lucky for Irene, whether Steve meant for it to be the outcome of his death or not, Chippendales gets a clean pass from the law. Under Irene’s watch, the fascinating business of male striptease sees tremendous success. The imaginary sequence that closes the drapes to the show paints a picture of Chippendales in an alternative reality where nothing went wrong. The club is packed, Steve is appreciative of Nick’s contribution, and Irene is living the best possible life with her wholesome business-savvy husband.