This episode is a great example of why I love this show so much. Noah Hawley is fearless in his writing. This episode was basically a cop chasing a dead end lead, but it was poetic and developed character so well.
The story was told through flashbacks of Thaddeus Mobley in 1970s L.A. and Gloria investigating Thaddeus Mobley in present day L.A. The flashbacks reveal that Thaddeus Mobley was a young and naive sci-fi writer that was swindled out of all his money by a producer and starlet in hopes of making a movie out of his novel. That paint a picture of a wide-eyed young man on his way to becoming a bitter old man.
Gloria discovers all of this along the way by finding all of the people involved. She finally comes to the realization that all of this has nothing to do with Ennis Stussy’s death. She also discovers how Thaddeus Mobley became Ennis Stussy. The night that he realized he was swindled, Thaddeus beat the producer with a cane, almost making him a vegetable. After Thaddeus went back to his hotel room, he started throwing up and noticed a company name on the toilet… “Dennis Stussy and Sons.” The “D” was faded making it look like “Ennis Stussy and Sons.” Thaddeus Mobley was accidentally killed because he changed his name to something he saw on a toilet.
The episode also presented Thaddeus Mobley’s novel as an animation, representing Gloria’s reading of it. The animation of featured an android that as Gloria puts it, “exists to observe and record, his programming not yet complete.” He parallels Gloria’s journey to solve this case.
This episode was ambitious and a departure that did not actually move the plot forward that much, but was gripping and was a great showcase character development.