Tedros (The Weeknd) has fully taken over. Jocelyn (Lily-Rose Depp) let the wolf into the hen house, and now Tedros controls every aspect of her life. While a few members of her team attempt to help, only Leia (Rachel Sennott) has put herself in between the two. It’ll be curious to see how long that relationship continues, as we’ve seen. The Idol – “Stars Belong to the World” – questions whether trauma and pushing our limits is worth it when great art can be crafted. However, director Sam Levinson comes up short this week.
Recap – The Idol – Episode 4 – “Stars Belong to the World”
As Tedros steps out on the balcony, the housekeepers clean up from the night before. Jocelyn and Tedros bathe together as he shaves her legs. The housekeeper’s gossip, and Leia watches Izaak (Moses Sumney) as he stretches in the morning.
Destiny (Da’Vine Joy Randolph) delivers her background check on Tedros to Chaim (Hank Azaria). The news is bad. Tedros’ real name is Mauricio Costello Jackson. He tortured his ex-girlfriend, kidnapped her, and picked up more charges before the trial.
Tedros begins canceling calls, doctors, and business meetings for Jocelyn. Even Leia has to cancel the meeting for her makeup line with Jocelyn. Leia and Tedros butt heads. Mike Dean arrives (smoking a bong), and Tedros walks him through the house. They begin to record a new song with Dean.
Chaim and Destiny continue their conversation. Destiny suggests they kill Tedros. Chaim thinks she’s joking, but she’s not. He instead sends Destiny over to Jocelyn’s house to be the eyes on the ground.
In the recording studio, Tedros holds court. Some of the entourage does drugs while he tries to get them to listen to the songs. He screams to get them to be quiet, singling out Leia.
When Destiny enters the house, Chloe (Suzanna Son) intercepts her in the hallway. They begin talking about music while Chloe plays piano. Destiny asks where Chloe met Tedros, and she admits she was a heroin addict. She accidentally reveals she’s only seventeen. Destiny calls her a pure soul. She then joins Jocelyn and hears the new song.
Dyanne (Jennie Kim) goes to the record executives and meets Nikki (Jane Abrams). They sit down for a meeting as Destiny meets with Tedros and Jocelyn. When Destiny says something is missing from Jocelyn’s vocals, Tedros ties up Jocelyn for the new recording. The entourage watches as Tedros and Jocelyn get extremely intimate during the recording. Tedros gets Jocelyn to climax during the recording.
Destiny calls Chaim to inform him what is going on. She tells him about the S&M actions with Jocelyn. Destiny lets Chaim know about Tedros’ methods and also tells him about the pool of talent he’s assembled.
Leia vents to Izaak, accusing Tedros of assaulting Jocelyn. He tries to talk her down, and when she voices displeasure, he calls her an obstacle. Izaak then tells Leia that Jocelyn is a star that belongs to the world.
In Dyanne’s meeting, Nikki confirms they want to give her a record deal. They also offer to let her record “World Class Sinner” as her first single. Nikki makes the full pitch for Dyanne, including marketing, merchandising, and complete help from the label.
Jocelyn calls Talia (Hari Nef), and they discuss the Vanity Fair piece. Jocelyn admits she had a tough time that day. Talia asks about the tour and if Jocelyn feels ready for it.
Tedros walks into the bathroom as Xander (Troye Sivan) showers. He sings but is not aware that Tedros joined him in the room. When he goes to put on clothes, Tedros sneaks up on him and scares him. Tedros asks why Xander does not sing anymore.
Xander admits he tore his vocal cords. However, Tedros calls him out. He believes he stopped singing because Jocelyn’s mother outted him when he was thirteen. Xander has additional information, but we cut away.
Tedros wakes everyone up and begins berating them. Acting as a drill sergeant, he breaks down the roots of family and other words. When Jocelyn steps downstairs, Tedros asks Xander to step forward. He tells Xander he will “unlock” him. When Jocelyn tells Tedros they need to talk, Xander takes off running. Izaak and others follow.
Izaak and Head return with Xander. They tie him up while Tedros tells Jocelyn to let him know if Xander lies. They put a shock collar on Xander. Tedros begins interrogating him and shocks him over and over. Xander says that he gave years of his life to Jocelyn and her mother, at his own expense. Jocelyn says Xander is lying and tells Tedros to keep shocking him. Xander begs for it to stop and eventually “confesses” he lied.
Jocelyn finishes another track and asks Destiny for her opinion. When Destiny reveals her opinion, Tedros gets irate. He’s been doing cocaine all night, and Jocelyn tells him to relax.
Xander remains tied up in the other room. Izaak shows up and begins to take off Xander’s pants. Izaak washes him with a sponge. As he finishes the bath, he tells Xander they will let him go.
Destiny asks Jocelyn about her relationship with Tedros. Jocelyn reveals she knows more than expected. Tedros told her about prison, the assault on his ex, and how he ran a sex ring of musicians. All the stories came from Tedros’ perspective.
Tedros wakes up Jocelyn in the middle of the night. He gets her to come out to the public about her abuse at the hands of her mother. She does it over her phone while Tedros and her entourage watch.
That night, they party at the house. Drugs get passed around. When Leia tries to protect some of the furniture, Tedros begins yelling at her. They fight, and he sprays her with a water gun. When Leia storms away, Jocelyn gets mad at Tedros.
Jocelyn walks over to Chloe, who is tripping on Molly. Chloe worries that Dyanne, who just showed up to the house, will be mad at Jocelyn. When Jocelyn asks why, Chloe reveals that Tedros set up Dyanne bringing her to the club. Jocelyn becomes aware they’re in a relationship as well.
When Dyanne comes over to Jocelyn, she apologizes. When Jocelyn asks why, she reveals that Nikki gave away the song. She also tells Jocelyn about her record deal. Dyanne says she will bot take it unless Jocelyn says yes. Jocelyn tells her to take the deal.
Jocelyn texts Rob (Karl Glusman) to come over. Rob arrives and is noticed by Destiny as Tedros pressures her to do a line of coke. Destiny tells Tedros about Jocelyn and Rob. Tedros follows Rob inside and pressures him to do shots.
Rob expresses concern over how much Tedros is drinking. Tedros begins using homophobic slurs to push Rob away. Tedros continues to act erratically. Jocelyn runs into the room and jumps in Rob’s arms. When Rob tries to introduce Tedros to Jocelyn, she says she’s never met him. She takes him upstairs.
Rob says sorry for doing a movie. He then asks why Jocelyn never told him about her mother. She gets up and walks away because she does not want to talk about it. Instead, she strips and tries to seduce him. Tedros bangs on the door and tries to get in, while Rob tries to get her to join him on the press tour. She says no and pushes him to sleep with her. He eventually relents.
Rob walks out of the house, and as he does, he’s intercepted by Xander. They say hi, and Xander pushes Rob to take a picture with another girl. When he agrees, the girl mounts him. He immediately gets up and leaves the house. Rob tells Xander to delete the photo.
The Episode Breakdown – The Idol – “Stars Belong to the World”
Unlike the last two episodes, “Stars Belong to the World” struggles visually. The cinematography takes a step back, mostly due to standard framing. The images are just not captivating as what we have come to expect, and the focus on Tedros’ control leaves us without big set pieces. The vérité cinematography does not create dynamic energy between the characters. From this issue on, The Idol – “Stars Belong to the World” – cannot establish a solid foundation. This episode becomes disastrous.
The exploitation of the last few episodes feels fully problematic here. Once again, Tedros dominates, but there’s nothing new being said in the process. “Stars Belong to the World” argues exploitation in the pursuit of greatness is worth the abuse. Sadly, The Idol cannot follow its own advice. It continues to utilize Depp and its other characters in the pursuit of special content. Yet it never pushes a boundary and instead comes across as a standard abuse narrative.
The actual point of this episode is explained so thoroughly, and so often there is very little to say this week. Instead, the episode falls flat on nearly every level. This feels like a placeholder episode, but in a series with only five episodes, that sinks the season. Hopefully, the upcoming finale can shift the opinion of the show and not waste the performances that work.