Hollywood season 1, episode 4 recap – what happened in “(Screen) Tests”

By Daniel Hart
Published: May 1, 2020 (Last updated: February 7, 2024)
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Hollywood season 1, episode 4 - (Screen) Tests)


Hollywood season 1, episode 4, “(Screen) Tests)” deals with the repercussions of the studio having a black writer and actress involved with a film in an insightful chapter into Hollywood.

This recap of Netflix series Hollywood season 1, episode 4, “(Screen) Tests” contains significant spoilers.

How does Hollywood season 1, episode 4, “(Screen) Tests” begin?

Mr Richard Samuels and Ellen Kincaid pitches the latest movies in production to Ace but expresses that they are embarrassing. They bring up Peg to Ace but he is not interested in winning anymore Oscars, he just wants money. Ace gives them Peg on a low budget

In the next scene, Ace finds out that Archie wrote the picture and confronts Mr Samuels and Ellen about the “coloured” writer. Ace is angry and flabbergasted and states they need a new writer and a change of name on the script.

But what’s the turning point?

Well, while Ace is having an affair, he has a heart attack. At the hospital, Mr. Samuels tells his wife Avis that he was having sex with someone else. Avis wants no-one to know about it.

Claire is distraught and when Avis comforts her, Claire is more bothered about the screen test, which irks Avis.

But… Avis is given the power of attorney and control of the studio, including payroll and green light authority while Ace recovers.

Does this mean Archie does not get replaced?

Well, unfortunately not. Mr. Samuels tells Archie that before Ace became ill he was aware of his race and will be replaced by “name” in the credits. Archie is calm but you can tell he is angry and says if Ace wants to take his name off the picture, he can do it himself.

Archie storms to Raymond’s house and tells him they are taking his name off the script. He’s understandably upset — “f*** these white people in charge!”. He tells Camille to go get that part. Raymond tells Camille that she will have to put all her pain and her “being” into rehearsals as she refuses to cry — ironically, Camille gets upset at Raymond and walks off.

How do the screen tests go?

In a nutshell:

  • Rock keeps screwing up his lines as he’s anxious. Even accidentally saying Peg’s lines.
  • Claire does her screen test, but as she sees Camille walk on set she decides not to try.
  • Raymond sees Camille about to use vape rub before walking on but he tells her not to cheat and make it happen.

What do the executives think of the screen tests?

They are blown away by Camille’s but they laugh at Rock who had too many takes. Initially, due to the ongoing pressure of stories potentially getting leaked by Henry, she hires Rock but then she sees Jack’s screen test and gives it to him.

When she is asked about Peg, she tells them to give it to Claire despite Camille being better — “We cannot bankrupt the studio”.

How does Jack react?

Jack is over the moon and he tells Ernie about his “big break” and quits the gas station. Ernie is frustrated, explaining he thought he had his “big break” once after Vivien Leigh put in a good word for him but he never got the call. He tells Jack to come back when he’s a big star.

How does Hollywood season 1, episode 4, “(Screen) Tests end?

Hollywood season 1, episode 4, “(Screen) Tests” ends with Avis telling her friend Eleanor Roosevelt that they could not give a “coloured” girl the role of Peg even though she is the best for the role.

Mrs Roosevelt’s eyes light up and she arranges a meeting in the studio. Mrs Roosevelt explains how she’s been shaken by the South and the country is moving backwards. She encourages the studio to run the picture with Camille but Avis says the picture will be targeted by the KKK and boycotted in parts of the country.

Mrs Roosevelt tells Avis to think about what it will mean for a poor young black girl to see a black lead on the big screen.

The scene ends with Mrs Roosevelt leaving the room and Richard Samuels asks Avis what her decision is.

Other points

  • Archie is not sure about the Peg/Meg change for a woman of colour as he wanted to be in this industry to prove he could write anything.
  • Jack tells Archie to put in a good word for him for a screen test. Archie says “what about me” – he wants a dream too. Jack explains he has children on the way.
  • Henry says Rock should have the script memorized by now. Rock says he’s scared and thinks of his abusive step-father.
  • While Claire is rehearsing with Jack, she asks if they could practise the kissing scene. Jack says he can’t, as he has to be a good person.
  • Jeanne speaks to Avis and confesses to being with Ace and having an affair for 10 years. Avis asks if she loves him. Jeanne says it was just a fantasy and that she is truly sorry and she will resign from her contract. Avis declines her resignation and holds her hand and says she can’t be angry or she’d be a hypocrite.
  • Henry tells Avis that photos are in his possession of her leaving the gas station with various men and tells her to hire Rock or he will leak them.

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