The Cleaning Lady season 1, episode 1 recap – “TNT”

January 4, 2022
Jonathon Wilson 0
TV, Weekly TV
3

Summary

“TNT” is packed with plot and doesn’t allow The Cleaning Lady to settle into a consistent rhythm, but it does establish a compelling premise and worthwhile themes.

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3

Summary

“TNT” is packed with plot and doesn’t allow The Cleaning Lady to settle into a consistent rhythm, but it does establish a compelling premise and worthwhile themes.

This recap of The Cleaning Lady season 1, episode 1, “TNT”, contains spoilers. You can check out our spoiler-free review by clicking these words.


The Cleaning Lady packs a ton of plot into its pilot, titled “TNT”, which it turns out is nothing to do with the explosives and everything to do with the show’s protagonist, Thony De La Rosa, being an undocumented illegal immigrant. That particular point is crucial in various aspects, but it’s sometimes easy to lose track of it when the show is so keen to make a mess – and in more ways than one.

The Cleaning Lady season 1, episode 1 recap

“TNT” quickly establishes the essentials: Thony is living with her Filipino sister-in-law Fiona, trying to make ends meet by cleaning up after the Las Vegas nightlife, which given how Vegas works isn’t necessarily confined to nighttime. We learn of her undocumented status, particularly in relation to her son, Luca, who has a rare immunodeficiency and requires a bone marrow donor that is hard to find given his Colombian-Filipino heritage. And we also learn of her underutilized medical expertise, since Fiona punches some slimy guy in the throat during the party they’re cleaning and Thony has to give him an emergency tracheotomy using a knife and a straw.

Thony’s fortunes take a turn when she’s sent to clean up after an underground fight – although which direction they turn in remains unclear for now. Either way, she inadvertently talks one of the fighters out of throwing a fight she’s supposed to take a dive in, and as a result, the fight’s organizer is shot dead by some unsavory types who promptly discover Thony hiding nearby. Luckily, one of the men, Arman, takes an immediate shine to Thony and is willing to listen when she reels off the best means of cleaning up bloodstains. He even allows her to clean up the mess in exchange for her life, although it’s obvious this won’t be the last Thony hears from her new friends having proven her usefulness.

Lo and behold, the next day Arman’s men follow Thony and Luca to a clinic, and when she confronts him, he explains that he’d like her to work as his on-call cleaner since he’d rather not kill her if he can help it. Thony insists she can’t be bought, but the gig’s pretty well paid, and it comes with other benefits, including contact with a doctor who’s on the payroll and can expedite Luca’s treatment despite Thony’s undocumented status.

So, Thony takes the job and gets to work cleaning up after debauched parties and tidying away the personal effects of the fight promoter whose murder she witnessed. Of course, she doesn’t do entirely as she’s told – at the party she helps out one of the women there to provide “services”, despite being told not to talk to anyone, and in the promoter’s office she swipes some personal effects. But she gets the job done, including dusting down the gang’s HQ since they have to relocate after the discovery of the promoter’s body. The problem, though, is that Arman’s no-nonsense boss doesn’t think a clean will do it and plans to blow the building to smithereens with Thony still inside.

Of course, Arman isn’t having that. He races back to the building and gets Thony out, but he takes some shrapnel in the leg for his trouble, and Thony is once again forced to show off her medical expertise by cauterizing the wound. They have a bit of a disagreement in the car afterward, during which Thony negotiates for better workplace benefits and a bit more respect given her position. Oh, and protection for Luca should anything happen to her, which at this point is seeming quite likely. Arman can’t help but smile. He has a crush.

Case in point when it comes to something happening to Thony: When she’s picked up to be taken for her next job, we see she’s being monitored by the FBI. “That’s her,” says the agent watching her. Yikes.

You can catch The Cleaning Lady season 1, episode 1, “TNT”, exclusively on FOX.

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