The Idol Season 1 Episode 5 Recap and Ending Explained

By Jonathon Wilson
Published: July 3, 2023 (Last updated: March 22, 2024)
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The Idol Season 1 Episode 5 Recap and Ending Explained


It’s probably only right that The Idol ends in a flurry of indecipherable nonsense.

This recap of The Idol Season 1 Episode 5, “Jocelyn Forever”, contains spoilers, including an open discussion of the ending of The Idol Season 1.

What is a happy ending?

Is it happy for the characters? Happy for the audience? Is it a technical thing, like an exam at the end of a module, or a final boss in a video game, the culmination of everything you’ve learned and experienced along the way?

By almost any metric, the ending of The Idol isn’t happy for anyone. But it also feels strangely inevitable. In a show that has completely belied common sense throughout its entire five-episode run, that has withheld crucial developments and motivations from the audience and been shrouded in off-screen creative controversy, one supposes it’s only right that the only winner here is whoever holds the most power.

The Idol Season 1 Ending Explained

Truthfully, I had no idea what was going on from the beginning. After the revelations in Episode 4 that Tedros engineered their meeting from the very beginning through Dyanne, Jocelyn has had enough of him. She berates and insults him constantly and tells him to get out, even though he doesn’t, looming around her mansion like some disheveled specter.

But Jocelyn wants to have her cake and eat it. She wants Tedros’s cult to be the opening act of her upcoming tour, and they seem happy to participate, even though they’re supposed to be slavishly devoted to Tedros. Joss’s entire team is due to arrive to see how things are progressing and ultimately sign off on the tour, so most of the hour-long finale is a jam session in Jocelyn’s house during which various highly-strung executives gradually realize how much money they’re going to make.

What happened to Rob?

In the midst of Tedros’s various acts performing and Fink dropping one-liners like they’re going out of fashion – “Are we in Hunter Biden’s house?” – we get some vague follow-up from last week’s shenanigans involving Jocelyn’s movie star ex, Rob.

So, as it turns out, Xander taking a photo of him with some girl on his knee was the pretext for a sexual assault allegation. Rob’s reputation is in tatters, he wants Jocelyn to vouch for him but Leia can’t get five minutes alone with her, and his big superhero movie is reassuring concerned audiences that his actual face is only in the movie for, like, five minutes.

Xander is incredibly smug about his role in this, having been red-pilled by Tedros’s electroshock therapy. When Jocelyn hears about it, she knows Tedros is responsible. This, along with everything else, leads her to instruct Chaim to pay him whatever is necessary to make him go away.

Oh, and for some reason, despite the Rob thing having occurred in Jocelyn’s house, her reputation isn’t adversely affected by it in any way whatsoever.

Does Tedros take Chaim’s bribe?

After a hilariously overlong and silly recitation of Little Red Riding Hood, Chaim has Tedros escorted out by security and offers him a half-million dollars to make himself scarce. Tedros tears the check to pieces, and it’s implied that Chaim’s “Plan B” is to have him killed?

This doesn’t happen, as we learn later, but it really seems like that’s the implication. Chaim gets out of the car smiling, Tedros is taken away, and Chaim promises Jocelyn we’ll never hear from him again. Later, Chaim recruits the Vanity Fair reporter to write an expose on him which we know ruins him financially and reputationally because Chaim, Nikki, and Fink later throw their heads back and laugh like cartoon characters about it, but the car thing honestly felt like a moment from an earlier version of the script where Chaim just straight-up had him assassinated.

Do Tedros and Jocelyn end up together?

The tour is approved. Xander gets an opening act slot, despite having ruined the career of Joss’s totally innocent ex-boyfriend. Tedros seems a thing of the past. All is well.

While Jocelyn is rehearsing for the first leg of her new tour, Tedros arrives at the giant arena. Joss has left him an artists’ pass in his government name. He ambles through the arena, confused, and finally gets to Jocelyn’s room. After a joke by the security team and a warning from Destiny, he and Joss share a moment backstage where she says she misses him.

Tedros picks up the hairbrush Jocelyn claimed her mother abused her with, and he notes that it’s brand new. Joss’s reaction says it all. She just… made it up? In the cart on the way to the stage, Jocelyn offers her hand palm-up, like Tom in the Succession finale, and Tedros takes it. He’s probably too scared not to.

To the horror of her team, Jocelyn brings Tedros out on stage, introducing him as, “the love of my life. The man who pulled me through the darkest hours and into the light.” They passionately kiss. “You’re mine. Forever,” says Jocelyn. “Now go stand over there.”

You can stream The Idol Season 1 Episode 5, “Jocelyn Forever” exclusively on HBO and Max.

Additional reading:

  • Will there be a Season 2 of The Idol on HBO?

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