In episode 5, "Halsa," Molly (Maya Rudolph) treats some of her Wells Foundation coworkers to a relaxing day at Halsa, an exclusive spa in Los Angeles with a membership waitlist of five years. Molly gets in right away, of course, per the teaser clip above. The billionaire simply wants the staff at her charity foundation to learn to relax.
While Ainsley (Stephanie Styles) and Rhonda (Meagen Fay) immediately board the self-care train, workhorse Sofia (who quips "I am not joining your cult" upon arrival) just wants to get back to work — that is, until she gets a whiff of calming essential oils. "Okay," Sofia says. "I can see why people do this. It feels like I'm on the Avatar planet right now." Molly clarifies to the spa staff, "That means she likes it."
Apple TV+ Michaela Jaé Rodriguez and Maya Rudolph in 'Loot'
Rodriguez parallels Molly and Sofia's contrasting personalities to "oil and vinegar," telling EW that there's beauty in the dynamic. "Oil and vinegar: When you put that on a salad, honey, it tastes good," Rodriguez says. When mixed together, she explains, "You see the oil separates from the vinegar, right? That's what I would describe Molly and Sofia's relationship like." It's a "tasty kind of combo," Rodriguez says, "because they're teaching each other things that they've never learned before."
Sofia teaches Molly about persistence, while Molly teaches Sofia about the "freedom that she really wants, but Sofia can't really let go because she's so tight-laced," Rodriguez says. "Molly is this free spirit who encourages her to relax and not take her job so seriously. I think that's the beauty of it. When people watch [the series] all the way through, they'll understand why they actually need each other more than they don't."
The role of the sensible, pantsuits-rocking charity director is a departure from Rodriguez's more dramatic works, including her Golden Globe-winning role as Blanca Evangelista in Pose. That's precisely why Sofia appealed to her. "I like the fact that Sofia is a no-nonsense character," Rodriguez says. "I love that she's a bit starchy and we have to loosen her up a little bit. It was totally different from Blanca. Blanca's this nurturing character. She's sweet, heartfelt, and very self-assured. Sofia is, too, but in a different retrospect."
Apple TV+ Michaela Jaé Rodriguez in 'Loot'
Rodriguez teases that Molly's free-spirit attitude will rub off on Sofia as the season progresses. "There is a barrier that is broken," she says. "We also get a taste of Sofia and her relationships and how she's handling them while she's in the workspace of a foundation and being the COO of a company. We'll see Sofia loosen up a bit when she hangs out with the girls and learns about the freedom and fun of taking care of yourself as a woman working so hard. You'll see so many things you wouldn't expect in the first, second or third episode."
Yes, the comedy series is centered on a billionaire's journey to self discovery following her ex-husband's philandering ways. Yet the series from creators Alan Yang and Matt Hubbard (Parks and Recreation, Forever) humanizes an at-first out-of-touch character with an obscene excess of wealth. Why are we rooting for Molly anyway? "I think women are much more nurturing," Rodriguez posits. "Women have much more capacity and understanding."
"With Molly, she has the space to know what change looks like," she continues. "I feel like we root for Molly because not only did she have a moment of reflection when she divorced her husband, [but] she comes into a space with all of these people like Sofia [who] make her say, 'I'm going to do something better and I'm willing to learn. And I'm willing to make sure that we can actually have some kind of change.' I feel like that's the change that, [for] a billionaire, it's enough for them to realize, 'Oh my God. I don't like this. I don't like this feeling. I need to do some work.'"
New episodes of Loot premiere on Apple TV+ Fridays.