The eighth episode of FX’s Trust ended with Paul (Harris Dickinson) convincing Leonardo’s son to cut off his ear. Paul believed this was the only way to prove to his parents that his kidnappers meant business. He realized the kidnappers were ready to kill him, and this desperate spur-of-the-moment act might buy him at least a few more days.
Season one episode nine, the season’s penultimate episode, begins with Gail (Hilary Swank) and Chace (Brendan Fraser) sitting in a car in the snow waiting for a pay phone to ring. Chace is sure the call will come, but Gail isn’t.
Paul’s ear is packaged and placed in the mail. The kidnappers are worried about Paul’s health because the wound won’t stop bleeding and his heartbeat is faint. A veterinarian is the best they can do as they won’t allow Paul to be examined by a real doctor.
Primo (Luca Marinelli) is concerned Dante (Mauro Lamanna) didn’t mail the ear because it’s been three weeks and they haven’t heard from the Gettys. It turns out there’s a postal strike in Naples and the ear probably hasn’t been delivered.
Understanding time is of the essence, Primo and Dante head to the Naples post office dressed as officers. They break in and search through the mail, finally managing to locate the package. Primo drops it off at Italian newspaper, Il Messaggero, where the receptionist reacts in shock after opening the package.
Chace arrives at Gail’s home with the news, and then accompanies her to see photos of the ear. She believes she recognizes Paul’s freckles. After requesting to keep the photos, Gail delivers them to J. Paul Getty Sr (Donald Sutherland). While she waits outside his office, J. Paul explains to Robina (Charlotte Riley) and Penelope (Anna Chancellor) that removing a finger would have been better since it would have been easier to link to Paul. An ear is not as identifiable. Penelope thinks that maybe it’s a message signifying they’re trying to get someone to listen.
J. Paul finally meets with Gail and she confirms she’s certain it’s Paul’s ear. She begs him to not let the kidnappers send Paul back in pieces. J. Paul reminds her he went to Italy and negotiated a deal, but Paul Jr refused to accept it. He believes Paul Jr. holds the key to resolving this situation.
Next, Gail takes the photos to her ex-husband who doesn’t think it’s actually an ear. Gail, exasperated, explains this photo was matched to a close-up of Paul’s face. Gail asks Paul Jr to please accept his father’s deal, and he continues to refuse the terms. He doesn’t want a loan of his own money and he doesn’t want to pay J. Paul interest which would mean he’s profiting off the kidnapping of his own grandson.
Gail asks how many more body parts Paul Jr wants to find in the mail. Paul Jr is adamant that he’s not going to be in debt to his dad; that’s what killed George. Gail leaves without receiving any help from J. Paul or Paul Jr.
Gail heads to the U. S. Embassy where the Ambassador reminds her Nixon’s having problems with Watergate and is busy. The Ambassador finally agrees to fax her letter requesting help to President Nixon, likely because of the Getty name. Gail goes through multiple drafts before finally settling on the right wording.
At the White House, President Nixon reads the fax and then calls J. Paul Getty Sr. They discuss the Native Americans holding up Getty’s drilling in Wyoming, and Nixon believes they can fix that. But first, Nixon wants to discuss Paul III.
In the cave, the kidnappers check on Paul and he’s in horrible shape. He doesn’t wake up when they try to rouse him.
J. Paul Getty Sr summons Paul Jr to his home and apologizes. J. Paul will pay half the ransom personally if Paul Jr agrees to take a loan from his trust for the other half. Plus, J. Paul is now willing to make the loan interest-free.
Paul Jr laughs to himself and then finally agrees to the deal. Penelope already has the paperwork drawn up and Paul Jr signs without reading it. J Paul instruct Paul Jr to let Gail know.
After Paul Jr leaves, J Paul admits he’ll make more money from the Wyoming oil drilling deal than what he loaned his son. And, J Paul is irritated Paul Jr didn’t attempt to negotiate.
That young Paul will be taken care of, Penelope reveals she’s leaving J. Paul. She gives him a peck and wishes him luck.
After learning the ransom will be paid, Gail heads to the theater where she normally meets with Fifty. She delivers the message to the theater clerk that the funds will be there in two days. She also demands he pass on the message to the “mutilating bastard” to leave her son alone.
Back in the cave, everyone’s worried Paul condition continues to worsen. They finally bring in a doctor who discovers Paul’s allergic to penicillin which is what the veterinarian’s been giving him. The doctor thinks Paul has a 50-50 chance of surviving.
Fifty (Niccolo Senni) meets with Primo in a club to go over the details of the exchange. Primo lays out an elaborate plan in which the money will be delivered in white suitcases. Gail must also be dressed in white and she must drive a white car. The bills can’t be marked or have invisible ink. The exchange must take place in the snow.
A quick shot shows that before the bills are placed in suitcases, each serial number is photographed.
Leonardo (Francesco Colella) walks Paul to the edge of the cave and apologizes for his son. Paul didn’t realize Francesco was Leonardo’s son and explains he begged Francesco to cut his ear off. He says it was the only way to make his family pay attention, and he doesn’t want Leonardo to blame Francesco. Overcome with emotion, Leonardo gives Paul a hug.
Gail and Chace drive down a road surrounded by snow. They’re not supposed to stop until stones hit the car. However, they’re on empty when they arrive in a town and are forced to stop for gas. The station’s closed and they head into a bar to find someone who’ll fill up their tank. Gail offers lots of cash to anyone who will help.
Primo waits, growing increasingly impatient, by the side of the road. Night falls and his car’s covered with snow.
Gail and Chace get back on the road and finally their car is hit with rocks. Gail immediately stops, and Chace exits the car. He asks for Paul, but the boy isn’t there. Chace disarms one of the two men who are demanding the money. Gail gets out of the car and enters the discussion. She recognizes Fifty’s voice and yells at him when he wants the money without handing over her son. That was not their deal, but Fifty claims the terms have been changed.
Gail wants to know how she can be certain they won’t cut off another body part, if she gives them the money now. Fifty takes off his ski mask and exposes his face. He tells her his real name and explains that if they don’t get Paul to her alive, she can turn him into the police.
Gail reluctantly agrees to hand over the money. Fifty instructs her to continue on the road and stop at the pay phone past the church. They’ll call the phone and tell her where to pick up Paul.
Back in the cave, Don Salvatore’s worried they won’t find Gail’s car in this snow storm. Leonardo assures him they will. Salvatore also believes Primo’s going to take the ransom money and run. Just then Primo arrives with the suitcases full of cash. He dumps the cash on the ground, celebrating, and then gives Salvatore a hug.
Paul looks on and Leonardo says, “What did I tell you? They always pay in the end.”
Primo and Dante talk about the handoff and Primo wants to know how Fifty convinced Gail to hand over the money without turning over Paul. Dante reveals Fifty showed his face and told Gail his name.
Gail and Chace wait for the phone to ring and discuss their families. Chace continues to be positive the phone will ring, reminding Gail she’s the only one who’s had faith in Paul this entire time.
Back at the cave, the money’s counted and Leonardo wants to free the kid so everyone can go home. However, Salvatore explains that since Paul’s seen his face, Paul must die. Fifty reminds everyone they had a deal.
Paul figures out there’s a problem and that his life is in danger, even though the ransom’s been paid. He picks up a lantern and begins making shadow puppets on the wall. Primo understands the story Paul’s acting out. Primo says, “You don’t kill the goose that lays the golden egg.”
Salvatore doesn’t like being spoken to this way, but Primo reminds him if they kill Paul, they will never be able to kidnap anyone else for ransom. This could be the beginning of a lucrative new enterprise.
In the car back at the phone booth, Gail’s fallen asleep but fortunately Chace is wide awake. Finally, the phone rings and arrangements are made for delivering Paul.
As they drive to the designated spot, Primo reminds Paul if he talks they’ll find him and kill him. They pull over and Leonardo tells Paul to get out of the car. Paul won’t budge until Leonardo says his mom is waiting for him at a nearby gas station.
It’s freezing cold with the wind whipping his blanket as Paul, now alone, stumbles to the gas station. He holds onto a Getty Oil sign and then calls out for help. The attendant lowers the gate, closing the station and not allowing Paul inside the building. Paul bangs on the gate and begs to be let in and then stumbles toward the street.
Gail drives to the station, faster than she should on snowy roads. She screams for Paul once she gets to the station, but he doesn’t respond. She gets back in the car and heads down the road. Up ahead, she sees a figure slowing walking in the middle of the street.
After driving closer, she stops the car, yells out to Paul, and then runs to him. They hug and then she and Chace help him to the car.
The episode ends with photos of the real J. Paul Getty III after the kidnapping.
More on Trust:
- Exclusive Interview with Sarah Bellini and Laura Bellini
- Recap of Trust Season 1 Episode 1 “The House of Getty”
- Recap of Trust Season 1 Episode 2 “Lone Star”
- Recap of Trust Season 1 Episode 3 “La Dolce Vita”
- Recap of Trust Season 1 Episode 4 “That’s All Folks”
- Recap of Trust Season 1 Episode 5 “Silenzio”
- Recap of Trust Season 1 Episode 6 “John, Chapter 11”
- Recap of Trust Season 1 Episode 7 “Kodachrome”
- Recap of Trust Season 1 Episode 8 “In the Name of the Father”
- Recap of Trust Season 1 Episode 10 “Consequences”