Sunday, June 19, 2022

REVIEW: 'P-Valley' - Mercedes Strives to Be a Better Mother While Several of Clifford's Rules Are Broken in 'The Dirty Dozen'

Starz's P-Valley - Episode 2.03 "The Dirty Dozen"

Keyshawn and Lil Murda embark on a new adventure. Meanwhile, Mercedes ventures into uncharted territory.

"The Dirty Dozen" was written by Kemiyondo Coutinho and directed by Christine Swanson

Everyone in Chucalissa is trying to secure the bag for themselves. Sure, they are surrounded by a conversation about bringing economic prosperity to the entire city. However, that's a discussion about who gets to benefit from the development of the world. It's rare for anyone amongst this ensemble to genuinely care about the well-being of others. They each have moments of empathy and catharsis. They still each have to keep themselves safe first. That's always the priority. Clifford and Hailey don't have the luxury of rejecting the offer to buy The Pynk no matter what. At first, it was all about saving this place of refuge for the community. Clifford needed to protect his girls who relied on these jobs in order to secure their lives elsewhere. This is a thriving business that deserves to stand firmly in this community despite the moral objections of the religious. Clifford delivers an exhilarating experience that changes lives. Now, he has something to gain from selling it. He can negotiate with Hailey how big of a cut he gets as owner. Clifford has always had pride and joy over running this business. He's terrible with money. He was going to lose it all. That may still eventually occur. The club received a windfall thanks to Hailey. She and Clifford may walk away as millionaires. It's all about fighting for what they are worth. They see just how valuable this land is. They understand that a vote for the casino project would make their position even more enviable. That development offers so much potential. It's a way to revitalize this town. It was a dream for the former mayor. He didn't live long enough to see it come to fruition. Instead, it was delayed to deal with the logistical hurdles risen by the community. It still fundamentally is about business. Will the citizens of Chucalissa actual prosper from this business coming to town? Or will they simply be pushed out in favor of whatever those who control the business would like? No one can trust these casino owners to do the right thing. They simply see an opportunity here. Chucalissa is a place to take advantage of the failing system. They haven't had to live in this place and suffer simply to survive. That determination should be rewarded. And yet, the citizens are constantly thrown into the same danger over and over again. They escape one threat only to be hit with the pandemic. Everyone is rightfully terrified of the virus. They want to engage in their lives as well. They want to be fulfilled. They need purpose. It's hard to dream big when the options are so small. It makes it more tantalizing when temptations are presented. Those decisions are made. The repercussions won't just linger for one person either. Each action will have an impact on the entire community.

All of this is built on the citizens of Chucalissa having a say in what happens here. The vested interests on both sides of the casino debate are trying to sway as many people as possible. The new mayor goes to the churches. It's not about him spreading this message far and wide. Instead, he wants the Black pastors to do the work for him. Several are more than willing to be the messenger of this greatness. Their motives can't be trusted. It's about the individual deciding it's in their best interest. They may not always be looking out for what's good for the entire community. Patrice voices her objections. She knows the history. She knows that any white person offering prosperity can't be trusted. She demands the spotlight. She expects better. She achieves so much. Power is still wielded against her. Pandemic restrictions were put in place to keep people safe. The ordinances are now used to issue consequences to those who refuse to voice support of the casino. Patrice always has the fire to fight back. Her dreams have become a reality. She won't let anyone stand in her way without caring about who gets hurt in the process. Some lives have to be protected and shielded. Mercedes would love to be a mother to her daughter. She doesn't have custody. She has to instead trust a woman who is no longer sober. That has placed her daughter's life in danger. Mercedes aspires to step up as the responsible one. And yet, her judgment is continually questioned. She has to share just how miraculous it was for her daughter to be born. She was wanted even though the pregnancy was unplanned. Mercedes was underage too. She didn't know what love actually was at that time. She simply wanted to be an adult. Since then, she has been struggling to survive. She is quickly back on the pole despite her recent injury. She makes some compromising decisions to better secure her financial future. It may still not be enough. She's pulled away to drama elsewhere. She has a keen eye. She is an observer of the world around her. She has been burned too many times to count on anyone for support. And now, The Pynk has two complete newcomers as the headliners. Mercedes chose Whisper and Roulette to join her in the spotlight. She struggled when it came time to share. She has no control over the business. She flexes her influence. People want to feel in control of their lives. They don't want to accept whatever orders their bosses tell them. Clifford and Hailey are losing control as well. People are doing whatever they want. That includes sex work and selling drugs. It is now acceptable behavior. It's not happening in secret. It's fairly open. These present as the only choices to secure what could be a better life. Meanwhile, those who know better and what to protect people they are in charge of are too distracted to see how much life has changed following lockdown. They can still fight for more. They simply have to be accountable for who they are and what they've done to get to where they are now.