Sunday, July 10, 2022

REVIEW: 'P-Valley' - The Struggles of Those in Chucalissa Continue to Intensify Until a Tragic Decision Is Made in 'Savage'

Starz's P-Valley - Episode 2.06 "Savage"

Andre's mayoral campaign picks up speed as Autumn and Uncle Clifford wage war. Mercedes finds herself further entangled in Memphis. Back in Chucalissa, Lil' Murda helps Big Teak find his footing in a broken new world.

"Savage" was directed by Melanie Mayron with story by Nicole Jefferson Asher and teleplay by Nicole Jefferson Asher & Katori Hall

No one is doing well in Chucalissa. The people who form this community simply have to put on a brave face to make others believe otherwise. They have to project confidence with everything they do. That's the only way they can achieve prosperity one day. This season was meant to showcase the successes of some of these characters. They were making upward moves. Lil Murda and Keyshawn were on tour. Hailey was the owner of The Pynk. And yet, none of these opportunities have created lasting change. They are all simply back where they started. Prosperity remains elusive. It's still this unobtainable goal always on the horizon. They dream of better lives in the future. That includes even the goal of making it to tomorrow. That's what Lil Murda is planning on. He's not expecting to stay in Chucalissa forever. His career still has momentum. His song is being played on the radio. That's a massive achievement. It's a reason to celebrate. He spends the entire day with Big Teak. They have the potential to remember the past fondly while still boldly plotting a course for the future. Murda learns the ordeals his friend has always had to endure. Solitary confinement in prison wasn't the first time he was subjected to that torment. It simply followed the path that was always destined for him. At a young age, he was told he could never amount to anything. He lacked any kind of family that could build him up. As such, it was easy for him to accept going to jail for someone else. He protected Murda. In enjoying freedom, he has seen how different the world has become. He can't figure out how to exist within it. And so, he chooses not to. He makes peace with this being his last day. He drops hints all throughout the activities. This is what he and Murda could have had in another life. Instead, Murda is in love with Clifford. He can still fix things. It's not too late. The same applies to Teak. He can find a way to grow in this world. He refuses to try. Instead, it's more peaceful to reckon with the past and accept all the pain it has caused. That trauma made him who he is. He has an honest and loyal friend in Murda. That friendship will always prosper. And yet, Murda's presence isn't enough to keep Teak from pulling the trigger. And so, he inflicts new trauma. That sends Murda back to Clifford looking for protection. It leads to acceptance as well. He admits he isn't doing well. The struggle is overwhelming and he reaches out for help. He hopes Clifford can offer that. She has plenty of her own drama though. She is monitoring Hailey's every action. She still isn't any closer to realizing the extent of her power play. She feels betrayed. Meanwhile, she worries about Earnestine being sick with the virus. She's not exactly in a welcoming space to accept even more struggle. She still embraces Murda because it's the comfort needed.

This life is painful for so many. It's informed by the tragic and sick egos of those who cling onto even the slimmest of power. Mercedes had to break from her morals to take Coach up on his offer. It was a way for her to earn money when The Pynk was moving beyond her always being in the spotlight. Instead, newcomers have taken up that mantle. Even they can't perform in that space anymore. The club has been shut down by the health department. They may never be able to come back. Hailey is still making the move to sell it for the same amount of money. It's still a precarious gambit. One that may not even pay off in the end. If it does, it may not produce the prosperity that she assumes will be easy to grab ahold of in this community. It's what she fights for above all else. Plus, it's relatively easy for her to maintain power over Andre. He's campaigning to be the next mayor of Chucalissa. He can even argue that Hailey's antics led to favorable results for both of them. It's still annoying. She knows exactly how to keep him entranced. It's a raw, sexual energy. She still takes control. But it's a powerful weapon that can be wielded for her benefit outside the bedroom. She simply has to occupy that space for as long as it takes. It's all rather transparent. However, Andre is willing to submit to the seduction. That's in contrast to Mercedes' arrangement with Coach and Farrah. Mercedes and Farrah are incapable of hiding their attraction to one another. Once it's spotted, it's all Coach can see. This no longer is an activity he approved. And so, he must voice his concerns and lash out at the women seeking to control him. That manipulation cannot be accepted even though he has been blind to so much about them. It's better to leave than endure even more humiliation. It's not a healthy environment despite the privilege this couple has in their daily lives. Mercedes could juggle that as well as her spiraling family situation. That aspect of her life implodes too. Her daughter is pregnant. The cycle is tragically repeating itself. Mercedes has no clarity over how any of this happened. She simply sees a family struggle. She can provide some relief. It still isn't enough. People chase after what they believe will make them happy. Even that can quickly turn into terror. Keyshawn is ready to run away from Derrick. The universe seemingly prevents her from doing so. She can't commit to killing him either. And so, she is stuck in this tragic limbo where she knows he abuses every member of their family. She's powerless to stop it. Tragedy is no stranger to Chucalissa. It has robbed this community of so many lives. That's not going to stop anytime soon no matter how many people speak up about the importance of the mayoral campaign and the pending casino deal. That's far off in the future while plenty are suffering right now. That's not changing. In fact, the tragedies may only compound until it's too much for even more to handle.