Sunday, July 31, 2022

REVIEW: 'P-Valley' - Mudslinging Enters the Mayoral Campaign While Keyshawn Returns to The Pynk in 'The Death Drop'

Starz's P-Valley - Episode 2.08 "The Death Drop"

People across Chucalissa fight for what's theirs, while others struggle to accept the things they can't change.

"The Death Drop" was written by Kemiyondo Coutinho & Nina Stiefel and directed by Millicent Shelton

People return to The Pynk when they have no where else to go. It's stunning when Keyshawn shows up as Hailey's headliner for the grand re-opening. Of course, that's just one aspect of Hailey's plan to help Keyshawn leave Derrick. She's not looking to create a sustainable business. She doesn't care about the longterm prospects of The Pynk. She doesn't have any long history with the building. She understands some of the relationships. However, dancers come and go. Mercedes was once treated as the queen of this place. People would travel from throughout the state to see her. And now, she's treated as the woman too old to continue in this business. She doesn't know when to quit. She's past her prime and can't step away for the up-and-comers to shine. Of course, Roulette and Whisper have their own problems. They indulge in dangerous behavior as well. Again, no one looks for stability when they are working at the club. Hailey and Clifford have done all the renovations to hopefully open up once more. That's important. They are still taking a risk. This is their livelihood. Hailey is looking for an opportunity to climb up to something better. She still reacts with sympathy when Keyshawn reaches out for help. She can help her escape. She doesn't need steady employment at the club that once felt like home. That's not what Hailey projects onto this situation. Sure, she has had to live out of this building. The club took her in when she had no where else to go. She doesn't operate with that compassion to the same extent. She hopes to make a difference. In fact, that's the guidance Mercedes is given for how to live with the brutality of Montavius' murder. Her struggle performing may entirely be psychological. Her body is physically healing. She has the capacity for greatness. She remains damaged by the past. That is such a relatable impulse throughout this world. Everyone is struggling to survive. No matter what they do someone finds a reason to criticize them. Shelle is outraged upon learning about Terricka's abortion. It wasn't something her daughter should have been able to do without her. Mercedes and Terricka went on that journey together. It was cathartic. It didn't immediately change their circumstances at home. Those are still frighteningly the same. Ads may offer the hope the various mayoral candidates want to display. It's still a bunch of ugly politics where people are simply trying to damage others through the actions of their past. The blame is passed around. Nothing can be tolerated and no one has any excitement about what's happening in Chucalissa. Hailey looks to the future. She's willing to take her chances with the referendum. That's still a massive gamble. It may not pay off at all. And then, she'll be left behind at The Pynk with people she has proven not to care about in the slightest.

Human stories are still being told in Chucalissa. These communities exist where people fight so hard just to survive. They also feel the pressure to conform. Clifford has been beaten down and grows desperate for any update on Earnestine's condition. Nothing has changed. That should be comforting. It isn't. Clifford is only realizing how much she has lost. She couldn't handle the legacy of the generations that came before her. They built up this business. And now, it may vanish under her leadership. She tries her best to make new alliances. She has to care about the political landscape. The Pynk survived being bought at the auction block once. That wasn't salvation that would prevent any other attack from coming. In fact, the world has proven to be nothing but attempts to disrupt the business Clifford's family has built. She has the wisdom of her mother and grandmother in her ears. That motivates her to get even with everyone who tries to hurt her bottom line. People are still being transformed by this experience. In his grief, Lil Murda kills a rival rapper. It all plays out in the local scene. It's a way for him to flex his dominance in the area. He can't sit idly by as his rival disses Big Teak in the wake of his death. And yet, Lil Murda can't be open and honest about what this relationship actually meant. Instead, he reacts in such a visceral and violent way. That's the extreme he must accept in order to get his point across. Everything has to be more elaborate to prove how serious he is. That can't erase the pain behind his eyes though. He has that clarity. None of this can bring Big Teak back or ease the pain of his death. It can't offer anything of true value. It just further condemns Lil Murda as someone who will truly do anything just in the name of being respected. He still can't be seen in public with Uncle Clifford after all. That's what she still expects too. The nature of their dynamic hasn't evolved much despite how intimate they have become. That's special and means something in their little bubble. That can only offer so much freedom. Meanwhile, others take actions in the name of freedom when it's simply just more chaos mounting in their lives. Roulette coerces Whisper into embracing sex work to earn more money. When the first experience goes wrong, Roulette also must flex her power. It brings new meaning to her name. It showcases how little she respects her own life. She will take that risk. She has yet to fire that fateful bullet as well. No one in this community imagines a long and prosperous life for themselves. That makes them incredibly cavalier about death. They could go at any time. As such, it's no big deal if they speed things along. That's massive though. It also cements this narrative as one where so much damage can occur and the characters simply have to find a way to live with it regardless. Things may not change or even have the capacity to do so. Life is still valuable. The lessons learned from death though need to be constructive. That hasn't always been a guarantee which only adds to the overall tragedy and trauma.