Sunday, August 14, 2022

REVIEW: 'P-Valley' - Clifford and Mercedes Accept New Dreams to Improve Their Prosperity and Happiness in 'Mississippi Rule'

Starz's P-Valley - Episode 2.10 "Mississippi Rule"

It's the big finale, y'all. New beginnings and endings abound in Chucalissa.

"Mississippi Rule" was written by Katori Hall and directed by Katori Hall

The Pynk has long been perceived as the beating heart of Chucalissa. It has been central to this community for decades. It serves as Uncle Clifford's legacy. It hasn't always existed as a strip club. That was the only way for it to continue making money. Of course, even that is questionable given how Clifford has managed the finances. She has always been struggling to survive. Hailey thought that made her an easy mark. She could take ownership of this business and sell it for a hefty profit. She could then finance whatever her new dream is going to be. That was the path she laid out for herself. She turned her back on the people who make up this community. Their lives didn't matter at all to her. It was all about securing this prosperity for herself. Part of it would be shared with Clifford as she has an ownership stake. That was enough for her to negotiate the final outcome here. Hailey doesn't treat Clifford and Corbin as serious people. They aren't capable of scheming against her. Even if they successfully do so, it's all a mistake because they didn't understand the gravity of their actions. They were very deliberate with their scheme though. Hailey doesn't deserve prosperity more than anyone else in this community. She positions herself as above it all because she doesn't want to be stuck here. This place is home to so many. Andre moves back to Chucalissa despite losing the mayoral election. The casino referendum passes even though Patrice is elected as mayor. Lots of changes are coming to this little corner of Mississippi. Hailey is riding high on the expectations she has for what comes next. She took a gamble. She thought it all worked out to her benefit. And yet, she learns just how little people in power treat the results of popular opinion. How the referendum performed didn't enact a binding contract between Hailey and the people from Promised Lands casino. It simply created more time for people to explore other deals that could be made. All of that came to fruition quickly after the election. That allowed Clifford to maintain her business. Meanwhile, Corbin opened his family land to development. All of this offers the chance for Chucalissa to emerge from the pandemic stronger than ever before. People could be entertained by how Patrice presents herself. At the end of the day though, deals are made behind-the-scenes that reveal exactly where the power truly lies. Hailey doesn't have that. She still takes some for herself. She feels entitled to more. That only ensures she'll inflict more trauma onto others. She's pregnant with Andre's babies and refuses to tell him before leaving town. She also takes more money from the club's accounts than it has. She wants others to suffer in order to make herself the dominant force in control of what's to come. Even when she tried acting on genuine compassion, Keyshawn was unable to escape according to the plan Hailey laid out for her.

All of this shows how easy it is for Hailey to leave Chucalissa. She has no roots. She has no family. She has no reason to stay. The future may be bright elsewhere. She may still be destined to return. She can create further complications for those left behind. They are choosing to belong in this community. They see a future that offers more opportunities. The tension at the moment comes from The Pynk no longer being a safe space from the violence. It never quite existed as such. It simply avoided the conflicts of the various gangs. And now, the lines have been drawn. The Pynk becomes aligned with Lil Murda. He is responsible for the death of another beloved figure in this community. It is now open war to get justice. That disrupted the grand re-opening of the club. The night still ended in success. Murda recaptured his voice while Mercedes put on an incredible show. She found peace in that being her last. She accepts finding new dreams. She is starting over anew with her studio and her daughter. The past wants to subject her to being a certain thing. The community will only perceive her as dancing with Lil Murda. As such, she's an enemy. She must be targeted just like everyone else at the club. That disaster strikes when The Pynk isn't even open for business. Instead, it's a private party to celebrate Earnestine coming home from the hospital. She gets exactly what she wants no matter what Clifford's objections are. People refuse to listen to Clifford as an authority figure. She fires people and they still walk back into this business. She needs their support. Clifford wants to rise above it all. People are still stealing from her in more ways than one. She ultimately has to accept the drugs Big L and Duffy are moving through the business. She needs them upon realizing what Hailey did. More girls are being recruited into Roulette's business as sex workers. They see that as the potential to break down all the fantasy they are already selling at the club. They want those lines to disappear completely. That has the potential to ruin this entire business. Clifford needs things to be real despite the fantasy she sells onstage. She needs others to respect and enforce her rules. She's grateful for the time spent with Mercedes. Everyone else seems to betray her. Even then, they can't quite escape. Keyshawn is perpetually trapped in a cycle of being victimized by Derrick and the state. She loses control which inflicts more harm onto her. She's saved from having Derrick killed. That may not be a blessing whatsoever. It's not as celebratory as it is when Clifford and Murda openly embrace as a couple. That's a moment of them stepping into the sun and boldly declaring their love. Clifford believes it's foolish for Murda to walk away from his career advancing to greatness. Murda still has so much more to learn and accept about himself before having the capacity to shine in the spotlight of the music industry. That reflection is slow-moving. Clifford has already opened his eyes to so much. It would be a shame to walk away from that now - even though it places a target on the back of everyone who works at The Pynk.