HOLLYWOOD—I have enjoyed the Starz series “P-Valley” since I first got hooked about 18 months ago. This series is just gripping in terms of the storytelling, acting and direction. This week’s latest episode, “White Knight” had to be some of the best TV I have witnessed in years. BE WARNED, this is a difficult episode to watch with some thematic material that will unnerve some viewers with the content that struck me right to the core.
It involves rape, domestic violence, child abuse, colorism, just a slew of topics that a lot of people can identify with not just those in the African-American community. I hate that movies and TV shows that appear to cater to specific audiences are labeled Black movies or Black TV shows, you don’t see people calling content White movies or White TV shows, but I digress.
This was a backstory that I believe was well needed about Keyshawn better known as Miss Mississippi. As fans of the first season of “P-Valley” are well aware, Keyshawn is involved in an abusive relationship with Derrick, who happens to be White. Everyone at the Pynk knows about it and have attempted to do their best to help her, even Diamond, who put a vicious beating on Derrick hoping it would open Keyshawn’s eyes, but it didn’t she protected her abuser, as many woman in such relationships tend to do.
You might say how I know that. Well my sister was involved in one that nearly killed her and reflecting back the episode just brought so many triggers to my world where I question why I didn’t do more or aim for put a stop to it. Well for starters, I was way too young at the time to do anything, but I had other family who were older and wiser who should have stepped in, but my sister was good at hiding it. I still think to this day that her boyfriend who as cruel as he was and the father of my two nieces, I thank God (and its cruel to say) that he died. I honestly think if he hadn’t my sister and my nieces may not be here today America.
So you now understand why this particular episode struck me hard when I watched it. The opening gives the audience a slice into Keyshawn’s younger years. She transferred to Chucalissa High where she met Derrick people. They’ve known each other since high school so that explains quite a bit. It also explains a lot of the low self-esteem that she has as she was not seen as the beauty queen that her step sisters because of her darker complexion to their lighter complexion. Yeah, it is a big issue in the African-American community that people know about, but not everyone wants to talk about. Lighter is seen is top tier, while dark-skinned women in particular face more challenges in society and the community as a result.
Sad, but very true America, as her stepmother treats her like Cinderella compared to her stepsisters, where it is hinted her father is apparently molesting or providing unwanted attention to one of the daughters that the mother apparently knows about. Unfortunately, the mother has turned her eye away from it to keep living the wealthy life that she enjoys. Derrick on the other hand has shown Keyshawn he is interested in her after and treats her like a princess, as a result their relationship blossoms after attending the winter formal, even though the audience quickly learns that Derrick is being abused by his father at home, who suspect his son might be gay because he was on the cheer team (not the case people).
So the audience truly understands WHY Derrick behaves the way he does because he was abused viciously by his father as a kid and as adults we tend to mimic what we see growing up. Back in the present, Keyshawn is sensing a dark side to Rome, who I suspected a few episodes back might be romantically interested in Keyshawn, not so concerned with helping her career bloom. Well it culminated this week, when he explained he saw her as nothing more than a stripper and expected her to give him what he wanted: sex. Keyshawn resisted, but Rome physically attacked her and tried to rape her, but she fought back and went to the one guy in her inner circle who realized something might be off with Rome, that guy was Woddy. Woddy, the quiet guy, who is one not to toy with as the audience learned by the end of the episode people.
Woddy comforted Keyshawn and explained to her that she wasn’t stupid and that what transpired she did not deserve in the least bit people. As a result, Woddy and Keyshawn learned that Big Teak and Lil Murda are in a relationship and that Rome recorded them as backup evidence people. Keyshawn returned home where she discovered Derrick had dislocated her son’s arm and was physically abusing him.
Oh, it was heartbreaking and gut-wrenching watching those scenes. Creator Katori Hall is NOT taking any prisoners when it comes to exploring the relationships of her core characters and this one hurt people. Keyshawn confronted Derrick who was in denial about what he had done as it became clear Keyshawn will tolerate a lot from Derrick, even physical abuse herself, however, her kids is where the limit stops people. That resulted in a violent showdown where Derrick punched, dragged, choked and was mere inches from using a hot iron on Keyshawn who begged Derrick not to use the iron on her face and he found a bit of restraint, but not before dropping into tears.
Chills down the spine watching that scene people, not to mention the audience learned that Keyshawn went to her stepmother for help when Derrick first placed his hands on her when she was pregnant with their first child and her stepmother slammed the door in her face. Wow, just wow, this woman asked for help and couldn’t get it, it explains why she is fearful of letting anyone help, fearing she will get the same result her stepmother gave. If all this wasn’t enough, the episode concluded with Woddy paying Rome a visit to address the issue involving Keyshawn, but not clearly noting he knows what transpired.
Woddy decided to do coke with Rome, but had an ace up his sleeve, it was not coke people, it was fentanyl, to bad Rome didn’t know that. As a result, Woddy calmly set back and explained he knew everything Rome did involving trying to rape Keyshawn and hoping to blackmail Lil Murda and Big Teak if needed. Rome was at a lost because he was overdosing people and NOT in a good fashion. Yeah, Woddy did that people; he took out Rome and did it in a fabulous way.
As a viewer, the question turns to what will happen with Keyshawn, Derrick and the children as I fear Derrick is going to receive his comeuppance, but as Uncle Clifford warned Keyshawn it might be time for her to finally stand up for herself, but at what cost people. Five episodes in and five more left in the season, dare I say the second season of “P-Valley” is actually better than the first season? Yeah, I’m saying that people so what happens next is anyone’s guess.