HOLLYWOOD─It has taken me a bit of time to come around on Tyler Perry’s new BET series “The Oval.” The reason being it reminded me greatly of his series on TLC “Too Close to Home.” That series started off strong, but quickly fizzled as the narrative became a bit too convoluted in my opinion. “The Oval” is slightly different because it focuses a bit more on diversity. We have a Black First Lady played with a vicious bite in Victoria Franklin played by Kron Moore.
I was torn by this character at first, but the recent mid-season finale gave audiences a vulnerable side to this woman; she is petrified of her mother. Yes, her mother seems to be a perfectionist and her bite is way worse than her daughter’s because there is a level of subtlety to her threats. With that said, the audience now knows that Victoria’s parents were the masterminds behind Hunter’s (Ed Quinn) success to become the next President of the United States of America.
Hunter is a bit of a womanizer, and despises his wife with a passion. Their relationship is volatile at best and everyone who is part of The White House Staff knows this. They have two children who are wicked to the core especially Gayle (Paige Hurd), who resents her mother with a passion, and then there is Jason (Daniel Croix Henderson), the son who fears his mother greatly, but has a stronger relationship with his father. Yeah, this family is quite fractured to say the least.
Beyond the First Family, we have members of the staff. Now at first, I thought the series had way too many characters, but it now seems the focus has shifted and focused tightly on our key players. That’s important because when a series has more characters than needed it impacts the narrative that becomes too murky or forces the viewer to raise questions about why they haven’t seen a particular character in quite some time or way their role might have been so pivotal in the moving storytelling.
Beyond the First Family we have the Hallsen family led by Richard (Javon Johnson), who is the White House’s main butler. Richard is a noble man, who stands by his family firmly even if they are in the wrong. What does this mean? Richard’s son Barry (Vaughn Hebron) is a bit of a hot head. He is dating Sharon (Teesha Renee) who is working at a local pharmacy with her ex, Kareem (Matthew Law). Yes, it is a crazy love triangle.
Barry had his head on tight until his daughter was kidnapped by his ex, by members of a cult who is led by ‘The Highest.’ We learn that Barry’s ex was stabbed to death, before the Hallsen family comes face-to-face with a woman who escaped the cult only to shoot herself to death in their home. Yeah, that was a moment I did not expect to say the least. We’ll talk more about the Hallsen family in a bit, but let’s focus on the other storyline that is causes waves which involves Lilly and her husband Donald.
At first, I was under the guise that this relationship between Lilly and a random stranger she met at the airport was pointless, until she ended up sleeping with him. It turns out that guy has connections to a member inside the White House, Kyle Flint (Brad Benedict), who is a schemer. Kyle is willing to do anything to climb to the top of the food chain of the President’s Security team. The big bomb the audience learned is that Lilly’s hubby Donald is gay and had a relationship with Kyle that ended badly.
With that said, Lilly has no idea who to trust, not to mention, she has no idea about her husband’s past. Their relationship is already on the rocks, but what will she do when she learns about this bombshell of a secret. I want to discuss this week’s season finale that delivered a ton of nuggets for the audience. First, Barry’s mother Nancy (Ptosha Storey) has been worried sick that her son may have murdered his ex, wife a butcher knife that is missing from the kitchen. Well, the audience discovered the location of that knife which was hidden in a drawer in Barry’s bedroom, with a ton of money.
The audience knows Barry didn’t do it, so he immediately suspected it was his girlfriend Sharon, who was busy getting closer to her ex, which Barry has no idea about. Barry is also in trouble because he fired a bullet that unexpectedly killed an innocent man, and Richard has been working around the clock to cover his son’s tracks. Are you still with me because it’s a lot going on?
Lilly learned from her fling that Kyle is out to destroy her, and is concerned that her safety is at risk because Kyle is obsessed in his quest to get Donald back into his life. As for our White House players, Gayle seems to have backed down to causing more chaos for her mother after her latest stunt, while Jason is silently scheming behind the scenes. Victoria learned from dear ole mom, if her daughter did not get things in order, there would indeed be deadly consequences. It seems that threat was lived up to by the final moments of the episode.
Barry found himself being arrested by the police for assaulting Kareem at the pharmacy. What a stupid mistake for Barry to take that bloody knife and place it in his jacket, which was found by authorities, much to Nancy’s chagrin. That was not the biggest bombshell of the night, it was Hunter having his mistress snuck into The White House courtesy of Kyle. All seemed well, until Hunter returned to discover his lover’s head chopped off. Yeah, I predicted she would die, but it happened so quickly, that the audience has to know someone else was in that room the entire time.
How so? When Hunter went to use the restroom she was alive, when he returned which was only a matter of minutes, she was dead. So the good thing is we know the series is coming back and we got a few teases that look interesting, notably the fact that Barry catches Kareem and Sharon in the act, and drive his vehicle through the pharmacy to send a message. So if audiences that drama was hot before, it looks like things are only going to get more chaotic when “The Oval” returns in May.