“We all God, and we all the Devil, too,” Woddy tells Murda cryptically as he justifies taking Rome’s life. Woddy’s words, and the entire episode, explore the duality of human nature and our capabilities to blur the lines between good and evil.
Murda’s own polarities are unveiled through the visual representation of Uncle Clifford dyeing the rapper’s platinum hair black, etching the word Murda on the back of his head. The occasion is Teak’s funeral, though Murda is unable to open up and share that with Uncle Clifford. There’s palpable tension between the two after their intimate night, with a terse back-and-forth regarding each other’s STD status. Even though they’re closer than ever physically, the terms of their relationship are still undefined, and both parties have their guard up. Murda heads to Woddy’s funeral parlor to drop off a suit for Teak’s body and prepare for the funeral.
During their conversation at the parlor, Woddy expresses his feelings about mortality. When Murda asks Woddy if he ever gets sick of being around death, Woddy says that he knows death intimately. There’s an unspoken understanding between the two that Woddy murdered Rome, prompting Woddy to tell Murda that we all have the power to give life and to take it away. Woddy also reveals that his motivation behind killing Rome wasn’t just his assault on Keyshawn but the tape Rome had that could out Murda — Rome being a terrible person was merely justification. We get more context about what exactly was on the tape, with Murda saying he was only 15 and had to do what he had to do to put food in his stomach and a roof over his family’s head. This insinuates that the tape may be footage of Murda doing some sort of sex work in exchange for money. He then reminds Woddy there’s a possibility that Rome redistributed the tape prior to his death, so their problems aren’t fully in the rearview. How does Woddy respond? Like the Chucalissa Olivia Pope he is — he’ll “handle it.”
Teak’s funeral ensues with some community members joining Murda as he lays his friend to rest. They adorn him in gold chains before his final send-off, Murda slipping one last note in Teak’s hand. He has put him in a crimson casket, ready to return to the earth. Following the procession, one of the Hurt Village OGs shows Murda footage of Pico, ally turned opp, claiming to be responsible for Teak’s death, saying it was a casualty of gang violence. At this point, no one but Murda knows how Teak died. The OG tells Murda that someone needs to teach Pico a lesson, suggesting a Babylonian, eye-for-an-eye form of retribution. Waiting for nightfall, Murda dons the color of his enemy by wearing a blue hoodie as he approaches an unaware Pico, who immediately admits that he lied about killing Teak. Murda doesn’t care and ignores Pico’s pleas about his children, firing rounds of bullets into the man’s body. He heads to the studio, fully personifying his stage name.
J. Alphonse Nicholson’s performance as Lil Murda continues to be an exemplar of a full spectrum of Black male emotion, with this episode revealing Murda’s darker side. Another actor who shines in their performance of darkness is Gail Bean as Roulette. Roulette fully falls into wickedness when her idea to trick Whisper out takes a wrong turn. After contemplating the offer, Whisper agrees to let Terrance go down on her for a price. They go to a motel to turn up before Terrance’s arrival, and right before it’s time, Whisper’s third eye starts throbbing, foreshadowing the tumultuous evening. Terrance gives Whisper head, then throws less than what she’s owed on the floor, claiming her fake moans weren’t up to par. I guess he forgot he was paying money to get some pussy, but I digress.
Roulette, who has been in the bathroom playing Candy Crush, comes out when she hears he shorted Whisper $200. Terrance aggressively tries getting away with robbing them, attempting to choke Whisper, until Roulette pulls out a gun on him, ready to play a game of none other than Russian roulette. Terrance tries to call her bluff, which only emboldens Roulette, who then makes him strip, get on his knees, and deep-throat the barrel of his gun, saying, “Who got dick-sucking lips now?” They leave Terrance naked and steal his car, and Roulette later brings it to Duffy’s shop with the intention of making a bag. She walks out into the rain after dropping the car off, then checks her gun, seeing that there’s one bullet still in the cartridge, proving just how real her game of roulette was.
Water continues to be a powerful piece of imagery in P-Valley. Roulette walking into the rain as she embraces her chaos and Clifford advising Corbin to stop swimming against the tide are reminders of the spiritual significance of water and its ability to cleanse, kill, and force us to relinquish control. Corbin desperately needs to relinquish control; he’s living in purgatory as he hopelessly tries to win a pissing contest with his white brothers. The sight of his light skin and ginger hair working tirelessly on his ancestor’s cotton plantation while trying to prove his worth to white people is powerful and indicative of Corbin’s self-image. His biracial identity has left him with a complex due to his feelings of inferiority. His complex runs so deep that he says to Clifford’s nonbinary face, “Do you know what it feel like to have the whole world turn they nose up at you?” As Clifford points out, Corbin is so preoccupied with wanting to cosplay as a powerful white man that he doesn’t see how much privilege he actually has.
Corbin and Andre are especially eager to get rid of the competition for mayor after a campaign commercial released by Wayne Kyle exposes the fact that Andre’s father is indeed alive and currently in prison serving time for murder. Not sure why Andre thought he would be able to keep such a large and easily found secret, but Andre doesn’t always make the most sound decisions. Knowing the commercial could negatively impact their popularity, Corbin, after talking to Clifford, donates $10,000 to Patrice’s campaign under the name “Brer Rabbit,” with what I assume to be the money “LaKeisha Savage” donated to Andre. Taking inspiration from his pseudonym (Br’er Rabbit is a well-known trickster character in African-diasporic folklore), Corbin meets with Patrice to see if she’ll drop out, offering her even more money.
Hailey aligning herself with Andre — and, by extension, Corbin — shows her desperation to get the most money out of the Pynk. Georgie, the widowed owner of the Promised Land, is growing tired of Hailey playing games and tells her that $5 million is her last and final offer. Hailey, still holding out for more money, decides to wait for the election results and the pending referendum to see how high she can raise the price. With everything regarding the Pynk’s ownership up in the air, Uncle Clifford and Hailey still have to hold things down at the club. Prepping for their grand re-re-re-opening, Hailey looks to Keyshawn to headline the night, with the idea to use the money as part of a ploy to get Keyshawn away from Derrick and because Mercedes’s injury is still impacting her performance.
All of our characters seem to be spiraling as they try to navigate the positions they have found themselves in. But, like Uncle Clifford’s rule 77 states, sometimes you have to make falling look like rising.
• Mercedes finds an unlikely confidant in the recently-released-from-jail Mane. She sees him while walking her dog, Blackie Mild, and he invites her to attend the forthcoming block party being thrown in honor of his freedom. She confides in him about what happened on Murda Night, the first time she has opened up about it, and, in turn, he makes an advance on her, offering a more intimate form of comfort, which she rejects. His leaving in her time of need was disappointing, another example of Mercedes’s struggle to be viewed as a person, not a sex object.
• Hailey’s discussing more about her childhood explains why she doesn’t understand the importance of everything the Pynk represents. She has no known ancestral ties; she lost her daughter and has nothing more to lose.
• Keyshawn’s return to the Pynk is embraced by Roulette and Whisper, who are fans of the Ms. Mississippi brand. Her reunion with Mercedes was nice; the two have a sisterhood few would understand, and it’s good seeing them back together. The scene of them speaking in the dressing room uses mirrors in such a thoughtful way: Showing each lady speaking to the other while looking at themselves in their individual mirrors is powerful. Another great use of mirrors is Murda’s reflection bouncing off the casket as he buries his friend.