In this episode, we finally learn about David’s mom, Gloria.
Gloria is a waitress at a diner and is working hard on the morning shift. Gloria seems to be a favorite at the diner. One of the patrons asks about her boys and she is happy to share that David is applying to Hurston. Another (white) patron overhears and tells Glo that that school is hard, but that doesn’t shake Gloria at all. David is smart – just like her. The school is free, but she dreams of moving the family closer and she’s been saving and working extra shifts so she can do just that. Gloria is praying for a promotion to assistant manager. The owner calls her in the back and interrogates her about her ability to handle the promotion. After some back and forth, the job is hers! Gloria is elated. But hold up! That’s how it played out in her head. Gloria is actually in the back, on her break and working out her expenses on a notepad. The manager has been calling her to get back out on the floor because somebody else didn’t show up for their shift. Because of the staff shortage, the restaurant is in complete chaos and Jay (the manager/owner) isn’t happy…and he’s holding the assistant manager’s position over her head.
Outside of the restaurant, Gloria is practicing what she will say to Jay to persuade him to give her a promotion. Back inside, one of Gloria’s truck driver customers is trying to kick game. They talk about how the Steven King book she suggested was too scary for him, how she read King with David and about David applying to Hurston. And he tells her that she’s “fine as wine.” Walter is laying it on thick and Glo is loving it, but Jay is not. He has some slick comments, the customers are leaving no tips and the other waitress has yet to show up. It’s getting crazy. Gloria takes the one minute she has to talk to Jay about the promotion, and how she’s been reading up on customer service, and how much she wants it. At this point, I know for sure that Jay is an azzhole. He takes this time to belittle Gloria and tell her of all the things she is doing wrong and how very few people would have even given her a chance, considering her situation. Gloria says she has thanked him for that, but in Jay’s book, “thanking him” includes sexual favors and he makes unwanted advances. In an attempt to get away, Gloria quickens her step, but trips over something and falls to the floor. Gloria ends up with bruised ribs and an injury to her thigh. She is advised by the doctor to rest for a week, but that’s not an option. The doctor also attempts to prescribe pain meds, which Glo refuses (because she is a recovering addict.) She struggles to walk out of the office and thankfully, Walter is still there. He won’t let her ride the bus home by herself and requests that Gloria lets him treat her like the queen she is. Alright, now! I like Walter. But all of that was just in her head, too. And just like that, Gloria is back at work. My heart is breaking for her. The cook at the restaurant made her a plate and tells her to keep her strength up. But, Gloria does just the opposite. She gets up and calls David to make sure everything is cool and to tell him to pick up JG. But, he can’t because he’s meeting with the counselor. So, Gloria has to put on her single mom cape and figure it out. Gloria has had quite a day and while serving some customers, she believes that she has been inappropriately touched. However, the customer was just trying to fix her skirt. As a way to apologize for the misunderstanding, Gloria offers the family free dessert (some doughnuts) and that sends Jay over the edge. You can’t just be giving free desserts to whole families. That’s coming out of your check. And as soon as Gloria said something back, she was fired. She is livid and picks up a knife to go after Jay, but the cook stops her. On her way out, the cook hands her a bag of food, which should last them for about two nights. He tells her to call him when she runs out of food. This cook has been her angel all day today!
Gloria is back in single mom mode and remembers that she needs someone to handle JG until she gets home. She calls Ms. Elijah from a pay phone to ask, but Ms. Elijah can’t do it because he has some stuff to handle with Starry. Star is applying to JobCorp, with Elijah’s help. But, the ID is fraudulent, so there are problems. Elijah tries to talk the rep into giving Starry a chance, but the JobCorp guy can’t do it. And then Elijah is ready to go off. Look at you. You got your job so you’re not worried about the rest of us. The guy says he’s not like them. He’s not a queen. Queens stay on scams.
Gloria’s day from hell continues when she heads to the pharmacy. She picks up ointments, eyes the drugs and watches the clock. She has to hurry and get home to get JG. The pharmacist notices that she’s bleeding and Glo plays it off. The pharmacist offers her some regular drugs and she declines. He continues…and offers her higher dosages, with no ID required. In Gloria’s mind, she is yelling NO at the pharmacist, in reality, she politely declines (although the struggle to do so is very real.) The pharmacist gives Gloria his card and I am scared that she will use it later. On the bus, Gloria sees a young girl and an older man being extremely inappropriate. She moves from her seat on the bus so she can be right next to the little girl. Gloria gets off the bus and exchanges looks with the girl through the window. The girl’s sad look broke my heart. And, I wondered if Gloria had been in that same situation once upon a time.
Gloria finally makes it home, but her troubles are nowhere near over! As soon as she sets foot in the housing complex, she finds out that JG has tried to burn his sheets. We know from previous episodes that JG wets the bed often. The manager is over JG and Gloria’s attitude towards the whole matter. She tells the complex manager that she’s the manager – manage. JG was burning the sheets because David told him to “take care of it.” The manager continues to go off and Elijah steps up. Manager lady has a slick mouth tho. Oh…you a man today? Elijah told her that she needs to be worried about them Depends in the trashcan that belong to her that they can’t recycle. They trying to live green in The Ville. I cackled. At the door of their apartment, Gloria goes in on JG for always causing trouble. As both of them gather Gloria’s things from the ground (she put them there while she tried to find her keys) David walks up an immediately asks if she’s ok. He noticed the limp. Of course she tells David that she is fine. And as soon as David turns around Rayan is behind him. He wants to give Dai props for the package drop off. Dai is the man. They gon start calling him “The Daybringer,” because he brought the light. Lawd. David reminds him that he didn’t have a choice in the matter. Raynan is hype. Tio is impressed. And, Dai is officially in the game – because Tio and Raynan say so. I have a question. I thought Raynan was arrested? How did he get out so fast and what was that arrest for?
At the house, Gloria demands to know how long the boys have been hiding pissy sheets. David says he never told JG to burn them. But, the damage could be done. They could get evicted because JG is an arsonist. David tells her they were trying to handle it because they didn’t want her to have anything else to worry about. David questions his mom about her limp and finally Gloria tells him what’s going on. She fell, no job, no promotion – but there’s nothing to worry about. JG rolls thru and wants to know what Serene’s house is like. Is it dope like his granddaddy’s house? And there’s a look of disappointment and despair on Gloria’s face. There’s a bag on the table and David had previously asked his mom what was in it. JG immediately finds that it’s toys. Gloria has bought JG toys. David is ready to make sure JG stays on punishment, but Gloria tells JG to let him have it and to let him be a kid. Maybe she felt that she was too hard on JG earlier? Maybe after hearing JG’s excitement about other people’s houses, she thought he was deserving of them. Maybe it was the only thing she could offer him in that moment that would make him happy, thereby making her happy. Either way, the look on her face made me sad.
Later that night, Gloria sits with the bills and money she has left. She has flashbacks of the drugs she saw at the pharmacy and then there’s a knock at the door. It’s Ms. Elijah in all of her drag queen goodness. Elijah came to check in on Gloria. They reminisce about the good ole days, when Gloria and Elijah used to paint the town. Elijah says Glo can come on out tonight. She reminds Elijah that her whole left side is messed up and she has kids. Elijah offers…ointment (because he knows of her drug issues.) Elijah gives her grief in the funniest way and reminds her of the last time she gave it to the people – 8 or 9 years ago. Gloria agrees to go and give the people what they been missing. She is slathered up with ointment and feeling good. She saunters through the crowd and ends up doing a whole number with Elijah and Starry. And, sis is KILLING it! Get it, Glo. I see you, girl. But since this is David Makes Man, all of this happened in Gloria’s head. What a bummer. I really hoped that she had gone out and had the time of her life. Gloria tells Elijah she really wants to go, and she wants to be loved. She bids Elijah farewell. She concludes that she shouldn’t be out there in the streets anyway because that’s what got her caught up in the first place. She doesn’t want to fall off the wagon. Elijah says he will watch out for her, and Gloria quickly asks, “like you watched out for me back then?” Uh oh. There’s a backstory here. Gloria tells Elijah that he looks amazing and to have fun. She goes back to her bills and insufficient stacks of money. She looks at a picture of her boys and finds a picture that JG drew for her apologizing for his behavior. Tears and hopelessness. She takes the toys back to the store for a refund and eyes the drugs, again. She walks towards the door, but turns around to head to the drugs. Just then, the cashier asks if he can help her with something. She makes up a story about what she needs. She continues to look at the drugs.
And now I’m in shambles and my heart is broken into a million pieces for Gloria.
So what next?
What will Gloria do? Will she relapse? Will she get another job quickly so that they don’t lose everything? What is the backstory with Gloria and Elijah? Why is JG wetting the bed? Will they get kicked out of the projects for JG’s adventures in arson? What did Raynan get arrested for? What will David’s next “assignment” be for Tio? So. Many. Questions!