Season 1, Episode 6
“This life’s a choice, Dai. Some are given everything and still choose this life.” – Sky
This episode was all about choices.
Sky was talking about life in general, but he was talking about his child, Raynan, specifically. Raynan doesn’t live in the The Ville. Raynan lives in a very nice home with his mother – who begs him to find a job today. He is dressed nicely, in a buttoned polo shirt. He heads out to the school in his neighborhood, where he sells drugs to the rich, white kids.
“Make no mistake, Dai. This life is a choice. Some choose this life and get lost in it, floatin’ around like they lost at sea.” –Sky
And then Raynan changes his clothes, pops in his grill, and heads to the The Ville to be the neighborhood gangster and drug dealer. When he gets there, Sky gets in his car. I guess he’s having flashbacks like Dai. Looks like Raynan and Sky had a strained relationship. Sky gives him words of wisdom and the next thing you know, he’s gone.
“Once you make a choice, Dai, you gotta live with it. Own it. Believe it. Even get others to believe it. But you can’t fool everybody.” – Sky
And we see Raynan being the neighborhood terrorist that we have all come to know.
At DJ’s school, the representative from Hurston is there to grill the boys who are interested in attending. I hadn’t realized that Hurston was like a boarding school. They live on campus 6 days a week and there’s a very demanding curriculum. Students are also required to have extra- curricular activities. Most in the group already have established hobbies. Seren sings at church and tells the rep about it. The rep starts asking questions about what church Seren attends. Perhaps they know some people in common. DJ gets nervous. Remember how Sky told David that there was only going to be one of them that would make it to Hurston? That’s how that whole fight with Seren started in the first place. DJ couldn’t let the rep get all involved in Seren. He hears Sky’s voice. “Some are given everything and don’t choose anything. You gotta choose or you drown.” So, DJ interjects. Seren is real good, you should hear him. Dr. W-T side-eyes DJ. But, the plan worked. Attention is off of Seren and on him. The rep wants to know about his hobbies. He has none. But…this gives him an opportunity to give his poor kid from the hood speech. He hasn’t had time for hobbies because his mom works all the time and he has to keep JG. Caring for JG has taught him to be responsible. Getting into Hurston is about being the best – no matter where you live. It’s about excellence. From the challenges that he’s come from, he has had to work harder, which will make him a great choice for Hurston. Oh, yeah. DJ was laying it on THICK. And Dr. WT still had that side eye for him. The rep seems impressed. Dr. WT does not.
At the unemployment office, Gloria is having lots of problems. She doesn’t have her social security card, which is required for her to get benefits. There are no workarounds. She has to have the card. She leaves. Back at home, Raynan spots Gloria and helps her with her bags. He hates to see her in pain like this (she is still limping.) He offers her drugs to help with the pain. Gloria declines. Raynan won’t let up. He slips it in her purse. Then he tells her that if she needs anything else, let Dai know and it’s handled. I think that tips Gloria off to what might be going on. Remember those drugs that Dai brought to the projects. Those are the same drugs that Raynan gave to Gloria. I hate him. Gloria calls her mom to see if she has her social security card. Her mom wants to know how the grandkids are and reminds her that she still has David’s present. Gloria knows. They need to come over. She is way more concerned about the SS card right now. Mom wants to know why she needs it, so Gloria has to confess that she needs it in order to apply for unemployment. The rent is overdue, so she just needs her to look for the card. JG overhears the whole thing. I don’t think he knew until now. Mom immediately goes in. That’s so irresponsible, Gloria. Were you being “willful” again, Gloria? You takin’ pleasures? Gloria tells her she’s done none of that. Moms starts with some Bible verses. Then she guilt trips Gloria about the kids. And while Gloria is dealing with her mom’s harsh words, JG slips out to handle some business.
Back at school, Marissa is trying to get the details on how things went with the Hurston rep. DJ knows that he played some cards he shouldn’t have played and sees and hears Dr. WT in his mind. “The sob story at the projects with the working mother and the weight of the world on you, may have been honey for the Hurston rep, but it’s debasing and reflects poorly on all of us.” DJ snaps out of it and tells Marissa that he killed the interview. Marissa reminds DJ that the deadline for recommendation letter is in two weeks. He needs to get this letter form Dr. WT asaptually. But after the stunt that he just pulled, will Dr. WT give him the letter he so desperately needs?
Back at The Ville, JG is barefoot. He was out making grown man moves. No surprise there. He sold his Brons to Raynan to get the rent money and is headed to the rental office to pay the rent. Since Dai wasn’t around, it was time for him to step up and be a man. He attempts to write something on the envelope, but Starry helps him out. The rental office people prolly can’t read a 9 year old’s writing. They drop the cash in the box and I was scared. He should have waited to place that money in the hand of the apartment management. But…he’s 9. So…
JG heads home and Gloria immediately wants to know what happened to his shoes! JG proudly announces that he took care of things. He paid the rent and she doesn’t have to worry. He sold his shoes to Raynan and now all is well. Gloria cannot believe this little boy did that. JG doesn’t see the problem, especially since Gloria has been selling all of their stuff for money. Gloria tells him that was for food. Oh, well. It’s done. So Gloria asks him about the transaction. You gave the money to Mrs. Hertrude? Nah, I put in the box. What about a receipt? The office was closed. Gloria pulls her little man close and tells him that he’s all heart and to not tell Dai about what just went down. Gloria goes to the ole bat (Mrs. Hertrude) and she says that she didn’t receive any rent money. Her son doesn’t lie and he paid the rent. Ole bat told her that if he’s grown enough to pay the rent, he’s grown enough to get a receipt. Money gets stolen out of that box all the time and the old bat thinks Gloria is lying. Gloria bears her soul about all that’s going on and begs for help. Nothing helps. Hertrude says rent is due on Monday and after that it’s above her and they will be out on the street.
I guess JG spilled the tea, because the next time we see Dai, he’s going off on JG about paying the rent, not getting a receipt and selling his shoes (to Raynan of all people.) Gloria tells him to chill because JG meant well. And then, Dai goes off on Gloria. SHE sat back and let that happen. What was she thinking? Glo had to remind Dai that he was talking to his mother. Fall back, son. Dai tells her that because JG got all mixed up with Raynan, that puts him in the middle of this, too. Where was she? And then she goes off. She shows him all of the things she was going through today to try to find her SS card and to find things to pawn so they don’t get evicted. Gloria asks Dai where HE was. She knows something is up with Raynan. He is supposed to be putting everything into Hurston, not worrying about anything else. JG finds the drugs that Raynan gave to Gloria. Uh oh. There is an epic stare down between Dai and Gloria. Dai doesn’t say anything about the drugs. He just asks Gloria to call the school and authorize more sessions with the counselor. He is trying not to worry, but he needs help. Gloria agrees and tells him that she’s going to a meeting later (support group). Dai leaves and I just know what’s coming next won’t be good.
And I was right. Dai heads straight to Raynan. Is my mama on that sh!t I brought here last week? And then Dai goes owf. This is between you and me. Stay away from my mom and JG. Raynan tells him it ain’t nothing. He was just trying to help. Dai’s people ain’t his business – commerce is. They can get it from me or you. Your choice, Dai.
In his latest dream, Dai looks to be headed out of the projects. He has a duffle bag. But, he is stopped by walls closing in on him. That’s exactly what’s happening in his life right now. He is trying to do what he needs to do, but between Gloria losing her job and Raynan and Tio basically forcing him into the drug game, how is he supposed to escape?
Gloria is still trying to get unemployment benefits. She found her birth certificate, but it’s illegible and it’s unacceptable. Gloria has other forms of ID, including check stubs with her SS on it, but it’s not enough. She will have to get a copy of her birth certificate and wait for it to arrive. And pay for expedited service. #fixitJesus Gloria does make it to the meeting and she has the floor. She lets it all out. She was getting it together and then it all fell apart and instead of getting a helping hand, she got kicked down. She admits that she was very close to giving up and giving in to the disease, but she made her way to the meeting so she can stay on track. After the meeting, Gloria sees a friend. Looks like that friend is struggling. Gloria offers her the drugs she got from Raynan. She sells them to her friend. Ughhhhhh. I hated this whole thing. Gloria managed to come up with part of the rent. It was enough to hold off the dogs for another two week. She lives to fight another day.
David got his extra sessions with the counselor and the counselor can’t figure out why. DJ never pays attention when he’s in sessions. Yall know DJ’s mind is always occupied with Sky’s appearances, all of his personalities and the voices from all of the people in his life. He tells Dr. Bree that maybe food will help, so doc goes to grab a snack from the vending machine. When he leaves, DJ steals the doctor’s prescription pad. Ughhhhhhh! Nooooooooo, DJ! Of course on the way home, Dai sees Sky. He’s proud. Dai got the Hurston rep to pay attention to him and not Seren. But now Dr. WT is all up on him, but Sky knows that the letter from her will come. All he has to do is keep his head in the game. But, Dai says he can’t do that because he has to worry about getting the rent paid. Sky tells him to let Gloria worry about that. He walks away. Sky follows. He attempts to hit Sky, but falls – because Sky is a ghost.
“Once you make your choice Dai, you gotta live with it. Own it. Believe it. Even get others to believe it. You can’t fool everybody. Or maybe you can.” Sky
And Dai has made his choice. He heads around the corner with Raynan.
In other news…
Something is going on with Seren. I don’t think he even wants to go to Hurston. He went off on
Tare is an amazing dancer. Dai got a glimpse of her dancing when he went by the rental office.
After leaving the unemployment office, Gloria considered calling Jay. Gawd I hope she doesn’t give in to what Jay wants. But, at the same time, I understand the desperation.
Gloria did call to authorize more sessions, but the principal said she will “think about” approving them. And then she grills DJ about what’s going on at home. DJ doesn’t give her any additional information and I am glad. That is supposed to be a safe space, but I don’t trust her or her motives. She wants DJ out of that school and I’m not sure why.
I am scared to think about what’s next. Everyone made some bold choices in this episode. And all of those choices can’t yield good results for any of them. And at the same time, I understand.
I guess Dai is in the game now – for real.
Is Gloria in the game, too? Will she go back for more drugs to sell? The drug dealing is bad enough, but to have access to drugs like that cannot be good for her sobriety.
JG is feeling like he has to be a man now. Somebody will be recruiting him to do grown man things soon.
I need more information on Gloria’s family and her relationship with her mother. It seems strained and it also seems like Gloria isn’t from a low-income background. I need some insight on where it all fell apart.
I need to recover from this episode.
Until next week…