written by Kiara Williams
SPOILER WARNINGS ARE IN EFFECT
I’ll be breaking this episode up by character, so events will be recapped out of order until the very end.
Luke and Misty discover the carnage left behind in Gwen’s restaurant. The mass of innocent bodies is enough to set Luke into a rage again, saying that he should’ve let Mariah burn. After analyzing the scene, Luke finds a trail of blood leading away from the bodies. Someone survived the shooting somehow. Luke leaves to go find the survivor before Mariah can kill the one and only witness. Misty stays behind to investigate the crime scene with the police force. I guess she really is an officer again, because later on she becomes the face of the investigation and answers questions at a press conference.
It doesn’t take long to find the survivor: Anansi’s wife Ingrid. Luke finds Ingrid in a community hospital with some of Mariah’s henchmen just outside her door, so he does the superhero-y thing and saves her at the last minute. The two hide out in the city while a festival goes on. You would think the commotion would make Luke and Ingrid hard to find, but Shades finds Ingrid in about 2.5 seconds. Can you stop leaving the people you’re protecting out of your sight, Luke? It’s not very helpful to them, and poor Ingrid is pretty traumatized as it is. So traumatized, in fact, that she doesn’t want to go to the police at all. She just wants to see her husband’s body and take it back to Jamaica. She’s had enough of America, and I’m with her. Luke tries to convince Ingrid to change her mind, as she could be the key to putting Mariah away for good, but she doesn’t waver on her decision at all.
I actually really like Ingrid’s role in this episode. Black women are so often expected to take on everyone’s burdens and do what needs to be done, even if it goes against their own feelings. But by the end of the episode, Luke not only protects Ingrid physically, but emotionally. He relents on his stance and agrees to not take Ingrid to the police, much to Misty’s dismay. The moment where Ingrid finally allows herself to cry over Anansi’s body was cathartic for both herself and me as I watched. Ingrid was protected and cared for all the way until the end, her only burden being her own grief. Take Anansi home, Auntie.
Shades questions Mariah on what she was thinking when she shot up Gwen’s. Those were innocent people Mariah killed, who had nothing to do with her feud with Bushmaster. “You broke the rules,” Shades says. Mariah’s losses and then her rebound caused her to lose her heart, the human part of herself, and that’s all that was keeping Shades there until that point. Not even provocation from Mariah about him killing Comanche is enough to keep him in the building. Shades doesn’t even follow through with killing her; she’s not worth that. Mariah was a gangster; she did what gangsters had to do to those who got in her way. But the people at Gwen’s were innocent. They were in her way; they were just pawns to incite Bushmaster. She went from gangster to monster, and Shades wants no part of that. Shades leaves her alone with her hallucinations from the past, Mama Mabel and Uncle Pete, trying to convince them that she’s better than they ever were.
Since the beginning of this episode, Tilda has been trying to use the nightshade to save Bushmaster as ordered, but it isn’t enough to save him completely. We get flashbacks of him seeing a meeting between the Stokes family and his mother, discussing his father’s profits from Harlem’s Paradise and shares of Bushmaster Rum. Bushmaster’s mother wants half of her late husband’s shares and profits, but she mysteriously dies in a fire before the deal can be validated. Mama Mabel all but gloats at the ashes of the McIvers’ home, tossing the legal documents to burn along with Bushmaster’s mother. With such lack of remorse, no wonder Bushmaster held so much resentment and anger, which only increased when Peter Stokes shot him while he was just trying to sell some pineapples.
Desperate to save the young boy, Anansi takes Bushmaster into the mountains where he first comes into contact with nightshade, which wouldn’t have happened if Pete hadn’t shot the poor kid just trying to get by. So really, Uncle Pete created his niece’s future enemy, as well as her daughter.
Y’know, just in case you needed more of a reminder how gross Pete is.
Bushmaster wakes up and gets the update on what’s happened while he was unconscious. He, Nigel, and Tilda go to Gwen’s and see the crime scene, and I have never seen Bushmaster so deflated. He looked so empty. I was worried that he would fly into a rage and kill Tilda on the spot for her relation to her mother, but instead he lets her go, thanking her for her help. He just has nothing left in him in this moment. Tilda goes to Harlem’s Paradise and asks Mariah whether she was the one who destroyed the restaurant, which Mariah proudly admits to. Tilda says a bitter goodbye and leaves, though I hope this isn’t the last we see of her.
Shades turns himself in to Misty. Mariah’s gone too far and now she has to go. “And I’m gonna help you do it,” he says, holding up his wrists for handcuffing. Mariah’s alone with her money and her hallucinations of her family now.
To end the episode, Bushmaster and Luke talk outside of the morgue while Ingrid grieves. Luke gives Bushmaster one last warning to step away, but again he refuses. “Me not looking forward to killing you, yeah?” With only two episodes left to go, I’m not looking forward to the end of this season.