Sonita Henry as Mabel looking at the family Eleanor made after her
"Sonita Henry as Mabel looking at the family Eleanor made after her," Black Cake | Season 1/ Episode 6 "Ma" | Directed by Mario Van Peebles | 2023 | Hulu

As Byron breaks free of his parents pushing him to play and live life safe, Mabel finds herself being challenged to deal with all her parents hid from her.


Read our Editorial Guidelines regarding how posts are written and rated and our use of affiliate links.


As Byron breaks free of his parents pushing him to play and live life safe, Mabel finds herself being challenged to deal with all her parents hid from her.

Read our Editorial Guidelines regarding how posts are written and rated and our use of affiliate links.

General Information

Network

Hulu

Release Date

November 22, 2023

Director(s)

Mario Van Peebles

Writer(s)

Yasmin Almanaseer

Previously Noted Characters and Cast

Byron

Ashley Thomas

Eleanor

Chipo Chung

Gilbert

Jeremiah Birkett

Benny

Adrienne Warren

Steve

Elliot Cowan

Mr. Mitch

Glynn Turman

Mabel

Sonita Henry

Bunny

Lashay Anderson

Plot Recap

Breaking Free Of Playing Small – Byron, Eleanor, Gilbert

While, thankfully, no charges end up pressed against Byron, being booked and in jail puts things in perspective. When he was a teenager, he was told he couldn’t be angry and had to be more careful, and while the push always made it seem Eleanor and Gilbert were hard on him because they expected more, it was more so out of fear of the outside world.

Chipo Chung as Eleanor
“Chipo Chung as Eleanor,” Black Cake | Season 1/ Episode 6 “Ma” | Directed by Mario Van Peebles | 2023 | Hulu

Yes, Gilbert was a civil rights attorney, but let’s not forget he doesn’t have a case to pursue until something happens, and preventing anything from happening was his goal. So, Byron took this on mentally, was extra careful, and until he whipped Steve’s ass, he played it safe.

However, at the diversity panel, he decided it was time to stop doing that and be bold. He called out his industry’s shallow diversity to massive applause, and while he is in trouble with his boss and company, he seems to be an online sensation.

The End Of A Tumultuous Relationship – Benny, Steve

With finally blocking Steve and even getting a restraining order, it seems Benny is done. Granted, Steve has a $25,000 advance for the sculpture Benny destroyed, which he tries to hold over her head, but it seems she doesn’t see him taking that money as her problem. So, this may truly be the end.

A Manipulative Little Sister – Mr. Mitch, Byron, Benny, Mabel

Which leads us to the final tape. Mabel shows up in time for it, but before Mr. Mitch can begin, Mabel wants to know more. Benny offers up her being Black and Chinese, which means the whole Culinary Karen thing isn’t apt anymore, but with bringing up Eleanor’s lineage comes the question of her father.

Byron delivers the news Mabel was born from an assault, and that is way too much for her to handle, so it seems she was ready to leave. Once again, Byron, who wants to finish these tapes, is fine with not everyone being present, but Benny is not. She manipulates Mabel by pushing her to explore her curiosity, especially since Mabel has a tape made just for her.

Add in Benny, of course, making things about her and how she would feel, and Mabel ends up sitting down to hear the final tape and learning that she was not given up for adoption but snatched from Eleanor.

Other Noteworthy Information

  1. Apparently, Gilbert spent many days across from Benny’s apartment, hoping to run into her or perhaps gain the courage to talk to her to reconcile.

Collected Quote(s)

“I’m sorry” won’t rewrite the past.
— Eleanor

Review

Highlights

Byron Standing Up For Himself

Despite Byron never having the top tie, “This is the reason to watch” storyline, you have to appreciate his arc. He was taught to be fearful of how he could be perceived due to all the negative things that could happen. Yet, he just whipped Steve’s ass and didn’t catch a case, and while he may get in trouble for calling out the microaggressions and other issues he goes through as one of the only Black people at his employer, he has his freedom now.

Byron can be bold and vocal, not just in his personal life. His speech was relatable and inspiring in many ways, and I would even say something to listen to on repeat. It doesn’t just exist in the “Black Cake” vacuum but is a real issue that was so eloquently put into words.

Mabel Trying To Reconcile Past and Present

Mabel is definitely becoming second to Covey regarding being a focus of “Black Cake” and handling the spotlight well. I mean, just imagine all that she has to process. From having two younger siblings and seeing portraits of them being raised together to learning you were born due to your mother being assaulted.

Add in a nosy and manipulative little sister who pushes you to question and prod more than you might be ready? Especially since, like your mother, you have secrets you aren’t ready to deal with the reckoning of? I’m not saying Mabel has enough to be the focal point of a second season, but she could potentially help end this season on a high note.

These Cliffhangers

I never intended to wait until all the episodes were released to watch this, but now I’m glad I couldn’t find the time to watch as each episode premiered. Almost every episode leaves us with some kind of bomb dropped from Mabel’s existence to her not being given up for adoption. In some ways, dealing with the fallout of Eleanor’s confessions is keeping us going and has us pressing on even despite the show’s lesion.

On The Fence

Benny Figuring A Way To Make Things About Her

Part of me doesn’t even want to talk about Benny because things will likely never get better. Don’t get me wrong, I get it. She feels her parents could have done more, but even in the glimpse we got of them not being perfect, they weren’t bad. But, as established, Benny is the type who doesn’t believe in accountability, responsibility, and sticking through something that is hard.

I mean, her pretending her mom didn’t call her multiple times, Byron too, in an effort to bring her back into the family, makes me roll my eyes. Having a one-on-one with Mabel to talk about how she was compared to her and using this woman to heal herself? A part of me wants to push the idea that this is what Eleanor wanted – for Benny to have a fresh start with someone who is family, where no baggage could get in the way of their relationship.

Yet, I don’t know if that is a valid thought or just me wanting to find some way to stop hating Benny’s screen time being far more than interesting characters.

All The Lives We Won’t Know About

Chipo Chung as Eleanor
“Chipo Chung as Eleanor,” Black Cake | Season 1/ Episode 6 “Ma” | Directed by Mario Van Peebles | 2023 | Hulu

One of Benny’s complaints have been about how her mom handled her coming out and comparing it to how Eleanor handled Bunny. We see Eleanor push Bunny to be open to boys and even live a lie, and it’s sad sometimes that we may never know what happened to Bunny. At least the likelihood seems slim since, while we got some sense of what happened to Lim after Eleanor left, it doesn’t seem possible to know if Bunny ever got to live her truth or not.

I mean, as of this episode, we don’t even know what happened to Eleanor’s mom after she left.

Also Worth Mentioning

  • I truly don’t know how to feel about their meek attempt at showing Gilbert and Eleanor as parents. We’re overdue to see how Byron and Benny were raised, especially considering Benny’s complaints, but what we got continues to make Benny look bad.

Discussion Items

Let us know your thoughts in the comments:

  1. Do you think Benny is right in thinking her parents didn’t do enough to win her back?

Episode Directory

Previous Episode: Season 1/ Episode 5 (Series Page | Character Guide)


Listed Under Categories: , ,


Follow, Like and Subscribe


Black Cake: Season 1/ Episode 6 "Ma" - Episode Review

Summary

While we have given up on Benny, Byron’s storyline hits a high point, and as Mabel’s origins leave us with a cliffhanger, we have our fingers crossed for another Mia Isaac appearance.

Overall
80%
80%
  • Byron Standing Up For Himself - 83%
    83%
  • Mabel Trying To Reconcile Past and Present - 83.5%
    84%
  • These Cliffhangers - 84%
    84%
  • Benny Figuring A Way To Make Things About Her - 72%
    72%
  • All The Lives We Won’t Know About - 76%
    76%

Highlight(s)

  • These Cliffhangers
  • Mabel Trying To Reconcile Past and Present
  • Byron Standing Up For Himself

Disputable

  • All The Lives We Won’t Know About
  • Benny Figuring A Way To Make Things About Her

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.