Chipo Chung as Eleanor
"Chipo Chung as Eleanor," Black Cake | Season 1/ Episode 9 "Nine Night" | Directed by Zetna Fuentes | 2023 | Hulu

In the season finale, since there is stuff left over for a second season, Eleanor story ends and so many others begin.


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In the season finale, since there is stuff left over for a second season, Eleanor story ends and so many others begin.

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

General Information

Network

Hulu

Release Date

December 6, 2023

Director(s)

Zetna Fuentes

Writer(s)

Marissa Jo Cerar

Newly Noted Characters and Cast

Etta

CCH Pounder

Previously Noted Characters and Cast

Byron

Ashley Thomas

Benny

Adrienne Warren

Mabel

Sonita Henry

Mr. Mitch

Glynn Turman

Mathilda

Jade Eshete

Pearl

Faith Alabi

Gilbert

Ahmed Elhaj

Lynette

Rebecca Naomi Jones

Eleanor

Chipo Chung

Bunny

Lashay Anderson

Plot Recap

The Woman Who Would Be Your Godmother – Etta, Byron, Benny, Mathilda, Pearl

For a little bit, we see Covey’s birth with Pearl right by Mathilda’s side, coaching her through what was rather a quick delivery. But what matters here is that Pearl nearly killed the newborn Covey with manchineel fruit. This fruit’s sap is so toxic that even a single drop can burn someone’s skin, and this is likely why Pearl, when Covey was on the verge of being wed, took note of this fruit as a means to potentially save her goddaughter.

But she isn’t the only one who offers peace and opportunity to a godchild. While never officially deemed a godmother, Bunny, whose birth name is Benedetta, after whom Covey named her child, would have been a godmother to her children.

Unfortunately, as history shows, Etta didn’t get the chance to be there for Eleanor’s kids, but she did become an accomplished swimmer and lived a good life. It isn’t clear if she ever found love and what she had beyond gaining accolades, as she warms up to the idea her best friend from childhood only recently died, and not 50 years ago, she takes on the role of an auntie with ease.

The Nine Night – Mabel, Etta, Byron, Benny

CCH Pounder as Etta
“CCH Pounder as Etta,” Black Cake | Season 1/ Episode 9 “Nine Night” | Directed by Zetna Fuentes | 2023 | Hulu

In Caribbean culture, per Etta, while there is a funeral for the body, the dupper, a person’s darkness, has its own funeral on the ninth night after a body’s death. That is when the regrets and negatives of a person’s life are to be burned, which offers a healing opportunity in many ways. It seems no one but Byron had it in them to see their mother in that open casket, but he also had time to prepare himself, including helping Eleanor make her last Black Cake.

As for everyone else? That wasn’t the case. For Mabel, this death adds to the complications of her life, which include the potential of her child’s father potentially being in another relationship while seeing her. A secret she is forced to hold since Paolo’s parents likely want nothing to do with her or Gio. So, to add on being the daughter of an assault and a tape Eleanor left behind for her that could allow her answers? It’s a lot.

Switching to Benny, as to be expected, while Mabel mourns the mother she never knew, Etta reconciles not getting to witness her friend become who she knew she could be, and Byron deal with having to be the strong one again, Benny focuses on how she lived in so many people’s shadow. Whether it is Byron, Mabel, or now Etta, this is her focus. That and how, with the funeral over, she expects everyone to be gone and her on her own again. This leads to sympathy coming her way and Benny being the type of little sister we know her to be.

It’s Not Good To Live In The Shadows – Mabel, Etta, Byron, Benny, Mr. Mitch, Gilbert

While it is acknowledged that Eleanor set a precedent of how keeping secrets is no way to live, not everyone takes that to heart. Yes, Etta reveals it was her who killed Little Man, using a concoction Pearl made. Also, with Mr. Mitch’s help, Byron seems ready to sue or formally call out his employer.

As for everyone else? We do learn Gilbert’s secret: he did show up to the reception but didn’t do anything for he didn’t know what to do. But, the reveals end there. Benny begins the process of moving on by singing a song dedicated to her maternal grandmother and Mabel? She is still committed to keeping her secrets close to the chest.

Adrienne Warren as Benny and Sonita Henry as Mabel
“Adrienne Warren as Benny and Sonita Henry as Mabel,” Black Cake | Season 1/ Episode 9 “Nine Night” | Directed by Zetna Fuentes | 2023 | Hulu

However, she does begin to listen to the tape her mother left especially for her, and it seems, like Etta, we should potentially expect what was left on those tapes to be revealed in season 2.

Other Noteworthy Information

  1. Lynette confesses she is pregnant but makes it seem she doesn’t foresee herself as a mother and may abort the child.

Review

Notable Performances or Moments

Eleanor Making Her Last Black Cake

In a weird way, the sweetness of Byron wanting to help his mother make a cake wasn’t just in a son wanting one last moment with his mother, but I think in Eleanor seeing a man, the man she raised, wanting to go out of his way to help. I don’t know if she ever got past the disappointment of her father not doing anything, and who knows how she felt about Gilbert being unable to do anything when it came to Little Man, aka Clarence. Yet, her son, a grown man, wants to save her from doing work since he knows she is weak and vulnerable.

Maybe the holidays have me deep in my emotions, but seeing those two had me crying.

Highlights

Bunny’s Love For Covey

The best parts of any episode of “Black Cake” deal with someone interacting with either Eleanor or Covey. When she is centered, whether she is physically present or not, that is the medium or connection that allows nearly any actor to flourish.

Case in point: Etta has no screen time with Eleanor alive, but Bunny does with Covey. Yet, whether it is Covey apologizing about shutting Bunny down after she confessed she was queer, Benny learning she was named after Bunny’s government name, or seeing Etta stepping in for Eleanor, pushing the idea her recording asked her to be a godmother, it’s impossible to deny Covey/Eleanor’s effect.

But, focusing on the Bunny half of it, you have to love that dynamic there. Both held some level of protection over one another. Yes, they grew up thinking men should be their advocates and protectors, but after a certain point, it seemed both realized that came at a price and was transactional. Also, when it really mattered, men didn’t show up and do what was needed.

So, in Covey offering to be a safe space, be the person who knew Bunny’s truth, and maybe not someone she could explore with, but at least not lie to, that was something. Which makes Bunny, when she learned of Pearl’s plan, hastening it so her friend could be safe, not go through a lie, or end up having sex with someone she didn’t like or love? All with knowing it could mean losing one of the only things, outside of swimming, that gave her a reason to live?

To me, that is the best example of ride or die that can be presented.

On The Fence

What A Second Season Could Look Like

Ashley Thomas as Byron and Adrienne Warren as Benny
“Ashley Thomas as Byron and Adrienne Warren as Benny,” Black Cake | Season 1/ Episode 9 “Nine Night” | Directed by Zetna Fuentes | 2023 | Hulu

Something about the lead character who started everything being dead, but there still being a ripple effect of her life, makes me think of “13 Reasons Why.” Which, for those who didn’t watch, was about a girl who decided to end her life but recorded multiple cassette tapes before, with each tape breaking down how someone’s decisions, or indecisions, led to her making her choice to no longer be here.

In my mind, “Black Cake” could potentially eek out a decent second season, as did “13 Reasons Why” as it goes into the tape left behind for Mabel, perhaps allows us to hear Etta’s tape, and get to know what happened in her life, and maybe expand the story beyond what Eleanor knew. This includes learning what happened to her mother, Mathilda.

But, as with this season, I fear her children could be a blight. Byron potentially suing his employer isn’t a bad storyline, but it isn’t a selling point. Nor is his relationship with Lynette that I feel, even with them adding details, won’t create much interest.

Then with Benny, nothing has changed for me. All this episode did was prove that Byron and Benny are two characters who, while I doubt they can be dropped, if they became small roles, this show could potentially flourish. Again, maybe not past a second season, but at least season 2 could stand a chance in season 1’s shadow.

Discussion Items

Let us know your thoughts in the comments:

  1. Out of all the stories that could be focused on in season 2, whose are you interested in?

Episode Directory

Previous Episode: Season 1/ Episode 7 (Series Page | Character Guide)


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Black Cake: Season 1/ Episode 9 "Nine Night" – Episode Review

Summary

Does a part of me wish season 1 had additional episodes to wrap up the storylines that are clearly being held over for season 2? Yes. However, as long as this show doesn’t get greedy, I feel that, even with Eleanor likely being diminished in a second season, this could potentially join the producers’ other hit programs that have truly left a mark on television and have earned their place in giving us beautiful depictions of lives rarely, if ever seen on television previously.

Overall
82%
82%
  • Eleanor Making Her Last Black Cake - 88%
    88%
  • Bunny’s Love For Covey - 84%
    84%
  • What A Second Season Could Look Like - 74%
    74%

Highlight(s)

  • Bunny’s Love For Covey
  • Eleanor Making Her Last Black Cake

Disputable

  • What A Second Season Could Look Like

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