Dear White People: Season 2/ Episode 4 “Chapter 4” – Recap/ Review (with Spoilers)

Coco's title card for her season 2 focused episode.
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Coco makes a new friend and puts tests that friendship with quite the task.


Network
Netflix
Director(s) Kimberly Peirce
Writer(s) Njeri Brown
Air Date 5/4/2018
Actors Introduced
Penelope Diamond White
Carson Rhodes Tyler James Williams

The Cultural Translator: Coco, Troy

Being that Troy is out of commission, or more so smoking, drinking, and giving many a white girl a Black experience, Coco has started to pick up his official and unofficial responsibilities. One of which includes speaking to Winchester’s white population and helping them understand the Black student populace. Especially in regards to rooming with them.

The Rise of Coco: Coco, Sam

Which leads to the rise of Coco which is something she always wanted, especially being head of CORE, but the racial unrest makes things just a bit difficult. “Dear White People” particularly makes things a pain for they say they got e-mails in which Coco and Sam planned the Davis building fire and now there is the question of how to clear their names, and the organizations they represent.

Sam telling Coco that she can't be neutral on a moving train, in regards to the issue of being accused, her and Coco, for all the issues on the Winchester campus.
“You can’t be neutral on a moving train.”

Sam’s idea is having this James Baldwin-esque guy, Carson Rhodes, coming to the school to assist. As for Coco? Honestly, she is a bit overwhelmed so to even fathom this divisive guy coming in, a Sam recommendation at that, using CORE’s money, since Sam’s Black Student Union has 0 funding, is a lot to think about. Especially since, as Coco has risen to head of CORE, she also learns she is pregnant.

Penelope: Coco, Kelsey

With learning she is pregnant, and having no real friends besides Muffy, who can’t be talked to about these matters, Kelsey is the only one Coco can turn to. Not necessarily by choice but because she is her roommate and discovers the pregnancy test. So, being that Coco is all about planning things and weighing her options, she plays out the first scenario of having the kid.

In this, she doesn’t end up with Troy but they do raise a pretty darn good daughter named Penelope. She is a happy child, smart, gets into Winchester and, from what it seems, will pick up from where Coco left off. On the other hand, though, Coco could have the life sucked from out of her, literally, and make it so she doesn’t have to vicariously live through her child.

During all this, Kelsey, despite her and Coco not meeting eye to eye, is supportive. She makes her tea for the pregnancy and while never really presenting abortion as the top option, when Coco decides to go to the clinic, she goes with her. A place where Coco decides she’ll be a mother at another time, with a man who she actually loves and has his stuff together.

Commentary

Coco mulling over the idea of having an abortion.
“Having a choice doesn’t make that choice any easier to make.”

The pro-choice stance often gets a lot of blowback as if women decide to get abortions left and right and it doesn’t truly affect them. As if it’s like getting a bikini wax. Awkward, a little uncomfortable, and can be quite expensive. Which makes Coco really wracking her brain about it so necessary. For could she have had the child and the child not live in poverty? Absolutely. Yet, the point of the pro-choice stance is to have the option of, no matter your socioeconomic stance, to bring a child into this world or not.

For, let’s just say Coco didn’t abort the baby. What we saw was an ideal that was formed in Coco’s head. One which had a hint of realism, like her and Troy not being together and Troy likely being with a white girl. But, at the same time, the one thing which wasn’t ideal was Coco’s life. She was an associate at a law firm. Not owner, not in the house of representative, not even working locally. After 18 years, she was an associate.

Something that, for many, wouldn’t be anything to sniff at but we’re talking Coco. Different standards have to be put in play. And I think her realizing that she, like her mom, would hit a sort of ceiling because she had a child young, she couldn’t do that to herself. Leading to what could seem like a selfish decision but again, we’re seeing the ideal – a snippet. There isn’t Coco grilling Penelope so she could have that GPA, Penelope letting loose since her mom isn’t watching her, nor Coco questioning if it was the best idea to have her kid, whether she is happy for herself, and etc. That’s all absent but factors you have to think about to eventually understand the decision.

Leaving the only thing left to wonder is how Coco is going to fix the unrest at Winchester.

Other Noteworthy Facts & Moments

  • Coco is 20 years old.
  • Kelsey is Trinidadian
  • Can we take note that while everyone else’s title card had their portraits, Coco looks Really pushing the idea that, unlike the rest, she isn’t taking baby steps but handling things head on perhaps?

Question(s) Left Unanswered

  1. So who is the one trying to really make sure the more militant, popular, or plain powerful Black students feel ostracized if not get expelled? If it is the Order of the X, who comprises them?
  2. Will Coco ever apologize to Lionel for throwing up on him?
  3. After going through all that together, will Kelsey and Coco form some kind of friendship?

Collected Quote(s) & .Gifs

You can’t be neutral on a moving train.

Having a choice doesn’t make that choice easier to make.

Highlights

  1. Abortion being handled as very complicated, somehow over the span of less than 30 minutes.
  2. Multiple showings of Black sisterhood. Primarily between Kelsey and Coco, who we’ve barely seen interact until this episode, as well as Sam. Someone who, even if it was a dream sequence, Coco figured would still have some type of positive feelings towards her so she’d want to say goodbye and note she would miss her.

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About Amari Sali 3219 Articles
New Jersey native Amari Sali takes the approach of more so being a media advisor than a critic to sort of fill in the gap left between casual fans of media and those who review productions for a living. Thus being open about bias while still giving enough insight, often with spoilers, to present whether something is worth seeing, buying, renting, streaming, or checking out at all.

2 Comments

  1. I love this show and am so glad they got a 2nd season to showcase these hard, complicated, issues that real women, especially young women, have to face and do not see often.

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