Overview/ Review (with Spoilers)
Eva has a dinner party and because this show thrives on borderline ridiculous drama, naturally the evening gets ruined. Though partly by someone you wouldn’t expect to cause drama.
Topic 1: Power Dynamics (Jason & Eva)
To a certain point, it seems Jason is growing tired of being Eva’s secret. So, upon showing up to a fundraiser dinner party of Eva’s, uninvited, but as a guest of a professor, he is working as a TA for, Eva is rattled. What makes things worse though is Jason keeps trying to be sexual with Eva as she works the party and just to piss Eva off, when Sydney introduces herself, he humors her flirtations.
I want to say nice things about this show. I’m sure there are many who have great hopes for this show too. Not just HBCU college presidents who know this could possibly create false impressions of HBCU life but just as a viewer, who wouldn’t want something different? Who wouldn’t want to watch a highly educated Black woman run a college campus? That is, rather than the usual drama we get like with Jason. A boy who masquerades with a man just because he has some charm and knows how to move his hips.
Topic 2: Humanizing The Villains (Cecil Diamond and Carlton)
Cecil seems to have lung cancer and the only person in his life he is close to, well close enough to feel comfortable with being vulnerable, is a sex worker he meets once a week. For with him not speaking to his sister for a decade, he has no one else to worry about him. Much less maybe take care of him someday.
As for Carlton, with his plans of destroying Eva dead and Cecil talking about how he got his own plans, of which who knows if they may be put into action now, he thought about leaving. However, his loyalty to Georgia A&M is too strong. He got two degrees from that school and even when he left for a Ph.D., he returned just happy to work wherever they could put him.
The two most despicable men of this show are given one scene each to make you feel “So that’s why they are such pricks.” Both of which seem almost forced in a way. If only because, we are 4 episodes in and honestly, with them calling Eva a bitch and Carlton trying to use Sydney to takedown Eva, honestly it is going to take more than a cancer reveal and Carlton’s undying loyalty to the college to help swing things. Neither really helps to justify the way they act and it doesn’t make either seem like complicated figures. But, let us hope, maybe this attempt at giving these characters depth is but the appetizer to something we can take seriously.
Topic 3: A Ruined Dinner Party (Cedric, Sydney, and Noni)
Being that Cedric is still mourning, and not all that happy with Bryce’s dad making it seem he is doomed to be a hoodlum, he is not in the mindset which is appropriate for Eva’s party. Especially in terms of him repeating his introduction video. One which Bryce’s dad sees, pays attention for a moment, then begins rudely talking to someone during. Thus setting off Cedric and him calling out everyone in the room.
But while that might have seemed bad, Noni does so much worse. You see, being that Danny is becoming unbearable to deal with as the drum major, she decides to plant some seeds. She whispers how Danny is talking smack about the football team despite their recent win and talks to Danny about how the football players are making accusations that if a man puts an instrument in his mouth then who knows what else he would put in. Leading to, after Cedric’s moment is over, not too long after a fight between Danny and the members of the football team in attendance. All while Noni just giggles.
Leaving Sydney. For whatever reason, The Quad decides to pull a page from the Shonda Rhimes playbook and have some mysterious figure upload a video of Sydney being raped. A video circulated to all staff and students.
I had such grand hopes when Noni and Cedric were talking. I was thinking, “They’d make a cute couple. They’re both into music, ambitious, and kind of have chemistry.” Alas, Cedric instead decided to go off the deep end and flip out and embarrass Eva. Even after she was one of the few people to support Cedric. Even visited this negro in prison! I mean, let’s give Eva some credit. While I feel it isn’t something most college presidents would actually do, you have to give her credit for coming to your jail cell and publicly defending you on camera. Yet this is how you do her when she is just trying to help remind you of your dreams and aspiration. Be the lighthouse as you are drowning in the darkness.
Switching to Noni, I so badly wish this show was focused on her at times. I don’t know if it is the actress or character, but I feel so drawn to her at this point. I want to see her get back to the first chair, get the praise she craves from Diamond and gets herself a little boyfriend, girlfriend, or whatever. Also, I’d like to see her in class but this show isn’t about academics – at all. Unless it is about saying what people’s majors or GPAs are.
As for Sydney? I just roll my eyes at that storyline. Like Star getting smacked on Star and what we saw with Cecil and Carlton, I feel this rape storyline isn’t so much about defining consent or showing the ridiculous views of the college when it comes to rough sex vs. rape. It is more about softening a character who has been nothing but an ass since we met her. Which, let me note, I’m not saying was the writers’ intentions, but I do feel the way the whole rape was introduced through some mystery figure didn’t push the idea conversation was the point of this plot. Not like, say, Switched at Birth and how they handled the topic of consent.
Things to Note | Question(s) Left Unanswered
- Eboni we are told is alive and well.
- We learn Madison is an engineering major who graduated high school with a 4.3 GPA. Also that she is still having issues with Ron.