While Eva’s storyline continues the network TV drama, Cecil gets to step forward and with that, you get a show which has some sense of heart. To the point, you almost wish they would retool this show for a possible season 2.
Episode Focus: Battle of the Bands/ Songs of My Youth (Cecil, Noni, and Danny)
With the Black Collegiate Battle of The Bands coming, Cecil is looking to maintain his band’s crown and to make sure that prize money comes home. However, an alumni of GMU, and Cecil’s band, is looking to take the crown. Mr. Taylor, head of the marching band of Southwest Delta University is planning to take down the man who denied him a band leader spot.
Did I mention by any means necessary? You see, because Cecil recognizes his competition, he decides to write an original song. One which he feels he can connect and heal old wounds with his sister Cynthia about. However, be it through Noni or Danny, Mr. Taylor gets the song. Now, Noni, when Mr. Taylor walks on campus, she denies the opportunity to screw Cecil over. However, that wouldn’t stop her from trying to screw Danny over. Especially since he makes it seem a hazing event is planned for when the battle of the bands is over.
However, with Cecil going after Mr. Taylor, he learns that his song was stolen and since he put it in Danny’s hands, he blames him and almost gets rough with him. Luckily, his fellow majors keep a fight from happening but Danny decides to go. Not before Noni reveals she was the one who screwed him over, though. But, in the end, she probably screwed herself. Not just because she added fuel to the fire but it seems the stress of having to change to “Before I Let You Go” and all that is happening with his cancer, it sends Cecil over the edge – literally. He gets dizzy and falls face first and the episode ends with blood coming from his mouth and nose.
Everything about Cecil and Noni’s storyline is what keeps me coming back week after week. Cecil being this guy fully capable of being an ass, but only in defense of his band. For, honestly, it is all he has so naturally he is going to defend his position and the kids in there. They are his cubs, the closest thing he will have to children, and what he has dedicated his life to. Hell, they are probably his means of trying to get redemption for what he didn’t do for his sister growing up.
Making the whole situation with Mr. Taylor something else. Not only because Mr. Taylor was one of Cecil’s band members, but because he stole from him. This young buck pulled a ridiculously dirty move and it may have contributed to putting a nail in Cecil’s coffin.
But, Cecil aside, for I doubt they can kill him off and keep this show compelling, you also got Noni. This nice girl has been digging a hole for herself for a while and, to be honest, I think the drama Sydney is going through may quickly and easily be eclipsed by what Danny may do to Noni [note]Speaking of the Sydney drama, Terrence approaches Madison thinking she can help change Sydney’s testimony. At the same time, one of the people who want to hold Terrence accountable is trying to use Madison to get Sydney to be at their rally. Which is basically her whole story at this point. I wonder what happened to the boy she was obsessed with. Oh, my bad, I forgot she is a token.[/note]. Hell, at this point, it makes me wish this show didn’t have this murder or rape plot for it would make it so what Danny may or may not do could be hard to fathom. Yet, with both plots explored, what happened to Ebonie probably will be child’s play in comparison to what may happen to Noni. Especially since it seems she hasn’t made a single friend since joining the band. [note]On that thought, I wonder if Ebonie may come back[/note]
Subplot 1: An Orchestrated Take Down (Derek, Carlton, and Eva)
Carlton is still trying to take down Eva and it seems her divorce from Dereck may give him the material he needs. For with Jason having a nice setup for a grad student, so comes the idea that those funds aren’t just coming out of Eva’s pocket but her using the school’s budget. With that, Eva seems to be on the ropes and may have to give into Derek’s $20,000 a month spousal support.
That is if she was a punk. For despite this accusation, Eva refuses to give what she already has to – which is her dream house. So expect that to get nasty, especially since Derek isn’t backing down and Eva hasn’t gotten past Derek calling her the name of his ex or giving her his ex’s things [note]I should note said ex-died due to a botched abortion.[/note]
While I adore Anika Noni Rose, unfortunately, she doesn’t have that oomph to really command this show and make it her own. Which isn’t me denying her talent at all, it is just, this show doesn’t feel suited for her. I mostly will say it is the writing of her character. It seems very much like the usual drama written for Black women on television and Rose just doesn’t slip into that character with ease. Her combating with her husband and being petty? These men and the board of the college facing off with her? Then, on top of that, the rape storyline, it just doesn’t work well with her persona.
Now, as for what would work for her? I can’t say. To me, this show, at best, can be chalked up to her gaining experience vs. her true coming out party.
Subplot 2: BoJohn Stands Up To His Dad (BoJohn, Ben, and Tiesha)
As has been established, BoJohn’s father wants to make money off of his son. So, naturally, he is trying to make lucrative deals with colleges that he, and in extension BoJohn, can take advantage of. However, with BoJohn making friends, like Junior, and getting a crush, like Tiesha, he isn’t looking to uproot himself. Something which pisses off his dad enough to punch BoJohn and give him a black eye. However, Junior steps in before any more swings can be dealt. For while Ben doesn’t have the football player build, he has no problems going after his son. Someone Junior’s size, though? Nope. [note]I should also note Ben is racist[/note]
Let me admit, I’ve come around when it comes to BoJohn. I don’t know if it is because I enjoy Tiesha or even Junior. Heck, maybe it is because BoJohn’s storyline became about more than racial tension? Either way, I feel invested and would love to see more of him, his family, and his friendships. Now, if only they could work on Madison…