TV Series The Quad: Season 1/ Episode 9 "The Caged Bird Sings" -...
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The Quad: Season 1/ Episode 9 “The Caged Bird Sings” [Season Finale] – Overview/ Review (with Spoilers)

Sadly, in the last episode of the season, that is when The Quad seems to finally get its footing. In that, we see the perfect balance between everyday struggles of being in college or working at one, with the unfortunate soap opera drama people seem to crave.

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Sydney, Cedric, Ebonie & Noni – Steps In The Right Direction

During Eva’s first homecoming, Sydney, and the women who have been planning her to be the face of their protest, act. Thus leading to media attention against Terrence and Eva getting a massive amount of scrutiny. If only because, when Cedric was facing a murder charge, she was on his side. However, when Terrence is facing a rape charge, no support is given.

Switching to Cedric, we are reminded that this Chi-town kid isn’t just a talented rapper, but also is quite adept in other areas too. One being math. With that, he draws the attention of a young woman named Brolin [note]Spelling is likely wrong[/note]. Someone who volunteers to tutor at-risk youth in math and, since Cedric got a bit of swag to him, and he is the only one to get an A on the midterm + answer the extra credit question right, she asks him to join her. Something he does, with hesitation, and perhaps rightfully so. For while he connects well with the majority of the youth, he doesn’t understand how to properly deal with a problem child. Yet, him apologizing and that brain of his, it is a turn on for Brolin and it seems we may be seeing more of her next season.

Leading to the question, what about Ebonie? Well, it seems her and Cedric will remain cool as they are, but perhaps not as cool as they sometimes seem capable of. But, don’t worry about Ebonie since Noni may need to be the one who deserves your sympathy [note]even though her sob story may make you roll your eyes[/note]. For, so she makes it seem, Ebonie is the first real friend she had. In school she was bullied since she was the girl with comic books, her mom didn’t support her being different, so Ebonie was her first real friend. Hence why she set up Danny and even screwed over Diamond to get back at him.

Commentary

I’ll admit, for the first time since the arc began, there was something authentic about Sydney and the rape storyline. Albeit, it more so came from Coach Hardwick’s handling of it than Sydney. However, you can’t discount her place in the arc. With that said, though, when it comes to Sydney, I feel less is more and while this storyline is about her, it seems to be done better when she isn’t lifting the heavy load.

Then, when it comes to Cedric, I like the fact he is working with this girl and they’ll be working with youth. If only because it hasn’t necessarily been made clear what anyone’s major is, besides Ebonie and Noni, so seeing him possibly learn he loves to teach is excellent. Especially in terms of representation of Black men and women taking an interest, and being good at math. Which I don’t say from some respectability politics or only repping the positive standpoint. If anything, it just leads me to hope noting Cedric aptitude for math and seeing him in a classroom environment may lead to the show bring more storylines to the classroom. For if there is one major thing this show could do better is make the classroom, and the discussion which happen in it, a more central focus. For that could help with the unfortunate social responsibility this show has since there aren’t any other [note]not including web series[/note] shows featuring Black college students on a Black majority campus.

Leaving Noni and Ebonie. Now, being that Noni we don’t see hang out with her peers like Cedric or BoJohn [note]Someone who, I should note, has a rather good episode. One which doesn’t lead him to finally asking Tiesha out, but perhaps baby steps. Though, all things considered, I’m surprised she, much less Junior, are all talking to each other after what happened in the last episode.[/note] does, it has been established she doesn’t really have friends. Yet, I do feel that over the course of 8 episodes that could have been more firmly established. It would have been nice to see her have tried, maybe look into clubs, rather than spring this whole “I did what I did to Danny, and even Diamond, to get back at Danny for what he did to you Ebonie.” For while it makes sense she would go above and beyond for someone, especially with her noting her mom wasn’t’ that supportive of her being a geek, it did come off low-key crazy.

Mind you, it wasn’t on some Gone Girl level, but she played a long game to screw with Danny and risked a whole lot. Making it where, as much as you kind of want to go “Awe” at the same thing you have to question how crazy Noni may actually be. Much less, is Ebonie cool with having a crazy friend like that? [note]I think I should add, as the episode comes to an end we see Ebonie, Noni, and a bunch of girls having a good old time. Are we supposed to believe Noni didn’t know any of them and couldn’t have hanged out with at least one over the season? That scene sort of took away from her pity party moment.[/note]

Eva and Carlton – Same BS, Different Day

As Briggs’ people do their audit, they find inconsistencies with the discretionary fund for the President’s office. With that, Eva knows between Carlton and her predecessor, someone is setting her up to be fired. Something she doesn’t plan to do since 4 other women in her position got let go from an HBCU and she has no intentions of being the 5th.

Commentary

I wish that Carlton’s love for the college would put an end to his hate for Eva. It was funny and comical at first, but now I can’t even say if I love to hate Carlton or just think he is a liability on the show. Though, if we were to be completely honest, outside of Diamond, no faculty or staff member on this show, whose storylines doesn’t revolve around the students’ problems, has been portrayed as an asset. Eva’s issues with her husband, her relationship with Sydney, or Jason, honestly have not been assets to the show at all. If anything, it made pushed the show to seem more fractured in a way.

What I mean by that is, this show has a handful of groups and each group is barely connected to one another besides they all either working or going to school together. With that, storylines like Eva’s which barely connect to the school, it ostracizes them and causes a disconnect. What does Eva’s divorce have to do with the school? Do we really need to see her bicker with Sydney, much less Sydney just be a brat? Do we really need another Black woman who someone’s definition of being messy and complicated is her sexuality? [note]Can I just say, as tantalizing as it was to see Anika Noni Rose on that pole, I am having a difficult time understanding why in the hell that was done.[/note]

This is in comparison to Diamond who, while he enjoys his own personal development, you can connect it to his job at the school. He works so hard to prove his father wrong and mentor kids so that they get the positive influence and reinforcement he never did. Being that he worked so hard he ended up not having kids, some of them he mentors and treats like they are his son or daughter. With these two characters, you see the right and wrong way of developing one character yet still having them part of what is the central focus – Life at an HBCU.

Terrence, Jason, and Danny – Some Dogs Do More Than Bite

For the men listed above, disappointment is all they receive. For Terrence, he loses Coach Hardwick as an ally in the fight against the rape allegations; Jason’s proposal to Eva is given a swift no, since she doesn’t think she wants to be married again; and as for Danny? Well, he tries to create a trial to defend himself and put Noni in the crosshairs but Diamond doesn’t want to hear all that. Danny was given a job to do and he failed so even if Danny extended his time at the college to be the drum major another year, that was his decision and letting Diamond’s hard work get leaked was his mistake.

Thus leaving us with a verbal threat from both Danny and Jason, but Terrence goes beyond that. He does an action. However, rather than act against anyone else, he instead shoots himself and is pronounced dead when we see him.

Commentary

It is going to be really interesting to learn what Danny and Jason’s payback will be. Jason has more leverage over Eva than Danny has on Diamond, but let’s not forget Diamond has had potential legal issues in the past. That storyline got buried early on, but there have been problems in the past that Danny can bring back to light. As for Jason, all he has to do is reveal Eva is sleeping with a student and there you go. Plus, as noted during the divorce proceedings, it seems he is getting a decent bit of money in the graduate program which could be a red flag.

Though I gotta admit, Jason getting a ring and all that seemed a bit much. She barely wants to talk to you about what is going on in her life yet you think a ring is going to fix that? I get him being young is supposed to mean he is naive, but you’d think they wouldn’t make him into a dumb love struck puppy. Especially when it has been seen the boy does have some form of emotional intelligence at times.

Now, as for Terrence, I must admit I’m torn about his suicide. It is a plus since it could effectively kill that storyline, but so comes the question if suicide may become the arcing PSA in the next season. That, alongside whether or not everyone should care about his suicide because of what he was accused of. Something that is going to likely be a complicated topic for Eva and Coach Hardwick since, while neither thought of him as innocent, suicide wasn’t the type of justice either one wanted.

Collected Quote(s)

The greats mold themselves in the fire of their will.

It’s a sin for you to not thank god for his blessings just because he did it in a way you wouldn’t have thought.

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