P-Valley – Season 1 Episode 3 Recap & Review


Higher Ground

P-Valley returns this week with another indifferent slice of drama as this Starz Original continues to deliver a formulaic series about strippers. There’s definitely some potential here – in particular characters like Keyshawn – but this character-driven study is sidelined in favour of an uninteresting story about a casino takeover.

Episode 3 of P-Valley begins with a man known simply as “Coach” receiving a private lap-dance from Mercedes. He promises her the world but she’s wise to this tactic and walks away. As he looks on dumbfounded, the rest of the girls head out and start dancing.

Autumn heads to the shop and gets herself a new wig to help her front-of-house. It seems to work too and the private dances see her rake in the cash. Mercedes is still not happy with her though and tuts as she passes her.

Uncle Clifford isn’t happy either and given Autumn has failed to deliver much information about the casino, he holds onto her ID as leverage. This causes problems when she finishes her shift, receiving a text message from Telex Mobile telling her to bring government ID for a cash pickup.

At the same time, Andre meets the Mayor and discusses the casino. Only, it turns out he’s actually the Mayor’s son and this moral high group shin-dig is starting to make more sense now. Given how prominent the church is in town, there’s a constant feel that the duo are flying pretty close to the sun.

Autumn eventually agrees to head out to a diner with Andre and start eating. When the rest of the girls from the club show up, Andre takes his leave. Before he does however, Autumn agrees to meet him again if he messages her.

Uncle Clifford heads up to meet Corbin at the farm. There, he asks who Andre is and learns the casino are trying to take their land. When Corbin mentions that money hits 10 million, he’s clearly impressed. He also evidently holds a secret over Corbin and walks away with this still hidden for now.

Mercedes visits her Mother at the church and asks about the money. Given she’s finally got the gym she wanted, her Mother agrees to write a check and hand it over the next day. On the back of this, Mercedes visits her girls after their rogue operation of encouraging people to twerk. As various members start to rebel, she punishes them with plenty of toe-touches for stepping out of line.

Back at the club, Keyshawn falls during practice. With a sprained wrist, she heads backstage where Diamond helps patch her up. There’s clearly chemistry between them but when Keyshawn’s baby starts crying, it breaks this up for now.

That evening, Autumn and Mercedes fight for dominance on the pole. Mercedes is not happy with her for jumping on the same pole though. As the dance ends, they head backstage where she confronts the young girl about what she’s doing.

Meanwhile, Lil Murda meets DJ Neva Scared and shows him the song he’s created. Although it has a good hook, the DJ tells him it’s not good enough as it nees to have some bounce that’ll get the girls moving. As they keep talking, he invites Lil Murda across to his house for dinner.

The next day, Autumn and Andre meet up and talk. Desperate to get some answers, Autumn manages to seduce Andre and gain access to his laptop. There, she finds the presentation for the casino and starts reading through to feed back to Clifford. As she gets looking, she also finds all the photos of herself and bolts. When Andre returns, he realizes what’s happening and curses his luck.

Back at the club, Autumn hands over the information she has for the casino. Only, that’s not the end of it and Clifford uses his leverage to make her do “one more thing” for him. After messaging Andre to meet him privately at the club, under the guise of this being Autumn, Andre shows up and finds himself face to face with Clifford.

Mercedes meanwhile finds a video of Terricka, one of the girls from practice, provocatively dancing and getting a bit wild with whipped cream. She heads straight to the house party and confronts the girl. It’s here we learn that actually Terricka is actually her daughter.

Unfortunately when her adoptive parents arrive they reveal that Terricka is off the team. Given they hold custody over her, there’s nothing Mercedes can do about it.

As the episode closes out, Autumn heads off with her ID in check and manages to withdraw the money just in time. As the cashier hands it over, she tells “Ms Savage” to have a good day. Autumn breaks the fourth wall, looks at the camera and smiles.

The Episode Review

The biggest problem with P-Valley comes from its overarching story. The casino plans just aren’t that interesting and compared to some of the slice of life issues going on with these girls, pales by comparison. This week we get nothing about the problems any of these girls are facing. Keyshawn’s abuse and struggles with a baby are sidelined completely and relegated to one scene.

Autumn gets a couple of seconds dedicated to her childhood trauma while Mercedes continues to exert her dominance at the club despite apparently wanting to get out.

That’s to say nothing about the uninteresting rapper trying to make a song for strippers rather than a record label or Andre’s struggles between his Father and affection for Autumn. All of this combines to produce a half-baked, half-cooked underbelly of something that’s in serious need of a rewrite to make it a more cohesive whole.

P-Valley isn’t the worst show of the year but it’s also far from the best either. Let’s hope the coming episodes improve.

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