P-Valley – Season 1 Episode 4 Recap & Review

The Trap

P-Valley returns this week with a bit more plot development and an intense focus on Mercedes throughout the 51 minute episode. While the show continues to fall into the trap of failing to show the past for our characters, there’s just enough to whet the appetite and come back for more next week – especially after the ending!

Episode 4 of P-Valley begins after an altercation with Keyshawn and a customer front-of-house. Big L certainly makes his presence felt as Mercedes gives her co-worker some advice. However, Mercedes bites right back and holds her own against the veteran.

In the aftermath of this, Mercedes pitches an idea of a subscription model for her gym class to the lease-owner of the lot she wants to buy. Given how risky it is, the woman tells Mercedes she has 24 hours to cough up the down-payment. She also advises she change the model to $250. “Dreams are expensive,” She says before turning to leave. The money she needs comes from her Mother of course, who picks up the cheque for $20,0334.58 and drives away. For now, it looks like she’s making good on her promise.

Autumn heads back to the club after depositing more money and receives pole lessons from Gidget. When Keyshawn shows up with her kid, Clifford makes his presence known and takes Autumn aside. As they leave, whispers are exchanged between Keyshawn and Gidget over the upcoming casino plans.

In his office, Autumn and Clifford discuss Andre and the pictures he has of her – and also of Clifford too. As the scene skips across to Andre himself, we see him using these as leverage to pitch his way into getting the casino up and running.

During the board meeting, he tells Bill that they have a small problem. That problem coming from Uncle Clifford finding out about the casino plans. However, with the Pink being close to closing, Andre suggests they pay him off. Bill and the Mayor though are having none of it.

The Promised Land can only go ahead at the current price and Bill has no intention of negotiating With this lucrative offer off the table, the Mayor instead decides to give the Pink 2 weeks before closing it down. In that time they can draw up a “special” expedite that’ll speed up the process of getting Clifford and his girls kicked out. Given the money he owes, this looks like a difficult position for Clifford to be in.

Later that day, Mercedes leaves a message for her Mother but continues to reach a voicemail. It turns out she’s actually up at church singing infront of everyone. Sister Patrice is put in her place by Pastor Gilfield though, who reminds her a woman has no place singing and expressing herself like that in his church. In no uncertain terms, he tells here that if she can’t abide by the rules, she’ll have to find herself another church.

The issues with the Pink spreads all the way backstage as tensions threaten to bubble over. With Mercedes on the way out the door after 7 years, the rest of the girls accuse her of jumping ship in the wake of the casino issue.

That evening, Andre is approached by Autumn who immediately berates her for digging into his computer and spreading the files about the casino. Autumn admits that she wanted to be with him but Clifford also needed to know they were being screwed over.

Andre knows exactly what to say to get under her skin too and mentions her daughter. As she screams expletives at him,the scars are just too much and she breaks down in tears.

In the morning, Autumn wakes up and finds Andre watching from the other side of the room. He apologises to her as she looks at his ring and tells him his wife is lucky. Pushing her thoughts aside, Autumn continues her scene by donning numerous different wigs and looks while depositing $9000 dollars each time at various different Telex pick-up points.

That evening, Mercedes’ Last Dance gets underway and Clifford lets Lil Murda in after a rude welcoming from Big L. Mercedes arrives too and continues to struggle getting through to her Mother on the phone. With time slipping away and the lease on the verge of being given to someone else, Mercedes struggles to hold onto her strength. That same strength, ironically, is what Keyshawn admires in Mercedes the most.

Out on the floor, hostilities between Mane and Lil Murda grow as the former mentions him unable to follow “the code.” This causes them to stew while sitting on the other side of the room from one another. Eventually it’s too much and Lil Murda winds up fighting with his partner, causing him to get thrown out the club.

Hostilities grow backstage too as Autumn and Mercedes continue to verbally spar right the way to the end. “Don’t get cut trying to climb on the way back in,” Autumn venomously tells Mercedes as she leaves out the door. 

Having finally got through to her Mother, she heads up to the lot and learns to her despair that the lot is no longer for sales. Someone else has got there first and put an offer in… and that person is Patrice. Mercedes’s mother has put the money down for her new church and stolen Mercedes’ money to do so. Unable to hold onto her strength any longer, Mercedes grabs her Mother and starts beating her down to the ground.

Back at the club, the crowd grows restless as Mercedes ends up as a no-show. Instead, Keyshawn offers herself up as entertainment while Lil Murda’s song plays in the background. As Lil Murda sneaks in the back to Clifford’s office, the pair wind up having sex while money rains down around Keyshawn.

As the episode closes out, a teary-eyed and bruised Mercedes is taken away by the police while her Mother leaves in another car.

The Episode Review

Poor Mercedes, her Mother has finally shown her true colours and they’re certainly far from pretty. What a horrible, backstabbing act and there’s no way to salvage their estranged relationship now. The gym was Mercedes’ sanctuary and a way out of this stripper life, which Patrice has just snatched away from her.

Keyshawn returns this week though with more screen-time but we also don’t see an awful lot of her past or the mental anguish of juggling being a Mother and a stripper. In fact, this early season  anguish for a lot of our main characters is something that’s really lacking at the moment, minus Mercedes of course. Despite the looming threat of the casino, a lot of the drama this week is piled onto her final night at the club.

Given the open ending we receive, it remains to be seen what the fall-out will be from Mercedes’ no-show. For now, the show leaves the door wide open for the future episodes.

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