P-Valley – Full Season 1 Review

Season 1

Episode Guide

Perpetratin’ -| Review Score – 3.5/5
Scars -| Review Score – 3/5
Higher Ground -| Review Score – 2/5
The Trap -| Review Score – 3/5
Belly -| Review Score – 3.5/5
Legacy -| Review Score – 3.5/5
Last Call for Alcohol -| Review Score – 4/5
Murda Night -| Review Score – 4/5

 

At first glance you’d be forgiven for writing off P-Valley as a sleazy drama about strippers. Although the first episode does serve up some intrigue, the writing slowly starts to slip into disappointing mediocrity. Unlike Hightown though, which failed to dust itself down and improve, P-Valley slowly grows into its role, oozing confident struts at every turn until the climactic finale. The result is something that feels like a prolonged lap dance; an encouraging good time that leaves you wanting more by the end.

Unsurprisingly, P-Valley revolves around a strip club in the Dirty Delta. Various girls from different backgrounds work in this Southern club carving out a living while dealing with their own personal grief. The two stars in the driving seat here come from queen bee Mercedes and new girl Autumn Night. The latter arrives under mysterious circumstances and certainly has some secrets she’s hiding from everyone. As we soon come to find out, trauma in her past has forced her into this line of work.

Mercedes meanwhile is on her way out from this trade. Having served her time, the first episode gears up for her final hoorah in the club but things don’t go to plan. Between her daughter being put up for adoption and her estranged Mother greedily gobbling up her funds, Mercedes is stuck with nowhere else to go. Joining them for this entourage is Keyshawn who has a baby to provide for. There’s also Gidget who lives in a trailer with her folks.

Along the way these girls are nurtured by Uncle Clifford, the cross-dressing beaut who runs the joint and keeps everything running swimmingly. Only, bills are piling up and Clifford may be forced to shut up shop sooner rather than later.

All of this melodrama is made worse by the arrival of businessman Andre. He’s working on behalf of the Mayor and trying to secure a deal for a new casino to take the place of the Pynk. Along the way though he finds temptation at every turn and eventually ends up conflicted over the job he’s been tasked to do.

There’s an awful lot going on here and the first half of the series spends a good deal of time just setting the foundations which does requite some patience to get through. There’s a lot of exposition delivered early on and it’s accompanied by a smattering of montage shots in the club. Thankfully the second half makes the wait worth persevering with and allows all of the main characters to shine.

Starz clearly had a lot of confidence in this production too, green-lighting this one early for a second season amidst a swathe of good reviews from other publications. While P-Valley doesn’t do anything outstanding or exemplary, it does tick all the right boxes to make it worth sticking with for the long haul.

Given the setting and tone of the piece, P-Valley has thick accents most of the way through the show. In that respect, it’s advisory to watch some of this with subtitles – especially if you’re not familiar with the Southern accent. P-Valley also does well to add some stylistic cues to the table including plenty of neon-lit sequences and musical montages throughout.

If you can go into this one with some patience, then P-Valley is worth your time. The 8 episodes build up layers of intrigue nicely and the drama intensifies into a big climax at the end. This leaves the door wide open for a second season and plenty of scope to expand on what we’ve seen. It’s not the best drama out there, but it is a diverse, decent slice of drama worth watching nonetheless.


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  • 7.5/10
    Verdict - 7.5/10
7.5/10

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