Dennis & Shurrie
After the trio of episodes last week, Wu-Tang: An American Saga returns for more of a stand-alone tale this week, one that explores the budding relationship between Shurrie and Dennis. With some slick editing and a nice back and forth between “then” and “now”, Wu-Tang fleshes out its characters’ lives in a compelling manner, despite a lack of clear plot progression on the music front.
Shurrie begins this week in the past, our “then” timeline that’s showcased throughout the episode. Here she rides the bus, watching a young girl flaunting her body in disdain. After being confronted about her disapproving look, she puts down the arrogant girl with a barrage of hard-hitting insults before returning home to study. It’s here we we see the very beginnings of her and Dennis’ relationship before cutting back to present day.
We then cut to see Divine take the deal and plead guilty to possession. After some deliberation, he grits his teeth and agrees to play along for the sake of his family. While Bobby heads out to try and find himself a job, especially since Christmas is fast approaching, Shurrie and Dennis continue to grow closer. It’s here Bobby returns from his venture out at Battery Park with an idea. Together with Dennis, they begin hustling and selling weed. As they make deals and manage to work their way up into the financial district, we cut back and forth between past and present before Bobby finally buys his drum machine and all seems to be moving in the right direction.
Interspersed around this is a fascinating, insightful segment involving Bobby playing chess with a man in the park. Using the chess pieces as a metaphor for his life, the man explains how to rewrite the pre-determined script and change your own destiny. As Bobby stares into the camera, the scene blends beautifully to his basement, with the words still ringing in his ears. It’s here he has inspiration and begins playing the beat he’s been working on during the episode. Heads nodding and feeling the music, the others start rapping along.
After seeing more of Dennis’ family life and Shurrie’s slow disinterest in studying, Dennis returns home to find his Mum in the bath and passed out, an empty bottle of liquor on the toilet. Scrambling to get her out, he phones Shurrie for help. While Dennis takes his Mum to hospital, as she heads over and cleans up the mess, she looks in a cracked mirror and begins crying, reminiscing on old times where she met Dennis without carrying books around for the first time.
Eventually Dennis returns home where he finds Shurrie on his sofa. As he sits with her, telling her his Mum will be okay and out in a few days, he curses his current lifestyle and situation, telling Shurrie he doesn’t want kids with handicaps and that she should be the smart one here.
While the episode recap this week is pretty brief, if I’m honest there isn’t a whole lot to write home about. As a stand-alone piece, Wu-Tang does well to flesh out our characters and given the dramatic rap battle at the end of last week’s episode, it’s actually a welcome change of pace. Seeing more of Dennis and Shurrie’s relationship and how that’s developed over time has been really interesting and given I know next to nothing about the Wu-Tang Clan beyond their music, it’s actually quite nice seeing a more straightforward slice of drama here.
Hopefully next week’s episode picks up though and we see more of the group’s prolific rise in the music scene but for now, Wu-Tang continues to impress with its latest episode.