“Everyone’s Got Family” sets up an explosive finale as a last-minute development forces power to change hands.
This recap of Top Boy Season 1, Episode 9, “Everyone’s Got Family”, contains spoilers. You can check out our thoughts on the previous episode by clicking these words.
In “Everyone’s Got Family”, Dushane (Ashley Walters) manages to assassinate both Sugar in Jamaica and his right-hand-man in London, which begs an obvious question: If he could get to Sugar so easily, why didn’t he do so? Then again I suppose we wouldn’t have a show if he did, so let’s not quibble too much.
While Dris (Shone Romulus) is dropping his daughter off at school he’s approached by Jermaine (Ashley Thomas), who appeals to his desire to be a provider in offering him a large sum of money if he gives up Sully (Kane Robinson) — and even more, if he throws Dushane in too. Throughout the season Dris has been gradually sidelined thanks to his decreasing health — Jermain mentions that he’s had a stroke, though how he knows that is anyone’s guess — so it’s logical that he would take this deal.
Back at the hideout hovel, Sully and Dushane tell Lizzie to call Jamie (Micheal Ward) and arrange a meet; she does, for 11 pm that night. Top Boy Episode 9 is very much the calm before the storm — the kind of episode designed to tantalizingly tease an explosive finale. This meeting forms the ticking-clock device for most of “Everyone’s Got Family”, as we see Jamie agree to the meeting and Sully prepare the spot for his execution.
In seemingly minor happenings, Ats continues to behave weirdly and aggressively, while Sarah (Isla Jackson-Ritchie) and Lee, the local junkie couple, are assaulted by a bald white guy when snooping around for information on behalf of Summerhouse. Of much more significance are Jaq (Jasmine Jobson) and her sister Lauryn (Saffron Hocking); the former comes home to find the latter in hysterical tears, and she admits it’s because of Leyton’s (Kola Bokinni) death. Jaq puts two and two together and realizes that it was Lauryn who inadvertently gave the ZTs information about Summerhouse, including Dushane asking his brother for a loan and the fact that Sully would be at the crematorium. Knowing there’s no way Lauryn won’t be made to pay for this, Jaq frenziedly attacks her, telling her to leave and never come back.
On the subject of the ZTs, in Top Boy Season 1, Episode 9 they’re beginning to lose faith in Jaime’s leadership since he doesn’t have a plan to deal with the increasingly erratic Modie (David Omoregie). When Jaq tells Dushane about Lauryn, he tells Jaq to find her, but Shelley (Little Simz) calls and tells him she needs to see him immediately. Lauryn is there; Shelley wants Dushane to do the right thing, but he can’t let her betrayal slide. Later, he gives Jaq money to help Lauryn escape but tells her that she must remain gone or Sully will kill her.
“Everyone’s Got Family” once again finds Sully and Dushane having a heart-to-heart about their lives, with Dushane starting to smugly realize that he has the upper hand. Sully, though, sees things differently. He’s sure they’ll win this war, but equally sure there will be another war — and another, and another until it’s their time to lose. This circular pointlessness is at the heart of Top Boy, which has never glamorized its subjects in the way other, similar shows have.
As Jamie and Kit (Kadeem Ramsay) are leaving to meet with Lizzie, they’re stopped by Jermaine and Modie, who tell Jamie to get in the car. Together, they assault Sully and Dushane’s hideout, killing everyone besides their primary targets, who’re able to escape. Upstairs, they find Lizzie, and just in time for the finale, the balance of power shifts once again.