The penultimate episode of the final season is one that offers plenty of food for thought with the narrative surrounding football becoming secondary.
This recap of Netflix series Last Chance U season 5, episode 7, “New Oakland” contains significant spoilers.
How does Last Chance U season 5, episode 7, “New Oakland” open?
Episode 7 opens up with a police lieutenant discussing the changes in Oakland and how some violent behaviours in the area used to be normalised. He states that a lot of people do not like the New Oakland, but he likes how people can walk down the streets and feel safe. He recognises that some people do not know where they fit in New Oakland but the Old Oakland is not in his interests — the crime Oakland. Episode 7 is more about the changes to Oakland rather than the football.
Social media for the coach
Coach Beam asks one of his coaches to manage his social media accounts and he’s surprised at the ‘internet world’ out there. Episode 7 states that Beam is still relying on the old lingo from the 90s. There’s always this sense in Season 5 that Coach Beam feels slightly tired of the new world he lives in.
You are battlers
Coach Beam briefs the team and recognizes that they battle despite their record. He highlights that the team is their own worst enemies — “You are not ultimate competitors, man”. He tells the team to work their asses off and let’s see what happens. The team has a chance with the last three games that are winnable to make the play-offs.
Last Chance U Season 5, Episode 7 explores policing and black people; Beam brings in Fred Shavies from the police department to explain the history of the blue uniform. Coach Beam is prepping the players for their future as Shavies explains his perspective of being a young black man.
Where to play next
The players always discuss playing in Division 1 but Coach Beam says they are not interested in that; the focus is where the players can play. It’s getting to that stage where players need to consider where they go next. Dior wants to really play in Division 1 but Nu’u seems content in Division 2. RJ Stern thinks he’s a good enough player. Like the previous seasons, these players are hungry.
Not changing in a good way
One of the Homeless Advocates talks about how Oakland is changing but not in a good way with greedy landlords that don’t cater to those who are unfortunate. It’s clear that gentrification has had positives and negatives in Oakland. Episode 7 senses an imbalance in progress where improvements have negative consequences. It’s a “money is always going to win” type of narrative.
The working class doesn’t fit
Investment in the city has pushed the housing market through the roof with the big ‘tech boom’ also a factor. New Oakland doesn’t seem to cater to the working class with a large population of the African American population moving out. This is a typical narrative of gentrification and it is culturally tragic.
How does Last Chance U season 5, episode 7, “New Oakland” end?
In the next game, Laney continues making mistakes with the coach getting frustrated with the offensive players. A fight starts as one of the players, Timmy, throws a punch and he’s disqualified. They think he didn’t want to play. At half time, Coach Beam says that they are giving the opposition points. In the second half, plenty of points are scored by both teams but Laney comes out on top. Episode 7 ends with narrations on Oakland — how they want it to be better for everyone, including the homeless. The penultimate episode of the final season is one that offers plenty of food for thought with the narrative surrounding football becoming secondary.
Daniel Hart is the Co-Founder of Ready Steady Cut and has operated as Editor-in-Chief since 2017.