“Scars” continues to flesh out a fascinating world and cast of characters as financial strife – among other things – threatens more than ever.
This recap of P-Valley season 1, episode 2, “Scars”, contains spoilers. You can check out our spoiler-free season review by clicking these words.
In P-Valley episode 2, the title of “Scars” proves both literal and figurative as the core characters begin to be carefully developed alongside the Pynk itself, a cultural oasis with its own responsibilities and woes. Some might confuse the show’s patient approach with a lack of real drama, but it’d be a mistake to do so – the details, minor relationships, and intricacy of the setting provide a great deal of substance, and patiently building this framework early can only be fruitful for Starz’s engaging drama going forwards.
The Pynk’s financial issues remain pressing in “Scars”, and Uncle Clifford is in an eye-watering amount of debt, so the renewed efforts to accumulate some dough form the episode’s spine. There are multiple ways in which this manifests and all tie into various on-going character subplots. The confluence of these personal dramas with the broader cultural context is where P-Valley gets its depth.
For instance, we begin to see how Uncle Clifford navigates relationships with personal acquaintances in Corbin, employees in Big L, and important local players in the Chucalissa Mayor; her relationships tend to be testy, but all have some utility, with the Pynk at the center of it all. We also get further snatches of Autumn’s backstory, and her current woes, as Uncle Clifford demands that she provides ID in order to work there. Her past is very much a mystery, and the fact she’d rather keep it secret is known to everyone, but while Clifford is willing to give her some time, she won’t budge on the issue.
P-Valley episode 2 also finds Mercedes continuing to grapple with her deceitful, money-hungry mother, whose demand for contributions – mirrored by her church pastor – is obviously an obstacle for the entrepreneurial dancer, who has just bought a new practice space for her dance team. We’re also – while Autumn digs into the backgrounds of various recovered IDs – given a more lingering look at Andre’s planned development project, which will displace The Pynk in favor of a casino.
Some things come to a head at a provocative money-raising car wash where Clifford has a personal encounter with the mayor and Autumn has another episode involving her past, this time a flashback to some kind of incident in a submerged car. She’s taken home by Mercedes but is cagey about her living arrangements, for obvious reasons, though she at least progresses in presenting a fake ID to Clifford, but more on that in a bit.
It’s Lil Murda, of all people, who comes up with a decent idea for encouraging the clientele to spend more money in the club – cooking the chicken wings in cannabis butter. Turns out music isn’t his only talent, but nobody gets something for nothing in “Scars”, and this favor will have to be returned in time.
Once Andre arrives at the Pynk, the casino plot begins to take on much more prominence. Corbin has ownership of the land but wants to lease it as a long-term venture with Andre, who just wants to facilitate a sale. He rejects the offer, but Autumn is present throughout their meeting, eavesdropping, which factors into her own plot when she presents her fake ID to Clifford, who sees straight through it. Unscrupulously leveraging the authority position, Clifford assigns Autumn the task of uncovering what’s going on with the casino plans – a lovable mother hen Clifford might be, but there’s much more to the character than that, evidently.
Flexing the freedom of being on Starz rather than network TV, Andre is seduced into explicit phone sex with Autumn, a sequence that goes on for quite some time, while Mercedes confronts her mother about her greed and demands the money she has taken back. P-Valley season 1, episode 2 ends with Clifford discovering a Lil Murda mixtape in her car, which suggests their transactional relationship is going to continue for a while at least.
That word, transactional, is key to “Scars”, which paints an unflattering portrait of a community in which everyone needs something from someone else, and it always comes at a cost. With various intriguing character subplots continuing to develop and a fascinating social hierarchy emerging, Starz’ drama is emerging as one of the most fascinating and engaging shows airing right now.
Jonathon is the Co-Founder of Ready Steady Cut and has been Senior Editor and Chief Critic of the outlet since 2017.