“Higher Ground” fleshes out the show’s overarching narrative and continues to develop its central characters, even as some peripheral players begin to fall into the cracks.
This recap of P-Valley season 1, episode 3, “Higher Ground”, contains spoilers. You can check out our spoiler-free season review by clicking these words.
Appearances are everything, at least for Autumn Night, and as P-Valley episode 3 opens we see her pick out a new wig that drastically increases the money she’s making from private dances. It should be a benefit, but Autumn is in the bad books of both Mercedes, because of their professional rivalry, and Uncle Clifford, because she’s hasn’t managed to turn up much concrete information from Andre about the planned casino project. Clifford is still holding onto her ID, and without it, she can’t carry on as normal.
Thus, “Higher Ground” sees Autumn getting closer to Andre – who is the mayor’s son – despite interference from the other girls, who interrupt their diner date. But Andre is evidently smitten with Autumn, who agrees to meet up with him again, obviously scheming.
While Autumn works Andre directly, Clifford digs up information on him too and discusses how potentially lucrative the casino deal is with Corbin. Very few conversations occur in P-Valley episode 3 that don’t also imply many more words left unsaid; it’s difficult to tell, at this point, quite who has leverage over whom, and what specific shape it might take.
Some on-going subplots get a little development in “Higher Ground”, especially regarding Mercedes and her mother, who agrees to write her a check, Keyshawn and Diamond – the latter helps the former out when she sprains her wrist and they have clear chemistry – and Lil Murda, whose continuing efforts to go big continue to be intimately tied to The Pynk. We also learn that one of the girls Mercedes coaches, Terricka, is her daughter and is a bit off the rails, but her adoptive parents pull her from the team.
Autumn takes a big step in this episode by seducing Andre in order to peek at his laptop. After sending him out for condoms, she investigates the casino presentation and also stumbles upon pictures of her – she leaves immediately, leaving the telling image open so that when Andre returns he knows exactly what she has discovered.
Autumn delivers this information to Clifford, who still isn’t satisfied, and meets with Andre personally using Autumn as a lure. This at least earns Autumn her ID back, meaning she can withdraw her money just in time for P-Valley season 1, episode 3 to close.
As the show devotes more time to its overarching casino plot, you can see how it has perhaps too many characters for them all to be given equal screen-time. Keyshawn seems underserved in “Higher Ground” with only a single scene, despite being a compelling presence, but Autumn and Mercedes continue to have fleshed-out arcs that are developing nicely. Hopefully, as P-Valley progresses it’s able to find a more even balance, but the stuff that’s good here is really good and remains very compelling.
Jonathon is the Co-Founder of Ready Steady Cut and has been Senior Editor and Chief Critic of the outlet since 2017.