P-Valley season 1, episode 4 recap – “The Trap”

August 2, 2020
Jonathon Wilson 0
Starz, TV Recaps


“The Trap” proves to be another typically strong episode of P-Valley, promoting safe sex, saving money, and grabbing life by the pole.

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“The Trap” proves to be another typically strong episode of P-Valley, promoting safe sex, saving money, and grabbing life by the pole.

This recap of P-Valley season 1, episode 4, “The Trap”, contains spoilers. You can check out our thoughts on the previous episode by clicking these words.

“The Trap” is in large part about Mercedes, who was supposed to enjoy her grand send-off in P-Valley episode 4 and ended up being reduced to her lowest point yet – and it shouldn’t come as much of a surprise who led her there. Nevertheless, there was much more to the episode than that, so let’s dive in.

We open with a tight-fisted customer worrying about the girls degrading themselves, but he’s quick to pony up the dough when he’s grasped by the gullet. Sometimes, folks, it’s best to keep your opinion to yourself, which is advice that many characters in this show would do well to follow.

One of the characters who is particularly reticent to keep anything to themselves is Mercedes, which is probably why she’s relying on her mother to babysit a cheque for twenty grand that she needs to use as a down-payment on her new gym; she has twenty-four hours – tick, tock – to gather the funds, and isn’t taken particularly seriously by the owner of the lot when she proposes a subscription model for the classes.

Autumn is carelessly bandying money around in P-Valley episode 4, too, but she’s doing it under a fake ID at least. It’s funny to see her give a blasé explanation of how strip club punters love the new girls and then immediately be given pole lessons from Gidget. It’s also funny to see her framing Andre’s picture of her in his presentation as though he’s in love with her when he also has pictures of Uncle Clifford – something that Clifford is quick to remind her about. News of the casino plans is beginning to spread among the girls in “The Trap”, and not all of them have been putting pennies away as Mercedes has. They see her moving on to pastures new as conveniently jumping ship, and also a bit condescending.

Speaking of which, when Mercedes’s mother, Patrice, gets up singing at church, Pastor Gilford has to forcefully remind her that women have no place in the pulpit. This, as it happens, gives her a bright idea, but we’ll address it later.

Complex mother-daughter relationships are something of a recurring theme in P-Valley episode 5 since when Autumn approaches Andre about the pictures, they end up having a nasty argument and he brings up her own child, which is a sore spot, to put things mildly. She has an emotional breakdown and he takes her home, where they seem to reconcile a little. How their relationship will progress is anyone’s guess.

Everything comes together at Mercedes’ Last Dance, supposedly a big money-spinner, according to Uncle Clifford, but Mercedes is much too distracted by trying to get in touch with Patrice so she can make the deposit on time. This isn’t the only fractious relationship in “The Trap”. Lil Murda, who gets into it with Diamond before eventually assaulting his partner, gets thrown out of the Pynk and left to stew outside while Keyshawn takes to the stage as a last-minute replacement for Mercedes.

The big tragedy of P-Valley season 1, episode 4 is when Mercedes arrives at the lot she learns that her gym is no longer for sale – someone else has beaten her to put down the deposit, and it’s Patrice, who has been told by God to open her own church where she can preach to her heart’s content. Naturally, she has used Mercedes’s money to do it and shattered her dreams in the process. Unable to contain her frustration with Patrice any longer, Mercedes attacks her.

“The Trap” closes with a striking final sequence that juxtaposes Keyshawn’s performance with Lil Murda and Uncle Clifford having sex in the latter’s office. The scene is even responsible enough to promote safe sex! As Keyshawn, having taken Mercedes’ advice and ultimately position, is covered in dollar bills tossed by an adoring crowd, Mercedes is taken away by the police.

It’s a sad ending, if a predictable one, since most of us have been waiting since the first episode for exactly this moment – or at least one very similar to it. But Keyshawn taking center stage is a nice surprise and feels like the right decision for the character at this point. How will her newfound confidence clash with her abusive relationship and responsibilities as a mother? I guess we’ll see.

Either way, “The Trap” closes with a lot up in the air.

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