Jace is put in a difficult position in “24-Hour Person”, and has to figure out how to be both a friend and a teammate.
This recap of Swagger season 1, episode 5, “24-Hour Person”, contains spoilers.
At the end of last week’s episode, it was obvious that Crystal was going to confess to Jace that something had happened between her and her coach; that, in one way or another, she had been assaulted and violated by him. In my recap of that episode, I speculated what the revelation might mean for both Crystal and Jace. “24-Hour Person” provides at least one concrete answer to that question: Nothing good. By the end, Jace has made a decision that might cost him everything. But he had to do something. He had to be a 24-hour person.
Swagger season 1, episode 5 recap
The title of this episode comes from a tattoo Ike has depicting something his father used to talk about a lot. A 24-hour person is someone who is dependable all the time. It might work in a basketball context, but it applies to life, generally. Jace has to be there for his team, but he also has to be there for his best friend, especially since she has opened up to him and nobody else. Crystal trusts Jace with everything. But in trusting him enough to tell him what happened, she is also trusting him to keep the secret. And that’s what he has trouble with.
Crystal has all kinds of reasons for not wanting to reveal what happened to anyone else. She’s protective of her career, her reputation. But what “24-Hour Person” shows, mostly by paralleling Crystal’s abuse with Phil’s, is that she feels trapped by the situation. She doesn’t believe anything can be done about it. She feels defeated by the transgression already having taken place. In her mind, it’s too late for anything to be done. She might as well just accept it and continue.
Throughout, Swagger hasn’t necessarily done the best job of developing Crystal’s relationship with Jace, mostly because it has been focusing on other things, but it really comes through here in lots of quiet scenes and small touches. We see more of Crystal’s home life, too, which isn’t without its challenges (her parents are strict). What we’re really seeing, though, is someone in complete emotional turmoil, someone who suddenly doesn’t know quite who she is or what she wants. Quvenzhané Wallis is tremendous throughout, communicating more in her expression than words could ever say.
While this is undeniably the focus of “24-Hour Person”, Jace’s reaction to the news intersects with a couple of other subplots — namely Mendez’s sudden inclusion in the Swagger team, which itself has lots to do with Alonzo and the Gladiator stuff. As we learn in a fun barbershop argument early on, Alonzo isn’t exactly beloved among the community. He’s seen as a bit of a predator, someone exploiting kids to line his own pockets, and while he doesn’t seem as flagrantly self-serving as, say, Lester Davis, his efforts to get Mendez back on-side once he learns he has jumped ship seem utterly disingenuous.
But the thing is, Mendez hasn’t exactly been welcomed by Team Swagger with open arms — in fact, the whole team ends up getting beasted because Jace refuses to cooperate with him in training. Nobody knows, of course, that this is because Jace is tail spinning thanks to Crystal’s revelation. Mendez is just the easiest, closest target. But that might very much push the young talent into the exploitative arms of Alonzo. Actions have consequences, after all, even if we have a good reason for committing them.
And that is encapsulated by the closing moments, in which Jace enlists some of his Swagger teammates (without telling them why) to brutally assault Crystal’s coach — an act that is captured live on CCTV. What will the comeback be? How will it affect everyone involved, not least Jace and, by extension, Crystal? There’s plenty to speculate over here, but props to “24-Hour Person” for tackling a touchy subject with a deep sense of character and sensitivity.