“Jackson” is a complex character-driven episode touching on a lot of important topics.
This recap of P-Valley season 2, episode 7, “Jackson”, contains spoilers.
History. That’s what The Pynk is built on. At first glance, it might seem like a swampland strip joint, but the bricks contain the memories of a multitude of lives. Its patrons have lived and died there, grown up there, among them Uncle Clifford, who used to watch his Grandmother Ernestine sing from knee-high. She got taller as the years went on, but her perspective never changed; to Clifford, The Pynk can never be replaced. Once it’s gone, its history goes with it.
P-Valley season 2, episode 7 recap
But Hailey is determined to sell anyway, and in the early scenes of “Jackson”, we finally get a sense of why beyond her usual girl boss justifications. The money used to keep the place afloat was supposed to buy a new life for her and her daughter. She can’t let the opportunity it represents go, which is why she’s willing to wave away five million dollars in the hopes of bargaining for ten. It has to mean something. The Pynk, and indeed Clifford and her ancestors, need to fetch what they’re worth.
But anyway. What everyone’s probably wondering after the previous, deeply traumatic episode is how Lil Murda is doing, and the answer is… not well. He’s still having teary-eyed flashbacks to Big Teak’s suicide, but he’s at least able to keep himself busy by tending to Ernestine, who’s sick with Covid-19. This is the relationship we didn’t know we needed. Murda is such an interesting character, and he’s written in such a brilliantly charming way. And his relationship with Clifford is a fascinating exploration of identity, complicated love, self-expression, and plenty more besides. It’s just a shame that neither of them seems to be able to have a moment without something painful threatening to tear them apart.
In this case, it’s Ernestine. While Murda and Clifford are talking, she escapes the house and tries to throw herself into the Mississippi. Her fingers blue, she’s adamant that the end is coming and that she has to reach the water, so implores Clifford and Murda to bring the water to her. Murda squeezes the river water over her, and while it (obviously) doesn’t heal her, it calms her, that deep-seated connection to home and the land that is eroding more and more. Ernestine is taken away in an ambulance, while Murda corrects the paramedics for misgendering Clifford. We don’t learn her fate in this episode. I hope she’s okay.
The episode is called “Jackson” because that’s where Mercedes takes Terricka for a “consultation” about her baby. She’s 14 weeks pregnant, they discover, so right on the cusp of the upper limit for a legal abortion. When they arrive at the clinic, “Abortion is Murder” protestors are waving placards outside, but the decision isn’t as simple as that. Mercedes has been in Terricka’s position, and in flashbacks, we see snippets of that history. Of course, Terricka isn’t inclined to listen to Mercedes given their own testy relationship, so the entire road trip is about both Mercedes and Terricka bonding and Terricka trying to figure out what she really wants from her immediate future. Crucially, Mercedes allows Terricka to make that decision for herself. With the car keys in her hand, she can choose between heading back to Chucalissa or turning to Jackson for an abortion — and it’s the latter she chooses.
And finally, “Jackson” lays the groundwork for where things might be heading, by having Hailey run into Keyshawn, first at the store and then later at her home, where she delivers a “present” for Keyshawn’s child, Regal, that’s really a cell phone and an off-the-cuff fairytale based on Hailey’s own experiences. Keyshawn can’t wait too long to do something drastic, or it’ll be too late. But Hailey makes it clear that when she’s ready to change her life, to “learn how to swim”, as she puts it, then Hailey will be there to help her.
It doesn’t look like Derrick is long for the world, which can only be a good thing.