Netflix’s Top Boy Season 3 Episode 1 Recap – What is in Sully’s shipment?

By Jonathon Wilson
Published: September 7, 2023
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Netflix's Top Boy Season 3 Episode 1 Recap - What is in Sully's shipment?


The final season of Top Boy opens by establishing a new status quo and a new villain while touching on thoughtful character dynamics and timely social issues.

This recap of Netflix’s Top Boy Season 3 Episode 1, “Step Back”, contains spoilers.

In case you forgot, at the end of Top Boy Season 2, Sully executed Jamie in front of his brothers for a whole host of personal and business reasons.

“Step Back”, the premiere of the third and ostensibly final season — even though it’s technically the fifth season if you’ve been here since the humble Channel 4 beginnings — opens with a reminder anyway. Sully kills Jamie and heads out of the building and down to his car, but the scenes are deliberately juxtaposed with Dushane and Shelley enjoying a nice meal and discussing business expansion.

Remember, Jamie was Dushane’s retirement plan. He already had one foot out of the street life, while Sully doesn’t know any other way to live. Like a ghoul, Sully turns up in the bathroom of the restaurant to pitch Dushane a deal. He can retire, step back from the road, and take a cut. But Sully will be running things from here.

Netflix’s Top Boy Season 3 Episode 1 Recap

Once the episode settles down after that bristlingly tense cold open, we see that an indeterminate amount of time has elapsed and check in with a few characters who are trying to move on from the events of the previous season.

Lauryn, for instance, has given birth to Curtis’s baby boy, but she’s struggling to bond with him since he looks like Curtis and is a reminder of all the trauma she went through just to survive him. Jaq, though, who is still in a relationship with Becks, has taken to parenthood rather well, so much so that she’s beginning to notice things on the streets — like dirty babies being pushed around by the drug-addicted mothers that form the bulk of their clientele — which she ordinarily wouldn’t.

Stef, meanwhile, is struggling with Jamie’s death, especially with having to see Sully dropping his daughter off at school. Aaron is working in Leeds, and Stef is living in government housing.

What is in Sully’s shipment?

Things kick into a higher gear when Sully and Jaq go to meet a shipment of what is intended to be drugs, but turns out to be the severed heads of Chaash, Mounir, and the other Moroccans we met last season. Stuffed in Chaash’s mouth is a burner phone with a simple text message instruction: Call me.

The number belongs to an Irishman who remains unidentified for now but claims to have a business deal for Sully that he thinks he’s going to like. His nephew, Jonny, is in London and will be in touch to iron out the details, although it doesn’t seem like this is much of a negotiation. Sully is furious, instructs Jaq to get some kids to clean up all the evidence, and decides not to tell Dushane about it.

Sully’s first port of call is a quaint pub operated by Bill and his very Irish mother Linda. Sully knows Bill from jail, so asks him about Jonny, whose name turns out to be Jonny McGee. His uncle is Tadgh, and they’re apparently big-time. Bill is clearly reluctant to give Sully anything about Jonny, but he apparently owes Sully a favor, and it’s clear he’s willing to call it in.

Bill later calls Sully with details for a meeting with Jonny, but Sully insists Bill is there too.

What is Shelley planning?

Shelley, meanwhile, has a plan to invest in a chain of nine salons, but she needs Dushane’s capital in order to do it. She sells it to him by reminding him how much dirty money can be laundered through a chain, so he’s willing to put up the £2.1 million asking price — if he can actually get Lithe to release the funds. 

As it turns out, the £16 million — technically £15.2 million, but it “costs money to move money” — he invested in the Summerhouse redevelopment is tied up in the redevelopment itself, and withdrawing large sums of cash from it is no small affair. Dushane, though, isn’t having that and is pretty threatening to Lithe, expecting her to have good news for him the very next day.

Why is Kieron getting deported?

Speaking of Summerhouse, Immigration Enforcement and the police turn up there with instructions from the Home Office to deport Kieron, despite the fact that his mother, Diana, has sent multiple letters to the Home Office explaining that when they came to the country Kieron was a baby and didn’t require a passport. They entered the country legally, but the country has now arbitrarily decided that they didn’t. 

The police smash open Kieron’s door, assault Diana, and take Kieron away in cuffs, but luckily the entire estate, led by Mandy, turns out in force to stage a peaceful protest, barricading the police vans in the estate with Kieron still locked in the back. The protest goes viral on social media, so Mandy’s daughter Erin and her friend turn up to participate. So, too, does Dushane, who berates Jaq for making such a fuss about the deportation when she and Kieron are both drug dealers.

Netflix’s Top Boy Season 3 Episode 1 Ending Explained

Towards the end of the episode we finally meet Jonny. Bill lures Sully and a couple of his mates to an ambush at a stable, where Jonny introduces himself by shooting one of Sully’s goons in the head and threatening to send Sully’s severed head to Tash’s mother if he doesn’t accept a 50/50 split.

Due to “a matter of public safety”, the Home Office decides to release Kieron, and the entire Summerhouse estate rejoices.

At home with Shelley, Dushane is still promising money that he might not be able to get while going over her portfolio, but he gets a text from Sully saying they need to talk.

And, finally, when Jaq gets home, she finds Lauryn asleep and her son crying. Earlier, we had seen Lauryn acquire drugs from Rowmando, who works for Jaq. The tinfoil on the couch spells out the story, and while she doesn’t yet know who’s supplying Lauryn, it’s clear her habit is being facilitated in a roundabout way by Jaq herself, which is a sobering thought.

You can stream Netflix’s Top Boy Season 3 Episode 1, “Step Back”, exclusively on Netflix.

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