Photo: Kyle Kaplan/Starz
Megan Thee Stallion’s real-life alter ego Tina Snow comes alive in a very meta way through her appearance in tonight’s episode. Inspired by the late and great Texas rapper Pimp C’s alias “Tony Snow,” Megan described Tina Snow, which is also the eponymous title of her second EP, as the more pimp-ish side of her. “Tina is the raw version of Megan,” she told Vibe in 2018. “She just don’t give a damn.” This rawer side of Megan fits right in at the Pynk as her character takes the stage with Lil Murda during the re-re-re-opening of the club (it’s starting to feel like Bob’s Burgers).
Before Tina Snow makes her debut at the Pynk, Uncle Clifford and Hailey prep for the re-opening while Andre and Patrice finish their last bit of campaigning for mayor as the election results will be revealed the next day. Andre redirects his campaign, leaning into the scarlet letter that was assigned to him now that the truth about his father is out. He collaborates with the Pynk on a new commercial featuring some of the dancers. Sitting upon a golden throne, Andre throws bills while the ladies — dressed in red, white, and blue, of course — shake their asses to Lil Murda’s “Mississippi Pride.” Patrice joins in on the unhinged campaign tactics by crashing Andre’s voting day event with a performance of her own. After twirling around on a pole on the back of a truck in a fringed body suit, Patrice delivers another one of her fervent speeches about following God and rejecting sin. Then she begins to shoot the money Corbin used to bribe her into the crowd with a money gun and informs the public of Corbin’s shady tactics.
Though I could’ve never predicted seeing Patrice on the pole, and we might not fully recover as a collective, somehow the episode gets even more chaotic. Mercedes is still unable to get past her shoulder injury, causing Roulette to question if she can safely perform with the other women or, worse for her, affect the money they are projected to make. Hailey agrees but reminds the women that their profit percentage will be based on their popularity, meaning Keyshawn will probably leave with the most money. This is by design; Hailey and Keyshawn have acquired passports and plane tickets so she can take her kids and leave after her last dance, with a plethora of cash, and escape from Derrick. However, when Keyshawn realizes Mercedes will most likely receive the smallest portion of the profit, she offers to split the pot evenly. This gesture bruises Mercedes’ ego, so she quits and storms out. Uncle Clifford follows her OG to the parking lot, where Mercedes breaks down, proclaiming that she has passed her prime, realizing that Keyshawn’s talent surpasses hers. Always sympathetic but practical, Clifford tells Mercedes, “sometimes you have to dream new dreams,” a statement prophetic to both their lives.
Mercedes receives a text from Farrah requesting her presence in Memphis. She drives the hour to Tennessee and arrives at an art gallery featuring photographs Farrah took of her. The images are stunning, capturing the energy P-Valley has always been loyal to by framing strippers as artists. Mercedes loves it; basking in her own light, she takes in the indescribable feeling of seeing yourself through someone else’s eyes. I loved it too, but what doesn’t sit quite right with me is that Farrah displayed this exhibit to the public without Mercedes’s consent, which contradicts the work’s point. And Farrah goes on to ask Mercedes if she wants to have sex (she’s divorcing Coach), once again putting Mercedes in the position of being something to be consumed just as Mane did after the block party. Mercedes doesn’t seem bothered by the exhibit or Farrah’s advance. Instead, the images liberate her and give her a new sense of self.
Hailey and Uncle Clifford move forward with the evening sans Mercedes, doing their best to ensure everything goes smoothly. Despite Ernestine being in the hospital and the anxiety about losing the Pynk, Uncle Clifford has found a glimmer of joy in Lil Murda. The two have been playing house, cooking for each other, and having frequent sex, but there’s a chasm between them, widened by Murda holding in the secret about Teak’s death. Neither fully trusts the other, and there’s the question of if Murda will go on tour with Tina Snow as their song gains popularity, adding an expiration date to their relationship.
A flustered Uncle Clifford scurries around the Pynk as they inch closer to starting the night. The line outside is never ending. Toy is still sneezing, and Lauren, a regulator at the Chucalissa Health Department and a regular at the strip club, is lurking outside, ensuring everything is to code. Adding more shit to the storm, Murda declares on his Instagram that tonight will be the first night of Tina Snow’s tour — and the location will be the Pynk. Tina and Murda arrived iced out but toasty from their furs, a far cry from the Lil Murda we first met who could barely bypass the line. Murda’s extravagant glow-up irritates rival gang members who are also attending the event, adding to the already existing tension stemming from Pico’s death, an act that the gang correctly suspects Murda is guilty of.
Tina is right at home in the Pynk, calling the dancers stallions, a wink and a nod to Megan. She’s openly flirtatious toward Murda, irritating Clifford who returns the favor by making Murda jealous when a mysterious “client” specifically asks for Clifford in the Paradise Room. The client is none other than Corbin Kyle, begging for another taste of masochism from the one who does it best: Uncle Clifford herself. At first, Clifford isn’t interested, but she breaks down and begins to whip Corbin’s already scarred back, evoking imagery of the Whipped Peter photograph. Corbin’s sexual preferences, and many of his actions, are clearly the result of psychological turmoil regarding his race. Before things get too Slave Play, the scene cuts to Andre, Corbin, and Hailey taking shots, celebrating the end of the campaign as they wait for tomorrow’s election results. Actually, Hailey throws her shot behind her back because, as Whisper spiritually confirmed, she might be pregnant, and according to Whisper, she’s having twins. Andre takes the stage and addresses the patrons, turning the night into a grand re-opening/campaign event/concert/baby shower. Just kidding about the baby shower, but as I said, things get chaotic. Hailey chooses to keep the news of her pregnancy from Andre, instead choosing the role of the supportive mistress.
Murda and Tina Snow take the stage with Mississippi, Roulette, and Whisper working magic behind them. This season had fewer actual stripping and pole dancing scenes than the first, but this performance starts to make up for it. Even Mercedes, as she watches from the audience, is starstruck by Keyshawn’s talent. It’s too bad the moment is short-lived; a fight breaks out in the crowd between the two gangs, and Murda eventually joins in. Keyshawn is pushed to the ground until Diamond comes to her rescue. Overwhelmed by the moment, Keyshawn kisses her savior, who kisses her back for a moment before withdrawing, not knowing that Big Bone is watching from a distance. Later, Big Bone, scorned from Diamond’s infidelity, is seen looking at a picture of Montavious’s ring and contemplating sending the evidence to an unknown recipient.
An aggravated and adrenaline-filled Murda fights with Clifford and lets it slip that he killed Pico, causing Clifford to kick a random box that happened to be filled with the drugs Big L and Duffy have been trafficking through the club. Furious, she confronts Big L, asserting she’s not interested in falling into the thug lifestyle. Big L tells Clifford she’s “a bitch being run by another bitch” and that Hailey is a problem that needs to be taken care of, insinuating to kill her, which causes Uncle Clifford to kick him out. Immediately after he leaves, Clifford receives a call from the hospital, though we don’t hear the conversation, so it’s unclear whether Ernestine is alive.
Regardless of the turbulent night, Keyshawn continues with her plan, scribbling a quick goodbye in lipstick on Mercedes’s mirror. Following Hailey’s rules, Keyshawn doesn’t tell Uncle Clifford she is leaving. But Clifford catches Keyshawn as she’s writing her note, and like the fairy godmother she has always been to Keyshawn, she tells her to never return. We can only hope.
• Megan, who is eager to venture into acting and directing, gives us an acting performance I’m not mad at, though it’s not like the character is foreign to her. Either way, I’m ready to see her do more projects.
• Andre and Hailey, living on a cloud and wearing rose-colored glasses, have their bubble burst by Andre’s wife, who appears at his house and catches them making out. Messy!
• Murda and Mercedes convening in the Paradise Room is truly a full-circle moment. The two have come so far since Mercedes’s original last dance, and you can feel the love and respect between them. The Pynk is really a family.
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