I love this this show isn’t just focusing on Aaron’s journey.
It seems like this episode is all about Marie.
She even has a voiceover speaking of how she felt blessed, safe and secure. That she believed that there would be “time for everything”.
Marie is shown as being great at her job and showing that she cares about her patients going above in beyond in both encouragement and action. Similar to how we saw she gave her personal phone number to a patient she was admitting chemo to.
She’s told by her supervisor Vanessa that she’s “too good not to apply” to nursing school.
It’s funny seeing Aaron’s gruff voice outside of the prisoner.
He gives like a John Q, working man type quality to him both inside and outside the cell.
Marie supports Aaron when she sees how passionate his is about growing his club.
After they sign the papers to a space almost double the size she recommends he talk to possible investors at Jazz’s birthday party.
One of my favorite scenes in this episode is the kitchen conversation between Aaron and Marie.
Marie is not ready to bet on herself with this nursing school.
She’s apprehensive to commit to a nanny and would prefer if Jasmine was with family especially considering what happened to her mom, possibly elder neglect in a nursing home.
She doesn’t want to be pressured but feels Aaron is trying to fix a problem that’s not even real yet.
I love that they come to an understanding and we see him apologize and back off.
She stands her ground and says it’s her problem and that she’ll figure it out.
It’s nice when there’s a conflict but the audience can see both sides of the argument.
It’s a testament again to great writing from my new favorite drama.
I love seeing 50 Cent’s influence on this show. Aaron and Marie are seen entering their club fully rocking with a classic Fif record playing as they walk in.
It reminded me of the song choices of the movie Hustlers and 50’s success with Starz’s show Power.
Shortly after they dance Michael greets him a king speaking passionately about even more expansion and how they’ve been friends since they were both five years old.
The triumphant feeling of success is destroyed by the DEA storming the club and arresting all three of them.
Michael Miller, Angelo Torres and Aaron Wallace are all under arrest by the DEA for allegedly being drug dealers.
Things move fast and the next time we see Aaron it’s behind the glass. We learn they’ve denied him bail and Wallace meets the then Assistant DA Maskins who seemed like he was “out for blood”.
They were talking “Kingpin charges” and that they had undercover cops and surveillance for months.
Michael was a two bit hustler masquerading as a drug dealer, his foolishness leads to a girl overdosing in the club.
Angelo was also dealing drugs and they both flipped trying to put the whole downfall on Aaron as the mastermind of their operation.
I can’t imagine how jarring this entire situation was for Aaron feeling like he was on top of the world then is in a cell with no idea when he’d get out next.
But I really like that they show Marie and Jazz.
It’s unfathomable how much pressure it is to have to explain to a seven year old why her dad isn’t home today and that you don’t know when he’ll be back.
They are screwed. I believe the lawyer Teresa was referencing the RICO laws when she spoke about law enforcement possibly being able to take their house.
Unfortunately dreams cost and they took out a second mortgage to cover the construction of the new club.
Not only does that make them vulnerable financially with the head of the operation in jail Marie also has to think of how to pay for lawyer fees and commissary.
Like Drake said it went from “0-100 real quick”.
We find out how Aaron’s parents are working over time trying to cover his legal expenses.
You can already see the cracks in their marriage.
Even after she promises that they’re not to let this situation tear them apart.
It’s a nice change seeing her be the optimistic one versus how we’ve grown accustom to his determination to get free.
As the audience I can see why her views changed especially after almost a decade of Wallace being in prison with a life sentence.
Darius is dirty-macking playing both sides even though Darius and Aaron are described as being close as brothers.
Marie is admitting her fears to him and he rushes over to hug her.
This is juxtaposed with seeing the disconnect and how Aaron and Marie aren’t on the same page.
His codefendants flipped so they could save themselves and this revelation is shocking to Aaron.
Marie and Aaron are even shown no longer holding hands after he disagrees about agreeing to a plea deal.
It’s ridiculous that a non-violent offense for what I assume a first time offender could even carry a life-sentence.
We get to see how the system is broken and how most cases don’t go to trial.
His lawyer talks about him getting 20 years with a plea deal possibly getting out in 12 years for good behavior.
The catch is taking a plea deal is admitting guilt and since he’s innocent he wants to clear his good name.
Marie I believe is more focused on getting Aaron home to Jazz and herself.
It makes sense now that she’s technically a single mother with Jasmine even wishing for her father to come home during her birthday wish.
Aaron’s really got a raw deal.
He has to face the possibility of spending the rest of his life in prison for something he didn’t do or serve the consequences for more than a decade for something he didn’t do.
It doesn’t help that even if he did take a plea deal he’d have the name felon branded on him and couldn’t go back to building his businesses because I highly doubt in New York they’d insurance or give a liquor license to a club for a person who just got out of prison.
He rejects the plea deal and is determined to clear his name.
I love that we get to see the original trial where his supposed best friends testify against him.
Michael Miller can’t even really look at them while testifying meanwhile Angelo is looking slick and cocky while on the stand.
Darius steps up even hitting Michael after Miller testified.
We know the lawyer and Darius believes Wallace testifying is a bad idea but he wants to clear his name.
Maskins is seen as an effective lawyer. He catches Wallace in a lie.
He tees him up for the reveal that Wallace actually did know Miller was a drug dealer.
By the shock on everyone’s face I don’t think the lawyer knew about Aaron knowing about the girl who overdosed at the club.
Again I’m reminded the casting director is on point. The casting of Marie and Aaron’s daughter Jasmine is great.
In every iteration from seventeen all the way down to nine years old the actor playing this role is bringing her best conveying hope that he father will return home but also being frustrated it has been so long.
The next scenes are a montage after Marie promises that she’ll take care of them.
I don’t really remember many montages in television, usually I’m more familiar with them in film but this one was very effective.
We, as the audience, see her journey studying, working, being an attentive mother and it paying off as she’s getting A’s in her classes and eventually achieves her goal of becoming a nurse.
One of the most intriguing parts of this show is how none of the main characters are all the way corrupt or just evil.
Maskins, who I don’t like and was responsible for incarcerating an innocent man is shown to be a brilliant lawyer who his surgical in the way he dissects Wallace’s testimony and I see why he truly believes that he got the right person who was responsible for operating a drug empire.
Similarly Darius, who is in the present shown dating Marie while she’s still married to Aaron is shown as a very supportive friend.
He visited Wallace almost every week early on. We learn he encouraged Wallace to protect himself and his investments by suggesting surveillance for the club but Aaron insisted it was too expensive.
Unfortunately regardless if his heart is genuinely in the right place we know that Marie and Darius are eventually going to start dating behind Aaron’s back.
She’s not being forthcoming with Wallace and apparently Darius broke up with his girlfriend who we see earlier in the episode.
I feel bad for Maisha who doesn’t have lines and is just shown beside Darius being silent.
She is a good actor though because after Darius gives Marie a custom stethoscope we see his disdain as she probably realizes that his heart is not with her but is focused on Marie.
Earl, Marie’s father, has a hard conversation with Marie and speaks about how he was apprehensive about Aaron. He speaks on how Aaron’s belief in himself led to reckless spending and focus on the goal rather than the consequences.
Very soberly he speaks about how regardless of if Aaron is innocent Earl won’t ever forgive him for putting Jasmine and his daughter Marie through this terrible process.
This show truly is brilliant. The second half of this episode is probably my favorite scenes in this series so far.
Marie having her own episode focused on her gives us, the audience, so many answers I know I had questions about.
It’s revealed that after Aaron has been in prison for eight years Marie has filed for a divorce.
They have this heart wrenching conversation filled with both perspectives with Aaron being high on the prospect of him finally figuring out a plan for getting back to his family but it’s understandable that Marie doesn’t share his enthusiasm.
She’s shown and has said that she wants somebody that can be there, physically.
Turns out that person is Darius.
I’m glad they showed she actually got divorced.
Assuming she kept the last name it makes sense why she’s still referred to as Mrs. Wallace.
But it’s a welcomed change that instead of an illicit affair she advocates for herself and makes the hard decision to pursue a mutual friend who has been through highs and lows it’s just tough that the person she falls for has such a strong connection with her ex-husband Aaron.
Ria Mae’s Don’t Let You Go was a phenomenal choice to end this episode.
It reminds me of when Scrubs was airing, the musical supervisor made brilliant choices and now this show seems to be carrying on that legacy.
This song works both for the scene of Marie and Darius being together and for the uncertainty that this episode leaves us on.
Wallace and Barry’s conversation about the justice system
“I’ve won cases with people dead-guilty and I’ve lost cases with totally innocent people. I don’t have to remind how the system is stacked against you” – Barry the Lawyer
“It’s my life, I’m not taking the plea” – Aaron
Aaron and Maskins confrontation in the courtroom
“I told you I didn’t know.” – Aaron
“Right because ignorance is your speciality” – Maskins
The conversation between Jazz and Marie at her first visit with Aaron in jail
“In the meantime it’s you and me. I’m gonna take care of us. Mama’s got us.”
The montage of Marie’s hustle, she has to be supermom while balancing nursing school and taking care of herself.
The moment when Marie realizes she no longer loves Aaron anymore.
“It feels like his taking the same risks that put him in prison at the first place.”
Aaron & Marie’s confrontation at the prison
“You found yourself. All those years of you wanting to be a nurse, somehow I was holding you back”
No. No, the hardest thing about all of this is not being able to share anything with you. I know you’re proud of me but you’re behind a window. – Marie
“You giving up on me?”
I can’t do this anymore. – Marie
Marie & Darius’ kitchen scene after her birthday party
“Our little girl is not a little girl anymore”
You haven’t missed one single birthday. All these years, you’ve always been there – Marie
“I love you guys”
We love you too – Marie
The ending monologue by Marie
“I used to think I was blessed. And then for the longest time I was sure I was cursed.
And now from one moment to the next, I realized I don’t know what I think.
Now I’m not sure about anything.