Season 1, Episode 6: “With Grace and Gratitude”
Directed by Sydney Freeland
Written by Charmaine DeGraté
* For a recap & review of the previous episode, “Murder on My Mind” – click here
* For a recap & review of the next episode, “Trauma Bonding” – click here
Yvonne (Kyanna Simone Simpson) is working on a computer at home while her mother, Tracey (Patrice Johnson), teases while showing her what to do. Mama’s got SKILLS! She’s handing down all of them to her daughter. Her early onset Alzheimer’s occasionally gives her trouble, though she still does pretty damn well.
Suddenly, she’s gone. Yvonne doesn’t notice, still working, and her dad, Russell (Charles Malik Whitfield), comes rushing in, wondering where his wife’s gone. Tracey is out in the rain walking in the road. She nearly gets herself run over by an ambulance: the same ambulance, on that fateful night, carrying TJ (Griffin Powell-Arcand) as he worried Sasha (Sivan Alyra Rose) was dying. Tracey says: “I had to help her.” Was she moving that old bumper to prevent the ambulance from hitting it?
Sasha is at home trying to dig under her skin, where Tracey cut her and revealed the pale white beneath. She uses scissors to cut into the wound, then she peels away the skin. Not sure why she’s doing it. She mostly mutilates herself before using cotton swabs and alcohol on the nasty incision.
Uncle Frank (Marcus LaVoi) pretends the Prius was stolen, when we’re well aware he’s used it to get the bail bonds dickhead off his back. He hasn’t told Sasha, naturally. She now worries Ben (Tony Goldwyn) and Nancy (Uma Thurman) might think she did something with the car on purpose. Frank assures he’ll “smooth things over,” always prepared to protect his niece under any circumstances. Meanwhile, she can’t stop bleeding from her mutilated palm.
At the Lefevre house, Ben’s showing Ruth (Lilia Taylor) the video of little Becky, showing that her “spirit‘s still stuck here.” He knows, after Sasha said what she did to Nancy after dinner. He wants his daughter’s spirit to be able to rest. Ruth suggests maybe “grief” is keeping her there. Is there something, evasive about Ruth? Or is it just Father Gore’s suspicious, cynical mind?
Sasha’s back at her old high school, apologising to TJ. She doesn’t want to change by going to Crystal Valley and hopes she might be able to transfer back. He’s happy to hear it. Then she sees a symbol— the same as the one she saw in the bathroom stall in an earlier episode— carved into TJ’s forehead, a bloody vision appearing from nowhere.
Forgot that Ben has a tracker in the Prius, which means, after Frank lets him know it was ‘stolen,’ he’s able to look on his phone to see where it’s been taken. He knows the address, which puts a wrench in Frank’s plans. The uncle pretends he’ll handle things himself. He goes to the garage and this only leaves him having to deal with the car all over again. He takes it out into the desert and blows it up.
Nancy goes to see Sasha. They talk a bit about family. Nancy asks how the girl’s mother died— she was “hit by a junkie” and the car went into a lake. She then says she can see Becky “inside” Sasha. It’s all a little too weird, and Sasha asks Nancy to leave. Again, she says something that catches the mother off guard. This time about “page 330.” Simultaneously, Ben’s in his daughter’s room reminiscing when he finds the blanket his wife didn’t burn in the ceremony.
Sasha wants to be connected more to her Navajo roots, both to be closer to her mother and also to impress TJ’s family. She finds her mother’s old traditional green velvet dress, puts it on, then heads out to see a ceremony for TJ. He’s choosing either to be associated with the Pima or the Navajo, as his mother and father belong to either tribe. He thanks Sasha along with his mother and aunties during his speech, too. While he does, she’s having an intense vision. Everybody disappears and she sees Becky with her mouth open, bleeding black liquid until her chest bursts and mice come flooding out around her heart. Sasha tries to ignore it, closing her eyes. Except she can’t, and Becky’s spirit takes her running outside. Yet she’s right there, ruining the ceremony accidentally.
Elliott (Nicholas Galitzine) and Ravi (Jonny Rios) talk without fists this time. Ravi mentions how Becky would dissociate sometimes. Elliott shows him pictures from the sketchbook, like the masks. His friend says Becky took ayahuasca the night she died in an attempt to recover “suppressed memories.”
Was it bad drugs that drove her into the shower with her radio? Or did a horrible memory reoccur to drive her to kill herself? (If Sasha’s possessed by her spirit, could Becky have been possessed in the same way? Just a thought.)
“What you’re fighting is not out there,
it’s in you.”
No matter what she does, Sasha can’t rid herself of Becky’s ghost. She decides to go see her grandfather, Harrison (Richard Ray Whitman), in New Mexico. She has nowhere else to turn. She tells him about Becky and everything that’s been going on in her life since the heart transplant. She also asks about her mother, who she finds out wound up a junkie, which left Frank with much of the responsibility for his niece. Before she leaves, a bunch of birds attack the vehicle, diving into it one after another— another vision.
When Ben and Nancy meet for dinner, she brings up the mention of page 330 from Sasha, referring to a book mother and daughter shared. The page refers to a passage: “Such pain constitutes a motivational operation establishing escape.” Mom knows her daughter was in psychological pain, which obviously drove her to suicide.
Sasha confronts Frank about the truth concerning her mother. He tried to save his sister by calling the cops and hoping that would be the final straw to show her the error of her ways. This series of events led to Sasha’s mom dying. Frank blames himself. This sends the niece running off to find Yvonne, whose mother is busy offering cryptic messages about Sasha to her daughter, and this leaves Sasha alone, feeling rejected by everything and everyone. She calls Nancy. Is the Lefevre house the best place for the young woman, already feeling like she’s living in Becky’s skin?
Another good episode, building on character and mystery. Others who don’t dig the show can stay in their feelings. Chambers has been totally enjoyable, and it promises so much more over the course of the following few episodes.
“Trauma Bonding” is next.