The Game set up plenty of intriguing storylines last week; it paid them off this week. In a season that's been mired in drama, there might not be laughs this week, but there is a pleasant reminder that these characters are still the people we fell in love with, beginning with...
Kelly & Jason
Kelly is venting into the camera about her marriage to Jason when the object of her irritation shows up, looking smart and with their smart-mouthed child in tow. Kelly may not be civil with her ex-husband, but she's all too happy to cash his check. Unfortunately for her, this time she's not getting a check; it's a cease-and-desist order to keep his name out of her reality show, since their marriage had a confidentiality agreement that she's now repeatedly violating. Her response to this? To change her name to Kelly Devereaux. Yet Jason is undeterred; he reminds her, gloating (as this is Jason), that given the title of said reality series, without him, she doesn't have a show.
This is proven right when her producer later abandons her, leading Kelly to make a play for attention by jumping onto the stage at a club and doing things that make Melanie's mouth hang open. The resulting video goes viral, but even she admits it makes her "look like a whore." Needless to say, that draws Jason's ire for the second time, as he shows her that their daughter is taking after her. He shows Kelly several inappropriate pictures of their daughter on the Internet. This is a reality check for Kelly, shocking her speechless, especially when he threatens to take sole custody of Brittany if her behavior doesn't improve.
Brought back down to earth, Kelly sits Brittany down for a much-needed talk, but her daughter isn't listening. When Kelly tells Brittany "I am an adult," Brittany fires back that she's a hypocrite.
Reduced to tears, Kelly approaches Jason as he's leaving work, tells him that she's quit the reality show, and admits that she's having a hard time getting over him. "We couldn't save our marriage," she says, "but we can still save our daughter." She says that she wants him to temporarily take custody of Brittany while she regroups. He initially balks, saying he has his own single life, but he can tell that she's serious and changes his mind. "Take all the time you need," he tells her. They hug, I get choked up, and renew my hopes that they'll get back together.
Back in rehab, Malik is still screwing up group therapy, but this time it's because he's feeling chatty. He wants to know what number of pills he can take without being called an addict; his doctor suggests that he may also have emotional as well as physical pain. As we all know, Malik Wright is not a guy who wants to talk about his emotions, feelings or potential daddy issues. He balks and leaves the session, not that anyone else cares.
Later that night, Jenna the supermodel (who blew off his advances last week) thinks Malik might need a friend. He unloads to her about how he feels abandoned by everyone in his life. She tells him that while change is scary, life is going to go on with or without him.
Apparently getting the message, Malik goes to visit Tee Tee and Allison, and actually makes up with his former friend while Journey's "Faithfully" cues up. As he leaves the Cluck Truck, we see him kiss Jenna. Maybe he's finally starting to make changes in his life for the better. Yet as with anything Malik does, a certain degree of skepticism is required...
Derwin, Melanie & Tasha
Derwin and Melanie, accompanied by Tasha, are enjoying a night out at a club. They're ambushed by Kelly, who gets snappy about the incident last episode (or two weeks ago, according to Melanie) where she stormed out of the other club. She is still angry, hurling insults at Melanie about not being a real doctor, and at Tasha about being dumped by Rick Fox.
They're still edgy when Kelly turns up at Melanie's house looking for advice about Brittany's behavior; needless to say, Tasha and Mel disagree on what the appropriate response is. Tasha tells Kelly that she needs to be at home being a parent, but reassures her that they can get through the situation. Mel adds that Brittany has been through a lot, including the divorce and Jason and Camille breaking up. "You just have to start making better decisions, sweetie," Mel encourages her. Kelly's response is to hope Melanie's story doesn't end like hers. Awkward!
As a fan of Jason and Kelly, and a fan of the two of them together, this was a great episode. I've said before that I'd like to see Kelly brought down a few pegs on the ego and self-involvement scale, and she certainly was; Brittany Daniel does some great acting in this episode, proving why Kelly was so loveable in the first place. She's not the brightest bulb in the chandelier by a long shot, but when it comes down to it, her heart is in the right place, especially when it comes to her family. As far as Jason, he's had some major jerk moments this season too, so it's also an opportunity to remind us that while he may not be the greatest guy all the time, he's always been a devoted father. (This in mind, I'm mildly surprised that he had any hesitation at all about taking his daughter when Kelly asked him to; I'd think that he wouldn't even need to think about it.) Both Brittany Daniel and Coby Bell are on their 'A' game this week, and showing that great chemistry between them that has made their characters' relationship so memorable. Their last scene together is one of those great poignant moments that The Game has been so good at over the years, and will no doubt energize the legion of fans that want to see Jason and Kelly back together again.
With Kelly taking center stage, everyone else doesn't get as much to do this week, but that's okay. It seems like Malik is finally getting the message he needs and maybe finding a new love, but having seen how duplicitous he can be, I can't help but take his apparent improvements with a grain of salt. I want the best for him; I just don't expect it. I am surprised that Tee Tee and Allison are still working together, if not personally together. Were I in his position, I would have tried to move past her, but I certainly hope for the best for Tee Tee after everything Malik has put him through.
I complained last week that there was not a strong sense of camaraderie between the female characters this season; this episode is a step in the right direction, as Melanie and Tasha at least try to support Kelly. It's not perfect, as their advice isn't exactly comforting and is more than a little snarky, but it's a start. Hopefully, we'll see more of these women leaning on each other as Kelly tries to get her head straight and Tasha tries to figure out her own numerous issues with men.
This episode is one of the better ones of the season, advancing the storylines well and showing shades of the characters that we love and embraced. They're making up for the less than great things they've done before, and hopefully learning from those bad experiences, just like real people. Let's hope that trend continues.
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