As elsewhere, Rona cast an enormous shadow over Chucalissa.
That doesn’t mean that those attached to The Pynk didn’t get creative over the past two years, as illustrated on P-Valley Season 2 Episode 1.
After all, Uncle Clifford is the very picture of creativity.
Clifford came up with a clever way to re-envision The Pynk as Pussyland, a combination of car wash, wing joint, and shake shack, which the customer enjoyed from the safety of his vehicle.
The straying husband being treated to the whole Mercedes Experience was a genuinely psychedelic moment, showing the spirit of The Pynk remained alive.
Sure, Covid restrictions had closed down the Paradise Room, but this replacement turned the trick, considering the circumstances.
The pandemic had taken its toll on The Pynk’s extended family.
Gidget, criminally underused on P-Valley Season 1, went home to care for her ailing mother.
Then there was Keyshawn, Miss Mississippi. She was banned from the club after pulling a gun on bouncer Diamond, who was putting a much-deserved beating on Derek, Keyshawn’s abusive, racist baby daddy, on P-Valley Season 1 Episode 8.
Professionally, Keyshawn hadn’t suffered much. After a featured role in L’il Murda’s rap video, she developed an online following, which had gained her something of a living.
Boy, did Keyshawn choose unwisely when she picked Derek over Diamond, who loved and protected her? She gave up her supportive Pynk family for that white-boy loser?
Derek was unemployed and had nothing better to do than insert himself into Keyshawn’s professional life and keep her trapped inside their house.
Desperate for some fresh air, Keyshawn hid most of her baby’s diapers inside the diaper disposal so that she would have an excuse to escape Derek.
Only she ran smack into Diamond, now reduced to providing security at the dollar store, stopping those trying to enter without a mask.
That included Keyshawn, as the pain and anger he felt toward her were apparent.
It was little wonder that Keyshawn took L’il Murda up on his tour offer. She needed to get away, and risking Covid had to be better than living with that cancer Derek for another minute.
After Mercedes’s mother stole all her money, she was forced to return to The Pynk after the fanfare of her “last dance.” She was back to being the lead dancer there, for what that’s worth.
Autumn had become both her boss and her roommate, a problematic combination, especially after Autumn fronted her the money to rent the space for her dance school.
Unfortunately, her Chucalissa Chargers dance team, her passion project, was dead in the water.
Yes, Mississippi was reopening from lockdown. But her girls’ parents either had no money or feared letting out their daughters in a pandemic. So Mercedes had a dance school with no dancers.
To make matters worse, since the club was shortstaffed, Mercedes had a lingering shoulder injury, and she couldn’t take time off to rest it.
In the interest of helping Mercedes and The Pynk, Autumn scheduled auditions for new dancers, an idea that Mercedes actively resisted because she didn’t want to share the proceeds or the spotlight as she once had to with Keyshawn.
Mercedes is going to have to give up that fight. How can we get some new drama without some fresh faces?
After Autumn’s $250,000 bailout of The Pynk, Uncle Clifford has had to learn to share control of the club with her.
This arrangement could work well if they stay in their lanes and work together. Autumn is handling finances since she wants to know where her quarter-mil went (hint: it’s vanishing quickly).
Good luck to Autumn, since Clifford’s idea of a business plan is that she plans to keep her business. That’s the end of her long-term thinking. Clifford is more comfortable being creative and taking care of people.
Murda, Clifford’s young ex, was getting antsy. After gaining some buzz for his video with Keyshawn, Covid had him trapped at home.
Murda had been working on new music with his producer, DJ Neva Scared. But before fans forget him, he needed to get out on the road and tour.
His manager, Woddy, had been too busy with his other job, a funeral home, to give much thought to Murda’s career. But he was wise enough to realize that Keyshawn was at least as much of a draw as Murda.
Covid inflicted a seismic shift on Chucalissa itself as it claimed Tydell Ruffin, its longtime mayor.
The death of his godfather, Tydell, was enough to pull Andre out of his pandemic-induced funk, playing video games while his wife, a nurse, risked her life daily to help people.
Tydell’s services allowed Andre to reconnect with Chucalissa and its people, especially Autumn. The spark was still there between them, even when they talked about handling grief.
Tydell’s passing didn’t mean the end of corruption in local politics, as his deputy mayor, Wayne Kyle, was still seeking to push through a casino against local wishes.
Maybe Uncle Clifford will have to run against the interim mayor as he had threatened to.
And where will Andre land after Kyle retained him to attempt to convince Autumn, The Pynk’s new owner, to sell?
To revisit last season’s distant drama, watch P-Valley online.
Can The Pynk rise from the Covid ashes?
Can Uncle Clifford and Autumn work together for their mutual benefit?
Will Keyshawn and/or Murda return from exile?
Dale McGarrigle is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow him on Twitter.