Blue Collar Hustle’s final episode of their inaugural season pissed me off. Over the past several months, I have become invested in these characters. I’ve vibed with Quan and Jose in the studio as they’ve put time in trying to craft the perfect song. I’ve chuckled at Anthony as he pokes holes in every plan, while still going along with it. I’ve schemed with Ajani as he tries to form the beginnings of a plan that will help both himself and his friends forge a better future. I’ve seen these four men go from simple characters on a screen to fully fledged people whom I have a vested interest in cheering for.
So as the final scene ended and the credits began to play my first thought was “That’s IT??!!?! It’s really over!?!!?” And I instantly wanted more. Which means my initial feeling of frustration is in reality the highest honor I can bestow. This is a damn good show. Putting aside all notions of budget constraints or any other criticisms that could be doled out on a technical level, this show succeeds in making you care about its characters; their motivations, their struggles, hopes, and dreams. Creator Alonge Hawes clearly has intentions on making this series a study on the black experience. But he cleverly dresses it within a story that is easily relatable to anyone attempting to carve out their version of the American Dream.
Quan Banneker, as played by Quentin Williams, is clearly the series standout. In this series finale, titled “Lord, Set Me Free”; Quan’s dream is about to come true. His independently produced album is about to be released digitally and he’s flying high. After all the planning, studio sessions, and radio freestyles, Quan finally has reason to celebrate. And that comes across in a sweet scene with his daughter as he looks at his finished album art. Later on in the episode Quan must also deal with the consequences of choosing art over romance as his would be girlfriend Asha is non too pleased at his failure to communicate. Actress Shani Hawes has been great at portraying Asha as anything but a damsel, but here she allows just a bit of hurt and disappointment to seep through as she coldly rebuffs Quan’s well intentioned but pitiful excuses. Warning to all ambitious men out in the world, one phone call won’t hurt you, and that’s saying it MUCH nicer than Anthony would.
The rest of the episode serves as a wake up call for Ajani, and without giving spoilers, I must say that I found this particular story development an intriguing hook for what I hope comes along in Season 2. And that is the great thing about this series, the music plot line is great, but it comes secondary to the character’s personal lives. I want to know if Quan and Asha makeup. I want to know how Ajani gets himself out of his recent predicament. I want to know what Jose’s back-story is. I want to know where Anthony gets all his quips!
Blue Collar Hustle thoroughly entertained me. I want to extend props to the cast and everyone involved in the production. This is a series bursting at the seams with potential for much more storytelling. I can’t wait to find out where Ajani and crew’s hustle takes them next.
Episode rating 9/10
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