Warning: This article contains spoilers for P-Valley season 2, episode "Demethrius."
Is a new chapter of an old love story being written on P-Valley?
We finally got more details about Lil Murda (J. Alphonse Nicholson) and Big Teak's (John Clarence Stewart) past on P-Valley. Since picking up Big Teak from prison, it's been clear that the two had a close bond, but now we know it was partly romantic. The death of a Black person at the hands of police enrages Big Teak, which results in an explosive outburst at the hotel room where everyone on the Dirty Dozen is hanging out. What starts as a conversation where Lil Murda check on Big Teak turns into the two having sex, revealing more to P-Valley viewers about their past. According to P-Valley creator Katori Hall, there's much more to come regarding how Big Teak will impact Lil Murda's journey this season and offer fans a deeper look into Lil Murda's life before he showed up at The Pynk.
After spending much of the first season as part of Uncle Clifford's arc, Lil Murda is hitting the road to tell his own story with Miss Mississippi. "I knew people were going to be interested in his history when it came to how comfortable he was with his identity," Katori Hall shares. To that end, Big Teak enters the picture and allows P-Valley viewers to learn more about Lil Murda's past. "It's important because [Lil Murda's] been trying to run away from showing people who he truly is for many years of his life," Hall explains.
Curtis Baker/Starz 'P-Valley' stars J. Alphonse Nicholson, Bertram Williams Jr., and John Clarence Stewart
For J. Alphonse Nicholson, it's an honor to get into Lil Murda's background deeply to discover who he is as a person, with Big Teak being a significant part of that. "It was very rewarding for me as an actor to be able to have more material to play with this season," he says.
After Lil Murda shuns Uncle Clifford in the season one finale, the pair's reconciliation seems complicated. We saw how she didn't speak to him when Lil Murda showed up at her door on her birthday. Hall shares that the writers were trying to figure out what would happen for Uncle Clifford to create space for their reconnecting, and the answer was Lil Murda working on himself. "This season is really about focusing on what he has to say about the world and what he has to say about himself," Hall says, "The songs are very reflective of him digging deeper down and being way more honest about his motivations and objectives in life." Teasing what's ahead, Hall says Lil Murda's final song of the season will be about his own questioning about what it means to be hypermasculine in the world and will surprise the audience.
If Lil Murda's story is about doing the work after hurting his bond with Uncle Clifford, then his relationship with Big Teak complicates that. "Even when Big Teak is not in the room, he's in the room," Hall explains. Sharing his relationship with Big Teak with Uncle Clifford will be difficult for Lil Murda, so hiding these details will get in the way of any reconciliation. From Nicholson's point of view, Lil Murda hopes the path he's on leads back to Uncle Clifford. "Lil Murda cares about his relationship with Big Teak. However, I think he's in love with Uncle Clifford and sees himself being with her," he says. Lil Murda sees her confidence in herself and how she moves through the world as an inspiration. On the other hand, he thinks Lil Murda loves Big Teak, but it's the right person at the wrong time.
Part of that journey is figuring out how he fits into the world he's chosen professionally as his authentic self. Hall doesn't see his story as one about coming out, but instead about finding a way to make who he is fit into the world he chose. "He is figuring out how to live in a world that wants him to be something else because he's in an art form that has a lot of homophobia in it. The stakes are high," she explains. Choosing to perform the version of himself people want to see is how he hurt Uncle Clifford. "He has to be very careful about who he allows to fully understand who he is, but he feels comfortable with Woddy and Keyshawn. It's about him knowing who he can be himself around then eventually finding out for himself that no matter who he's around, he has to be himself to be happy," he says. Nicholson is confident he'll find his way in the end.
Kyle Kaplan/Starz John Clarence Stewart stars in season 2 of 'P-Valley'
When crafting stories for Lil Murda and Uncle Clifford, the writers look at what lived experiences we do not see in media. We don't see many characters like Uncle Clifford, and we often don't see Black queer men in relationships with one another. "This story is very powerful and will unsettle people and may spark some very difficult conversations regarding sexuality within the Black community," Hall says about Lil Murda and Big Teak's relationship, "It opens people's eyes to how fluid sexuality and gender performance are." Whether it is interracial relationships or gay men being seen through feminine performance on TV, P-Valley adds stories that bring TV closer to showing a more realistic array of lived experiences. "Katori and her team do a beautiful job of creating that space," Nicholson says about seeing two Black men in a relationship on TV.
Curtis Baker/Starz 'P-Valley' actor J. Alphonse Nicholson as Lil Murda in season 2
As for what is ahead for Lil Murda and Big Teak, Hall says, "his reconnection with Big Teak completely changes his approach to his art, and I can't tell you how." Looking ahead, Nicholson says to keep an eye out for Lil Murda finally explaining things to Uncle Clifford and teasing a beautiful moment in the season finale.
P-Valley airs Sundays on Starz.
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