TV Recap: American Soul – This Is Your Dream …

American Soul
“Proceed With Caution” (Episode 110)
April 2, 2019

Last week on American Soul, we got a deep dive flashback into some of our main character’s formative past. While in the present, Encore cut a record and was offered a spot opening for Ike and Tina Turner and Brianne came into her own and said “Peace Out” to Barker!  Catch up on all of last week’s action with our deep dive recap and review here.

And now, continue reading for our deep dive recap and review of the season finale of American Soul!  … BEWARE OF SPOILERS!!!

Still of India McGee as Flo Davis, Katlyn Nichol as Simone Clarke, and Jelani Winston as Kendall Clarke from BET’s “American Soul” episode 110. (Photo: Boris Martin/BET)

Don shares news with the crew that they have been extended for an additional two seasons!! Meanwhile, Tessa finds out she got the tour gig when she has Patrick read her the letter from the dance troupe! Gerald is getting comfy in his new office on the Soul Train set. And Simone, Kendall, and JT are excited about their new vinyl release! Lots of stuff happening with our gang in the opening of the season finale!  

The Soul Train production is underway. Gerald and Brooks are looking for Don who disappeared after the season extension announcement. They decide to proceed without him. The production today involves Ike (McKinley Freeman) and Tina Turner (Gabrielle Dennis)! They’re performing “Proud Mary” and it is bomb. Dennis has Tina’s performance machinations to a T. 

Still of Gabrielle Dennis as Tina Turner from BET’s “American Soul” episode 110. (Photo: Jace Downs/BET)

Don and Delores are in a flashy car near a railroad track at night.  Don is promising her the world and he’s also excited because she and the kids are planning to move to LA. They share a kiss as Delores gives him a warning that he needs to look out. He assures her everything is fine … as a train light appears and is intensifying quickly. He tries to get away as the train bears down. He wakes up to Brooks pounding on the car window. He’d fallen asleep in his car and missed part of the taping. 

Tessa and Patrick are celebrating her dance troupe news and drops on Patrick that she wants to adopt a baby. She says that they can handle the crazy balance of kids and careers. That kinda came from left field, to be honest. 

JT and Simone are planning their escape from LA to happen the night after they open for Ike and Tina. Meanwhile, we see Private Barker looking on our young ones, binoculars in one hand and a large knife in the other.

Ruh Roh! 

Soul Train Set. Brooks tells Don that Ike is demanding certain things before he’ll finish the set. I can only imagine what those requests are. Don is preoccupied with his anniversary trip. Brooks tells Don everything is arranged, but he hasn’t heard back from Delores. Brooks tells Don that Gerald is comfy in his office; he sounds surprised that he’s there and has an office. Don tells Brooks that Gerald pays his way and asks how the deal with Coke is going? Don, you’re a dick. 

Don goes to the Turner’s dressing room. He can hear arguing between them before he knocks on the door. Ike is visibly impaired and asking for more of Don’s stash. 

Gerald is on the phone giving his position as the “VP of Talent Coordination.” Herschel walks in with Jimmy Good (Jason Lyke). Herschel is feeling left out of Gerald’s side hustle. Somehow, I don’t think he means the honey mentioned in earlier episodes, which is also sitting on Gerald’s desk. Herschel gets angry when Gerald tells him Soul Train is off-limits.

“Everything you got is mine and you’re only alive because I allow it.”

Don walks in, unsure of what’s exactly happening, but senses the unrest. Herschel exits. Don’s worried that Herschel will be a problem but Gerald assures him it’s all cool. 

Mmmmm hmmmm, sure.

Commercials. 

Don is checked out by Dr. Howard again. Don tells the Doc about the hallucination train tracks dream but also, that he’s losing time when they occur. Don ‘fesses up that he’s been using cocaine to self-medicate. 

The Clarke Residence.  Professor Haygood meets with Brianne and fills her in on Simone’s gigs at Dugan’s and the level of talent he feels she has. Simone walks in and is met with high sarcasm about being famous before her record is even out. Busted! Haygood is there with a NYC theater producer, Marshal Jones. In short, they’re there to offer Simone a part in a play in New York as well as full tuition to a prestigious school. Brianne is uneasy and excuses them. 

Reggie has a job for JT. JT knows this is not going to go well for him. His apprehension about what’s coming next is palpable. 

Simone and Brianne are talking about what just went down. Brianne is angry Simone was sneaking out to play music. However, rather than shut it down, she softens in her approach to her daughter.

“Believe it or not, I know what it is to hold a dream in your heart. This is your dream … Sometimes the only person you can trust with your dream is you.” 

Simone asks her Momma to come to her show that night and Brianne graciously accepts. 

Soul Train Set. Flo is tearing it up as Tessa returns to the roost for the first time since she quit a couple of episodes ago.  Production wraps on the first season of Soul Train. Don whisks Tessa away from her welcome hugs to discuss business. In his office, they toast to the future. Tessa is waiting for the ask and Don doesn’t disappoint. He asks Tessa to come back to the show. She is negotiating a raise, creative control, and a producing credit. He’s not willing to budge on the producing credit. She tells him any decision will need to wait until her tour is over. 

Gerald walks into an abandoned warehouse and finds Herschel and his thugs waiting. After he’s frisked by Jimmy, Gerald and Herschel squabble about trust and who owns who. Gerald announces that things are changing and Soul Train is his way out of “this.” Herschel disagrees and his man, Jimmy, raises a gun to Gerald. Herschel explains the only way out for Gerald is to die. Gerald responds with some Sun-Tzu, The Art of War shit.

“Unless I can subdue the enemy without ever fighting.”

It’s a coup! Gerald tells Herschel he should have killed him back when he’d had the chance. Jimmy tosses Gerald back his gun and they all open fire on Herschel. Et tu, Brute, much? 

Commercials. 

Club 100 Proof. Don comes over to Encore to congratulate them and wish them well. Simone and Kendall are stressing that JT hasn’t shown up. Kendall nominates Flo to stand in for him. She knows the routine, Kendall tells Simone; she helped him learn it. 

Reggie stops the car with JT. Nooooooo! They’re at Patrick Lorraine’s house to take him out for trying to stop the revolution. JT is not cool with any of this but Reggie threatens to kill not only JT, but also his mom, his sister, and Ma Mabel if JT backs out. 

Club 100 Proof. The Revamped Encore has the crowd rocking to JT’s song. Irony!  Seriously, they’re on fire but, as soon as they’re done, Simone wants to go home without an explanation.

Still of India McGee as Flo Davis, Katlyn Nichol as Simone Clarke, and Jelani Winston as Kendall Clarke from BET’s “American Soul” episode 110. (Photo: Boris Martin/BET)

Don watches the night go on and he’s very pleased. He asks the bartender for a bottle of champagne and brings it over to Ike to thank him for the performance on Soul Train. Ike is overtly nasty to Tina when she asks him to slow down the drinking. She excuses herself.  Ike likes how Don does business and says that he’ll be back for the opening of the Soul Train Club that Gerald had mentioned. 

Still of Sinqua Walls as Don Cornelius and McKinley Freeman as Ike Turner from BET’s “American Soul” episode 110. (Photo: Boris Martin/BET)

The Lorraine House. Tessa is doing some dirty dancing as they start to get their freak on. JT lurks at the window and opens a door left unlocked. Oh, shit. Patrick hears something and grabs his gun. JT hides just out of Patrick’s sight on the patio and jumps over the back fence. Reggie is there to meet him, gun cocked. 

Commercials. 

In Gerald’s office, he offers Don a drink. Gerald is in a good mood, telling Don that Herschel won’t be a problem anymore. Don responds that he doesn’t think Herschel was the problem at all, given what Ike told him about the club they’re opening. Gerald thinks the club would be a logical brand expansion, but Don is not having it. The next moment they are bar brawling in the office. Don throws Gerald across the room like a goddamn doll. They get it out of their system and chuckle about how much it’ll cost. Huh, boys?! 

Still of Jason Dirden as Gerald Aims from BET’s “American Soul” episode 110. (Photo: Boris Martin/BET)

Reggie takes JT to an alley with the gun still pointed at his head. Reggie tells JT he really didn’t want to do this. Well, at least he’s reluctant to kill his friends. *Eye Roll* Lucky for JT, Barker arrives and takes out Reggie just as JT is about to pull the trigger. Barker tells JT that he’s a friend of Simone’s and JT recognizes him as her Dad’s war buddy. They load Reggie into the trunk. Lots of “body in trunk” action on this show. 

Tina is outside smoking a cigarette when Don joins her. She tells him that things used to be fun with Ike, but the warning signs were there. She missed them, though. Don tells her to clear out, to get away, but she can’t or won’t. Tina tells Don to make sure his wife remembers why he loves her. 

Ike and Tina perform “Feel Good” (released in 1972). Damn, they’re good.

Still of Gabrielle Dennis as Tina Turner and McKinley Freeman as Ike Turner from BET’s “American Soul” episode 110. (Photo: Boris Martin/BET)

A little treat for the readers, here is Ike and Tina performing “Feel Good” on … wait for it … Soul Train in 1972 (the video quality is not great).

Brooks walks in and tells Don he got the Coke meeting but they want to meet with Don. Don says no can do, he’s got to leave for the anniversary trip right after this show. Don tells Brooks to take the meeting even though they both know they don’t know if Delores is even going to show up for this trip. 

Barker and JT are talking about next steps. Barker tells JT that he’s gotta disappear. But what about his sister? And Simone? JT calls Simone. She tells him about New York and he tells her that he messed up bad. She knows something’s up. Well that was a gut-wrenching call as they say their goodbyes. Barker has the trunk open. JT thanks him but Barker says no thanks necessary, he was just completing his mission.  

Noooooooooooooooooo, Barker you crazy fuck. Barker stabs JT with his big ass knife and JT knows what’s happening. He’s loaded in next to Reggie. Barker tells the air he completed his mission. 

What The Actual Fuck?!?

Commercials. 

Simone is packing up and tells Kendall about the New York offer. Kendall is mad she’s leaving just as things are happening for their band. Simone says she has to do this for herself and Kendall informs his sister that she’s always been selfish. Ooooh, Burn! 

Don is at the Anniversary Dinner Restaurant and Delores actually shows up! Please God have the divorce papers in that cute little hand bag, girl. Don had a waiter rock up with a huge box for her. It’s a fur coat. She shrugs it off, leaving it hanging off the chair. She asks where his wedding ring is? Delores has a separation agreement and slides it across the table.

Exit Delores. Mic drop!

Closing Scenes. Brianne and Simone are at home, singing. Don is sitting alone in the Restaurant of Broken Anniversary Dinners and Marriages. Kendall and Flo are performing as Revamped Revamped Encore, there is a new third guy.  Tessa and Patrick are dancing and being blissful. Brianne goes on a date. Simone is getting ready in a dressing room in New York and looking wistfully at JT’s picture. 

Sometime later, we see a groundbreaking for the Soul Train Club, but Don is noticeably absent. Instead, Don is enjoying his new found freedom with three ladies in his bed. Happy 1973!!! 

The final scenes before the credits roll are stills of the main cast and all the guest performers from the season. Clearly, this was filmed before American Soul found out BET renewed them for Season 2!

And scene!

***

Thoughts.

This was a fast 9 weeks with this show. Really. I enjoyed it immensely and seeing the roots of this iconic show has been a fun ride. I’ve watched a lot of YouTube Soul Train performances since this show first aired. The Ike and Tina “Proud Mary” and “Feel Good” performances really delivered in real life. The formula of a blockbuster performance works for this show and when it’s missing, I feel it. Those episodes feel heavy for me. 

Report Card: My favorite guest “celebrity” performance was Wayne Brady as Little Richard. 

Final Character Wrap Up:

JT.  I … knew this was going to be your fate, but I didn’t want to accept it. And by Barker? Completing his mission? That’s one crazy sumbitch. This is why I hate people; a beautiful talent wasted (I know this is fiction, but you know what I mean). Honestly, if it wasn’t Barker it was going to be Reggie or his CRIP pals to finish JT off. Now I know why Barker was here. I was questioning his presence in the show at the end of the last episode. 

The Clarke Women. You can feel like things are taking off for Simone, but also, she’s going to carry the weight of JT around with her for a long time. As for Brianne, I think she will sing more and find some happiness in her coming days. 

Tessa. Hold your man close because you have no idea how close you were to losing him. I wasn’t a fan of Tessa showing up at the Soul Train set. I feel that was for her ego and not a true reflection of her character. It’s like she wanted Don to pine for her only to pull away the dangling  carrot so she can tout her recent achievement. Sigh, we’re human, I guess. 

In the end, Gerald was the only one true to himself. He knows what he is, but he wants to be that person in a different format. Less unsavory and less bloodshed. Maybe Season 2 will feature Gerald 2.0?

And Don. Karma is a bitch but you don’t seem to care. You treat everyone so nasty. I know from my research that *SPOILERS* you don’t end up happy or feeling comforted with your success, and that’s sad. Soul Train was a hit for almost 25 years, you’d have thought he’d built up a core group to depend on, but no. We saw at the end of this season how his cop training helped him be cold and detached in the music and entertainment business. But none of that training helped him gain friends and/or trusted confidants. Brooks he treats like dirt; Gerald, he doesn’t trust an ounce; and Tessa, he ran her off. 

Thank you for reading along with us this season. And I’m super excited that we’ll be back with a Season 2!!! For now, I wish you Peace, Love, and Soul! Catch up with all the American Soul recaps and so much more over at popculturereview.com and follow me on Twitter @SheilsMcGangsta for more chat about this!  

Behind the scenes of BET’s “American Soul” episode 110. (Photo: Jace Downs/BET)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *