A negro spiritual pierces the air as Bryson (Tequan Richmond) and Ari (Leland B. Martin), bang on the front door of David’s (RJ Walker) house. It feels urgent and somewhat ominous. It’s been a while since Ari and Bryson have seen or heard from David and they’re worried. Finally, the door squeaks open and David hesitatingly lets Bryson and Ari in. As they enter the threshold of his house, it becomes clear why he didn’t want to open the door. David, bed-robed and bedraggled, looks like he hasn’t left his house in a week. His being home meant he was cleaning it; there are dirty dishes, pizza boxes and takeout containers everywhere. It’s like his house vomited itself up. Judging from Bryson and Ari’s reactions, it smells as bad as it looks. They try to get David to tell them what is going on but he lays in a silent, unmoving, dejected heap on the bed. Finally, they pry it out of him. David, though on fire for Jesus, was hotter for Elaine a few nights before. Further heated by their viewing of classic romantic drama Jason’s Lyric, he gave in to his impulses. David has had sex and he hates himself for it! He feels how his house looks.

If anyone has seen the old film classic Twelve Angry Men, they may appreciate the fact that for the duration of this episode, there are only two settings — the very short glimpse of the exterior of David’s house in the beginning, and the interior of David’s house for the rest of the time. There are also no other characters in the episode besides these three. It’s a high bar the showrunners set up to keep the audience interested for the whole time under these conditions.

Anyway, David goes on about feeling like a hypocrite because not only is he a Christian, he is a preacher. He has turned into a cliche — a man of the cloth who doesn’t walk his Christian talk. As they go about the gargantuan task of cleaning up his wrecked house, Bryson tells David not to be so hard on himself. Ari advises him to go ahead and satisfy his fleshly desires. When David disappears into his bedroom for a few minutes, Ari reveals that he is already tired of “friend duty” and just wants to go to the club. Bryson guilts Ari into staying and continuing to help. Ari is kinda shaky with the whole “being a good friend” thing!

Ari then begins to interrogate Bryson about what projects he’s working on. Bryson admits that the video directors are driving him bats**t but he feels he has no choice but to deal with them. Sympathizing with Bryson’s frustration (and also looking out for himself) Ari says Bryson should use him as a director instead. Bryson is obviously not a big fan of the idea. As far as Bryson is concerned, Ari AIN’T READY! Sulking, Ari goes quiet.

Ari and Bryson talk David off the ledge. Photo: BET
Ari and Bryson talk David off the ledge. | Photo: BET

As Bryson and Ari continue to work on the house, it slowly starts to look better. If cleanliness is next to godliness, David is much closer to God at this point. David gets a text from Elaine and Ari, devil may care as usual, encourages him to link up with her. Bryson argues they should support David in his effort to be celibate. Bryson tells David not to answer Elaine’s text.

Ari, we learn, is a lapsed Christian. He admits he left the church because he “couldn’t have any fun.” Was it foolish for us to expect him to have a deeper reason? Bryson challenges Ari, saying he really left because he just didn’t want to be accountable for anything. He is partly right, but Bryson sure is judgmental when it comes to Ari.

When Ari and David get a moment to chat as Bryson is busy on the phone with Simone, he admits that he thinks Bryson doesn’t take him seriously. David offers constructive criticism, saying that Ari basically needs to take himself more seriously before he can expect Bryson to take him seriously. He needs to be more focused and settled. It’s not clear if Ari is really buying what David is selling here, but he doesn’t really object.

Later, when David and Bryson are chatting alone, David asks Bryson to go easier on Ari. Bryson stands his ground and says he doesn’t think he’s HARD ENOUGH on Ari. David reminds Bryson that he is more privileged than Ari and didn’t get where he is without the help of his mother. This seems to sink in a bit.

It’s soon David’s turn to have the mirror held up to his face for being overly judgmental. David yells at Bryson and Ari for cursing in his house. Ari reminds David that he not too long ago, fornicated his Christian preacher self in that house. This quickly calms David down. Maybe due to Ari’s flash of wisdom, David gently tells Ari that he wishes Ari hadn’t given up on God. Ari quickly corrects him saying, “I didn’t give up on God, I gave up on church.” He’s speaking deep thoughts now though!

Elaine texts again and Ari advises David to invite her over to watch Touched By An Angel. The suggestion seems crazy and perfect all at the same time! Like Ari, I guess. As Bryson continues to be preoccupied by Simone’s calls, Ari tells Bryson he’s turning into the guy who ghosts his friends when he meets a girl. Bryson’s protests are pretty weak. He knows Ari is speaking the truth! Ari says he doesn’t really blame Bryson because Simone is hot. Seeing Bryson’s look of worry, he reassures him Simone is not “thick” enough to be his type! Well, well, well now we know Ari’s type in women. We already saw his type in men a few weeks back!

As the house gets even cleaner, Ari informs Bryson he no longer wants him to hook him up with a gig at his firm. Bryson, remembering his earlier conversation with David about his privilege, says he is going to try to get Ari on a project. Ari insists he has changed his mind and will work more on his skills before trying to work at Bryson’s firm.

David hopes some time in Word will rid him of his guilt. Photo BET.
David hopes some time in Word will rid him of his guilt. | Photo: BET

After talking to Elaine, David is still down in the dumps. Ari suggests that they all go out but David just wants to listen to gospel music and write in his journal. He also tells them he won’t be joining them the next night at the strip club for Tia’s birthday. As a matter of fact, he doesn’t know WHEN he is gonna want to be around them again in the near future. This seems harsh and hella ungrateful especially for two friends who have just spent all day cleaning your disgusting home, and helping you cleanse your mucked up spirit, but here we are.

Bryson and Ari leave and David settles in with his Bible as a negro spiritual once again begins.



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