Many series have chosen to integrate the COVID-19 pandemic into their plots and this is the case of P-Valley. The stakes around the world of striptease are quite well depicted with all that this may have had as consequences. Due to the pandemic, the P-Valley strip club is on the verge of going bankrupt, but that’s without counting on all the resulting intrigues that will allow the series to move forward. The show is not dead and P-Valley intends to keep it alive for a while. During its first season, P-Valley was quite unpredictable but fairly easily took up the themes that made Starz so successful (and also this identifiable side among all the other American platforms or channels). P-Valley had managed to introduce characters whose ambitions were complex and whose desires were genuinely different from what one might have imagined. Thanks to unpredictable and at the same time quite solid plots, the series had been able to keep its promises.
However, this season is not perfect. The difficulty of making a season 2 is felt despite everything in P-Valley and yet it finds a whole bunch of ideas to shine at the same time. If only visually. The series uses its theme in such an interesting way to deliver something visually remarkable. We leave the usual framework of Starz series while still finding its narrative archetypes. At the end of season 1, Hailey bought the Pynk from Promised Land, the company that wanted to build a casino instead of the club. All of this inevitably dashed the Mayor’s hopes of buying the club for a handful of dollars and reselling the land for millions. All this will have consequences on season 2 and its evolution. So it’s an opportunity to make a new introduction to the P-Valley universe while introducing a little twist that no one in the world (and in reality) saw coming: COVID-19.
What I find unfortunate in this season is the fact that some plots that could have lasted a few episodes drag on throughout the season. We feel that the writers are perhaps no longer as inspired as in the previous season, which progressed by leaps and bounds from episode to episode. This does not mean that the season is a failure. There are so many interesting things despite everything, if only in the relationships between the characters that remain the very heart of this series. We therefore find a lot of elements seen in the previous season but with the difficulty of making them evolve into something as solid as season 1. The dance scenes are always breathtaking and staged with little onions. Especially since the Pynk is now equipped with new pole bars which allow different shows. It is on this aspect that the series really always works so well.
All of the slightly supernatural elements also underline the series’ southern Gothic aesthetic. It is reminiscent of True Blood or Claws on many occasions. This is a good quality for P-Valley. Some characters are erroneously set aside this year while new ones are introduced without much development or backstory. I find it a shame not to be satisfied with what is already there and to continue to develop them in favor of new characters that are quite bland. The other plot of the season after COVID-19 is police violence against African-Americans. This fairly strong theme is not always well used by the series. I would have preferred that P-Valley concentrate on the violence that this generates in the streets in the United States. The season then pivots solely around the tension between crime and punishment. This thematic change (and the accompanying havoc on the club and its team of dancers) makes the series too greedy for what it can tell.
Despite a whole host of qualities and always more ideas, P-Valley gets bogged down at times in its overflow. It’s so rich that the writers can’t manage to intelligently juggle all the plots and all the characters in order to create a balanced series.
Rating: 5/10. In short, a season 2 which has its qualities but also many faults in the management of its new characters and new plots, making the whole thing a bit too greedy for what the writers are capable of doing.
Available on Starzplay