In the latest episode of The Get Down, the “Fantastic Four + One” find themselves at a loss when Shaolin Fantastic (Shameik Moore) parts ways with the group, in frustration. Not knowing any other way to replace their recently destroyed record table, the four devise a party in order to rack up the necessary fees. Meanwhile, Mylene (Herizen F. Guardiola) prepares herself for meeting with her newfound record producer, the washed up, drug ridden Jackie Moreno (Kevin Corrigan) who hasn’t made a successful hit in years.
With Zeke (Justice Smith) and Mylene taking front and center for this episode’s narrative, it’s nice to see the pair develop in their own unique ways. While they still rely on each other from time to time, their end goals are so clearly different that it reflects in their behavior on the show. Zeke is perfectly fine getting high and robbing nearby stores when the Bronx suffers a blackout, while Mylene refuses to sing a song about drugs because it makes her feel like a joke. Both manage to still be equally as interesting thanks to actors Justice Smith and Herizen Guardioa commanding the roles, and having great chemistry with one another when their stories do finally intersect every now and again.
Even the subplots surrounding record producer Jackie Moreno and Mylene’s uncle Papa Fuerte (Jimmy Smits) hold a lot of interesting bits to keep the viewer entertained when Zeke isn’t in focus. As far as Shaolin’s moments, he does serve a great role toward the episode’s end, when he thrusts his four friends into a situation they never imagined they would be a part of. Otherwise, however, his role is fairly minor and underutilized in the other fifty minutes this episode had to offer.
With Shaolin Fantastic’s narrative pushed to the side to focus on Zeke and his posse of fellow hip hop lovers, while their story together is definitely an interesting one, it brings to light how uninteresting the background characters can be. For example, I don’t remember Jaden Smith’s character doing one thing of noteworthy importance throughout the run. Instead, everyone except Zeke, Mylene, and Shaolin just serve more as props than anything else, adding a line to the situation here or there, but contributing nothing really important in the end. Which is saying something, since three episodes in I still couldn’t care less what happens to anyone outside of the main characters.
Still, “Darkness is Your Candle” offers another decent episode for The Get Down fans to enjoy. Even if the series hasn’t quite found its niche yet, the talent behind the performances and game cast make it worth the watch. And with things continuously building up in terms of stakes and drama, I’m still invested to see where things lead.