“Jersey Strong” (1.6) recap: Fight, Bang, Die

As dusk descends upon the slums of New Jersey, Jayda meets with Pastor Ron Christian for pasta and soul-searching. Jayda flicks her hair irritably and avoids eye contact, but when Pastor pushes her to talk, she breaks down in tears. With puffy eyes and a makeup-free face, Jayda looks like she’s been crying a lot lately.

Jayda blames Creep’s mother for their current (and past) relationship woes. Pastor reminds Jayda that she chose Creep, and has to either stick with him or leave him. Jayda smokes a stress cigarette. Pastor Ron continues pushing Jayda to get her life together, if not for herself for the kids.

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To the lesbians! Maggie and Brooke hop in their white Range Rover (not exactly eco-friendly, are we ladies?) and roll onto the soaked Jersey Highways. Since Nicole moved out, Maggie has been even less likable than usual.

Maggie: If I smell cigarettes on you today, that’s it, I’m leaving you and you’ll never see me, OK?

Lil’ ray of sunshine, that girl Maggie.

Brooke: You’re putting a lot of pressure on me.

Maggie: You haven’t seen pressure. But seriously, I’m getting sick of your shit.

Brooke thinks Maggie takes her frustrations with Nicole out on Brooke. Nicole moved out because she wants to think for herself—by thinking like her boyfriend.

Over in da hood, Creep tells his buddies about breaking up with Jayda. Creep is mad at Jayda for not showing proper support when his grandma died.

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Why can’t Jayda understand that when a grown man’s grandparent dies, he is allowed to move out and stop taking care of his finace/kids? Is it so wrong for Creep to toss aside all responsibilities when an old person dies of natural causes? Screw the children— what about Creep’s precious feelings? How could an adult possibly function normally when they are sadsies? Ugh. I liked Creep but this is week. Stop being a little bitch and start being a man. Or just an adult. That’ll work too. Creep jokes about bangin’ (shooting people?).

At Brooke’s office, Kevin continues to assist Brooke with lawyerly pursuits.  Kevin is a nice boy. The dynamic duo meet with Brooke’s client Jason. Jason has been charged with conspiracy to distribute drugs. Juicy stuff. Brooke, like most lawyers, is not super concerned with her client’s guilt. She’s concerned with any police fuck ups (or as she puts it, “constitutional violations”) that might get her client off ASAP. In Jason’s case, Brooke asserts that the evidence was obtained illegally because the police did not have a search warrant. Boom. LAW. Brooke preps Jason and his fiance to show emotion/be sympathetic at the trial. The stakes are high: If Jason is found guilty, he’s facing 15-20 years in jail and would miss watching his baby grow up.

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Jayda hides eggs in a bleak-looking park for the kids to hunt. She’s over Creep’s drama and wants to just focus on her children. The kids frolic cutely. Creep isn’t at the park—he’s standing on the street in a white tee talking to a bunch of other guys standing on the street in white tees. Looks like a party. They gamble with dice, because apparently that’s still a thing. Creep acts all tough saying shit like, “Let’s bang these n*****s out,” but then he rolls glow in the dark dice and it’s a lot less impressive. Why not jacks? Go fish? Foursquare? Creep admits that he’s being an asshole.

Jayda visits Brooke’s office to discuss the Creep situation. Jayda is worried about Creep getting sucked into street life now that he’s not spending his free time with Jayda and the kids. Brooke tells Jayda that Creep will only change and give up the streets if he wants to change and give up the streets. Jayda can’t control his actions, so she has to make her own choices.

Later at the courthouse, Brooke argues a motion to have the evidence against Jason suppressed because of illegal search and seizure. When Jason’s fiance takes the stand, she breaks down in tears. The judge is nonplussed.

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Back at Brooke’s home, Maggie is a wreck. After Nicole moved out, Maggie couldn’t stop crying and even went on anti-depressants. Nicole, the sullen 18-year-old, stops by to work things out. Maggie and Nicole yell at each other. They hug, but nothing really feels resolved.

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Back to Jayda: Ron Christian invited her to speak at church about her experiences. Jayda talks about the anger she felt as a fatherless 15-year-old sent to jail. Jayda has never really talked about her father before, but it’s clearly an emotional subject.

Jayda: How could my father know he has a child, but not even care what I look like? How could he know about me but never care to meet me? To see if I’m OK? I felt rejected and I felt like I was no good.

Jayda recalls how crying and talking gave her the release she needed to get over her anger towards her dad. She asks if anyone at church wants to relate their own, similar experiences. A tearful teen girl with pink nail polish and bows in her ears stands up.

Teenage girl: The week before this week started, my cousin got shot in the head. He was a gangbanger and he did some bad stuff but… He died. When I went to the funeral, and saw him in the casket, I couldn’t believe it. I couldn’t believe it ’til I saw it. I couldn’t cry, this is my first time crying, because it’s just now I know he’s really gone.

Connecting with young girls brings Jayda back to life. For the first time all episode, she seems really awake and energetic. Snark aside, this is clearly what Jayda was born to do. Unfortunately, she soon suffers yet another personal hardship. Apparently shootings are up in Jayda’s hood, and the violence finally reached home. A friend of Jayda’s was shot twice in the head. Another was gunned down right around the corner from Jayda’s home.

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Jayda: I’m just tired of going to funerals. I’m tired of putting my friends and my family in the ground.

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