A Lot of Nothing (2022) - full transcript

James and Vanessa are ostensibly the perfect married couple; beautiful, successful, and smart. Their lives spiral out of control when they decide to seek justice against a neighbor they saw commit a crime on the evening news.

[ Insects chirping,
vehicles passing ]

[ Dog barking in distance ]

[ Vehicle approaching ]

[ Brakes hiss, engine stops ]

[ Door closes,
footsteps approaching ]

[ Box clatters, doorbell rings ]

[ Footsteps departing ]

-[ Door opens ]
-[ Mid-tempo jazz plays ]

[ Engine starts,
vehicle departs ]

[ Door closes ]

[ Music continues ]



REPORTER:
We are live on the scene tonight

of yet another
officer-involved shooting.

Although we don't have
a lot of information right now,

the Los Angeles
Police Department tells us

they first got the call
to arrive to the scene

because of loud music
coming from a house.

We're not sure what happened
from that point on

that led to one officer
opening fire here on the street

and killing one man.

A witness provided
cellphone footage.

We have to warn our viewers --

The content you're about to see
is graphic,

and it is disturbing.

MAN:
Show me your hands! [Bleep]



-[ Gunshots ]
-Gun! Gun!

-[ Radio beeps ]
-Major 6-7. Shots fired.

REPORTER: We are hearing reports
on social media

that man has been identified

as LAPD police officer
Brian Stanley.

We'll continue
to keep you updated

as more information becomes --

[ Down-tempo music plays ]

Our neighbor?

Our neighbor.

I'm -- I'm shocked.

I'm not.

Do you remember what he said
when I moved his garbage cans?

We still don't know if he
meant it like -- like that.

James, how else
would you interpret

"You people move in here
and have no respect"?

Vanessa, that doesn't
exactly translate

into "I want to murder
an unarmed motorist today."

No.
He said "you people," James.

It's not about the trash.
It's about the mentality.

Okay.

I need a real drink.

[ Music continues ]

You want one?

JAMES:
Yes, please.

Whiskey?

Wherever you're having, babe.

[ Exhales deeply ]

Fuck.

Oh, my God.

[ Sighs ]
It's exhausting.

Here.

Thank you.

[ Sighs ]

Fuck.

And now we wait for him
to be exonerated.

If there's proof
he did something wrong,

then we'll see.

Did we just watch
the same footage?

Yes, that very grainy,
shaky footage

taken from more than
20 feet away?

Yes, we did.

That little boy's back
was turned.

Now he's a little boy?

Well, whomever he was,
that was murder.

That video was the tail end
of whatever transpired, okay?

-Oh, my God, James.
-We have no idea what led to it.

No idea.

Wow.

I'm just legally speaking,
Vanessa.

Yeah.
Yeah.

-That's what I do.
-Legally speaking.

Well, psychologically speaking,
you've been desensitized.

[ Music continues ]

You know what?
Let's, um...

Let's just wait.

See what happens
with the investigation.

VANESSA:
Mm. Yeah.

Investigators are all part
of the same police state, James.

You know this.

I mean, you,
you know know this.

Hmm?

How many of the boys you grew up
with ever saw any justice

after being shot down
by the 5-0?

[ Chuckles ]

The 5-0, Vanessa?
Really?

-The 5-0?
-Well, I'm just saying.

You, of all people, know exactly
what went down in that video.

So if you're not angry
about it --

-Oh, wow.
-No.

I don't know who the fuck
is supposed to be.

I can be angry and realistic
simultaneously.

I am highly capable of that.

-Realistic?
-Thank you. Yes. Realistic.

Okay, James.
Okay.

"Okay, James.
Okay."

So, what does one do, Vanessa?

Hmm?

Like, what does one do?

We're here. This happens.
We're hurt.

Now what?

[ Music continues ]

Oh, you're really asking me?
How refreshing.

I mean, you know,
we got to just...

We got to take a stand.

JAMES:
We do. We do.

I'm tired of it, too.

I just want us to do something.

Well, then let's do something.

Let's...Let's do something big.

What if we do a post?

-[ Dramatic music plays ]
-Say something?

[ Music builds, ends ]

Yes.

Really?

Fuck yes.

Yes.
Let's, uh, let's make a post!

-Okay.
-Make a post.

VANESSA:
Yes.

Let's make a post.

-Okay.
-Let's do that.

All right.

-All right.
-No, no. I'll type.

You put that obscene-hourly-rate
mind of yours to work

and give it to me, okay?

-Yes, ma'am.
-Okay.

[ Mid-tempo music plays ]

Here you go, darling.

-Thank you.
-You're welcome.

All right.
Here we go.

[ Music slows, ends ]

Okay.
We got to start --

VANESSA:
No, no. I got it. I got it.

-You got it?
-Yeah.

"Friends and neighbors."

[ Down-tempo music plays ]

"It appears another hate-ass,
nigger-hating cop --"

Whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa.

-Yeah?
-Whoa. Whoa.

No. Okay?
Think, all right?

Do you want your colleagues
reading that

before your annual eval,
Vanessa?

You want to just give Ted
that kind of opening?

-Fucking Ted.
-Fucking Ted. Right?

You know how he's always on your
page, fake-liking everything.

[ Groans ]

Friend requests.

Just another way
they control us.

-Mm. Tell me about it.
-Yeah.

Should we, uh, should we
give him the old Dr. King quote?

Oh.
Which one?

Which one?

"I have a dream" is played out.

We need some of that small,
sweaty-church Martin.

-You know what I'm saying?
-Yeah.

What's that one with the mouse
and the elephant

and the mouse is oppressed
but the elephant

isn't just guilty alone
because those --

That won't get enough likes.
Plus that's Desmond, babe.

Oh, yeah.
I know.

I know that.

[ Mid-tempo music plays ]

You know, I don't think
it should be King anyway.

You know?
Like...

What about that Iranian poet
we like on Insta?

Like Rumi or something?

No. It's too esoteric, right?
Yeah.

I know, baby.
Why don't we just flip it?

[ Music ends ]

Churchill.

[ Chuckles ]

VANESSA:
[ Chuckles ]

I married a genius.

-I'm glad you recognize that.
-Yeah.

Let's, uh, let's flip the script
on them, right?

Illustrate the depth
of our shared lexicon.

VANESSA:
Yes.

Yes.

[ Mid-tempo music plays ]

Okay.
I got it.

If you're going through hell...

VANESSA:
Mm-hmm?

...keep going.

Um...

-No, no, no, no.
-Yeah.

I know.
It's a misdirect, babe, right?

You don't want to start off
all soapboxy, right?

Good old Ted.
He sees this.

And he thinks
he's about to get a look

into some sort of, uh --
I don't know --

some sort of dysfunction
in our marriage.

And then, boom,
we hit him with the injustice,

with the oppression, with
the plight of the Black people

in the self-destructive,
cyclical cesspool

they call a country.

You feel me?
Yeah?

I feel you, baby.

Yeah.
You like that.

Mm-hmm.

I do.

See, this -- this...

Mm.

...this is the James
I used to know.

[ Chuckles ]

[ Music ends ]

Used to?

Yeah.

[ Down-tempo music plays ]

Used -- Um...

I'm a volcano, baby.

Always have been.
Always will be.

-Is that right?
-Yes.

That's -- That's right.

I value my lava, right?

I got to let it slowly seep out.

'Cause they...
they want me to erupt, right?

I erupt,
and they can lock me up.

They can throw away everything
that I've worked for.

But that's not me, right?

They don't know
what I'm coming with.

I'm -- I'm --
I'm a Trojan horse, huh?

Trojan lava, if you will.

See, crooked-ass cops,

they get to erupt wherever
and whenever they want.

Probably was a kid, you know?

Yeah.

He didn't look that big
in the video.

-Probably just chilling.
-Yeah.

Listening to music
and then...game over.

It's not fair.

See, this is why I...I really
don't want to bring a kid

into this crazy world.

[ Music continues ]

[ Glass clanks, cork squeaks ]

[ Liquid pouring ]

JAMES:
[ Groans ]

Are you writing that quote,
babe? Hmm?

We didn't pick one.

You know what?

You know what, babe?

Fuck that nigga Ted.

You remember that time
at that dinner party?

What was it?

He said that -- that --

that Larry Bird was
a smarter player than LeBron.

-Huh? You remember that?
-Yeah.

Same dinner
Marissa touched my hair

and said it was
surprisingly soft.

-See?! See?
-Yeah.

Fuck all them niggas.

Just write what you want.
Write -- Write what you want.

Go ahead.

If they want to try
and fire you for it,

I'll just hit them
with a discrimination lawsuit

that'll turn their white-ass
office fucking invisible.

Wait a minute.

Why are we fiddling
with Facebook

when he's right next door?

Huh?

We should go over there.

We should go over there

and tell angry neighbor,
Black-man-killing Officer Brian

about hisself in person.

Yes.

[ Down-tempo music plays ]

-You know what? You're right.
-I know. [ Exhales sharply ]

We don't need
no punk-ass Internet.

-No, we don't.
-Like in the good old days.

You have a problem
with the man next door.

-What do you do?
-You go next door.

-Yes.
-Yes.

-Yes.
-Yes.

[ Exhales deeply ]

-James?
-Huh?

You should bring your gun.

[ Dramatic music plays ]

Are you crazy?

He's just killed a Black child.

So what do you think
he's gonna do

when a beautiful,
strong Black man

shows up at his house
unannounced?

[ Music continues ]

-Yeah.
-Yeah.

[ Exhales deeply ]

JAMES:
[ Chuckles ]

I don't want to use it.

Of course not, babe.

You remember everything, though,
right?

What do you mean,
do I remember everything?

All those hours that me and you
spent at the gun range?

You -- You asking me to go

and me fucking taking you to go
and all that shit?

It's been a while.

I know my "Call of Duty," babe,
all right?

I can get --
I can get technical on his ass.

What if you got gangster?

Oh, you want gangster.

[ Music continues ]

You want gangster.

Show me.

[ Music ends ]

No.
Show me.

[ Down-tempo music plays ]

Point it at me.

[ Dramatic music plays ]

Pretend I'm him, James.

Tell me what I need to hear.

Tell me.

-Tell me.
-Shut the fuck up!

You want me to tell you
about yourself, motherfucker?

Huh?
Well, I know all about you.

I can do that in my sleep,
all right?

I know how you get off on power.

-Mm.
-Hmm?

You get off on the superiority,
right?

But I see you.

And you want to know the truth?

-Tell me. Tell me.
-You want to know the truth?

I know you're scared.

Yeah. Look at you.
Look at you.

Shaking.

VANESSA:
[ Exhales deeply ]

Hmm?

[ Down-tempo music plays ]

What are we gonna do?

I don't know.

But I'm gonna protect you.

And who's gonna protect you?

You.

-You.
-Yeah.

Yeah?

Yeah.

[ Music builds, continues ]

-[ Grunts ]
-[ Gasps ]

VANESSA:
[ Exhales sharply ] Yes.

Come here.
Come here.

Come here.

[ Breathing heavily ]

[ Alarm blaring ]

[ Down-tempo music plays ]

[ Birds chirping ]

[ Alarm stops ]

VANESSA:
[ Exhales deeply ]

[ Music continues ]

[ Water running ]

JAMES:
Yes.

What should I cook for them
tonight?

For whom?

Your brother and his baby mama.

I forgot.

I'm sure Jamal and Candy,
his fiancée,

will be happy
with whatever you decide.

Well, I'll have to go
to the store after work.

I'm fine with anything.

Thank you.
That's very helpful.

Look at me.

[ Door rattling,
metal squeaking ]

[ Mid-tempo music plays ]

[ Birds chirping,
dog barking in distance ]

[ Engines whirring ]

[ Music continues ]

MAN:
Hey, man.

But she was looking at --
You know the...

WOMAN: Instantly devolves into
conversation about porn.

MAN: ...where they have
the little pictures of people.

WOMAN: ...with attitudes
towards sexuality...

-[ Horn honking ]
-Jesus. Okay.

I'm going.
I'm going.

WOMAN: ...negative,
filled with shame...

MAN: ...with this intense look
in his eye.

And you can tell he was smart.

[ Tires screech ]

[ Indistinct conversations ]

[ Music continues ]

[ Exhales deeply ]

Did you get my ping about the
Hutchinson and Kennedy meeting?

Good morning, Olivia.

Apparently, Arnold had to go
to Taiwan

to do some fire-extinguishing
on the Xihào acquisition,

so they moved it to today.

When -- When was that decided,
Olivia?

Last night.
When I pinged you?

Last night.

[ Tablet chimes ]

[ Indistinct conversations,
telephone ringing in distance ]

[ Knock on door ]

Yo! V!

Vanessa.

V-nessa.

Uh, I just went downstairs
to grab the Journal,

and on one of the other covers,
there was this actress.

Um, you know her.

Uh, fuck. Fuck me.
What is her name?

She's in that slave movie.

She's also in that other, like,
slave revenge-horror thing.

Is there something you need
from me, Ted?

Just a little colleague support.

So, I am thinking

that my ideas to trim the fat
from the quarterly

are actually pretty good.

I put together a little pitch.

I was just hoping
you could just quickly skim

some of those reports
before the meeting.

Might help back your boy up.

Um, I mean, I don't just skim
through things.

And the meeting's in an hour?

Right.
Right. Yeah.

How about you do me a favor
and back me up?

And I'll do you a favor.

I'll call James
and suggest to him

that he start putting you
in a better mood in the morning.

Yeah. All right.
Thank you.

I'll see you in there.
Thanks, V.

[ Mid-tempo music plays ]

[ Whispering ]
Vanessa.

[ Music continues ]

[ Liquid pouring ]

WOMAN:
I love your shoes.

Thanks.

Nice.

So, why haven't we closed
on this acquisition, everyone?

This should have been tied up
yesterday.

I, um -- James has, uh,
been the lead on this one,

so...I will let him answer.

All right.
Uh, right.

Um, well,
from what I understand,

the acquisition is being held up
by the audit, all right?

That's business as usual for us.

But I connected with our client
on the phone before coming in.

Quelled their fears quite a bit,
I might add,

and, um, I believe we'll be
closed by the end of the week.

Well, actually,
I think we've been expending

way too much energy
combating the wrong issue.

I also had Vanessa here dig up
some previous precedents

in our own client base.

Right.

When putting together a graph
that delineates

the discrepancies
of each finance report,

I think our overall model --

Where's O'Leary?

Sorry.
H-Hold that thought, Linda.

I just remember that he had done
some excellent research on this,

and he put together a deck that
has everything we need on this.

Can we -- Can we pull him
in here ASAP?

He's on paternity leave.

Wow.
Doing the Irish proud, I see.

[ Laughter ]

[ Laughs ]

That's very funny.

Um, but a-as I was saying,
I think we do it,

just at a much higher premium.

Wait, wait, wait.
Something just came to me.

I got an idea.
So, um, I think we do this.

We just make the premiums
higher.

If that's the case,
I suggest we break for now.

Thanks, Ted.

[ Down-tempo music plays ]

James, James, James.

I'm watching you.
Yeah.

Keep it up, brother.

[ Chuckles ]

[ And I Am Telling You
I'm Not Going" playing ]

VANESSA:
♪ Love me ♪

♪ Love me ♪

♪ Lo-o-o-ve me ♪

♪ You're gonna lo-o-o-ve ♪

♪ Me ♪

[ Music builds, ends ]

[ Indistinct conversations ]

[ Cart rattling ]

-[ "Win" playing ]
-♪ Get out the way ♪

♪ Get out the way,
get out the way ♪

♪ Get out the way,
get the fuck up out my way ♪

-♪ You either wit' me or... ♪
-[ Music stops ]

Big plans this weekend?

Oh, you know, just, uh,
probably get some work d-- Oh.

My my brother
and his pregnant fiancée

are coming over for dinner
tonight.

Oh, your brother
and his baby mama.

[ Chuckles ]
Nice.

And, you know, didn't mean to
put you on the spot in there,

but per usual, you killed it,
'cause you're a baller.

Just doing what I do, man.

No worries.
No worries at all.

Have a good weekend.

You're one of the good ones,
brother.

Have a good one.

[ "Win" continues ]

♪ Get out the way,
get the fuck up out my way ♪

[ Echoing ]
♪ Yeah ♪

You're either wit' me
or against me, yo.

-[ Music continues ]
-You either wit' me or...

♪ Win ♪

Win, win, win, win.

J ROCK:
♪ Fuck everything else ♪

♪ Win, win, win, win ♪

♪ These niggas ain't shit ♪

♪ Win, win, win, win ♪

♪ Stop chasing that bitch ♪

♪ Win, win, win, win ♪

[ Echoing ]
♪ Yeah ♪

[ Hinges squeaking ]

You stay right there.

Not a lot of time,
but we'll make it a quickie.

[ Down-tempo music plays ]

[ Register beeping ]

[ Music continues ]

It's just me and you, baby.

[ Zipper closes ]

WOMAN: Are you ready to climb
these mountains, James?

-You know I am.
-I don't know.

I need you to say it to me.
Say it like you mean it.

I am ready to climb
the mountains.

Yes, you are.
Okay.

-Okay.
-All right.

-Let's sweat it out.
-...sweat it out.

Whoo!

Push it.

-Excuse me, ma'am. Excuse me.
-I'm sorry. I can't.

Don't you care about innocent
children dying from hunger?

I-I can't.

I don't know if you know this.

You can change a life today,
ma'am.

[ Music continues ]

TRAINER:
Yoo! All right. Let's go.

Harder.
Harder.

-Do you have more?
-You know I do.

Turn it up seven clicks
and give me more, then.

Yes, James.
Keep going.

Push it.
Push it.

I am.
Oh, I am.

[ Latch clicks, birds chirping ]

James?

JAMES:
[ Grunts ]

This!

Keep going, James.

Keep it up for me.
Yes.

[ Music continues ]

James!

And up.
And right back down.

And up.
Stay up for a bit.

There we go.

Yes!

VANESSA:
[ Sighs ]

[ Paper tearing ]

[ Down-tempo music plays ]

[ Dramatic music plays ]

[ Music continues ]

[ Music builds, ends ]

Hi.

I'm Vanessa, your neighbor.

But I'm sure
you already know that.

Okay.

I saw you on the news
last night.

And I guess I just wanted to
ask you a question.

I got nothing to say to you.

I'm sorry.

I'm a concerned citizen,
and you're a police officer.

What's your point?

My point is that you killed
a child.

BRIAN:
You're crazy.

Says the officer
who killed an unarmed kid.

-No. We're done here.
-As your neighbor,

as a taxpayer,
and as a person of color --

Person of color?

Well, person of color...
as an officer of the law,

I suggest you take
your high-yellow ass

back to your nice little house
over there and drop it.

What did you just say to me?

You take another couple steps,

you're gonna be
on my personal property.

And what?

You're gonna shoot me?

[ Suspenseful music plays ]

You'll be in violation
of California Penal Code 602.

You'll be subject to arrest.

[ Bird cawing ]

JAMES:
Whoo-ooh!

I am the master
of all obstacles!

-TRAINER: Faster. Yes, James.
-Come on! What you got?

Faster for me.
Whoo!

Yes, James.
Keep going.

[ Breathing heavily ]

[ Exercise bike whirring ]

JAMES:
Yes!

A little bit faster.
Come on.

Sure you're ready to quit?

-No!
-Yes.

Why'd you do that?

I was just accosted
by our neighbor.

What?
What neighbor?

The murderer, James.

How?
What -- What happened?

Can you please
just get off the bike?

[ Grunts ]

[ Clip snaps ]

Just calm down.
Hey. Listen. Calm down.

-Tell me what happened.
-I was --

I was just unloading
the groceries from the car,

and I saw him on his front lawn.

And so...

Jesus.

I-I was perfectly polite.

I-I just wanted to talk to him,
and he told me --

he told me to take
my "high-yellow ass"

inside the house.

Why'd you --
Why'd you approach him?

To talk to him.

To ask him why.

This is ridiculous, Vanessa.

I agree.
Completely unacceptable.

You started in with a cop.

Are you seriously blaming me?

You don't like him,
and he doesn't like you.

So I'm trying to understand

what would compel you
to talk to that man.

Oh, the fact that another little
Black boy is dead

and he's just standing there
on his lawn

smoking a cigarette
like nothing happened.

You do not know what transpired.

I know enough, James,
and so do you.

You are being...

What am I being?

Stop.

I will go,
and I will calmly resolve this.

Stay here.

James?

What?

[ Bird cawing,
dog barking in distance ]

Back away from my fucking door.

Sorry to bother you, my man.

It's James from next door.

Listen.
I was just hoping that --

I know who the fuck you are.
Back away from my fucking door.

Okay.
Backing up.

[ Suspenseful music plays ]

[ Latch clicks ]

Listen.
I don't want any problems.

I told my wife
I would come over here,

and I wanted to resolve whatever
might have happened amicably.

Well, you control your wife,
and there won't be any problem.

Keep her off my lawn, okay?
And out of my business.

All right.
Okay.

Listen, Brian.
I-I solve problems for a living.

-Yeah. All right.
-I think if we just go ahead --

Get your fucking hands off me
and get the fuck back.

VANESSA:
No.

You will not be shooting
my husband today.

[ Music continues ]

Baby.

You were reaching.
I saw you.

JAMES: Vanessa,
put the gun down, please.

No.

Listen to your husband.

Vanessa.

Now you're going to come over
to our house.

I'm going to talk,
and you're going to listen.

I am going to go inside.

And I'm gonna give you
the opportunity

to pretend
like this never happened.

-All right. Yes. That's fine.
-Stop.

[ Music builds, continues ]

You first.

Into my house.

Okay.

[ Door rattling,
metal squeaking ]

[ Music ends ]

James, grab the chair.

What do you mean, get the chair?
We're not doing this, Vanessa.

VANESSA:
Sit.

There's tape in the top drawer.

Tape?
I don't think you understand.

This is happening.

-Tape, Vanessa?
-Yes.

Just tape him up
while we figure out what to do.

He's a cop.
Who knows what he'll pull?

We -- We need a minute, okay?

So just tape him up for now

so we can figure it out
without him able to do anything.

He's a cop.

Please.

[ Suspenseful music plays ]

Please.

Please, honey.

[ Music continues ]

Put your arms down.

Put your arms down.
Put -- Put them on the sides.

[ Music ends ]

Thank you.

[ Tape stretching ]

Fuck.
Fuck, man.

This is by far
the dumbest fucking thing

you could possibly be doing
right now.

-You realize that, right?
-Shut up.

Let me talk to her, okay?

I'm gonna figure this out.
This is very out of character.

More tape, baby.

Clearly.

[ Dramatic music plays ]

[ Whispering ]
Come here.

[ Whispering ]
Come here!

Have you gone completely insane?

I just want to talk to the man.

-He brought this on himself.
-Did he?

I want him to answer
my questions.

-Why? Why?
-Exactly. Why?

You have any idea how much
fucking trouble you're in?

-Can we talk?
-We're talking.

-VANESSA: We're talking.
-JAMES: We'll be right back.

-Why are you being polite?
-Hey!

[ Music builds, ends ]

Okay.

This is too much, Vanessa.

Too much this time.

-Not far enough, if you ask me.
-Oh?

So, what's next on your agenda?

Should I go and waterboard him,
babe?

James.

This is a man who has exhibited
no regard for common decency

or human life.

This is a man who yelled
a racial slur at your wife.

And this is an officer
who gets off killing Black kids.

There are people who are hired

to take care of people like him,
okay?

We -- We are not those people.

Do you trust those people
or do you trust me?

Us.

What's your plan?
Hmm?

We are going to have
a civilized conversation --

I just used
fucking shipping tape

to duct-tape the man
to the back of a fucking chair,

and you're talking about
civilized?!

Civilized?!
Oh, my God!

Oh, my fucking God.

Fucking shipping tape.

Fine.

[ Mid-tempo music plays ]

JAMES: What do --
What do you mean, "fine"?

Just fine.

Do as you see fit,

man of the house...
king of it all.

I'll follow you, oh,
he who stands when urinating.

That is bullshit,
and you -- you -- you know it.

I think that you are missing
the magnitude of this,

the potential.

Black people, brown people,
LGBTQ people,

poor people, immigrants --

He was probably taught to fear
all of them!

Your kidnapping him at gunpoint,

I'm sure that quelled
all of his fears, okay?

Mission accomplished.

No, James.

No.
We have a captive listener.

We are capable of having
a rational conversation

with a man who is stuck.

He is stuck in a generational
cycle of hate.

-No.
-Yes.

[ Sighs ]
No.

Yes.

[ Music ends ]

This right here.

This is what you do.

You create a necessity for chaos

so that your projections
can thrive.

Yep.

I've been seeing a therapist.

[ Down-tempo music plays ]

-What?
-I've noticed some of your --

our -- our patterns.

You get all worked up,
and then you get me there, too.

And then my feelings
and my frustrations,

they have to be yours
or they're -- they're not valid.

What therapist?
When?

You escalate everything
until we're stuck

in this counterproductive cycle,

until all that's left is my
anxiety and my bitterness, babe.

And Sheila thinks that's part
of our co-dependency.

-Sheila?
-And honestly, I'm starting --

Of course it's a Sheila.

-Don't say it like that.
-Like what?

Like you're having a secret
rendezvous with Sheila?

That is not fair, Vanessa, okay?

Do not talk to me about fair.

[ Music continues ]

JAMES: Listen. I started
doing this because of you.

-VANESSA: You made that clear.
-JAMES: No, not -- Not b--

Not because of you, babe.

For you so that I could be
a better man.

Thank you so much.

I feel great that my husband is
seeing a woman behind my back.

How can you talk to him
rationally about all this

but you can't even talk
to your own husband

about his fucking mental health

without accusing me of fucking
my therapist?

Does Sheila know
you're keeping therapy a secret?

What does Sheila think
about that?

[ Music continues ]

JAMES:
Okay. Okay.

Okay.
Listen. Um...

We're not foreign adversaries,
babe.

All right?
We -- We are domestic allies.

Let's not forget that.

Did you get that from therapy?

-That is not from therapy!
-Then where is it from?

It is not from therapy.
It is from Sheila.

And Sheila happens to be
a therapist.

I don't want to talk to Sheila!

[ Door rattling,
metal squeaking ]

-Fuck!
-James!

James!

[ Metal clanks ]

VANESSA:
Stop.

[ Dramatic music plays ]

Get up.

[ Music continues ]

[ Music builds, continues ]

[ Music slows, ends ]

This is fucking ridiculous.

VANESSA:
You're right. It is.

It should never have to come
to this.

James, can we please
just continue our sidebar

so we can have
the necessary conversation

with Officer Brian afterwards?

[ Doorbell rings ]

Jamal.

-Shit.
-Fuck.

Help! Help!
I'm being held against my will!

Cover his mouth. Tape his mouth.

JAMES:
My God.

-Let's just not answer.
-He has a key.

You gave him a key?

-For emergencies, Vanessa.
-What kind of emergency?

In case we run out
of rolling papers?

[ Cellphone buzzing, ringing ]

[ Ringing stops ]

Is this what you were
reaching for?

[ Doorbell ringing ]

[ Down-tempo music plays ]

[ Whispering ]
Hurry up. Hurry up.

Okay. Okay.
Okay.

Vanessa, put the gun away.

Oh. Okay.
Okay.

Okay.
Open the door.

[ Music builds, continues ]

JAMES:
Brother!

-What's happening?
-What's up?

Hi, guys!

Brother.

JAMAL:
What's up?

[ Insects chirping ]

Hey.

Oh, come on in.

CANDY:
Okay.

JAMES: How you doing?
What's going on?

There it goes.
What's up, man?

-You want to...
-Oh. Sorry. Yeah.

[ Dramatic music plays ]

JAMAL:
Wow.

Oh, snap.

Since when do y'all play piano?
[ Chuckles ]

I'm sorry.
I have to use the bathroom.

Onyx has me going nonstop.

-Onyx?
-JAMAL: We landed on the name.

Yeah. Onyx is one of the most
powerful healing stones.

It balances chakras.
It promotes energy flow.

It's a grounding gem.
Harmonious.

Yeah. It's black
like the motherland, baby.

My king.
I see you.

-The bathroom's just up-
-CANDY: To the right, right?

Okay.
Thank you.

JAMAL: Man, I haven't been here
since y'all remodeled.

-Shit look fly, though.
-JAMES: Thank you.

Vanessa, she handled most of it.

Just, uh, blew out the wall
and added a bathroom.

JAMAL:
All kind of shit.

Got new floor and everything.
Can I get the rest of the tour?

-You told me about this office.
-No.

The office actually
isn't finished yet, right?

Bedroom's the same.

We broke the bank
on the living room.

Tell me about it, right?
And the kitchen, of course.

-We should go right in there.
-This shit was expensive.

VANESSA:
I'll make a drink and...

Are we too early?

It looks like dinner's
still in the grocery bags.

Uh, yeah.

We are, um,
running a little behind.

I -- Work went late,

and there was this guy with a
clipboard at the grocery store,

and then I had to get --
get gas.

I thought those things
was electric.

Right. I had to go to the
gas station with the car wash

to get my car washed.

In the meantime,
there is alcohol.

[ Dishes clanking ]

[ Door closes ]

JAMAL:
You know, it's funny.

I read this article
the other day.

-You read an article.
-Yeah. I read all the time, bro.

Okay?
That's all I do.

That's why I have one of these
location devices on me,

'cause you can get information
in a snap of your fingers.

As I was saying, I read
this article the other day.

Couples who maintain
different opinions

on things of little consequence

are more likely
to stay together.

That's the title I read.
I didn't read the whole thing.

But you know what I mean, right?

Babe, you didn't tell them.

Tell us what?

-JAMAL: Sorry, babe.
-CANDY: It's okay.

I'm vegan.

I thought they knew, sweetie.
I'm sorry.

It's okay.
I'm carcass-free since 2010.

Yeah.

Well, I'm sure James knew
and just forgot to tell me.

It is free-range and organic.

Well, not really free if you're
born to be slaughtered, right?

Free range just means they're
being let out their cages.

But being in a cage?

That's a mind-set.

You know what I'm saying?

Hardly ever, Jamal.
Hardly ever.

Oh, I'm interested.

You really want to
get him started

on his back-to-Africa
conspiracy shit right now?

Candy, what can I get you
to drink?

Uh, water, please.

We have juice.

It's vegan. [ Chuckles ]
Certified organic.

Oh, they just give
that sticker out

to anybody
who's the highest bidder.

Water will be fine.
Thank you.

James, you would be the one
to dismiss my thoughts

as a conspiracy, right?

Easiest way
to invalidate somebody

and discredit them
is calling them crazy.

Makes you look good at your job
but limits your skull, bro.

We understand that you're
a successful Black man and all,

but you're just living
under the white man's thumb.

Not always.

[ Down-tempo music plays ]

[ Spices rattling ]

-VANESSA: There you go.
-Thank you.

[ Music continues ]

[ Exhales deeply ]

I'm sorry.

I...I didn't know you were on
the whole vegan trend.

I do have pasta.

Gluten-free, too, actually,
so --

But this is great.

-Thank you.
-JAMAL: It's good.

Oh, Vanessa,
I got you something.

Hold on.

Mm...

-Here.
-Vanessa.

Oh.

It's sage.

For me?

CANDY:
You burn it.

You know, to cleanse the energy
of the house.

Out with the bad juju,
in with the...

Setting off the smoke alarms.

[ Laughter ]

Smoke alarms.

I'm sorry. I just thought
it could help with your flow.

-That's all.
-Oh.

My flow.
Right.

I'm so sensitive to energy
right now.

I guess 'cause of the pregnancy,
it just heightens.

That's very thoughtful of you.
Yeah.

How's work at the shop, Candy?

CANDY: Wellness center.
It's going good. Yeah.

It's nice to work in a place

that fosters such a sense
of peace

while I'm pregnant, you know?

JAMAL: Pay ain't good,
but, you know,

come home with a lot of rocks.

-CANDY: Crystals.
-Crystals, baby.

I'm sorry.
Crystals.

CANDY:
And my work isn't about money.

-It's about fulfillment.
-JAMAL: Yeah.

But you do have
health insurance.

-CANDY: Of course.
-JAMAL: We got health insurance.

For the most part,
we plan to bring our baby

into this world
the homeopathic way.

You know, hospitals are so,
so bad for women of color.

-Oh.
-CANDY: It's weird.

It's bad vibes, bringing a life
into a place where people die.

-Right.
-That's crazy.

So, how are you going to...

Natural birth.

So -- So no hospitals,
no vaccines.

Just the doula, midwife,
and my baby daddy.

Me.

CANDY: I mean,
I did the research, though.

And by no means
am I anti-vaccine.

I'm just pro-natural immunity.

That's great.

[ Cellphone buzzing, ringing ]

[ Ringing stops ]

JAMAL:
Oh.

-No. It's fine.
-It's fine.

So they got the house-nigga
phone and the field-nigga phone.

I'm just playing.
I'm playing.

CANDY: Get the phone, James.
We don't care.

-It's fine.
-JAMAL: It's fine.

[ Imitates whip cracking,
laughs ]

Django!
No. I'm just playing.

I'm joking.
I'm joking.

Excuse me.

[ Up-tempo music plays ]

[ Whispering ]
You didn't turn off the sound?

We have got to get them
out of here.

Yeah.

I have a plan.

Go check on him.
Call me.

I'll pretend
it's a work emergency.

-Okay.
-Right?

Yeah.

[ Down-tempo music plays ]

How --
[ Chuckles softly ]

I didn't know y'all had
this painting.

Oh.
Yeah.

Your mom gave it to us for
our fifth wedding anniversary.

We never had a spot for it
till now.

My aunt painted that, baby.

I remember, babe.

It was vibrant.
You can almost hear the colors.

-Yeah.
-[ Liquid pouring ]

Yo, J, I didn't know you, uh,
you had that painting, man.

Oh, yeah.

Ma gave it to us
for our second anniversary.

Right, babe?

We finally have a wall
to put it on.

Yeah.
I didn't think you liked it.

Vanessa loves it.
It's grown on me.

JAMAL:
True.

I'm gonna, uh,
I'm gonna put this somewhere.

-Yeah.
-Right? Just put it away.

CANDY:
Okay.

[ Chuckles softly ]

[ Music continues ]

James, is everything all right
with Vanessa?

Yeah. She --
All good.

She's just, uh, stressed,
you know, with work

and a tough week.

The weekend, so...

Well, I'd be happy to do
a home smudge.

Maybe later.

CANDY:
All right.

[ Exhales deeply ]

Shit.

My brother-in-law's baby mama

thinks there's negative energy
in my home,

and she gave me this to fix it.

Isn't that fucking idiotic?

[ Line ringing ]

[ Cellphone ringing ]

Oh, pardon me.

You're tugging on the leash
hard, huh?

Okay. This is the office,
so I've got to take this one.

You got James.

VANESSA:
Yes. Hello, James.

This is your boss
from down at the firm.

[ Grunts ]

What?
When?

No, no, no.
I-I understand, sir.

It's just that I-I'm about
to have dinner with my family.

No, I s-- I suppose
I could send them to a nice --

a nice restaurant.

-I'm sorry.
-VANESSA: You know what?

They can pay
for their own damn meal.

Maybe Candy can smudge
the restaurant

in exchange for free food.

-I'm sure --
-[ Clattering ]

I don't know who that was.

-I know who it was.
-Oh, me too.

I knew it.
I knew it.

I knew it as soon
as I came up in here. Yeah.

If you didn't want us here,
you didn't have to invite us.

Okay.
All good?

-My speaker.
-What?

I accidentally hit speaker.

You know what?

This don't even have nothing
to do with us.

We don't need this type
of toxicity.

-We can go.
-It wasn't like that, okay?

-I didn't mean --
-You didn't mean to what, James?

Invite us over here and --

and prepare food for my girl
you know she can't eat

and putting on
one of the worst performances

I've ever seen in my damn life?

Zero fucking stars.

No. No.
It was -- It was me.

[ Down-tempo music plays ]

Okay?
It was me.

I'm sorry.
I...

You know,
we're trying to get pregnant.

And...I thought I was strong
enough to be happy for you both.

But then I saw you, Candy,
and your glow, and I...

I'm sorry.

Vanessa.

I'm gonna go.

BRIAN:
Mm.

[ Mid-tempo music plays ]

Are you okay?

Speaker?
Really?

I know.
It was a bad plan anyway.

He's a fuck-up, not an idiot.

Mm-mm.
Mm-mm.

-What's wrong with him?
-Do you think they've left?

I'm gonna take the tape away.

-Why?
-He looks pale. Okay, Vanessa?

-Doesn't he look pale to you?
-I don't know.

But I think my performance
warranted their exit, right?

You're the one that wanted to
talk to him, okay?

Look at me.

Sitting in that room
is my brother.

And believe me when I tell you
the only thing

a cop's ever done for him
is cause him trauma and trouble.

So trust you do not want him
in on the situation.

-Do you understand me?
-We should just tell them to go.

They believed the baby thing.

The gun.

The gun.

BRIAN:
[ Mumbling ]

Okay. Listen.
Hey. Look at me.

Lock in.
You're looking at me now.

I'm gonna take the tape away
temporarily.

You tell us what you need,

and when our guests have left,
we'll finish our...

our, um, our...

Unresolved issues.

-Business?
-Conversation.

We'll finish our conversation.

But you try anything, Brian,

and my wife will put a bullet
through your head.

-Chest.
-Chest.

Look at me.

We on the same page?

[ Music slows, continues ]

-[ Grunts ]
-Shh!

[ Exhales deeply ]

[ Music slows, ends ]

[ Whispering ]
Please text my daughter.

Just text my daughter
and tell her --

tell her Daddy's sorry.

Tell her I had to work.

Please.

Hey, uh...

and I got to piss, like...
like now.

Oh, you're gonna have to piss
in your pants.

Uh, not on this rug.

No.

Give me the gun.

[ Clears throat,
exhales deeply ]

You ready?

[ Urinating ]

BRIAN:
Yeah. Thank you.

Yeah. Well, thank my, uh,
thank my wife's expensive taste.

Yeah. I know.
I get that.

No. Hey.
We're not talking.

All right.

It's just my ex-wife was --
Well, she is a lot, you know?

I mean, I think a man should
do things for his wife, but --

Hey, man. Stop. Okay?
Just stop.

You don't know shit about me,

and you definitely don't know
shit about my marriage.

So let's just piss and let's --
let's move on, okay?

Move on to what?

Walk.

Are you good, baby?

[ Gasps ]

[ Grunting ]

VANESSA:
No. No, no.

Aah!
Aah!

[ Groans ]

VANESSA:
James!

[ Dramatic music plays ]

[ Grunts ]

Oh, shit.

What the fuck?

I'm being held against my will.
Listen --

-[ Grunts ]
-Jamal!

[ Music continues ]

BRIAN:
Hey!

Jamal, stop!

Vanessa, do something!

-What do you want me to do?
-He bit me!

-He fucking bit me!
-VANESSA: I-I know!

Not the vase!

[ Thud ]

[ Down-tempo music plays ]

We need to kill him.

He's a cop.
Nothing more to it.

Nobody is killing anyone.

I knew it.

I-I knew something was off

the minute we walked into
this house.

I could feel it.
I could sense it.

Okay. Great. So which
magical crystals will fix this?

The only way to fix this
is getting rid of the man.

I just want to talk to him.

The path of least resistance.

You passed that path
a long time ago, man.

Face it, y'all. There's only
one way out of this.

Jamal, no.

-Yeah.
-No.

Yeah.

I mean,
you want to get vindicated,

not to mention
stay out of prison?

-Then we got to do one thing.
-CANDY: Jamal!

-What?
-Hold up. You are a father now.

So everything you do,
Onyx can feel --

your patterns,
your authenticity,

your anger, and your grace.

Okay?
You know what?

I cannot believe you two are
bringing a baby into this world.

I can't.

Oh, it's okay.

The universe gave us this gift.

Maybe your negativity
is blocking yours.

My negativity?

BRIAN: How long you plan on
carrying out this debate?

Just curious.

We can figure this out
on our own.

Thank you.

[ Music continues ]

Clearly.

You feel that?

The longer this goes on,
the worse it gets for you two.

This is bad.

You two, you know,

you had no involvement
in the kidnapping.

As far as I'm concerned,
you can go unblamed

for this whole thing.

Your word means nothing
in this place.

-You know that, right?
-My word?

My word is the only word
separating the three of you

from this clearly unstable,
volatile woman

who dragged me from my home --
at gunpoint, no less.

I say crazy is a good defense.

-Call me crazy one more time.
-JAMAL: Shoot him.

-VANESSA: Do it.
-JAMAL: Shoot him. Shoot him.

Shoot him.

Hey.

[ Music slows, continues ]

I'm sorry.

I'm sorry.

[ Exhales deeply ]

I know my ex would have loved

to have been in your position
a time or two.

And I'm not saying it's a --

it's a Black-woman thing at all,
which she is, by the way.

What?
That's some bullshit, man.

Jamal. Listen.
He's apologizing, okay?

-This is good.
-I don't want him to apologize.

I want to know why you shot
the kid.

Let him speak, Vanessa.

Open dialogue requires
open minds.

-I'm open.
-I took a call, ma'am.

I took a call.

It was 8:00,
and I took a fucking call.

It was a neighbor.

He was complaining about a car
and some loud noise.

Oh, you mean hip-hop.

I mean an idle car
in a quiet neighborhood

and loud music.

Mm-hmm.

And I see a-a person
in the passenger seat,

and there's smoke
coming out of the windows.

Where there's smoke,
there's a violent criminal.

You do what I do for a living,
motherfucker,

every day could be your last.

We're really familiar
with that feeling.

-You know that, right?
-What is that supposed to be?

-An excuse?
-It's context.

I'm giving you context.
You don't -- You can't --

You -- You civilians,
you don't get it!

We understand
your job is difficult,

but we also know
you can do better.

-A lot better.
-BRIAN: We can all do better.

I am not a racist.
It doesn't make me a racist.

And I sure as fuck
didn't go hunting.

[ Music ends ]

I didn't go hunting.

May I please have some water?

-I don't think so.
-Can I get some water, please?

-Can we get him some water?
-JAMAL: No. No. No. No.

He's playing games.

JAMES:
Brian, listen.

Please keep going, man.
Help me help you.

I asked him to get out
of the car

and put his hands on top
of the vehicle.

He got out of the car,

and I swear to God, lady,
I did not see his face.

I swear to you.

You didn't see his face.

I didn't see his face.

Thank you.

CANDY:
It's okay.

Brian. Brian, listen.
Just -- Just keep talking, okay?

-Mm-hmm.
-Keep talking.

We can work through this.

I didn't see his face.

JAMES:
Mm-hmm.

-You don't know.
-CANDY: Something's wrong here.

-VANESSA: What did he say?
-We -- We don't know.

-CANDY: Something's wrong.
-BRIAN: It's unlocked.

He's shaking.

The door's unlocked.

-CANDY: What?
-JAMES: What?

-CANDY: He's shaking.
-I'm epileptic.

JAMAL:
Oh, my God.

BRIAN: I'm epileptic.
The door's unlocked, okay?

The door to my house,
it's unlocked.

I need somebody to go over there
and get my meds.

-I'm gonna have a seizure.
-What is he talking about?

That's what he's doing.
He's buying time.

Look at his hands.
Does that look like buying time?

-Nothing is happening!
-The door's unlocked.

-He's not faking it.
-JAMES: Where are they?

Where are they?
They're in my medicine cabinet.

-I'm going.
-JAMAL: Why? Let's play it out.

Send him back to the house
and then boobity-boom-boom.

Jamal Franklin, no.
This is a life.

I'm not gonna sit here
and watch this man die.

-I can't -- I can't do it.
-JAMES: Candy, listen.

Nobody's gonna die, okay?
Nobody is gonna die.

-I'm gonna go now.
-I'm going, too, then.

CANDY: Wait a minute. Why?
Stay with me.

I got to watch his back.

Look out for neighbors, okay?

-Keep the gun on him.
-I will.

[ Down-tempo music plays ]

[ Door opens ]

[ Hinges creaking, door closes ]

CANDY: I think you should
loosen the tape.

Let's just wait for them
to get back.

[ Music continues ]

[ Insects chirping,
dog barking in distance ]

[ Alarm chirping ]

[ Door rattles ]

-Shit!
-I'm sorry.

CANDY: Vanessa, you know,
the way we treat others

is just a direct reflection
of our own self-worth.

Okay.

Thank you for that wisdom,
Candy.

[ Music continues ]

I don't mean to get
in your business,

but I'm sensing this anger
and all this frustration.

It can only be conquered
if you learn to love yourself.

Would you please
just shut the fuck up?

If I wanted to be psychoanalyzed
by someone named Candy,

I would go to the strip club

or the perfume stand
at the fucking mall.

So please do not come for me
in that way.

[ Alarm beeping ]

[ Dramatic music plays ]

Fuck.
The chicken.

[ Grease crackling ]

[ Alarm continues ]

[ Water dripping ]

[ Alarm chirping,
insect buzzing ]

Yo.
This shit is depressing.

Shh!
Shh!

Shh.
Be quiet.

-It's not here.
-What?

-It's not here.
-I told you he was playing us.

He was confused.

Don't -- Don't fucking touch it.

Why are you touching it?
Don't fucking touch shit.

-What are we supposed to do?
-Look.

We're looking.
We're looking.

Look -- Look some more there.

VANESSA:
Oh, my God. I am so sorry.

I can't believe all this.

CANDY:
I understand.

-Wow.
-I'm sorry too.

And we thought our childhood
was fucked up.

-You know about my childhood?
-Oh, please, Candy.

The one thing our men have
in common is talking about us.

[ Suspenseful music plays ]

[ Alarm chirping ]

VANESSA: You know,
I never told my father,

but I spoke to my mother
a few times over the years.

WOMAN: Oh, yeah!
Fuck me like a dirty slut.

-Oh! Yeah.
-[ Flesh slapping ]

Oh! Yeah.

VANESSA: And the last time,
I'd just got my MBA

and she called
to congratulate me.

[ Clears throat ]

[ Down-tempo music plays ]

She said she was in town

and wanted to take me
on a celebratory lunch.

And I'm thinking,
"Fuck this bitch."

No. Actually, I'm thinking,
"Fuck this white bitch."

But on the call, I said yes.

I said, "Yes, I'd like that,"
and we went to lunch.

I'd met James a week before

at some party
I didn't even want to go to.

And I don't know why, 'cause
I did not know this woman.

I think I hated this woman.

But something made me
want to tell her.

So I did.

I said, "I think I've met
the man I'm gonna marry."

[ Music continues ]

[ Knock on door ]

[ Woman moaning,
flesh slapping ]

[ Knock on door ]

VANESSA:
Now, at this point,

this woman's been married
and divorced twice.

Three kids she deemed worthy
of raising.

But in that moment, it was
just us and whatever we were.

And she asked me.
She said, "How do you know?

How could you possibly know

that that is the man
you're going to marry?"

Hm.

And I said,
"The moment I met him, I knew.

I just felt right."

Wow.

That's nice, Vanessa.

Isn't it?

[ Suspenseful music plays ]

[ Fan whirring, alarm chirping ]

Oh, fuck.

Oh, fuck.

-Who is it?
-I don't know.

-Some white-cop-looking dude.
-What?

JAMAL:
[ Breathing heavily ]

[ Cellphone buzzes ]

JAMAL:
Okay.

Oh, shit.

Uh...

Tell -- Tell him --
Tell him he's with a girl.

-In this house?
-Yeah.

I mean, what else
are you gonna say?

No. Wait.
Give it to me.

Uh...

JAMES: "Drowning my sorrow
in some pussy.

See you tomorrow."
Seriously?

What?
What?

[ Music continues ]

[ Cellphone buzzes ]

"Why didn't you just say that?
I'll be back tomorrow.

Give it to her good."

-[ Door closes ]
-He's gone.

He's gone.

VANESSA:
So, then my mother smiles,

and she puts her hand on mine,

and she gives me
the only piece of advice

she'd ever given me
my entire life.

And it didn't matter
that she had no right to,

'cause I let her.

She said, "The trick is don't
marry a man who won't cheat.

Marry a man
who doesn't know how."

[ Mid-tempo music plays ]

Oh.
And you thought I had a habit.

Just, uh, say the names
and I'll -- I'll look them up.

Okay.
Uh, Wellbutrin.

Depression.

[ Pills rattling ]

-Triamterene.
-How you spell it?

-E-R-E-N-E.
-It's blood pressure.

-Ambien.
-Sleep.

-Come on. Come on. Come on.
-Let's see.

Acet--

Acet what?

-Oh, God. That's...
-Acet what? Keep reading.

That's his daughter.
That's his family.

-Oh, shit.
-Jamal, keep reading.

That's that motherfucker's
white ex-wife right there.

I told you.
I told you!

Oh, come on.

Just keep reading, Jamal.
Just --

Can you please acknowledge now
that I was right?

While we're breaking
and entering into a cop's house?

Is that what you need from me
right now, Jamal?

Is that what you need?

You being for real right now?

-Are you being for real?
-Don't play dumb, nigga.

I ain't playing with you.
Come on.

You believe that motherfucker

like you believe in
that corporate plantation, huh?

Can we revisit this, man?

Please.

CANDY:
Why are you telling me this?

Might have something to do
with the fact

that I kidnapped a cop today.

[ Down-tempo music plays ]

Or maybe it's because I'm almost
certain you fucked my husband.

[ Inhales deeply ]

He said you came over
for legal advice.

I did.

And what?

You paid him
the only way you knew how?

Did the universe tell you
to do it?

To put his aura inside of yours?

I'm really just trying to
understand here.

I l-love Jamal.

Okay.

So then why did you come into
my home and fuck my husband?

I don't know.

Well, you can try.

This one says epilepsy.

There it is.
Let's get the fuck out of here.

[ Music builds, continues ]

I got a plan
when we get back over here.

Just trust me.

[ Down-tempo music plays ]

CANDY:
You know, uh...

...Jamal helped mix the colors
for that painting.

[ Music ends ]

He told me he used to sit
with his auntie

and she'd tell him exactly
how much red, how much yellow,

how much brown was needed
to get the colors just right.

He told me that when we saw it
at his mother's house.

And when I saw it
on your wall...

...I knew it killed him.

Because James got to have it.

James earned it.

James deserved it.

You and James have
a beautiful wall

to hang such a beautiful thing.

You make love to the people
who see you.

Sometimes you fuck the people
you want to be.

[ Door closes,
footsteps approaching ]

Are you gonna tell him?

[ Dramatic music plays ]

We burned the chicken.

[ Music continues ]

[ Down-tempo music plays ]

BRIAN: [ Grunts softly ]

VANESSA:
Shh. I'm just cleaning you up.

Are you gonna let me go?

Everything's gonna be okay.

I got to tell you.

Tell me.

I really am sorry.

And I believe you.

[ Music continues ]

You really are beautiful.
You know that?

And I don't just mean
the way you look.

Do you want me, Brian?

Yes.

[ Music continues ]

[ Buckle rattling ]

[ Zipper opens ]

[ Chuckles ]

-[ Laughing ]
-Are you laughing?

Why are you laughing?

Y'all, you got to get in here
and see this!

Why are you laughing at me?

Don't call them in here.

Why are you laughing at me?

Don't call them in here.
What are you laughing at me for?

I'm normal!
Don't you call them!

Why are you laughing at me?

[ Music ends ]

[ Cellphone chimes ]

-Brian?
-[ Exhales deeply ]

We all think we've found
a solution.

My mail?

Says here
that a police officer makes

between 50 to 90 grand a year.

So with these mortgage payments
and alimony alone,

there's no wonder
that you're so far behind.

Right?

I can write you a check
right now for 50K.

And then I can do it again
next year.

Then we can forget
this day ever happened.

We'll do five years.

Three.
Yeah?

And I'll pay for a housekeeper
for a year.

Okay.

Okay.

-Okay.
-Okay.

-[ Cellphone chimes ]
-Okay.

JAMAL:
Oh, shit.

Look up Officer Brian.

-JAMES: Hmm?
-Look him up.

Why?

[ Exhales deeply ]

Why didn't you tell us?

BRIAN:
Why didn't I tell you what?

That the kid you shot was white.

Does that matter?

[ Down-tempo jazz plays ]

[ Liquid dripping ]

[ Music continues ]

CANDY:
No. No, no, no.

It's -- It's too early.
It's too early.

-What?
-It's too early.

It's too -- It's too...

Uh, are you having contrac--

I'm gonna time
your contractions.

Are you having contractions?

-I know.
-This isn't what we planned!

I'll time the contractions.
I will time the contractions.

-I read it in the article.
-It's too soon.

Can you do something, please?

Marley? Hello?
Wrong number. Oh, shit.

-Get the fucking number right!
-JAMES: Who's Marley?

-Marley's our doula.
-When is she due?

She's due, um, in a month.
In a month.

You'd better tell Marley
to meet you at UCLA.

-I'm gonna call Carol.
-CANDY: I can't lose my son.

-I can't lose my son.
-You're not gonna lose him.

Just back off.
Back off, okay?

Marley. Hey. It's happening.
It's happening.

This is what it is, okay?

Onyx is just ready
to meet his mother, all right?

Carol.
Carol, thank God you picked up.

My sister-in-law
just went into early labor.

Thank you so much.

-Okay. Yes. Thank you.
-[ Sobbing ]

Carol's on her way.
She's gonna meet you.

We should be there.
I should be there.

You are not gonna be there,
James.

[ Music continues ]

JAMAL:
I got this, baby.

Next to his car, okay?
Back seats go flat.

-You're not gonna go?
-This one is not yours.

It's mine.
Go get my nephew here safely.

Carol -- Carol's on her way.

-He's not gonna take the money.
-What do you mean?

I know you think I'm full
of shit, but I-I know energy.

I know people.
He's lying. He's lying.

-Don't let James miss that.
-Baby, we got to go.

You're not full of shit, baby.
You're good. Come on. Ready?

There you go.

CANDY:
[ Breathing heavily ]

[ Music continues ]

[ Music slows, ends ]

I need you to do me a favor...

...and let me talk.

Can you do that?

I'm a man...

...that made a choice to give
you everything you desire.

Everything.

I wanted to put a baby in you
since we first met, Vanessa.

But I can't father a child.

[ Down-tempo music plays ]

I found out a few years back,
and when I found out,

there were only two thoughts
that ran through my mind.

The first thought was you.

And it's important to me
that you know that.

I mean, you drive me crazy,
woman.

But, God,
I need every ounce of it.

Every ounce of you
gives me life.

[ Monitor beeping,
Candy groaning ]

JAMAL: You're doing so good.
It's okay. Breathe, baby.

MARLEY:
Here's a little lavender.

-Good, baby. It's all good.
-Here's a little lavender.

Don't push yet, Candy.
Only push with the contractions.

Oh, I feel like I need to push
right now.

DR. STEVENS: I only want you
to push with the contractions.

MARLEY:
You are doing great.

Just follow the rhythm
of your body.

No.
I need you to follow me.

JAMAL: Look at me.
Look at me. Look at me.

You're the aura, baby.
All right?

His aura.

Something's --
Something's wrong.

-I can't do it.
-DR. STEVENS: No, no, no, no.

I can't do this.
I can't.

JAMES:
You wanted to be a mom.

[ Voice breaking ]
I wanted to be a father.

But more than that,
I wanted to give you everything.

And I know there are options.

Fuck the options.
I'm a man.

Not like with Candy.

I made the first move.
You should know that.

Why?
Why did you do that?

I wanted to feel like a man,
Vanessa.

But it made me feel like
even less of one.

What was the second thing

that you thought about
when you found out?

[ Music slows, continues ]

The irony.

I spent my whole life
taking care of business.

Trying to take care of family

so I could build a legacy,
you know?

And one little test tube
said that it was meaningless.

A lot of nothing.

You know?

I don't know.

[ Monitor beeping ]

VANESSA:
We need to figure this out.

DR. STEVENS:
All right, Candy.

Your baby needs a little help
right now, okay?

I need you to push through
this next contraction.

-Can you do that?
-MARLEY: Oh, the arrival's near.

[ Groaning ]
JAMAL: Come on. Come on.

-Another good one.
-[ Groans ]

DR. STEVENS:
Oh, beautiful.

I-I need you to keep breathing.

MARLEY:
In the nose, out the mouth.

We may need the O.R.
He has a nuchal cord.

Wait.
Can't you try it manually first?

-What is a nuchal cord?
-JAMAL: What's that?

The umbilical cord is wrapped
around his neck.

JAMAL:
Damn.

[ Music continues ]

I forgot to give this to Jamal
and Candy.

[ Plastic crinkling ]

Jamal had one like it
when he was a baby.

DR. STEVENS: I need you to give
me one more really big push.

MARLEY:
You are strength, Candy.

Here we go.
And breathe.

Ready?
Let's go.

Don't worry, baby.
You got this.

Yes. There you go.
Yes.

-MARLEY: Yes.
-DR. STEVENS: That's it.

-MARLEY: Beautiful. Yes.
-DR. STEVENS: That's it.

He's out.
He's out.

That's it.

MARLEY:
He's out.

[ Music continues ]

DR. STEVENS:
Here you go. Right here.

If you want to cut the cord,
you need to do it right now.

If you want to cut it,
cut it now.

-No. Is he okay?
-DR. STEVENS: There we go.

CANDY:
What's -- What's wrong with him?

Why is he not breathing?

Why is he not breathing?
Marley, why is he not breathing?

What's happening?

[ Sobs ]

[ Music builds, continues ]

[ Music slows, continues ]

JAMES:
You lied about your wife, man.

You lied about your wife,

but you didn't tell us that the
kid that you killed was white.

It is what it is, right?

I mean, you had to have known
that --

that -- that telling us
that he was white would --

Would what?

I don't know.
That it'll mean something.

[ Chuckles softly ]

Wow.

You know, I've had dinner
in your kitchen.

Not yo kitchen,
but the kitchen in this house.

Yeah, my mother --
my mother worked a lot,

so I had a lot of nights alone,
right?

Mrs. Henderson
would always make me a plate,

and I would have dinner
with her boys.

And she would talk to us,

and she would talk about
the Golden Rule.

The real Golden Rule.

He who has the gold -- you...

...makes the rules, right?

That's me.

-That's me.
-That's you?

Yeah.

That's the house
I remember growing up,

Not this fucking...
whatever this is.

That's what I remember.

And then you people move in,
and you...

-Wait. Wait.
-...your wife, your friends.

You move in, and you make
everything so fucking soft.

What do you mean, "you people"?

The fucked-up part
about the whole thing

is you think it's okay.

You think it's yours
to make better.

-Seriously?
-Seriously.

You tore the whole
fucking house down.

I bought the whole
fucking house.

I bought the whole
fucking house, okay?

It's mine.
I earned it.

I...
Okay.

Yeah.

You know I...

...I became a cop because I felt
like I knew the language

better than anyone else.

And I thought
that I could speak to people

better than what I saw
growing up.

And now here I am.
I'm looking at you.

I don't know what the fuck
is going on.

[ Down-tempo music plays ]

I killed a child.
Yeah.

Not a Black kid.
Not a white kid.

I killed a kid.

Truth is, I'd do the same thing
if I was in the same situation.

That's the truth, and that's me
being real with you.

[ Music ends ]

[ Thunder rumbling ]

[ Down-tempo music plays ]

[ Music continues ]

[ Music builds ]

You're one of the good ones,
brother.

[ Music slows, ends ]

[ Gun cocks, gunshot echoes ]

[ Scream echoing ]

[ Baby crying ]

[ Monitor beeping ]

[ Down-tempo introduction
plays ]

CANDY:
Okay. Shh.

NINA SIMONE:
♪ Baby, you understand me now? ♪

Thank you.

♪ If sometimes you see
that I'm mad ♪

Little man.

Looks like you.

♪ Don't you know no one alive
can always be an angel ♪

♪ When everything goes wrong,
you seem so bad ♪

♪ I'm just a soul
whose intentions are good ♪

-♪ Oh, Lord... ♪
-Little sleepyhead.

♪ ...please don't let me
be misunderstood ♪

♪ You know sometimes, baby,
I'm so carefree ♪

♪ With a joy
that's hard to hide ♪

♪ And then sometimes again... ♪

Damn.

What?

"He's beautiful.

I'm so proud of you.

You're gonna be a great father.

I love you."

♪ Oh, Lord, please don't let me
be misunderstood ♪

First time he's ever said
he's proud of me.

♪ If I seem edgy,
I want you to know ♪

♪ I never mean to take it out
on you ♪

♪ Life has its problems ♪

♪ And I get more than my share ♪

♪ But that's one thing
I never mean to do ♪

♪ 'Cause I love you ♪

♪ Oh, baby, I'm just human ♪

♪ Don't you know I have faults
like anyone ♪

♪ Sometimes I find myself
alone regretting ♪

♪ Some little foolish thing ♪

♪ Some sinful thing
that I've done ♪

♪ 'Cause I'm just a soul
whose intentions are good ♪

♪ Oh, Lord, please don't let me
be misunderstood ♪

[ Thunder rumbling,
music echoing ]

[ Mid-tempo music plays ]

[ Down-tempo music plays ]

[ Music ends ]