‘The Quad’ recap: GAMU campus wants the truth as sexual assault investigation continues
Both Sydney Fletcher and Terrence Berry offer their versions of what happened, but which is true?
Season one, episode six: The Quad — “Mulebone”
It’s not surprising that things aren’t quite back to normal yet after allegations of sexual assault rocked Georgia A&M University’s (GAMU) campus last week.
The episode begins with individual shots of the GAMU ladies as the Nina Simone song “Four Women” plays in the background, with camera angles reminiscent of a Spike Lee movie.
My skin is black, my arms are long, my hair is wooly, my back is strong.
The scene then stops at Sydney Fletcher, whose memories go back to the night she was sexually assaulted as the music fades in the background. After replaying the disturbing surveillance footage, which seems to become clearer with each episode, viewers are taken into Sydney and Eva Fletcher’s home, where Eva is attempting to get the full account of what happened that night from her daughter.
Before Sydney begins, the scene flips to the GAMU football team’s starting quarterback Terrence Berry, who’s in the office of coach Eugene Hardwick explaining his side of the story.
Sydney’s version is first. After a football game, Sydney goes to another off-campus party. Because her night ended so wildly after the last party, a fraternity member and Sydney’s crush of the night, Miles (Quentin Plair), decides to lay down some ground rules before Sydney gets the party started.
Despite Miles’ warning, Sydney parties the way she wants, which unsurprisingly includes underage drinking. Berry is keeping a close eye on her while standing against the wall, sipping his own spirits out of a red Solo Cup. In Sydney’s version of the story, she’s walking from the kitchen back to the living room where the party is when Berry stops her to speak. She spills her drink, and Berry offers her what’s in his cup. She accepts. He begins to caress her, slightly groping Sydney’s behind before another partygoer whisks her away to dance.
Berry speaks to Sydney, but is preoccupied by the other women who have come to flirt with the star quarterback. Sydney returns to flirt with Berry, but checks for Miles every chance she gets. When Sydney discovers another woman has Miles’ attention for the night, she’s ready to leave. Both Sydney’s and Berry’s versions of the story claim that Berry saw her leaving alone and decided to walk her back to her room.
And this is where the drama begins.
According to Sydney’s account, she began to feel a bit drunk. Her vision is blurry, and she’s stumbling as she walks. According to Berry, Sydney had been drinking, but she was only tipsy at most. Not drunk. As they walk and talk, the two are holding hands. They stop, kiss and things get heated. In Berry’s version, he pulls Sydney down into the bushes as they both enjoy consensual sex. In Sydney’s version, she’s pulled into the bushes and attempts to fight Berry off, but he overpowers her. The more she fights, the harder he pins her down. Berry carries Sydney back to her dorm, leaving her on the floor of the lobby and asking someone else to help her to her room.
Berry believes Sydney is alleging he raped her because she’s embarrassed that the footage leaked. Coach Hardwick doesn’t seem convinced that Berry’s version of the story is entirely true, but tells Berry he believes him when he says he did not rape Sydney.
On the other end of campus, more drama is stirring on the football team as backup quarterback BoJohn Folsom’s (Jake Allyn) tarnished past comes to haunt him. Folsom, who was recruited despite charges of attempted murder against his high school football coach, is being questioned by campus reporter Tiesha Tyson (Aeja Lee) about the events that unfolded that day. Although the case was dismissed, top colleges weren’t as willing to take a chance on a recruit who’d faced such serious allegations. GAMU was one of the only schools that would take a chance on him when no one else would.
Tyson presses a defensive Folsom for answers and doesn’t get much from the quarterback but a cold shoulder. Later in the episode, Tyson changes her approach by visiting Folsom in his dorm. Leaving her tough reporter facade at the door, Tyson earns Folsom’s trust by talking to him as a friend and bonding with the quarterback through video games. After the two spend a bit of time together, it’s clear that Folsom has developed a slight crush on Tyson.
Meanwhile, Sydney and Eva visit the doctor for an examination after the sexual assault. As Eva waits outside the room, she sees Cecil Diamond exiting the hospital’s oncology department. The two speak in an awkward exchange, in which Diamond expresses his sorrow for what happened to Sydney, and Eva seems to want to know more about Diamond’s hospital visit, but doesn’t ask. Diamond reassures her that everything is fine before the two go their separate ways.
Back on campus, a news conference is being held with Hardwick, Berry and Folsom ahead of the next football game. Everything is going smoothly as reporters dish out questions about the team’s promising season. At least until it’s Tyson’s turn to speak.
Tyson asks Berry directly about the rape allegations in a room full of reporters who had no prior knowledge about the incident. Hardwick attempts to gain control over the derailed conference, but it’s too late. Berry denies it all as the focus shifts from the game to him.
After the conference, Eva and Hardwick meet to discuss what has happened. Eva questions Hardwick about Berry’s past, in which he was cited for sexually harassing a student while in high school. The discussion turns into an argument with Eva defending her daughter and Hardwick defending his player. Neither one comes to an agreement on how they should move forward from the incident.
As Berry begins to the feel the weight of the allegations, Sydney struggles to cope with what has happened to her. Although she and Eva have used this moment to put their mother-daughter differences aside, Sydney begins lashing out on everyone else, including her best friend and roommate Madison Kelly. In the end, Sydney realizes Eva and Kelly are the only ones who will be there for her during her long road to recovery.
With the sexual assault allegations now exposed outside of campus, it seems Sydney Fletcher and Berry will occupy the main story line for the next couple of weeks. One thing we can all be sure of is that this series is not short on drama at all. Until next week …