‘The Quad’ recap: President Fletcher struggles for control
As soon as the GAMU president takes one step in the right direction, the situation gets worse
Season one, episode four: The Quad — “Things Fall Apart”
It can be assumed stuff is about to hit the fan when the opening scene features a mystery man reviewing black-and-white security footage as he uses editing software.
Next, we see Cecil Diamond and Noni Williams setting up for a fundraising event, which looks more like a house party for the young and bougie. Just as school president Eva Fletcher begins to explain why donors should contribute their money to Georgia A&M University (GAMU), she sees her fling, Jason, walk into the house. He wasn’t invited, which is explained in a flashback from two weeks ago when Fletcher discusses the event she’s putting on and Jason jokingly invites himself.
We quickly learn that Jason is the plus-one for another educator in attendance. Fletcher pretends to dive into the introduction of two strangers, as if she wasn’t just all snuggled up with her side bae a couple of nights before.
The scene switches to the stubby hands of the unidentified man who’s still sitting in the dark, reviewing security footage. The audience still doesn’t know what’s going on, but the footage does show a man and woman talking in what looks like a secluded area.
The scene switches back to Jason and Fletcher’s drama. Fletcher is doing her best to hide her own dirt and get Jason to leave the house. As she tries to persuade him to find the nearest exit, her daughter, Sydney, appears, attempting to learn more about the fine young man standing in front of her. Jason and Sydney begin to flirt, and just as Fletcher is about to lose it, Jason asks to see her in her room. For the first time, she doesn’t give in to whatever power Jason possesses over her, so the usual quickie doesn’t go down as Jason had hoped.
Meanwhile, Diamond is still experiencing the chest pains and nasty cough he had last week. In a flashback, Diamond reveals to the woman he’s with this episode that he has lung cancer. You would think he’d turn his life around and attempt to be a decent human being, but that would sound too much like right.
Cedric Hobbs, who also showed up to the party, strikes up a conversation with Williams, who continues to be bullied by Danny Brown. Right away, Hobbs notices the disrespect toward Williams and jumps into protective mode. Williams doesn’t sweat it, because she’s got something up her sleeve, which may cause Brown and Diamond to regret the way they’ve been treating her.
Back in the editing room, the unidentified man continues to go over the surveillance footage on his screen. Could it possibly be Chantel’s murder caught on tape?
At the party, Williams has a plan brewing. Fed up with her position as a virtual puppet, Williams finds a way to pit Danny and a member of the football team against each other by telling each of the men rumors about one another. It’s a plan that can easily backfire if they’re smart enough to learn that Williams, seemingly innocent and soft-spoken, is the evil genius behind the drama.
Fletcher looks relieved to know the party is almost over and things have gone relatively smoothly. That is, until she brings Hobbs up to perform a poem he’d written while applying to GAMU. Hobbs begins the poem, reciting his memorized lines until he sees the faces of those who refused to help him during his legal troubles. Hobbs goes rogue and passionately begins freestyling lyrics reflecting the way he feels about the system and the school. If Fletcher could’ve died on the spot, she would’ve.
After Hobbs’ new lyrics incite a riot, Danny confronts the football players and a fight ensues. As the melee continues inside, there’s trouble elsewhere. While Sydney and her best friend, Madison Kelly, discuss how Kelly’s love interest, Ryan, has been missing in action all day, a video is sent to Kelly’s phone. Kelly opens it to see the same black-and-white footage that has popped in and out of the entire episode — only this time, it’s clear that a young woman is being sexually assaulted by a man. In the lower right-hand corner, the hashtag #RuffSexOrRape appears. The attack on the young woman in the video is clearly the latter.
Sydney immediately breaks down, crying hysterically before uttering, “That’s me,” to her best friend.
We’re still in the dark about who sent the footage out, but it will be interesting to see how the show addresses the important topic of sexual assault on college campuses.