Godfather of Harlem Season 1 Episode 7 Recap and Review: Masters Of War
A spoiler-filled recap and review of Masters Of War, episode 7 of the first season of Godfather of Harlem, starring Forest Whitaker
(Spoilers ahead for Godfather of Harlem S1E7 and episodes before it)
Masters Of War, this week's episode of Godfather of Harlem, follows a number of threads. The primary one being Bumpy Johnson finding out from Joe Bonanno that the latter will not sell him dope because he wants to avoid a war with Chin Gigante. This pushes Bumpy over the edge and he decides that he wants war — war between Bonanno and Chin, so the two of them and the rest of the Italian mob families kill each other, thus freeing him from their control.
As a first step, Bumpy moves Teddy Greene's contract over to a record company that is shadow-owned by Bonanno. He tells Stella this is to protect Teddy from her father as the mafia code prevents one boss from touching the property of another. Stella is suspicious of Bumpy's motives, and she also expresses concern over Bonanno being involved, without explicitly stating why. But Bumpy finds out anyway that Chin killed Bonanno's son because he was seeing Stella. He also discovers that Chin has moved Lorenzo Bonanno's body from where it was buried under Fidler's department store. This is enough for him to start the war he wanted. Bonanno is now ready to sell Bumpy all the dope he wants and starts to go after Chin's men.
While this is going on, we see Elise getting her uniform after completing her Muslim Girl Training. You'll remember that it was left ambiguous last week whether she would fulfill Elijah Muhammad's command for her to spy on Malcolm X. Well, we weren't left in suspense long as she comes clean to Malcolm, who tells her to follow the instructions of the Messenger. (Elise seems to be falling for Malcolm, though he gently pushes her away.)
But Malcolm isn't as unaffected as he lets on about the Prophet not trusting him. We find this out in a conversation he has with Rev Powell towards the end.
The Reverend has his own set of problems to deal with in this episode. Esther James is awarded $200,000 in damages by a judge for Rev Powell's slander against her on TV. Powell tries to get Bumpy to mediate and make her take less, but she remains steadfast in wanting her $200,000.
On the other hand, there's a March on Washington in the works, the idea for which, as Malcolm X says, orignally came from black men and women in the ghettos, but had since been co-opted by white people and organisations. This is, incidentally, the same March that famously featured Martin Luther King's "I have a dream" speech. President Kennedy's man initially wants Powell to participate and even lead this march, but the Reverend resists. When he finally changes his mind and decides to lead, he's unceremoniously kicked out. And this is what takes Powell to Malcolm X. He invites the latter to the march, and Malcolm accepts and says, "Let's go raise some hell." We will likely see this march and these two "raising hell" next week.
Godfather of Harlem S1E7 also has a sub-plot where Elise's daughter, Margaret (brought up as Bumpy and Mayme's child), goes missing. Mayme finds several "keys" of dope in Margaret's bag and doesn't know what to do. She goes to Malcolm X for help and he sends Elise with Mayme to look for the missing girl, since as a former junkie Elise is familiar with that world and will know where to look. Along the way, the two women sort of mend fences. Bumpy then comes along with Margaret, who it turns out was hiding in his office. He is surprised to see Elise in her Muslim sister clothes. She calls him "Daddy" leading to Margaret asking if Elise is her sister. After a brief look at Mayme, Elise replies in the affirmative. Mayme, for her part, tells Bumpy Elise was a great help for her. And it looks like Bumpy's family life will finally have some peace, but not for long.
Because, in the meantime, Ernie had gone to find Teddy as ordered by Chin, but Teddy finds him first and tells him Bumpy moved his contract to protect him. Ernie comes to Chin with this knowledge, and tells him Bumpy seems to be trying to stir the pot between the families. Chin then tells Ernie he has had enough of Bumpy Johnson and wants him, Ernie, to do something. What this something is, as it turns out at the end of the episode, is to kill Bumpy Johnson. Ernie shoots Bumpy as he is just reconciling with Elise. We know it cannot be fatal since there's no Godfather of Harlem without the Godfather of Harlem. But how this affects the war that Bumpy has just started remains to be seen.
(Godfather of Harlem is currently streaming episodically in India on Hotstar)