Godfather of Harlem Season 1 Episode 8 Recap and Review: How I Got Over
A spoiler-filled recap and review of How I Got Over, episode 8 of the first season of Godfather of Harlem, starring Forest Whitaker
(Spoilers ahead for Godfather of Harlem S1E8 and episodes before it)
This week's episode of Godfather of Harlem begins and ends with a funeral. But only one of those is real. Godfather of Harlem S1E8, How I Got Over, starts with an obvious fakeout. Bumpy Johnson is lying in a coffin and his daughter Margaret (grand daughter really, which is important to note because it has a bearing on what's to come later in the episode), friend Malcolm X, and enemy Chin Gigante all pay him a visit. When the latter threatens his family, Bumpy wakes up at the hospital on cue. We find he's been in there recovering for three weeks and wakes up just in time for the March on Washington — the one to which Malcolm X and Rev Powell are headed.
Bumpy has a visitor, Frank Costello, who warns him to stay away from Chin. But having just been shot in front of his family, Bumpy is in no mood to comply. Costello warns him a wrong move could jeopardise his family. Protecting one's family/loved ones is a major theme of this episode.
The war between Chin and Bonanno, which Bumpy instigated, is still on in full swing. And we get to see the seriousness of this when Chin's car is blown up right in front of his eyes, just as he's about to go out for the first time in these three weeks. Ernie chases and catches Bonanno's man who planted the bomb and from him, Chin finds out the reason why Bonanno is after him — he knows that Chin murdered his son, Lorenzo. What Chin doesn't understand is how he could have found out. That his daughter, Stella, was the one who gave him away is the last thing he suspects.
Stella, meanwhile, is racked with guilt about all the lives that are being lost in the war she inadvertently started. She goes to convince Teddy, yet again, to run away with her to California, but Teddy's mother shows her how thoughtless her plan is and how much danger it could put Teddy in. Stella realises she's right and breaks it off with Teddy and decides to go tell her father so.
Through all this, we get glimpses of the march on TVs, in the form of archival footage from the actual march, including, at the very end naturally, Martin Luther King's famous "I have a dream" speech. Malcolm X and Rev Powell head to Washington and have a run in with a white supremacist, who acts as a catalyst of sorts for bond to form between the two. Giancarlo Esposito is quite charming in these portions and carries them even as Nigél Thatch tries his darndest to pull them down with his now-tiresome monotone. I get that he wants to portray Malcolm X as a solemn person, but jeez!
Bumpy, in the meantime, is faced with a few difficult decisions. He wants to use the opening offered by the failed bombing attempt to take out Chin, as suspicion would then fall on Bonanno. To this end, he send his lieutenants to an apartment he has rented across from Chin's hideout. Bumpy's wife, on the other hand, wants him to make his will, having been shaken by the possibility that his life could be in very real danger now. But when it comes time to draw out the terms, it comes out that Bumpy and Mayme never formally adopted Margaret. When Bumpy asks Elise (who now lives with them and shares a close relationship with her daughter who thinks she's actually her sister) to give up Margaret, she flat out refuses. Bumpy understands, but Mayme is worried. He promises her she will always be Margaret's mama.
Margaret is quite shaken by what happened to Bumpy. And to add to this, she overhears Bonanno on the phone threatening to harm Bumpy's family if he should try to use this opportunity to kill Chin. Bumpy consoles Margaret and promises that he will never let anything happen to them. Just then, his lieutenants call to say they are in position and can shoot Chin, if he gives the word. As they are speaking, Stella comes over. When Bumpy hears this, he changes his mind and asks them to stand down. He does not want to kill Chin in front of his daughter he says, and goes and joins his own family as they are watching the march on TV.
What will Bumpy's next move be? Chin is relentless and getting closer to finding out that it was Bumpy who started the war. He tortures the record store owner who lied at Bumpy's behest about Teddy being moved to Bonanno's record label, and finally kills him when he refuses to snitch. That's the funeral we see at the end. Bumpy pays his respects and apologises to his friend for letting him down. "It was my job to protect you," he says as we cut to black. Just as it's his job to protect his family. Is this foreshadowing that someone in Bumpy's family could become collateral damage in this war he's started? I have a feeling it could be Elise. Only two more episodes left in this season of Godfather of Harlem, so we won't have to wait long to find out.
(Godfather of Harlem is currently streaming episodically in India on Hotstar)