If we didn’t know it before we definitely know it after this episode! Bryson doesn’t just have a crush on Simone, he’s not just “into Simone,” he is madly, crazily, bittersweetly in love with Simone! We also learn a lot about our fave sexually fluid bad boy Ari.
Episode 6 flashes all the way back to college, devoting a segment to each year of college and showing us how far and deep the friendships between Crystal (Brittany Inge), Simone (Tetona Jackson), David (RJ Walker), Tia (Lala Milan) and Ari (Leland B. Martin) go. We also get to see how deep the “situationship” between Simone and Bryson goes.
It opens with a scene of Simone stopping at the door of a packed college classroom during her freshman year. Bryson (Tequan Richmond), evidently giving a presentation on Simone’s father and his idol, the legendary advertising executive Marcus Graham. Simone says something playfully to interrupt him and he looks up to see the crush he hasn’t seen since childhood standing before him. Simone scampers away.
The action then moves outside to the campus courtyard where Simone has set up a table and is selling T-shirts. Bryson spots her and the two finally have a reunion. Not surprisingly, Bryson wants to be Simone’s knight in shining armor and offers to help her sell her wares so she can gain entry into the Black Advertising and Marketing Club at their school. Also not surprisingly, Simone refuses his help. She wants to do this all by herself!
Just then, Ari happens along and tells Bryson to hurry up or they’ll be late to Debate Club. Apparently, Ari’s family’s honor somehow depends on him getting to Debate Club on time. O-kay! Ari is with a girl who evidently, is also in the Debate Club. She leans in and gives Bryson a kiss and, though Bryson doesn’t pick up on it, Simone looks on as if she just lost her best friend. Hmmm- what have we here, Miss Independent? Are you Jealous? Territorial? Simone’s reaction certainly isn’t what one might call… disinterested bemusement. As Bryson walks away, heading to Debate Club, he and Anonymous Debate Club Girl hold hands. Simone is left alone with her roiling emotions and a bunch of plain (yet Pro-) black T-shirts she needs to get rid of.
The action then moves to sophomore year and we find Simone, Crystal, David (dressed head to toe in green), and Bryson in the lounge. Tia is also there but only Simone, busy texting her rapper boyfriend Prism (or is it Prison?), knows her at this point. Bryson is brooding over his recent breakup with Anonymous Debate Club Girl. The rest of the crew are just relieved Bryson is no longer with someone who was so wrong for him! There is a consensus that girls who wear colored contacts like ADCG did, are just “not right” for Bryson. David, not yet knowing who he is dealing with, says the wrong thing to Tia. She lets him know that since he is out in public “looking like an anorexic Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle” he can’t say boo to her! David remains quiet thereafter.
Meanwhile, Ari works the door at a club on this misty, rainy evening. It’s gay night and one of the wannabe club-goers shows up with lots of sweet words but no money. Ari tells him flirting won’t work since he isn’t gay; he just works there. The guy looks skeptical and by the end of the night we know why. Ari gives in to the fellow’s baby-faced charms and lets him into the club, then offers him a ride home afterward. Just as his new friend grabs the door handle to get out of the car and head into his house, Ari grabs him and leans in for a deep, yet somewhat confused kiss. When they’re done making out and Ari is alone in the car again, his face betrays bafflement as well as exhilaration with what has just happened.
It’s now junior year. Ari is still outside the club. This time, he is with Bryson and they are promoting whatever is happening inside that night. Well Ari is promoting it. Bryson is supposed to be promoting but is standing around with his mouth hanging open looking slightly off into space. Like a Jiminy Cricket of work ethic, Ari tries to get Bryson to focus on the task at hand and get his mind off Simone. Bryson denies that the thought of possibly seeing Simone that night is what is distracting him but Ari- nor the viewer- is convinced! Bryson’s thirst to see her is soon quenched as she rolls up in an SUV with her rapper boyfriend, Prism(/Prison?). He, Simone, Crystal, and his entourage stumble out like so many clowns from a clown car. Simone, in a mini-skirt, heels, and a white fur jacket totters over to say hi to Bryson. She quickly and guiltily drops her boyfriend’s hands as soon as she sets sight on Bryson… Simone and Bryson make small talk with their mouths but their eyes are in deep, private, and very intimate conversation. Is it me or is it getting really warm out here? The sound of Simone’s boyfriends’ impatient and vaguely menacing voice, urging her to come along, snaps them both back to reality.
Finally, it’s senior year and Ari and Bryson are all decked out in their tuxes getting ready to go to a fancy party. David appears, equally dapper, with an engagement ring and announces he is going to ask Crystal to marry him that night. Ari, makes no bones about the fact that he thinks David is making a mistake saying, “People don’t just change overnight.” David is defiant, replying that all things can change thru Christ. What is happening here fam? What has David been up to that needs changing? Or that HE thinks needs changing? Guess we’ll find out what that means when the show dives into what went wrong in David and Crystal’s marriage.
Over at another location, Simone, Tia and Crystal are all dressed up and almost ready to go. First Crystal and Tia have to throw Simone a lifeline as she drowns her sorrows in a red cup. Simone is sad about her breakup with her rapper boyfriend but for Tia and Crystal, it’s another one of those “I’m glad my friend dodged this bullet even though she’s too dumb to realize it right now” scenarios.
Later on at the party, Simone has a really good time with Bryson and they go to his place after and take an inebriated tumble onto his bed. They end up having a heart to heart where we learn the extent of Bryson’s worship of Simone. It’s been since childhood and has at times involved rose petals literally being thrown at Simone’s feet! Simone confesses her regret that she was too dumb to appreciate him all these years and they sloooowly lean in for a kiss BUT Simone jerks away mid-lean. Her head does a quarter turn and she throws up on the floor beside the bed. Bryson seems barely surprised. He lovingly cleans her up and puts her to bed, falling asleep next to her.
The following morning when they wake up, Bryson asks Simone if she wants to talk about the night before. There is a distance that wasn’t there the previous evening. It’s about the length of a friend zone. Simone tells Bryson he will, “Always be her best friend.” Damn.
Just then, a call comes in from her ex-boyfriend’s friend and it’s Camden (Joey BadA$$)! She makes plans to meet with Camden right in front of Bryson and makes her exit, leaving Bryson blue in more ways than one. We already know from the pilot episode how Simone and Camden’s casual relationship works out (or doesn’t). But after last week’s episode when Bryson and Simone finally share that kiss, we’ll have to see if she’ll go back to her stony exterior or if she’s finally ready to “see” Bryson, and their relationship, for what it could be.