Apple TV+ continues with its recent output of shows with The Last Days of Ptolemy Grey starring none other than Samuel L. Jackson (“The Banker”, “Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker”) as the titular Ptolemy Grey (pronounced Tolemy).
We kicks things off with Grey, looking dapper in a clean apartment, sitting at a table, a pistol, bottle of alcohol and tape-recorder in front of him. He starts the tape recorder, talks to Robyn, says that “that motherfucker gotta pay for what he did”, then someone begins banging at his door. Grey asks who it is, the voice says he knows damn well who it is.
Then we flip back two months earlier and Grey is looking a far cry from the man we just saw. Now he’s decidedly more dishevelled, unsure of himself and his apartments a mess with reminders everywhere about anything and everything. He also has regular flashbacks to when he was younger or sees people from his past.
Then Reggie, Omar Benson Miller (“Rise of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (TV)”, “Ballers (TV)”), arrives. Grey is Reggie’s great uncle and seemingly Reggie is the only person Grey trusts and who sees him the most from his family. Reggie brings Grey food, takes him to his appointments, but Reggie is also thinking of moving away to Texas.
We join the pair at the docs where Milton, Gilbert Glenn Brown (“Stargirl (TV)”, “The Young and the Restless (TV)”), listens as Grey talks about his times in the cotton fields when he was but 12. However, when Milton asks if Grey remembers him living in his apartment block, Grey has no idea what he’s talking about.
Milton has a word with Reggie, he can see Grey is getting worse, they both can. However, Grey has remarkable powers of recovery, a burn on his hand takes weeks to heal when he expected it to take months. He recommends Reggie make an appointment with Dr. Rubin, someone running a clinical trial on dementia and he’s interested in meeting Grey. Reggie makes the appointment.
Days go by, Grey is left alone in his apartment, the days counted by the number of tins of beans that Grey eats until Reggie next arrives. This time however, Grey runs out of beans, he runs out of food, letters pile high on his doormat, unopened.
The next person to arrive at Grey’s apartment is Hilliard (Hilli), DeRon Horton (“Dear White People (TV)”, “American Horror Story (TV)”), another member of the extended family and Grey has to look at a wall of photographs to be sure he knows who it is.
Grey keeps asking where Reggie is, Hilli keeps saying he’ll take him to see him, but first they go to the bank so Grey can deposit his three cheques as always. Except this time he only gets one back because Hilli steals the rest from him, denying it all the way of course.
Eventually they arrive at Grey’s niece’s house, Niecie, Marsha Stephanie Blake (“An American Pickle”, “How to Get Away with Murder (TV)”). It’s very obviously a wake, but Grey doesn’t know, he can’t see it, continuously asking where Reggie is.
He’s introduced to Robyn, Dominique Fishback (“Judas and the Black Messiah”, “Project Power”), who takes him to see Reggie, in his open casket, Grey breaks down. Later, as they leave, Grey is asking Robyn if Reggie will be around later, she says he will.
I’ll say this for Apple TV+’s series they have strong starts and The Last Days Of Ptolemy Grey is definitely no different in that regard. Jackson is, as always, great. HIs characters’ moments of lucidness alongside point-blank ‘I don’t remember’ are played wonderfully.
That he can remember some things, like he knows he has three cheques, knows that equals three lots of money returned, but yet can’t remember the food he just eat at the restaurant with Reggie when the waitress takes the plates away, is scary and Jackson doesn’t miss a beat.
The Last Days Of Ptolemy Grey is based on the book by, and the series is written by, Walter Mosley with this episode directed by Ramin Bahrani (“The White Tiger”, “Fahrenheit 451”).
11th March 2022
THE QUICK SELL
AppleTV+ brings us The Last Days Of Ptolemy Grey, based on the book by, and the series is written by, Walter Mosley, starring Samuel L. Jackson.
TV / STREAMING PLATFORM