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‘The Quad’ recap, Episode 7: A matter of life or death

Eva Fletcher risks her health to save GAMU, and Eugene Hardwick puts his life on the line for his family

Season 2, Episode 7 — The Quad: Middle Passage

There’s been so much conflict and betrayal in recent episodes that fans might have forgotten about coach Eugene Hardwick’s off-campus drama. In the opener of this episode, Hardwick is seated at a poker table, joined by the goons who have come to collect the money from his wife’s gambling debt. Hardwick pushes all of his chips into the center of the table, including a mini-version of his wife and daughters. By the end of the scene, he’s lost it all — a teaser for more to come.

On the other side of town, Noni Williams continues to do her dirty work for band director Cecil Diamond. Diamond and Williams have conspired to get back at rival band director Clive Taylor by pretending Williams wants to be part of his band to get confidential information and dirt on him. Later on, Ebonie Weaver, Williams’ best friend, finds out what’s going on and warns Williams that “Diamond is the devil.” She reminds her best friend of the trauma she’s been through because of the band, which causes Williams to question herself and her morals. Williams then visits Diamond in his office with all of the evidence to bury Taylor, which has been the plan all along. But Williams also realizes her self-worth and returns her band uniform to Diamond. In that moment, Diamond got everything he wanted and lost everything he needed at the very same time.

After another unpleasant meeting with Taylor and losing Williams, Diamond decides to visit Taylor on his turf. Why could Taylor possibly have such a strong vendetta against Diamond? The seemingly innocent band director presses Taylor for answers as the audience learns the truth: As a student at Georgia A&M University, much like Weaver, Taylor was hazed under Diamond’s leadership. He returned shortly afterward and auditioned while recovering from his injuries but was turned down by Diamond. Diamond maintains his innocence, stating he had no idea that happened to him, but Taylor doesn’t believe it. (Can you blame him?)

Meanwhile, Cedric Hobbs, roommate Bryce Richardson and the rest of the Sigma Mu Kappa men have found their way out of the woods and back to the frat house. Still clad in nothing but their boxers, bruised and with cut feet, they survive their last true test. After one member drops line, the remaining brothers cross the burning sands and are pinned at the end of their journey.

On campus, president Eva Fletcher thought she was walking into an ordinary meeting to discuss preventing the merger. She thought wrong. Before Fletcher can pull out her plans, the board of trustees informs her that they’ve already voted for the merger. Obviously, this infuriates Fletcher and, in turn, causes another anxiety attack. Viewers may be witnessing Fletcher’s rapidly declining physical and mental health, with her dependency on prescription drugs.

The student body is informed during a meeting, and, much like Fletcher, the board of trustees is met with jeers. Many of the students notice Fletcher’s defeated demeanor and realize she’s not the one who wanted this to happen.

Fletcher continues to make last-ditch efforts to earn enough funds to keep the school independent. Her last hope? Hardwick’s football team. Dwight Jenkins, star high school football recruit, has expressed interest in playing for GAMU. His father, the outspoken Lenny Jenkins, is against it. He’d much rather see Dwight play at a Division I school, where he will be recognized and on the radar of scouts who can help usher him to the NFL. In Fletcher’s mind, two sought-after college quarterbacks will draw enough attention to the school, which would bring in money and keep GAMU afloat. But Hardwick is dealing with much more pressing and dangerous issues beyond GAMU.

With his wife racking up gambling debt and putting everyone’s lives in danger, Hardwick heads to the bank to empty his daughters’ college funds. It’s the only money they have to make their problems go away. Hardwick is shocked to learn that his wife beat him to the money, withdrawing every penny and closing the account. Instead of paying off her debts, she gambled that away too. But before Hardwick can get too upset, he receives a call from his wife, who’d been in an accident. They both learn it was no accident at all. The men she owes money to purposely ran her off the road.

Knowing his family is in danger, Hardwick decides to stay the night to protect them all. He falls asleep guarding his wife but is awakened in the middle of the night to a gun being pointed at his face. The goons had broken into his home demanding their money, which Hardwick still doesn’t have. When the burglar threatens to kill him, he thinks of his children and decides to fight for his life. The view shifts to the outside of the house, where a loud bang is heard. We’re not sure what to make of that cliffhanger, but one can only hope Hardwick and his family make it out alive.

Maya Jones is an associate editor at The Undefeated. She is a native New Orleanian who enjoys long walks down Frenchmen Street and romantic dates to Saints games.