'Godfather of Harlem' Episode 5 review: 'It's All in the Game' has one message—bold actions come with dire consequences
'It's All in the Game' puts Bumpy on the spot as the Harlem betting scene gets an explanation in detail
This review contains spoilers for 'Godfather of Harlem' episode 5: 'It's All in the Game
Forest Whitaker's Bumpy Johnson was always a man with a plan. Not this time though. 'It's All in the Game' puts Bumpy on the spot as the Harlem betting scene gets an explanation in detail. There are multiple subplots that make this episode a lot interesting than the previous chapters. To begin with, this is all about Vincent 'Chin' Gigante (Vincent D'Onofrio ) going one up over Bumpy. He rigs the bet on horseracing to break Bumpy's back and by the looks of it, he succeeds and has a good gloat about it in Bumpy's face. This leads to Bumpy borrowing money to owe the winners.
Parallelly, there is an incident that lands Stella (Lucy Fry) and Teddy (Kelvin Harrison Jr.) in jail. With Teddy cutting a good number for Happy House, the couple step out in joy and celebrate with a kiss only to be caught by cops. Meanwhile, Elise, still tramping around the city, looks at Malcolm X's Nation of Islam to make her life better. She joins in as a nurse and it's interesting how her way is sketched forward.
Bumpy making enemies with the Italians had dire consequences— Rigging aside, he also loses a few good men when Chin's men storm into Bumpy's business and gun them down. This fall also knocks him off as the "Man" in Harlem. With Chin rigging the bet, a distraught and angry Bumpy reaches out to Amy (Joanne Kelly) and Frank Costello (Paul Sorvino) for a loan. Adam Clayton Powell (Giancarlo Esposito) makes a claim that he could publicly out the names of the Italian mobsters but eventually ends up pointing the finger at a black woman.
In a way, Bumpy tries to remain true to the code by not snitching about Chin and the other members of the Italian mafia, but it does push him a step back. Left without a choice he proposes a new deal with Frank into starting a war. For now, the only person who could pummel Chin emotionally is his daughter Stella, who is bent on living a life with Teddy, and that confidence just grows each day. Such is the level that she slaps Ernie flush on the cheek when he kisses her outside the precinct.
'It's All in the Game' has one message: Actions, especially the bold ones, come with dire consequences. It's a double-edged sword. Fry is clearly the star of the episode as she oozes confidence despite knowing her days with Teddy are numbered should her dad figure out about their relationship. For Bumpy, it's a bad day at the office.