'P-Valley' Episode 4: Autumn Night’s affluent background could make her The Pynk's unlikely savior
Autumn "Hailey" Night hasn't made herself any friends since she moved to town. Her background and her private grief over the death of her child set her apart in a way that makes it impossible for the girls to know and accept her. In contrast, Mercedes, even when she is her abrasive best, commands the girls' love and respect because she pulls the crowds and keeps The Pynk humming. There is a lovely sequence in episode 4, where the girls get her ready for her last dance. After decking out her "OG" locker with fairy lights and pictures of their seven years together, they powder her heels and oil her body, making her look like a goddess.
Autumn stands in a corner and eyes Mercedes' locker because it is the biggest, hoping to snag it after she is gone. Mercedes tells her sneeringly, that she has to "earn it", just like she did. Unlike Mercedes who has climbed through the ranks to earn her spot, Autumn is the interloper, an outsider. However, it is this very outsider status that could make Autumn Night the unlikely savior of the strip club.
Uncle Clifford and the girls, whose lives revolve around The Pynk, are all from impoverished backgrounds and don't know how the rich operate. Autumn's past equips her with the knowledge of how money flows in the corrupt, rich man's world. She knows the cheat codes like how to launder money and park "off the book" funds in offshore accounts. It is evident that Autumn had been planning her escape from an abusive domestic situation with her child. When the floods hit, not only did she lose her child, but also her access to the funds she must have secreted away for starting life anew.
Using wire transfers to her fake "Lakeesha Savage" identity, Autumn begins collecting all that money through $9,000 withdrawals from different outlets, disguising herself every time. As she shifts stacks, she also opens an account at the local Chuccalisa bank, making the teller believe that the money is from Pynk's customers wild about her, "the new girl".
Her confrontation with Andre shows that her cautious friendship with Uncle Clifford has turned into loyalty. She has no reason to talk Andre into getting a better deal for The Pynk, but she does anyway. She exhibits a sense of fairness and is angry that Andre is profiting off the vulnerability of Uncle Clifford and the strippers but dressing it up as "doing something for the city". When Andre's rude reply brings up the memories of her child, she breaks down in a mixture of sorrow and anger. When she bids Andre goodbye the next morning, it seems final.
While Autumn Night might be stacking the cash to get her 'fugitive funds' in one place, there is another possibility. She might also be figuring out a way to get The Pynk out of debt and becoming the hero of the story. Maybe she is tired of guys like Andre always winning. Maybe she doesn't want to let go of the little security she has carved for herself in Chuccalisa since the floods hit.
Or maybe her sense of fair play just kicked in and she wants to earn that "OG" locker in the club -- but in a way that is different from Mercedes. By putting the weight of her money stacks behind Uncle Clifford, she can change The Pynk's 'gentrify or die' destiny forever.
The next 'P-Valley' episode will air on August 9 at 8 PM on Starz.