The review for episodes 1,2, and 3 can be found below.
Full disclosure, I am that same dude that reviewed the first three episodes of Alonge Hawes' "Silver & Gold" series, and I've really enjoyed watching this show take its shape. That was probably about five months ago, but I fully remember the stylistically slick characters, how we learned about "The Laws Of The Score" in a heist-type scenario, and of course, "The Birth Of The Cool." As I started into episode four, "The Sword Of The Morning Part 1," I kind of had to wonder where a bit of that energy and magic had gone so quickly. Every storyline needs a setup, of course, but the twelve-plus minutes before the title credits of this latest set of episodes - felt like it took quite some time to get through, like it could have wrapped up this same scenario at the start of the show in less than five minutes - instead of stretching it out so far. There are some valid history lessons and genuine knowledge during this extended intro, don't get me wrong – but as far as the pace was concerned, it seemed like a tall ask for the average everyday viewer to stick with.
The characters we know from their previous heists return for a new job as the episode kicks into gear, with an assignment that potentially comes with a blank check as a reward. As in, they get to name their price if they deliver the goods this time, and the goods in question are an actual person, alias Trevor Burbank, an art forger – to be delivered alive if the mission is successful. They're not the only ones looking for him, though – the main bad guy, Ramses, is extremely watchable and injects a ton of needed energy into this show; it's like Hawes knew that because you see the camera really respond to him, and the episode begins to finally spring to life. Is this all "business, or personal" though? That's the real question and the real key to getting this job done.
Much of what I liked about the show and its characters remains intact. I like the crew they use as our thievin' heroes, and there are plenty of good ideas in how Hawes chooses to shoot the show. Many of the minor issues that existed before, however, still remain. Things like the audio quality, the pacing of the storyline, and a few aspects of the script hold "Silver & Gold" back a bit more than perhaps it should. We get intros to the new characters we meet. Still, the main ones seem to get a little glossed over, or their names don't get used in tangible ways that'll help the audience get to know them easily – stuff like that is easy enough to resolve with more time & experience watching. Still, it's also crucial to endear the audience to the characters early on in a series. I know I also felt like this show really needed to lean on Charles Goldar (played by Quentin Williams) too. While I'm not saying my advice should ever be what actually happens, it did feel like "Silver & Gold" moved further away from him in this episode, which kind of cost the show's natural appeal a bit too. There is a whole lot of story-building at work, and essentially, by the time that episode four seems to really find its footing, it's time for episode five. There's real risk being taken with the audience's patience in "The Sword Of The Morning Part 1," and Hawes needs to really understand how very little people seem to have these days.
Case in point regarding scenes and pacing, in "The Sword Of The Morning Part 2," – don't we spend a little too much time with bounty hunter Morgan Chambers? It's moments like this that end up feeling like they could have been sped up so that the show has more substance to drive it forward. Morgan's fine; I've got no objections to the character or the actress, but as a result of including that scene, combined with the intro that carries episode five on from where four left off, we're again nuts deep in screen time before things can get moving again…like nine minutes in or so. I like what Hawes brings to the character of Ramses – and I felt like the scam artist formerly known as Trevor Burbank, who is actually an old friend of Charles named Asiim, was also another great new character to have added into "Silver & Gold." Alonge doesn't seem to even flinch pulling double duty as a lead part in the show and being its director. The guy brings a steely look to Ramses that works really well, and he clearly knew how he wanted this villain to look and sound on screen. I'm all for it – when you've got the vision for something, follow it. As for the plotline, there's some great stuff happening in "The Sword Of The Morning Part 2" – like the "criminalistic tit for tat," for example, which was a brilliant concept to include that's genuinely insightful in terms of its societal entanglement, how it can help to resolve inequality and provide some serious justice. It's incredibly smart, highly relevant content, and Hawes expertly ties this into the roots of Black history and significant events throughout time - that everyone is familiar with. All-in-all, the plotline of "The Sword Of The Morning Part 2" feels like it should have been what we see in Part 1; Hawes likes to fill in the details retroactively, which is a stylistic choice that can certainly work in many cases, just keep in mind what I mentioned earlier about the patience threshold of the average everyday viewer out there.
Keep an eye on the small things, Alonge, like when we witness a ritual deep out in the forest, and there's a ceremony taking place with an artifact being held onscreen. I'm not saying artifacts can't be legitimately purchased if the need arises, but I am saying that it's a good idea to remove the price tag or barcode if you're going to use it for this kind of scene. The tiniest little things can do a lot of damage to the suspension of disbelief, which is always an essential ingredient to keep intact for the audience as much as possible. It's hard to think of everything all at once, though, and I'd be the first to admit that. As far as the bigger things are concerned, like the ending – that's where the real details matter the most, and bringing this back to pacing and script, we end up consuming a lot of information in a short amount of time when it comes to the most important parts of what we're seeing. It feels like it would be much more beneficial to the show to draw out the more crucial aspects of the story so that we don't feel like we're taking so much of a leap, as opposed to spending so much time with scenes that are way less pivotal to the plotline. "The Sword Of The Morning" attempts to be much more story-driven than character-driven, which was really the main element that seems to hold this show together more than anything else; that could just be my perception, but that's how I viewed this two-part episode overall. We end up missing a lot of scenes with surrounding cast members we liked so much earlier in the series.
As they shift into a tale of revenge for "The Color Of Jazz Is Blu(e)," – it starts to feel like "Silver & Gold" is still searching a bit for what works and the way forward for the show. I keep coming back to the main tagline that's featured at the very start in the credits – "sometimes love is the crime" – is it? Maybe Alonge is playing the long game with that thematically too, we don't know this early on in the show of course, but right now, it doesn't really seem to be a factor at all beyond an awkward hug shared by Charles and Bahiya in the episode prior. It feels like if that's going to be the show's central concept; then we might need a lot more to tie that in for us. While I felt like the pace of "The Color Of Jazz Is Blu(e)" moved in similarly slow way, the dialogue that Hawes has written into this episode was genuinely gripping, and the character of Amunet, played by Pantheah Goode Hawes, was also freakin' fantastic. You get the backstory on Bahiya in this sixth episode more than anything else, and in that regard, the pieces of this episode that revolve exclusively around her are the ones that work out best. Ultimately it does tie in to the previous two episodes and gives you prior context to the relationships between the characters we were introduced to in "The Sword Of The Morning" saga. Still, it does make you question why Alonge is choosing to make things in his method of storytelling much more complex than perhaps they need to be. Jumping around from past to present, telling his tales by leaving out the main details until the very end and then jamming them in quickly… I'm all for uniqueness and trying different things, but it does feel like he's got an opportunity to make his work translate more clearly to the audience than the ways he's currently going about it all. Again, to be completely fair to Hawes, you can really only judge his approach and methods by the end results – everything in between the way things start and the way they end is all storytelling, and it could very well be heading in a more tangible direction than we'd know from these first six episodes. We'll have to wait and see. For now, I'm sticking with the three stars out of five I originally gave "Silver & Gold" because I'm not seeing that progression yet, but I still feel like the potential is there for sure. Alonge has got really clever and insightful ideas when he's at his most focused, and I really dig the fact he's part of the cast now, too – "Silver & Gold" is on its way to finding its identity as a series, but like the episodes it features, it's taking time to get there.
Episode(s) 1, 2, and 3 Review.
Writer/director Alonge Hawes has created a brand-new online series called “Silver & Gold,” and I’ve had the chance to check out the first three episodes. Actually, to be truthful, I’ve also gone beyond that and carried on into the next ones, which is undoubtedly a positive indication of the entertainment value you’ll find onscreen. While there’s no particular rhyme or rhythm for how long an episode might be – you could be watching for twenty-something minutes or maybe forty-plus – Alonge has assembled a cast that keeps things continually engaging, upbeat, and interesting as the story progresses. In particular, as Charles Goldar, the main character within this ensemble cast, Quentin Williams does an exceptional job of bringing personality to the screen that works wonders for the show.
“Silver & Gold” has humor, smarts, and reliable methods for generating storylines that intersect and connect, delivering crime/conman-infused tales that hit the mark…pun intended. Characters like Sosa Gerena (Roberto Cruz Jr.) are also great; he’s the kind of man you’re not really sure what to make of at first, but one of the players in this show that continually grows on you the more that you watch. I think many people forget what it takes to make a show happen to begin with, let alone how much it takes to really find the voice of a character as an actor. The odds of that happening in the very first episode are honestly few and far between – you can think of your all-time favorite shows, and chances are, when you watch them again, you realize that their characters might have been a bit shaky at first, only to really hit their stride by the end of season one, so on and so forth. It takes everyone a while to learn the full cast of characters, who they are, and what they’re capable of – and that’s the case from both sides of the screen. What I really liked about “Silver & Gold” was that you get a mix of both, which is key – you’ve got actors like Quentin that seem born ready to play their part, and that locks everyone in at the start to continue watching as the rest of the cast dives further into their characters and gets to their best as the storyline deepens. Characters like Bahiya Payne (Brittaney Traylor), Cierra Valentine (Shani Hawes), and Sosa might not quite seem as dialed in as “Silver & Gold” begins, but they catch up quickly enough – and to be fair, Quentin’s whole vibe appears to come naturally.
The above-mentioned would be your core four cast members in this show, I’d say, and by episode two of “Silver & Gold,” you can already see that they’re becoming more adept at playing their characters overall. As far as the storyline is concerned, everything heads in the right direction in a cohesive way that should have no problem connecting with the people. It’s partly built like a conman movie, part spy-flick, part crime-comedy – all elements folks enjoy watching. If anything, I’d probably lean a little harder on the star power of Williams and his inherent ability to make us smile and laugh. As it stands right now, “Silver & Gold” lets its comedic moments come at you relatively sparingly – they’re there, but I felt like there was room for more of that, given that the main interactions between the four characters are designed to be a bit on the fun side as they explain what their mission and objectives are. I really enjoyed “The Laws Of The Score,” and the explanation of what the real rules are to be a successful conman and pull off a heist – even just picturing that kind of code and honor among thieves in terms of professionalism is a whole lot of fun. “Silver & Gold” reveals the nobility behind the profession and how crucial it can be to stick to the notion of every scam having a mark, score, and method to be a successful thief. It can be tough to find the balance Alonge is looking to achieve with the mix of seriousness and jokes in a show like “Silver & Gold,” but you can tell it’s already on its way to finding what works. These characters enjoy what they do as thieves, and that translates solidly through every scene.
There are moments where Alonge will use freeze-frame edits to highlight different plot points and clues as to what’s happening in the story – which is another spot I’d probably seek to enhance if I was him. As they are right now, we do notice them, but take the scene with the “sexy stuff,” for example – that’s a moment that’s already purposely moving in a somewhat over-the-top direction, and by really enhancing those freeze-frame moments, you could potentially heighten the comedic power and generate even more substantial interest as a result. Whether it’s the use of titles onscreen or more vibrant dialogue, you know, something bombastic and impossible to miss like Guy Ritchie would do – that kind of technique can go a long way and add significant value to what we see as viewers. There are tiny little things that could be done a bit better, like the scene in the warehouse where a guard calls dispatch as well where you can see there’s no communications device to actually do that, or moments like how Quentin reveals how he knew the code for a safe later on that could be shown to us more than told – but overall, “Silver & Gold” has the fundamentals it needs in both its characters and stories that make everything a worthwhile watch. Sound-editing-wise, there’s still some room to grow in that department too, which is something to keep in mind because it can snap us out of the story when we notice too much ambiance from one scene to the next - when what we see is happening in a rapid back and forth progression…but that comes with time.
The important thing is that “Silver & Gold” proves it has a solid foundation to build on, and I’m confident it will. I felt like Alonge knows he’s got something special with Quentin – heck, I think Quentin knows he’s something special too when it comes right down to it – but there are things in life that are obvious for a reason, and a star player on any team is destined to stand out. The real key is to not shy away from that…to embrace it rather than worry too much about the rest. Everyone’s a professional at the end of the day, and some stories/shows are much more geared towards the skills and talents of one particular character or aspect. “Silver & Gold” can really build something strong on what Williams brings to the screen…my gut tells me that Alonge should go with that and that he knows it would be the right direction too. The supporting cast will get even stronger as time marches on with more experience episode to episode – perhaps even to the point where a character like Sosa will even get his own spinoff show one day.
It’s probably fair to say that “Silver & Gold” will still benefit from a more tangible fluidity as it moves from scene to scene or within its dialogue. Still, again, it all seems like it’s heading in the right direction and that this cast of characters are the right ones to get this show to where Hawes wants to take it. I was entertained in all three episodes, and as I told you at the start, I continued watching even more of the five episodes out there so far – and that’s gotta be a good sign! I feel like a solid three stars is a fair rating for the moment; I like what they’ve got goin’ on right now, I see where the potential can take it, and I feel like the more experience they get in the making of “Silver & Gold” together from both sides of the camera lens, the better this show will become.