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BET’s ‘Rebel’ Gives a Voice to Vets of Color

BET’s ‘Rebel’ Gives a Voice to Vets of Color

“Chasing Ghosts” is the newest episode of Rebel, at first I thought it was referring to Rebel’s guilt over Malik’s death and her search for Texas, the man who caused Malik to be in the alleyway where he was killed, but it turns out there was more to this episode than I anticipated.

At the end of the last episode, Rebel found April’s body after an apparent suicide. Now Rebel is giving her statement — or trying to anyway — to Detective Maxine Fox who is someone that clearly has issues with her, because she is giving serious attitude as she takes notes. Now, whether or not this has to do with Rebel turning her back on her former colleagues or if it’s for more personal reasons, has yet to be determined. But it seems that Fox may prove to be another obstacle that Rebel will have to get around.

TJ (Method Man), is at his office where he’s meeting with a contractor who he’s hired to carry out renovations on a building he intends to turn into a sanctuary for military vets, and I found this development to be very interesting on two fronts. One, it showed that there is more to TJ as a character than just being Rebels on-again-off-again bed buddy, because honestly I had no idea TJ was in the military with Rebel, for it turns out that is where they met. The other interesting thing is that this show is using TJ to shine a spotlight on the plight of vets, and those of colour particularly, by building this new haven, TJ is showing that there is a dire need for places for vets to go, after they have been turned away by family, or have been betrayed and let down by the same government they fought for. Vets have been left to fend for themselves on the streets, to suffer the devastating effects of PTSD or drug addiction.

At Rebel’s house, she tries to find the connection between Malik and April’s deaths, and how, Billie (Mack’s brother) ties into it. TJ turns up and tells her that Kim (Lauren London, I haven’t seen her on my screen in a long while) is missing. Back at the precinct, Mack is approached by an older black lady who introduces herself as Trelyn Jones, his new partner. Now colour me surprised because I have NEVER, in all my years of watching television, has seen a mature black female detective, and seeing this on BET made it even more of a pleasant surprise.

Kim tells Rebel she was at the settlement because all of her things were stolen by another vet named Sherry who was working with a woman named Yolanda to scam other disabled vets for their benefit cheques. A baby starts to cry and Kim begins to have a meltdown, and it is clear it’s a trigger for a traumatic event she went through in Iraq. Rebel gets a call from the coroner because a body of a black woman has been found, who is identified by Kim as Sherry, and Kim says it was Yolanda who did it and now she’ll be after Kim.

Rebel and Mack meet up to discuss April’s death and how Jimmie may be involved, he gives her a flash drive and tells her he hopes it’ll help with her missing Malik on his birthday, Rebel puts it in and it’s a video of Malik and Mack rapping (or attempting to and failing on Mack’s part), what this does is to show that Mack and Malik had a good relationship, they were actually friends, which makes what Mack did, even sadder.

It turns out that Yolanda is Helen, the woman who runs the soup kitchen where Kim, Sherry and other vets would go to for food, but what makes this even more messed up is that Helen is a former Air Force vet herself. After being dishonorably discharged, she lost her benefits and wanted them to pay, but it wasn’t the Air Force that paid it was other vets, who themselves were struggling, smh.

At the precinct, Mack tells Rebel that his shooting at Malik, was due to him zoning out, and its a problem he’s had since an incident with a previous encounter with a suspect. He also tells her it wasn’t him that said Malik was still holding the gun when he was shot, leaving Rebel even more confused because that was part of the reason she was so hostile to him.

In conclusion, I think “Chasing Ghosts” refers to, Kim, who is coping with tremendous guilt over the inadvertent death of a child at her hands, ghosts refers to vets, they’re seen but ignored, looked through rather than looked at, left to drift from place to place when their presence becomes inconvenient. The term ghost can also apply to Rebel and TJ’s relationship, they’re trying to hold onto something that no longer really exists, they both know that being married is not what is best for them, but they can’t make that necessary break of divorce.

My musings on this episode

  1. All this time I thought Rebel and TJ were at the least legally separated, but they aren’t even that. These two confused fools, are still married, and don’t even know if they want a divorce? But how sway? TJ is living with Tarsha, while he and Rebel are having ‘I don’t wanna, but I’m gonna’ sex. I can’t.
  2. From what I saw in this episode Mack and Treylyn seem to get along fairly well, but it will be interesting to see how she is treated as another black female cop by the others, and if Mack with step up to the plate and speak out, or will he stay mum as he did when Rebel was being insulted and castigated.
  3. My patience with the names that Jimmie calls Rebel is beginning to wear thin. Now I know the writers are trying to show how much of a bigot Jimmie is, but it’s really beginning to grind my gears how he has a derogatory slur in every single sentence he has in reference to Rebel.

Carolyn Hinds: ” I’m a Barbadian living in Toronto, Canada, I’m a nerd who spends time coming up with plot theories for TV shows, and avid fan of Jane Austin, my favourite shows are The Walking Dead, The Expanse and blackish. I’m an avid reader and will do karaoke anytime anywhere”.

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