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With his back against the wall, Bumpy tries to find new allies as war with the Italians – and perhaps his family – seems inevitable.
This recap of Godfather of Harlem Season 3 Episode 2, “Alzado” contains spoilers.
Even the worst and most ruthless career criminals have rules it seems, and not messing with women and children is one of them. In “Alzado” it becomes clear why five families not keen on it Joe Colombo, and why they didn’t necessarily like his late father either. Nobody thought much of the rules. And both threaten to upset the already delicate balance of power in New York by creatively and determinedly breaking those rules.
Godfather of Harlem Season 3 Episode 2 Summary
What Joe is doing here is essentially a kidnapping Mayme Johnson, although he frames it as a sort of gentleman kidnapping, in which she is persuaded not by force itself but by the insinuation to accompany Joe for a polite ride in the back seat of his car. He explains to her the same thing he explained to her Bumpy in Premiere of the third season – He makes good money from his car business and wants to share that with Bumpy, and in return he is willing to sweeten the pot of protection from cops and judges that he has on his payroll. Bumpy turned down that offer twice, you’ll recall, but that was before the idea of legal protection from a conviction seemed as valuable as it does now.
That’s because last week Bumpy robbed the Liberty Bank of Harlem for the relief funds President Lyndon Johnson diverted there after the Harlem riots. And Mayme knows that Bumpy has been responsible for this ever since Adam Clayton Powell had told them about the funding in private, and moreover, it was a well-kept secret. Bumpy needed the money to pay off the Italians instead of going to bed with Joe, so he jumped at the first opportunity he saw. But in doing so, he threatened not only his own freedom, but also Mayme’s potential political career (whom Bumpy angrily dubs “Powell’s assistant”).
Gentleman or not, Bumpy absolutely doesn’t want the families interfering with his wife, so he threatens to kill Joe himself if nothing is done about him. He is convinced that a war with the Italians is imminent, so he wants to relocate Mayme and Elise to a safe place outside of Harlem, an idea none of them are keen on given Mayme’s aforementioned career ambitions and fact Malcom X invited Elise to travel to Africa with him. Bumpy even starts bullying his own people to make sure Joe’s private bribe offers don’t seem so convincing – as Bumpy puts it, they’re either with him or dead.
Joe wants to secure Harlem because he says it’s a gold mine, but the implication is that he also wants to use it as leverage against the other bosses. But he has very few allies. His only viable friend is Chin giantwho still languishes in prison off-screen, but he’s only willing to lean on the other bosses if Joe agrees to protect them Stella there, as we know, her stepmother Olympia tried to get her hit last week. He agrees, sees through Olympia’s sympathetic routine and immediately – thanks to some letters he finds in her room – concludes that Stella is staying Delia Greenethe mother of Teddy, her ex-boyfriend whose death sparked her turning against her own family in the first place.
Stella has a beautiful, quietly touching relationship with Delia, who is willing to give her enough money to buy a plane ticket to Paris so she can escape Harlem and experience all the things Teddy never got to experience. I’m happy Godfather of Harlem has maintained that relationship through seasons when most similar shows would not have. When Joe’s goons showed up outside the house to take Stella, I had legitimate concerns for Delia’s safety. By the way, this is the second “gentleman” kidnapping that Joe pulls off in this episode – he makes it a habit.
Meanwhile, two of Bumpy’s men are killed and dumped outside his place of business by “some Italian-looking motherfuckers,” leading him to assume the war for Central Harlem is still going on. However, like Joe – “Alzado” clearly draws parallels between the two – he has few allies, so he arranges to meet with Jose Battle, Spanish Harlem’s Cuban boss, to propose a 50-50 partnership. Battle deals in arms to liberate Cuba from Fidel Castro and isn’t very interested in heroin, but he doesn’t want to give most of his profits to the Italians. However, he is devoted to Santería and makes all his big business decisions after consulting the Orishas with the help of a fortuneteller and some seashells. The shells advise him not to take the deal, which weirdly makes Bumpy disbelieving.
The dominant feeling here is not only that Bumpy is losing his footing in Central Harlem, but also that everyone is getting fed up with their bullshit. Mayme takes her “kidnapping” much more pragmatically than he does. He is willing to go to war, relocate his family and potentially lose not only his business but his life for avenging the slight, while Mayme sees Joe’s suggestion as perhaps the most logical way to move forward. Even Margaret, who is transferred to South Carolina for her protection, overrides Bumpy by insisting on going alone so Elise can go to Ghana with Malcolm. Bumpy can’t make a deal with anyone, can’t protect his men, and can’t even keep control of his family. He loses.
But an unlikely ally emerges in the form of Jose Battle. Earlier, after his meeting with Bumpy, Joe Battle would pay a visit to very politely inquire whether or not he would take Bumpy’s offer, and the Cuban obviously didn’t like being leaned against. He is present at the meeting when Bumpy is invited to sit down with the families’ bosses – “Seashells telling you to be here?” Bumpy jokes as he enters – and is there when Bumpy tells them with the utmost respect that he will not accept her very generous offer of 25%. Having been an equal partner, he’s not ready to be caged again. A lion only understands that he is free after he escapes.
Battle considers Bumpy an “alzado” of the title, the Cuban fighters who drove the Spanish out of Cuba. You have mutual respect. And since Battle Harlems controls military weapons, his association with Bumpy means the Italians can’t take them on — or maybe “shouldn’t” would be a better word.
You can stream Godfather of Harlem Season 3 Episode 2, “Alzado” exclusively on MGM+.
https://readysteadycut.com/2023/01/23/godfather-of-harlem-season-3-episode-2-recap-how-does-bumpy-find-a-partnership/ Godfather of Harlem Season 3 Episode 2 Summary