Review: Godfather of Harlem Season 3 Episode 8 – Homeland Or Death For The Viewers

Who does not love good crime fiction that revolves around mafias and gangsters? As much as we love the inputs of the FBI and CIA in a crime thriller, there is just a different aura when you see a series from the perspective of a drug lord, cartel, or the Godfather. It is one reason why such series are grappling me and is just an unstoppable watch if I sit down with one.

Shows like Breaking Bad, Narcos, Peaky Blinders and Sacred Games all have one common link to them, a leader. The one who manages and maintains his power and position in drug cartels and rings to establish an empire of his own.

Godfather of Harlem is inspired by this genre with an original script that showcases and emphasizes black history within the criminal world. Here, I will talk about the latest episode of Godfather of Harlem and whether it lived up to my expectations or not. Spoilers ahead!

Godfather of Harlem is an American Crime TV show written by Chris Brancato and Paul Eckstein that is based on the true story and life of Bumpy Johnson, who spent his ten years in prison and returns to see his neighborhood in a complete mess.

The story follows this infamous crime lord embarking on a journey to reclaim his power and throne by going against the Italian mob, the Genovese family, who now controls the hood. Forest Whitaker plays the role of Bumpy Johnson alongside Nigel Thatch, who plays the role of Malcolm X.

Upon its premiere in 2019, the series was quick to gain popularity with around 92% of positive critics and reviews. The show has been nominated in many categories, namely Best Drama series, and has won the award of Best Original Title for the drama.

Thoughts And Views on Season 3 Episode 8

Most of the episode was about Bumpy Johnson figuring out how to protect Malcolm X, the civil rights leader, and Che Guevara, the Cuban revolutionary leader, from the eyes of assassinators. The series hinted to us how the CIA disapproved of the duo joining hands to address the UN and regarded cooperation as a threat to democracy. Thus they sought to quell their ascent to power.

This leaves us with the question of whether the CIA was behind the attempted assassination of Che or not. Further, we see Malcolm X collaborates with writer Alex Haley on another scene of the program as they write a chapter about Bumpy Johnson for the Muslim minister’s autobiography. Malcolm X ultimately opts not to include the fresh material, though.

This hints at one of the missing pages of the autobiography and whether it was an intentional doing or not. The previous episode gave us clarity that Bumpy was made aware of the duo’s plan to deliver a speech to the UN, which happened to be of interest to the FBI.

Later, we see in the latest episode Johnson spends most of the time attempting to implement a counterplot to thwart any officially approved attack, even preventing Malcolm X from coming to address the UN. 

Godfather of Harlem

Still from Godfather of Harlem Season 3 Episode 8 (Credits: Prime Video)

Even though Johnson and his foot troops can prohibit Malcolm from leaving his house, they are powerless to stop Guevara from appearing before the UN. The CIA-paid assassins are put down by Johnson’s lieutenants, preventing them from successfully attacking the UN building where Guevara is giving a speech, and somehow he can save him from being killed.

What I liked about this episode is that they kept all the facts and made it realistic to the actual story of Bumpy Johnson. The suggested missing page from the autobiography is true, as there seems to be one exclusive chapter that never made it to the eyes of the public. Even the attempted murder of Che Guevara by the CIA is linked to the inevitable murder ploy that happens after a few years of the person. 

Episode 8 of Godfather of Harlem showcases the ruthless side of the CIA against blacklisted members of the society, which also includes the people who have interacted with the mafia and ring-leaders. The episode also highlights the good side of Bumpy towards his allies and how he would do anything in his power to save the people he cares for or who work with and for him. 

What was questionable was how the episode did not give us a solid explanation as to what and why the decision to omit Bumpy from Malcolm X’s autobiography was done. Regardless, it happens to be a very gripping and adrenaline-inducing episode in the Season 10 of Godfather of Harlem. 

Godfather of Harlem

Still from Godfather of Harlem Season 3 Episode 8 (Credits: Prime Video)

The acting of Forest Whitaker is ever flawless, with every detail of his smoothly processed as the character of Bumpy Johnson. Again, enacting as a mafia leader of the 1990s is not an easy task when you need to deliver the raw emotion and power of what the character beholds.

Say, for example, you can only imagine a fictional character of Don Vito Corleone, whom I love to refer to as the Godfather, to be this character with a strong yet subtle presence who knows what he is capable of and what he means to his den to be played by an actor worthy of it and it is done quite well by Marlon Brando in the movie.

Thus, I could not have asked for a better actor to play the role of Bumpy than Forest Whitaker. Episode 8 has too much going on in the script. Some of the parts seemed too quickly overtaken to show what comes next, which hinders the entirety of the plot, but again it is quick to make peace when certain plots unfold as the series goes by.

The episode also focuses on the fallout Malcolm X and Bumpy had, which may make the viewers hesitant to understand whose side to be on since both parties seem to be right in their way. It leaves the viewers confused, but that is what the spice of this drama is. 

There is gore and blood. There are gunshots, and men are lying on the floor dead. Not for people who cannot stand the sight of wounds and blood. But again, I love this genre too much to care for a little spill on my screen. So, if you wanna watch it as a family show, you better make sure your children are of appropriate age to be enjoying the history lessons delivered through Godfather of Harlem. 

I could have expected a little more from the way the series is directed since Breaking Bad has set a different standard altogether, and there are times when the characters seem a little exaggerated or monotonous in their behavior. Again, some have their flaws, and this episode was no short of a mixed feeling to it. 

It was a great watch which makes me anticipate what is to come next in episode 9, but there are countless moments that could have been done better with a little more expression on the side of the actors. Regardless, Godfather of Harlem brings us a great influencer to the black community in the world of crime and terror, and Bumpy Johnson takes the lead role to make it suggestively better in making the world know about it.

Final Verdicts

We know about Pablo Escobar, the Italian mafia, and El Chapo, but very rare are the ones known of black descent. The criminal world is huge, and Bumpy Johnson is one living proof of what he is capable of doing for his neighborhood, even if it takes the blood of countless to get back what is his.

Godfather of Harlem is a great biographical watch, with crime and drama being a major influence on what the series is about. Episode 8 was nothing short of an excellent take on showcasing the good and bad side of the CIA and, of course, Bumpy.

There are misunderstandings, failed communications, attempted assassination, and drama. What else can possibly be asked for than just a banger of a series and an episode? Although there is room for growth in terms of delivery and script, along with the characters being a little less expressive in this episode, the plot was a good take to make it more enjoyable and let the viewers decide where the storyline will follow.

It is a good episode, but it could have been better. Forest Whitaker nonetheless did justice to the character of Bumpy Johnson and his decisions in this episode, so I would give it for that. 

Our Rating: (3.9/5). 

You can watch Godfather of Harlem on Prime Video, Hulu, and Disney+

Also Read: Godfather Of Harlem Season 3 Episode 9: Release Date, Spoilers & How To Watch

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