This is the one Walter Mosley book I hadn’t read. Out of all of the novels the acclaimed writer has put into the ether, somehow I missed this one. And I’m not sure if that’s a bad thing. If I had read it, I’d probably be picking out all the things that might be wrong with the brand new Apple TV Plus series The Last Days of Ptolemy Grey that stars Samuel L. Jackson, and to this point, I can find nothing wrong. Like, at all.
Like the book, the series is an unflinching look at the life of Ptolemy Grey, 91, who is on the brink of sinking into dementia before experiencing a seismic shift when given the opportunity to briefly regain his memories, and he uses this fleeting lucidity to solve his nephew’s death and come to terms with his past. After viewing just the first two episodes, I feel like I’ve experienced a master class in acting and I’m a little upset that the whole series wasn’t released at once.
And while that’s a matter I’ll have to take up with the higher ups in Cupertino, what’s worse is that there are only six episodes total, meaning these last four episodes are sure to be filled with non-stop goodness. Regardless, the first two episodes have got me in a chokehold, and here are three very important reasons why.
Samuel L. Jackson
Ptolemy Grey is a passion project for Jackson, who was intent on placing a spotlight on those suffering with dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease, proving that they deserve to be revered and not thrown away. We’ve all seen Jackson embody different characters through the years, and he deserves every accolade he’s received. This latest performance, however, is next level. As Grey, Jackson loses himself in the character as a man that is equal parts lost and equal parts proud. Just an amazing, mesmerizing portrayal so far. Goodness.
Every once in a while a talent comes along where you can’t really explain what it is they have that makes them special. That’s the deal with Fishback, who absolutely shines in every role. She just has… it. And I mean all of it. She’s the actor that can act with their eyes, and when she speaks she makes every syllable count. Add to that the fact that she’ll be 60 and still look 21, and her future is extremely bright. Her turn as Robyn is making me fall in love with the character, street smart enough to take care of herself, but vulnerable enough to reach out for help and also care for Mr. Grey. I adore her, and her performance. This young lady is the goods.
Listen, if you watched the first two episodes, your questions are probably similar to the ones I have:
Who killed Reggie? What’s the deal with Sensia? Will Ptolemy ever get his money back? What really happened with Coydog? Will Robyn have to fight everybody in the neighborhood? What’s Dr. Rubin hiding? And how will the treatment affect Ptolemy going forward?
I know the questions feel vague but I’m really trying not to spoil anything. And again, there’s only four episodes left so we need answers sooner rather than later. Such a rich premise. Such great performances. Such a joy to see something new and fresh and old and forgetful on television. It has my full attention. Cannot wait for Episode Three.
The Last Days of Ptolemy Grey is currently streaming on Apple TV Plus, releasing new episodes every Friday.