‘Silver & Gold’ Returns to JARO: Review of Caper 7

‘Silver & Gold’ Returns to JARO: Review of Caper 7

Sosa Cruz (Robert Cruz Jr.) and Susannah (Karris Morgan)

After a year of delays, Silver & Gold, the heist series created, written, and directed by independent auteur Alonge Hawes is finally airing new episodes. The 7th installment, or “Caper” as the episodes have been billed, is titled “The Valley of Sorek” and offers a look into the origins and backstory of one the series main characters, Sosa Gerena (portrayed by Roberto Cruz Jr.). 

I must say, returning after a year with an episode that essentially is a self-contained origin story, instead of following the plot established in the previous six installments, is a risky move. Silver & Gold has been steadily building both its story and characters concurrently, with each episode unveiling the importance of a mysterious set of McGuffins called “Fragments” that are apparently mystical in origin. ”The Valley of Sorek” barely mentions these fragments, in favor of exploring who Sosa was before he became a thief. 

Bottle episodes such as this only work if the characters are both interesting and charismatic enough to warrant an effective “Time Out” on the main series plot to focus on said character. Series such as Lost, Game Of Thrones, and Westworld would routinely pause their narratives to explore the lives, experiences, and motivations of their side characters, independent of the main arc of a woman with a fire-breathing dragon knocking on the kingdom’s door or an alcoholic doctor attempting to reconcile with his ghost-dad, to varying degrees of success. 

It could be argued that in an attempt to be “sprawling” and “expansive,” some of the aforementioned series suffered in straining their characters’ motivations and credibility. I am happy to say that with the episode in question, Silver & Gold eschews this problem and is still on pace to be one the best independent series and viewing experiences available for consumption.  

“The Valley of Sorek” opens not too much later than where Caper 6, “The Color of Jazz is Blu(e),” ends. Bahiya Payne (a continually strong Brittaney Traylor) and her beau Charles Goldar (the ever-charming Quentin Williams) are discussing both the mysterious Fragments and the effect they seem to have on Charles. Are they mystical? Magical? Good? Evil? And exactly why are the coolly villainous Ramses and the members of Uhuru so obsessed with collecting all of them? 

Before any of these questions can receive a satisfying answer, Bahiya informs Charles of the pricy bounty she promised both computer hacker extraordinaire Cierra Valentine (Shani Hawes) and aloof con-man Sosa Gerena (Cruz Jr.) for assisting her in the previous episode’s caper. Problem is, they don’t have the money, which leads to an intense Mexican standoff style confrontation in which guns are drawn and the fun dynamic the group of thieves has established throughout the previous episodes seems primed to dissolve. That is until Sosa receives a phone call from a voice telling him to meet at a secret location. It is at this point that the narrative follows Sosa exclusively. Bahiya, Charles, and Cierra only appear intermittently, and alongside Sosa, a new crop of characters are introduced to tell Sosa’s Shakespearean-like backstory. 

Sosa Gerena has, up to this point, been a stoic character of few words. He acts as the muscle and straight man to the eccentric Cierra, the too-cool-for-school Charles, and the seductress Bahiya. In that role, some might find Sosa upstaged or even sometimes forgotten amongst the group’s playful dynamic. Putting Sosa’s character front and center and giving him his own cast to play off does wonders for both the character and actor. Roberto Cruz Jr centers Sosa’s stoicism and detached nature in the trauma of his life story. Raised as the heir-apparent to an organized Puerto-Rican crime syndicate known as “The Locuo,” Sosa has always displayed a calm, distant demeanor. 

His life is one of both privilege and peril, for every moment of joy and triumph, danger lurks like a stalking lion ready to pounce. Sosa also has a daughter, Sosita (played by his real-life daughter Sosa Cruz) and Sosa acts as her basketball coach when time permits. The scenes between Sosa and Sosita are tender and add a touch of humanity to Sosa’s character, allowing the audience to see him smile and laugh––something he rarely does in previous episodes. 

Moreover, the introduction of Sosa’s crime boss father Manoah (Herman Spearman) and best friend and right-hand man Carlos (Ray Lester) allow for further examining and exploration of his character. Manoah is fiercely proud of his son and anxious to pass along the mantle of leadership to him. Carlos is loyal and respects Sosa as a man and leader. Sosita adores her father and looks up to him as a source of protection and affection. But what does Sosa, whose real name is revealed to be Semes (itself an original Hebrew pronunciation for the biblical “Samson”) think of himself? His place in the world? His destiny as the leader of a criminal organization?  

It is through the last two characters introduced, Ba’al (Andre Eaton Jr) and Susannah (Karris Morgan), that these questions are explored. Ba’al is the leader of a rival gang, the Dagon, who loathes Semes and is envious of the Locuo’s sudden rise in drug trafficking. Susannah is presented as a damsel in distress who Semes attempts to save, and in the process falls in love with. Both of these characters represent the inherent risks and hypocrisies that a life of crime inevitably poise. Can one simultaneously be a lover of few and a plague to many? And how much does the love shown humanize the atrocities inflicted? 

Ba’al is played with ruthless menace by Eaton Jr, who chews every line of dialogue with merciless delight. His spectacularly hammy performance is a good counterbalance to Cruz Jr’s more leveled portrayal in a Joker-Caped Crusader type of way. Karris Morgan’s portrayal of Susannah begins as that of the cliché love interest but soon morphs into something else entirely, making the viewer question her true personality and perhaps unveiling someone more sinister than even Ba’al. 

Together, this ensemble manages to weave Hawes’s script into a captivating tale of love, betrayal, and tragedy that will keep you guessing up until the last moment. Alonge Hawes continues to prove himself a capable writer-director with a knack for casting and getting the best performances out of his actors. The cinematography by Joshua Dennard continues to impress.

There are moments of gravitas, action, noir, and even some comedy that call for a deft, confident hand, and the camera is positioned to capture it all at just the right moments and angles. Sound continues to be an up and down experience, as the sound design in some scenes is perfect, whilst in others it can be a little too low to make out. At 60 minutes in length, this is the longest episode of Silver & Gold yet, and thankfully, the cast and crew were well up to the challenge. 

I would like to give kudos to the new cast members, namely Herman Spearmen, Andre Eaton Jr, and Karris Morgan for coming in late in the series season and providing interesting characters that are instantly memorable. It is no small feat to replace established characters with brand new ones and make them not only watchable, but necessary to the viewing experience.  

In conclusion, “The Valley of Sorek” is another great installment in Silver & Gold’s first season. Anchored by the series’ most underrated character, it is a classic tale of crime and passion given a nice coat of modern-day paint thanks to the script by Alonge Hawes and performances by the cast. There are twists, turns, and surprises galore that make for a thrilling ride, and you will continue to have fun with these characters as the saga continues. Let’s just hope that it doesn’t take another year for us to experience another adventure! 

Silver & Gold is now streaming on Jaro Media through both their website and Roku Channel. The latest episode premiered on December 4th. 


Writing/Directing: 4.5 Stars 

Performances: 4.5 Stars 

Cinematography: 4 Stars 

Audio: 3.5 Stars 

Editing: 4 stars

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MJ VanDevere

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