Black Cake (2023) s01e01 Episode Script


MAN: Covey! Covey!
people think that surfing
is a relationship with the sea,
when it's really a
relationship between you
and yourself.
The sea is gonna do whatever it wants.
My mom taught me that.
She expected me to excel at everything.
Even surfing.
You know,
I was a little kid when she taught me.
And people stared,
as if surfing had been
invented by white folks.
But my mom told me
Black people surf in the
Caribbean, where she was born,
and our people surf in African
and Asian countries too.
I didn't know either,
'cause I didn't see it,
but that didn't stop me from learning.
And it didn't stop me
when I was the only Black
man in my doctoral program.
I'm still the only Black
ocean scientist in my lab,
and that's why I'm here.
I'm hoping that some of you
might follow in my footsteps.
'Cause if I had waited to
see another Black boy surf,
I wouldn't be living my dream today.
So if you're interested
in ocean sciences,
don't wait for someone
to give you permission.
And if you want to surf,
don't wait to find someone out there
who looks just like
you before you do it.
Ride the wave.
Who is this woman? ♪
Who is this woman? ♪
Who is this woman? ♪
Are you okay?
They said that you hit your head.
I misjudged a wave.
I guess my reflexes aren't
what they used to be.
- Hm.
- I don't even remember
being pulled out of the water.
I just remember how cold
it felt when I went under.
BYRON: Were you wearing your wetsuit?
Ma, it's January.
If I didn't know you better,
I would think you were
trying to hurt yourself.
Eleanor, how are you feeling?
Exhausted and embarrassed,
but alive.
This is my son, Byron.
- DOCTOR: Hi, there.
- [SOFTLY] Hey.
Are you comfortable
with Byron being present
while we discuss your results
and your treatment plan?
Of course.
Yes, tell us, please.
Well, the good news is that
your leg and ribs will heal
with physical therapy,
and time, of course.
there's no easy way to say this.
Your CAT scan shows what
appears to be a brain tumor.
The headaches.
I just thought stress.
Of course.
And grief.
Who's that on my shoulder? ♪
This is Benny.
Don't leave a message, just text.
Is it me? Yeah,
yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah ♪
Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah ♪
Is it me? Yeah,
yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah ♪
Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah ♪
- Is it me? Yeah,
yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah ♪
Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah ♪
Is it me? Yeah, yeah ♪
Don't leave a message, just text.
Mom's fine. I'm here.
No need to call back.
NARRATOR [ON VIDEO]: This chayote
was found at a rural market in Italy.
Not in the Caribbean, but
right here in southern Europe.
Can you believe it?
You must be starving.
NARRATOR: This chayote
was found at a rural
in Italy. Not in the
What's that, honey?
You're hungry, right?
I'll run out and get you something. Hm?
What are you craving?
- Chayote? Hm?
BYRON: Is that something I can get here?
Not in Orange County.
What were you watching?
It's a cooking video.
They were roasting chayote,
and it reminded me of home.
BYRON: I know you don't
like talking about it,
if there were ever a
time to reflect, Ma.
[SOFTLY] Come on.
When I was a girl,
Saturday night was soup night.
And in our house, we
made it with chocho.
That's what we called chayote back then.
BYRON: You made it with the nuns,
at the orphanage?
But when I moved here with your father,
we learned to call it chayote
because we discovered that
chocho sounded like chocha.
[CHUCKLES] Chocha.
That's slang for vagina in Español.
We shouldn't be laughing.
No, that's exactly what we
should be doing, my love.
I'm not going down without a fight.
She's officially 30 minutes late.
She's not coming.
Let's get on with it, please.
I'm sorry, but we
can't start without her.
Oh, I'm sorry that you don't
understand what we're dealing with here.
We haven't seen Benny in eight years.
She lives an hour away;
she didn't even show up for our
father's funeral six years ago.
Eleanor insisted.
Ma couldn't stop Benny from
abandoning us back then.
She sure as hell can't do
anything now she's dead.
I am sorry.
Don't hate me.
I-I had car stuff, and then,
I-I couldn't find my keys, and
Whatever. I'm, I'm here.
Byron, just fuckin' hug me.
You don't get to just blow in here,
acting like you care all of a sudden.
I'm not acting.
Ma is dead.
What am I supposed to do?
Show up.
That's what you should have done.
You didn't even tell me she was sick.
You never called to check
on her after the accident.
And you said that she was fine.
That was a year ago.
Let's get on with it.
Read the will, please.
Well, I know you wanna
get this over with,
but this process is more complicated
than just reading the will
and signing a few documents.
Your mother left you a message.
This is part of it.
"B and B,
there's a small black cake
in the freezer for you.
Don't throw it out.
Sit down together and share
it when the time is right.
You'll know when.
Love, Ma."
Black cake.
So we'll share a slice of
cake when the time is right.
I guess we'll do that
after we wrap up here.
There's more to it, Byron.
What's that?
The rest of her message.
I know your mother rarely
s-spoke of her childhood.
She never spoke of it.
And she always dodged our questions.
Well, in the end,
she decided to talk.
And she wanted you
to listen to all seven recordings,
at home, in my presence.
BENNY: At home?
Jesus. Uh, can't you
just, um, make two copies
so we can listen to it on our own?
She will never know.
I'll know.
I understand this is difficult,
but now it's up to you to decide
whether you wanna hear
what your mother had to say
or spend the rest of
your life wondering.
my hand is not so steady anymore,
and I have a lot to say.
At this point,
I'm not sure I'll get to
see you two together again.
Please, forgive me for
waiting so long to tell you
and for keeping so many secrets,
and for lying to you
whenever you asked about
our family's origin.
It was natural for you
to ask about your roots.
It was unnatural for me
to say that you had none.
Everyone has roots,
even orphans,
I must confess that I was
not raised in an orphanage.
is not my real name.
B and B,
there are people who have
spent their entire lives
wondering what happened
to the girl I used to be,
and when this is over,
after you have heard the truth in full,
I want you to find those people
and tell them.

ELEANOR: There were two
girls from the West Indies
who grew up in the '50s and '60s.
And even though they came
from different families,
they did everything together.
One of them was Covey.
That used to be me.
COVEY: Look at me, Pa, look at me!
We done all right for ourselves, huh?
But we can do better.
Lin, no more poker.
Or cockfights. Promise me.
[IN PATOIS] You don't like me betting?
Where you think all that money
for the shop come from, huh?
Lin, patois!
[NORMALLY] Half of our
customers are buying on credit,
which they never pay back, by the way.
Am I supposed to let them go without?
Forget I asked.
LIN LYNCOOK: I have to
get back to the shop.

ELEANOR: I was fast.
I was always in a hurry.
Always looking for a way off the island.
Just like my mother,
who left when I was 11.
But I was never alone.
Wherever I swam
Bunny was right behind me.
Come on, Covey!
Go, Covey! Focus!
First place! First goddamned place!
You see that?
That's my daughter! [LAUGHS]
When you train out in the bay,
does Bunny always go with you?
Are you asking me to train with
you instead of my best friend?
Maybe. I just thought, you know,
maybe I could come out there
and swim with you sometime.
Just the two of us.
LIN: Coventina.
Look, Pa, another for the collection.
I told you I'd beat that
little spark plug from Kingston.
I have at least four inches on her.
Who's this?
I didn't see him swim today.
Gibbs Grant.
Nice to meet you, sir.
I just graduated, so I can't
swim with the team anymore.
Soon to be headed to university.
In London, to study law.
Here. Hmm.
[IN PATOIS] What you
wanna do with that boy?
Pa, patois.
[NORMALLY] Do I need to remind you
that you're not allowed to date?
But I'm nearly 18.
I keep you on the straight
and narrow all these years,
I won't let some boy
undo all my hard work.
Gibbs isn't just some boy.
Well, you know him well, do you?
You're to focus on your studies
and your swimming, you understand?
Yes, Pa.
I know he has a funny
way of showing it, but,
I really do think he's
looking out for you.
Gibbs will be moving soon.
And you know better than anyone
just how painful it
is to be left behind.
And the only person that
understands that more than you
is your father.
He's such a braggart.
He's proud of you.
Gibbs, wait up.
Sorry about my pa.
That wasn't exactly
how I hoped we'd meet.
Me either.
But don't mind him.
He's all bark, no bite.
Then why are we hiding from him?
Why won't you just tell
him that we've been dating?
I don't have much time left
before I'm off to London.
I'd like to enjoy it, Covey.
I thought you would too.
Of course, I do.
Bunny and I are heading
out to the bay later.
Join us, will you?
BUNNY: I can't believe
you're willing to risk
getting into trouble with your father,
for Gibbs.
Why not?
He make me laugh.
He respects me.
And he wants to get off this island.
He's just like us.
What happened to training every
day for the harbor race next year?
What happened to you winning
and me placing in the top three
to guarantee our invitation
to compete abroad?
- Where does Gibbs fit into our plan?
- Hey.
If one of us go, we both go.
That hasn't changed.
And we will compete
next year no matter what.
BUNNY: We only have a
few hours before the rain.
Prove it. Let's train.
He came.
Of course, he did. [SIGHS]
And Lord knows I can't compete
with that longboard of his.
We'll train in an hour.
You have my word.
Oh, this is amazing.
I take it you've never
ridden a longboard?
But I learned on one of those.
It's been a while.
Can I try yours?
But it's not like them foam boards.
Let me teach you.
No, thanks.
I'm going in.

Home, home, home ♪
Oh, yeah ♪
I want to go ho-oh-oh-oh-oh-oh-home ♪
Home, home, home ♪
GIBBS GRANT: Coventina.
You okay?
I'm great. That was amazing!
You're something else.
We should head back.
I know someplace we can go.
Follow me.
Never met a girl like you.
A Chinese girl?
[CHUCKLES] I was going to say bold.
But to tell you the truth,
now that I met your father,
I finally see it.
I didn't.
Not until my mother left.
She's the one who taught
me how to surf, by the way.
BUNNY: Covey!
I lost track of time.
I promised Bunny that we'd train today.
And I have to do it soon so that
I can make it home by six o'clock.
- You're a woman of your word.
Or maybe I'm just a girl
with a very strict father.
ELEANOR: Back then,
we didn't know that
a hurricane was coming
until it was almost fully upon us.
Even if we had been warned,
no one could have stopped us.
ELEANOR: We were determined to train.
How are the roads your way, Leonard?
What do you mean?
Bunny's not here.
Covey said she was going
to your house after school.
ELEANOR: We were young. We thought
- "What could go wrong?"
ELEANOR: I was no match
for the sea that night.
ELEANOR: I was pulled so
far from Bunny and Gibbs.
COVEY: Gibbs!
ELEANOR: I thought
ELEANOR: that was it for me.
- Covey! Covey!
- LEONARD: Bunny!
- Daddy!
- Grab my hand.
What happened?
We lost her.
ELEANOR: I thought I was being punished
for sneaking around with Gibbs
and for lying to my pa.
And then
LIN: Covey!
ELEANOR: my pa showed up for me.
LIN: Covey!
ELEANOR: And somehow
that gave me the strength I needed
to swim through the storm.
LIN: Covey!
Covey, are you okay?
- Are you all right?
- I think so.
This is your influence!
- We wanted to
- Don't speak!
To me or my daughter.
Your words mean nothing.
She always used to listen to me.
She never talked back.
She never missed curfew.
And God help you if
you contact her again!
ELEANOR: The hurricane
caused $12 million in damage
and killed a dozen people.
But the greatest damage was
done in the dark of night.
And it would change all
of our lives forever.
Pa! What is it?
What's happening?
- Just go back to bed, Covey.
- Pa!
Oh, no! Wait, Pa!
Pa, wait!
Go home, Covey! And
lock the doors behind you.
You're in your night
clothes, for God's sake!
For the smoke.
Sit. Drink.
Did you wear my scarf
to protect your lungs?
Eh Pa!
Let me live, girl.
What happened?
Can we save the shop?
Most the goods are lost.
The others are too damaged to sell.
What does that mean for us?
I went to school here.
I run a business here.
I took a wife and even
raised a child here,
and I'm still a
foreigner to these people.
So it wasn't an accident, was it?
It was the Henry brothers.
I was behind on rent,
- so I went to Little Man for
- Little Man?
You went to a loan shark!
You've already lost my mother
to gambling, now our business?
- What's next?
- I've given you too much freedom
if you think you can
speak to me like this.
If this is freedom, you can have it.
Just because you talk all proper,
you think you know better than me?
I know better than to get
involved with criminals
like Little Man and his brothers.
Yeah, I should've pulled you out
of school when your mother left.
I should've put you behind
the counter at the shop,
see how goddamned lucky you are!
- Lucky?
- [SCOFFS] Yes!
I worked at that shop since I was a boy,
since my parents came to this country,
changed their name, and
sacrificed everything,
only for their son to
raise an ungrateful child
who take after her
ungrateful hak gwai mother!
You call her a slur?
My mother, half of who I am?
Him didn't mean it. Tell her, Lin.
COVEY: You only see her half, don't you?
You don't even see yourself in me.
How dare you judge me or my mother!
You're an unfit parent and a drunk.
And you can't stop me
from being with Gibbs
or swimming in the sea, or
Now goddamnit! Enough of your mouth!
How will we survive
without the shop, Pearl?
He'll find a way out of this.
Come on.
Let's eat.
Why couldn't Mom have taken me with her?
He hates me because she left,
doesn't he?
He hates himself.
ELEANOR: Pearl was more
than our housekeeper.
She was my mom's best friend.
ELEANOR: The only adult I
could count on after she left,
no matter what foolishness
my pa got himself into.
I know it's not enough
to pay off your debts,
but it's something, you know?
Lin, don't make your pride
get in the way of a good deed.
You know that the fire
won't be the end of it.
Little Man and his brothers will
bleed a man dry to settle a debt.
I'm afraid it's more than
my finances that need help.
LEONARD: Oh, yes.
The unbearable weight
of raising a daughter.
Lin, Bunny can be a handful sometimes.
I hate to say it, but a girl like Covey,
she needs a mother,
somebody to hold her accountable.
"A girl like Covey"?
LEONARD: She's fearless.
And a fearless girl without a mother
or a husband to keep her in check
is a dangerous thing.
ELEANOR: I couldn't believe that my pa
went to Little Man Henry for money.
He was more than a loan shark.
He was a violent man
whose help came at a price.
Like a ghost, we didn't need
to see Little Man to fear him.
We rarely did.
But his brothers were always lurking,
- keeping watch
ELEANOR: and taking
what didn't belong to them.
This carry go bring come
my dear, bring misery ♪
Carry go bring come
my dear, bring misery ♪
You're going from home to
home making disturbances ♪
It's time you stopped doing ♪
- A good tune.
My-My father is not here.
I know that.
That's why I'm here.
Aren't you glad that I am here?
Please, don't
Are you so modest when
you go down to the beach
with that Grant boy?
Stop! [GRUNTS]
You think that Gibbs Grant can
help your father get out of debt?
- My pa
- Your pa is a gambling man
who can't even keep his woman.
Can't even keep the title to
his store. Did you know that?
Did you know that your shop
doesn't belong to him anymore?
They belong to me now.
If you don't want him
to lose this house too,
then you will watch your
fucking manners around me, girl.
LIN: Covey?
Little Man Henry was here.
He-He put his hands on me.
I wanted to call the police,
but I know what you said
about them in the past,
th-that, that we had
to be careful. Uh
Hey. Let's calm down. I can explain.
He asked my permission to visit you.
And you gave it?
I did.
Clarence would like to court you.
Since when you call him Clarence?
[SIGHS] I'm sorry if
he came on too strong.
Where did he get the idea
that he could court me,
when I'm not even old enough to date?
The only way I can get us out of debt
and to protect our home
is through this marriage.
What happened to courting me?
He been asking about
you for some time now.
I put him off as long as I could.
Just warm up to him.
Show him that you're trying.
Don't do this to me.
I wish there was another way.
COVEY: I don't know how long we have,
but I couldn't let you hear any
rumors about Little Man courting me.
I don't want this.
Any of it.
I have no choice.
- Come to London.
- COVEY: What?
We can leave tonight.
I, I-I can find a place
before I start school.
I-I'll work three jobs if I have to.
We'll figure it out together.
I don't know what I
expected you to say or do
when I called tonight,
but it wasn't this.
Not happy to hear this?
In my heart,
I've already left with you, Gibbs.
But I can't leave my pa.
If I go, they kill him.
But he he did this to you, Covey.
I know my pa.
He's always shown up for
me when I really needed him.
And I have to believe that he
will get me out of this too.
And if he doesn't?
I'll play along to buy time.
He'll get his finances in order,
and-and, and there won't
There won't be a wedding.
And one day, we, we
really can be together.
I hope for your sake that you're right.
if you change your mind,
come to London and find me.
What if your father doesn't find a way?
I love you, Gibbs.
I do.
'Cause I love you too.

Are you sure?
I want this.
I choose this.
No matter what happens
with my pa and Little Man,
no one can take this from us.
ELEANOR: The wedding
planning was a blur,
but I played along.
I had to.
I convinced myself that
I really was buying time,
because I truly believed
that the people who loved
me would find a way out.
I did that for weeks,
until I could no longer pretend.
PEARL: Oh, Covey, what
are you doing here?
Discussing decor.
The groom wants a contemporary wedding
with no old-fashioned country rituals.
But I see someone made an exception.
Black cake?
Who's paying you to
bake my wedding cake?
Your father, of course.
How could you?
How could you agree to make a
cake for a wedding I don't want,
for a wedding that is
taking place against my will?
What would you have me do?
Disobey your father?
He is my employer.
You promised Mom you
would look after me!
And I have, Covey.
- But
- COVEY: But nothing.
While I've been playing along,
you've given up.
Instead of baking this stupid cake,
you should've been figuring out how
to wake us up from this nightmare.
ELEANOR: Black cake evolved
from the British plum pudding
that colonizers brought
to the West Indies.
It reflects the marriage of cultures,
mine and yours.
But on that day,
it was my wake-up call,
the beginning of the end.
You almost forgot this.
I promised Pearl I'd get you to wear it.
You'll get through this.
I don't see how, Bunny.
Just [SIGHS]
let your mind drift,
like how we do on long swims,
when our limbs tire
and the finish line
seems impossibly far, just
let your mind drift.
I'll see you out there.
I want you to know
that when this is over,
when I am another man's property,
you are dead to me.
PASTOR: All rise.
ELEANOR: I will never forget it,
the look when it finally hit my father,
what he had done.
He had sold his little girl.
PASTOR: In the name of God,
do you, Coventina Lyncook,
take Clarence Henry
to be your lawful wedded husband,
to love, cherish,
honor, and obey
from this day forward
till death do you part?
I do.
It gives me great pleasure
to pronounce you man and wife.
ELEANOR: But even if he
had a change of heart,
it didn't matter.
I was officially
Mrs. Henry.
Don't blame me ♪
She invited me to
the river for a swim ♪
Don't blame me ♪
to the river for a swim ♪
Oh, me like the waterfall
afraid to fail, she watches me ♪
What's going on with them?
[CHUCKLES] Who can say?
Your pa's clearly had
his share of bubbly.
But Pearl knows I hate lilac.
When are you gonna show
us your dance moves?
After I've had some more of these.
Ooh, I love this song.
Oh, no!
You clumsy, dreadful girl!
LITTLE MAN: Goddamnit!
Somebody come and clean up my wife!
I'm so sorry.
Let me.
Clarence choke Clarence.
Call for somebody!
- Clarence!
- Clarence!
MAN 1: Check his pulse. Check his pulse.
MAN 2: Find water!
MAN 3: Is there a doctor in the house?
WOMAN: Do we have a doctor in the house?
- Clarence!
- Clarence!
LIN: Covey! Covey!
POLICEMAN: Mr. Lyncook?
We're calling off the search.
- What?
- She's out there all alone.
- You can't
- POLICEMAN: We have to.
With the storm coming,
it's too dangerous
for the rescue boat to be on the water.
I need to know what you saw.
I don't know.
It's all a blur.
Was there tension between
you two, you and the groom?
You know Little Man had enemies.
Too many to count.
Were you one of them?
My daughter is gone!
My only family on this island.
You think I had something
to do with this thug's death?
Your daughter is not only missing,
- she's a murder suspect
- She's not a murderer!
We'll see. Stay close.
MAN 1: Fucking Chiney crook!
You thought that taking care of
him would get you out of debt, eh?
You degenerate fuck.
I didn't kill your brother.
MAN 2: Then who did?
I have no idea.
MAN 2: You better hope she's dead.
But if we do find her, God help her.
She can't be gone.
She just can't.
She must be hiding somewhere.
It's been hours, love.
They've looked everywhere.
Maybe not everywhere.
BUNNY: Covey!
[GASPS] Bunny!
Thank God you're here.
Thank God you're all right.
I prayed you'd wait it out in your cave.
We don't have much time.
Everything you need is in here.
Clothes, food, and,
and money, from Pearl.
You can get into England if you
travel under your mother's surname.
You'll stay at a boarding house.
Pearl says they take in island girls.
They're expecting you, Coventina Brown.
what happened up there with Little Man,
- I never meant
- Covey, s-stop.
Your pa came through.
They'll kill him.
You can't worry about him anymore.
You're free.
There's a ship leaving tonight,
and you have to get on it.
And you can't come back.
Not ever.
I don't deserve you.
See, that's where you're wrong.
You deserve the world, and
I hope you get it.
No, if one of us go, we both go.
Co Come with me.
We We'll find Gibbs.
Everyone but Pearl thinks you're dead,
and they must continue to think that.
That includes Gibbs.
I can't leave you here.
It's the only way this works.
But maybe we'll run into each other.
Out there.
I'll be there with you,
every single time.
ELEANOR: We couldn't look back.
I lost myself on a cool, damp night ♪
Gave myself in that misty light ♪
Was hypnotized by a strange delight ♪
Under a lilac tree ♪
ELEANOR: Covey was dead.
I made wine from the lilac tree ♪
ELEANOR: Or so I thought.
Put my heart in its recipe ♪
ELEANOR: It didn't take
long for me to learn
Makes me see what I want to see ♪
ELEANOR: that you
can't run from the truth.
And be what I want to be ♪
ELEANOR: You can't run
from who you really are.
When I think more
than I want to think ♪
Do things I never should do ♪
ELEANOR: Eventually,
the truth will surface.
I drink much more
than I ought to drink ♪
ELEANOR: And when it does,
Because It brings me ♪
ELEANOR: you must reckon with it.

Lilac wine ♪
ELEANOR: It would take time
to get used to my new
surroundings in London.
Time to get used to being stared at,
to being muttered at,
to being ignored altogether.
Lilac wine ♪
I feel unsteady ♪
Like my love ♪
Listen to me ♪
I cannot see clearly ♪
Isn't that he ♪
You must be Coventina.
I'm Eleanor,
but you can call me Elly.
You must be exhausted after your trip.
Sit. Let me.
Lilac wine ♪
ELEANOR: My roommate Elly
was the most cheerful,
optimistic person I had ever met.
And you can talk to any of
us whenever you feel like.
ELEANOR: I didn't realize it then,
but now I know that
I hadn't buried Covey.
Not entirely.
In order to truly bury that broken girl
and to ensure my safety,
unfortunately, Elly
would have to die.
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