Dr. Rubin’s memory treatment was both a boon and a curse for the old man, Ptolemy Grey. It was a boon because it reminded him of the promise he had made to his old pal, Coydog, and he thus made amends to fulfill it in the best possible manner. His regained memory, which he only had temporarily, helped him investigate the murder of his great-nephew, Reginald “Reggie” Lloyd. However, Dr. Rubin had already told Grey that once the effects of the treatment wore off, his mind and memory would be worse than before. Grey was ready to gamble with the devil, because, like he said, an old man like him had nothing to lose.
The finale episode of “The Last Days of Ptolemy Grey” brings back the first sequence of the first episode to finally give it a definite conclusion where Grey had already decided to commit a sin, only to bring justice to his nephew. In his recorded message, he made his new caretaker, Robyn Barnet, in charge of all his wealth, but he knew his blood relatives would retaliate, which Episode 6 covers in length. Let’s continue further.
The Murder of Alfred Gulla
In “The Last Days of Ptolemy Grey,” Episode 5, Grey confronted Reggie’s wife Nina and finally came face-to-face with Reggie’s killer, Alfred Gulla, who had come to a gathering at Niecie’s house to pick up Nina. Grey lured Gulla with money and invited him to his apartment the next day in the afternoon, and thus Episode 6 takes the story further.
As the episode began, Grey sent Robyn out for a date with Roger Dawes, while he booked himself a taxi to visit the places he wanted to visit before losing his memory again. He especially visited Lake Altoona because he promised his late wife, Sensia, after she was diagnosed with cancer. Grey took out a maroon suit piece for his last day out and finally came back to his apartment to prepare for the arrival of Alfred Gulla.
As depicted in the opening sequence, Grey held a gun, which belonged to Sensia, and a tape recorder, which he used to record his last message for Robyn and a confession from Gulla. As soon as Gulla knocked on Grey’s apartment door, he quickly hid the recorder and tried to tempt Gulla with the gold Doubloons so that he would confess his crimes. Gulla confessed to killing Reggie in the streets because he tried to take Nina away from him. However, before Grey could handle the situation, he started losing his mind again, and his memory began to fade. Gulla attacked Grey and tried to suffocate him when Grey pulled out the gun and took a shot at Gulla’s chest, who quickly ran out of the apartment.
At the same moment, Grey started hearing Coydog’s voices again, and started seeing all the people he cherished in his life. That symbolically depicted that Grey was losing it all again, and maybe permanently this time. Yet he gained strength and followed Gulla to the streets, but before he could shoot him again, the police arrived, and Gulla died on the streets.
The story fast-forwarded to six months later, when Grey, found guilty of murder, was sent to a mental asylum due to his unstable mind, where he was tied to a bed. In his last days, Grey visited down memory lane and talked to the people who only spoke to him in his consciousness that depicted his declining mental health. Maybe, this is how the last days of Ptolemy Grey would be like from thereon.
Robyn Barnet Becomes The Legal In-charge Of Grey’s Wealth
In the case of Ptolemy Grey, it was a complicated affair, and even the judge resolving the dispute between Robyn Barnet and Grey’s blood relatives had been scratching her head to understand the matter. Grey had gained his memory for only 3–4 weeks, and in this time period, he made some grave changes in his will that surprised everyone else around him. He knew that his family would retaliate after they discovered that he had made Robyn in-charge of all his money, and thus he had already tasked his old lawyer, Moishe Abromovitz, to help Robyn in the legal battle.
Grey left a video recording with Ms. Liem to prove to the judge that whatever last-minute changes he made in his last days, he made in his sound mind and wanted his family to acknowledge them. The judge interviewed Robyn personally and finally got convinced that she didn’t have any ulterior motive and honestly wanted to use Grey to carry out his last wishes, as mentioned in his will. She finally put Robyn in charge of Grey’s wealth, but his family, especially Niecie, wasn’t happy with the decision. She told Robyn outside the office that she would fight back to get what was legally hers, as Grey was his blood and not Robyn’s. Robyn tried to convince Niecie, but she was too blinded by greed.
However, in the conversation between them, Robyn mentioned that Grey had asked to start a leadership grant for young black people, and with Abromovitz’s help, she was going to start a foundation soon and put most of the money into that. It was the most important detail in the entire play because Coydog had literally asked a young Grey to use the treasure to change the lives of black people, but while growing up and moving to Atlanta, Grey lost his way and purpose, and hence, in this second chance he got, he tried to fulfill his promise he made to Coydog because it had been haunting him all along and probably would give rest to Coydog’s soul and sooth Grey’s memory, if he ever remembers any.
For Robyn, she decided to pursue her passion and get a degree in astronomy with the help of the money Grey left for her, while leaving much of it for Reggie’s kids, who would need it for college. At the end of “The Last Days of Ptolemy Grey,” Episode 6, Robyn paid a visit to Grey, who was living his last days in the mental hospital. Fortunately, he remembered Robyn but unfortunately, not anything else, not even his new romance, Shirley Wring, and the lunch date he promised to her.
‘The Last Days of Ptolemy Grey’ Ending Explained
Back in Mississippi, when Grey was just a preteen, he went by the name “Pity.” He lived in a small community with his mother and knew a girl named Maude Petit, whose house caught fire, and Grey wanted to save her. In the opening sequence of “The Last Days of Ptolemy Grey,” episode 6, the old Grey indeed saved Maude in his dream because that was how he wanted to remember it. He even lied to Robyn about saving Maude and kept retelling the same lie even at the end when he lost his memory. It was probably a grief that haunted Grey, and his failure to save Maude Petit tormented him throughout. He wanted to change the past or the reality, at least in his own head, and though in dementia, the mind fails to create new memories, Grey broke that barrier and tricked his own mind. He not only remembered about Robyn after Dr. Rubin’s treatment wore off, but also murmured about saving Maude Petit, and it was only at the closing sequence of the episode that we finally witnessed the truth.
After the death of Maude Petit, a mournful Grey sat near the riverside of Tickle River along with his caretaker, Coydog, who tried to lift Grey’s spirit and preached to him that death is, indeed, a part of the living. Every moment, a person inches forward towards death, and without the fear of death, the man may lose all his purpose and take all of it for granted. It was in this conversation when Coydog finally hinted that Maude Petit was dead. However, she would always be alive in Grey’s memory as far as he could recall the happy moments he spent with her, and probably this was the reason why Grey preserved two of his best friends, Robyn and Maude Petit, at the end. Despite suffering from the last stages of dementia, Grey wanted to remember them, just like he remembered Sensia, Coydog, his mother, Reggie and the death itself symbolically represented as Dr. Rubin. Maybe it’s true that we lose people physically, but emotionally and mentally, they keep on living with us in our memories forever, or until we remember them.