Through his investigation in the previous episodes of “The Last Days of Ptolemy Grey,” Grey had figured out that it was Nina’s abusive ex-boyfriend who shot Reggie and killed him. However, he needed evidence and a confrontation to confirm his theory, and thus, in episode 4, Grey asked Niecie to organize a gathering at her place and invite all the close friends, especially Nina.
Episode 5 of “The Last Days of Ptolemy Grey” sets up the grounds for the final showdown that is eventually going to take place at Grey’s apartment, which was already revealed to the viewers at the beginning of Episode 1. Hence, without any further ado, let’s trace the important events of Episode 5 and what impact they will have on the end of the series.
A Rare Brasher Doubloon In Coydog’s Treasure
In Episode 4, when Grey and Robyn took out Coydog’s Treasure, hidden under the carpet, Robyn noticed two coins and a mysterious key inside the box. At that point, Grey didn’t reveal the significance of the key, but in Episode 5, he took Robyn to meet his old lawyer’s son, Moishe Abromovitz. Through the exchange between Moishe and Grey, Robyn found out that the key belonged to a locker in a bank. Inside the box, Grey had kept the most prized possession of Coydog’s treasure, a rare Brasher Doubloon worth some 17 million dollars. The Brasher Doubloon were privately minted coins in 1787, minted by Ephraim Brasher and named after the same. The coins were featured in Raymond Chandler’s novel, The High Window, which was later adapted into two neo-noir films.
Grey had seven other coins stored in the same bank lockers, and he wanted to encash his Brasher Doubloon and transfer the money into a trust account that would be managed by his new heir, Robyn Barnet. Robyn felt uncomfortable with the amount of money Grey wanted to hand over to her, and so she refused to take it. But Grey had his reasons, and his time was limited, so he needed to convince Robyn before he lost his memory again.
Robyn Barnet – An Act of Atonement
Old age is a time when one reflects on his or her life. When one has one foot in the grave and the other in the real world, they really want to make amends before it becomes too late, and not every man is as lucky as Ptolemy Grey to get a chance like that. Grey had accepted the fact that he wasn’t a perfect man and he had made some grave mistakes in his life, and consciously he wanted to atone for it, but he lost his memory and forgot everything. When Grey regained his memory through Dr. Rubin’s treatment, he wanted to correct his mistakes before his memory would slip again.
Grey made a promise to Coydog to use his stolen treasure to help his people. The black people. And to fulfill his promise, Grey started with the people around him, and helping a parentless child was the first step towards it. But it wasn’t just the promise that influenced Grey to make Robyn in charge of his money; it was a dark past that haunted Grey throughout his life.
Back in the day, Grey dated a woman named Cora Patterson, but the relationship didn’t survive. Grey left Cora after he met Sensia Howard, and later married her. On her deathbed, Cora revealed to her daughter, Doris Hind, that Ptolemy Grey was her father. When Doris confronted Grey about their relationship, Grey bluntly refused to accept her and told Doris that her mother might be mistaken, but when Sensia saw Doris, she could see Grey’s essence on her face. Sensia accepted Doris, but Grey always resented the fact, which was why Doris always hated her father until she killed herself at the age of 42. Grey didn’t even attend the funeral because he was so distant that he didn’t even know that his only daughter was dead.
Grey’s purpose for recalling this certain incident was to prove the point that even though society was quick to judge his wife, Sensia Howard, for mingling with other men, Grey wasn’t innocent either. He wasn’t a perfect man and had his flaws, but he wanted to make amends. Grey wasn’t able to save Doris, but life had given him a chance to atone in the form of Robyn, whom he had already adopted as a daughter. Throughout the series, Grey believed that Coydog’s Treasure would be able to help the people he would leave behind, most particularly fatherless children like Robyn and Reggie’s kids.
An Encounter With Reggie’s Killer – Alfred Gulla
Grey had specifically organized a gathering at Niecie’s house to bring the devil out of his den. In episode 4, Grey found out that Nina had sent her kids to Niecie’s house to clear out her mind after Reggie’s death, but he was confident that Nina might be seeing her ex-boyfriend again, and thus in episode 5, he called her. To Grey’s surprise, it was Nina’s boyfriend, Alfred Gulla, who picked up the call. Grey quickly improvised and convinced Nina to attend his eulogy for Reggie at Niecie’s house by promising her some money. He knew that after Reggie’s death, the family was in ardent need of finances because a crook like Alfred wouldn’t be earning anything.
At Niecie’s house, Grey subtly handed over $5,000 to Nina to earn her trust, and after the eulogy, he confronted her with the truth. Nina confessed that Alfred wasn’t a family friend but her ex-convict abusive boyfriend, whom she met at the age of 13. It was quite possible that it was Nina who revealed to Alfred that Reggie wanted to move his family to Texas to keep Alfred away, and to avoid losing Nina again, Alfred killed Reggie. Grey tried to decipher why Nina was trying to protect Reggie’s killer, and the fact was clear from the fear visible on her face. Alfred used to assault Nina, and she lived in fear of him, a fear that had taken over her rational thinking after years of abuse. It was quite evident that Nina had become a slave to Alfred’s desires and would never be able to come out of that trap on her own.
Grey knew that there was no cure for Nina’s problem, not at least in the amount of time he had in hand with his memory slipping away rapidly, and thus he quickly came face-to-face with the devil himself to lure him into a trap. When Alfred showed up at Niecie’s house, Grey blocked his way and removed his hat, revealing the scar on his forehead that proved that he was the man who shot Reggie on the streets. Alfred knew that his crimes had been exposed, and thus he didn’t argue back. Grey offered Alfred a deal to move out of Nina and her children’s lives and never see them again in exchange for a considerable amount of money.
But it was a bait. Grey knew that after his death, Alfred would probably see Nina and the kids again, and thus needed a permanent solution to deal with the devil. He convinced Alfred to meet him at his apartment the next afternoon, and as the viewers already know from the prologue sequence of episode 1, what Grey had planned to do. In the opening sequence, Grey was waiting for Alfred with a loaded gun lying on the table while he recorded his will on the tape recorder. The finale episode of “The Last Days of Ptolemy Grey” will further depict the final confrontation between Grey and Alfred and what it leads to.