01x16 - Memphis

♪ You are my sunshine... ♪
♪ My only sunshine... ♪
♪ You make me happy ♪
♪ When skies are gray... ♪

(gasps softly)





I'll write.

Every day.


♪ You are my sunshine... ♪

All right, Junior.

♪ My only sunshine... ♪

I'll see you soon.

♪ You make me happy ♪


♪ When skies are gray ♪
♪ You'll never know, dear ♪
♪ How much I love you ♪

(gasps softly)

♪ Please don't take my sunshine away. ♪

We're going to be okay.

We're going to be okay, William.

(wheezes softly)

Beth: I think it's a terrible idea.

Randall: Beth.

Beth: No, he needs to hear this, Randall.

That's why we came here today, isn't it, Dr. Lee?

I think it would be helpful if...

One week ago, you had a breakdown.

Your blood pressure was through the roof.

Your vision was going in and out.

And then paralysis.

Not to mention the tremors.

It was scary.

And you've only been out of the hospital for five days.

And now he wants to pick up and take his father, who...


Mm-mm, not even close to done.

His father, who is in the throes of stage IV cancer, no less, on a cross-country road trip.

Memphis isn't cross-country.

Oh, well.

It's not.

Memphis is not next door. It... (sighs)

You done?

I am done.


I got a little hot.

You always get a little hot.

Mm-mm, don't be cute.


Well, you two sure are adorable.

I know.

We know.

Look, Dr. Lee, um...

I've been feeling much better, as you know.

I've taken some time off work.

I've been checking in with you.

My stress tests have been good.

My father doesn't have a lot of time left.

And he'd very much like to show me where he's from.

Maybe even introduce me to some extended family...


... which, for me, would be a really big deal, you know?

Now, my wife is naturally and adorably concerned.

Curious your thoughts on the matter.

Let's go.

I saw that.


♪ Hey, oh, Lord ♪
♪ Hey, oh, Lord ♪

William: Hey.

We're getting an early start.


You keep up with your chess while I'm gone, you hear?


Okay, then.

Go back to sleep.

Beth: You take care of him.

Of course.

Take good care of you, too.

I'll send you a postcard.

(engine starts)

I love you.

I love you, too.

All right, don't drive too fast, okay?

Come on.

We gonna do this old school, sir.

Jersey to Memphis... no navigation, no Waze.

Got these maps online.

Now, William, you're gonna be my lead navigator.

All that I ask is that you stay ahead of me.

We got a turn coming up, let's get ahead of it.

Got to merge onto a busy highway, give me a heads-up.

Let me see those.

Yep. Here you go.


Hey, just drive, son.

We'll get there.


Just drive.

William (quietly): ♪ You are my sunshine ♪
♪ My only sunshine ♪
♪ You make me happy ♪
♪ When skies are gray ♪
♪ You'll never know, dear ♪
♪ How much I love you ♪
♪ Please don't take ♪
♪ My sunshine away. ♪

Man (over P.A.): Now boarding track two to Pittsburgh.

I hate that you're leaving.

Well, Grandma's not doing well.

So you have to drop everything to go take care of her?

Yes, William, I do.

That's what family does.

Pittsburgh isn't that far.

It's pretty far.

Oh, it's pretty damn far, isn't it?

(both laugh)

You be safe. You be good.

If you want me to come, I will.

No, no.

I've kept you to myself long enough.

Time to spread your wings.

Focus on your art, your music.

You have a gift, baby.

You have so many beautiful futures in front of you.

Make sure you pick a good one for me, okay?

I will.

And make sure that charmer cousin of yours follows your lead, not the other way around.

(chuckles): Okay.

You're the best thing that ever happened to me.

Oh, Mom.

So I just... Okay.

I'm not gonna cry. I'm not, I'm not crying.

Okay. Bye, now, baby.

Bye, Mama.


William (chuckles): Oh, man.

I hope the ducks are still at the Peabody.

My uncle used to work there as a bellman when it was segregated.

And he would sneak me in.


Man, I sure would like you to see those ducks.

You want a banana? Something to put in your stomach?

No, no, I'll be fine.

My God, woman packed a half a produce department in here.

With instructions.


She worries about you.

Yeah, that she does.

That she does.

You know, I didn't believe her at first when she told me about you having a breakdown.

Is it okay to call it a breakdown?

Lots of names for it.

Anxiety attack, mental distress, nervous exhaustion, stress-induced trauma.

You choose.

It was quite a shock to see you so vulnerable.

The night Kevin brought you home...

I mean, it... it's hard to fathom.

You seem to have it all together.

Too together.

Always been like that.

Just putting the pressure on myself, ever since I was a little boy.

My father... he kept it in check.


Whenever I'd get too in my head, he'd take his hands and put them on both sides of my head, and he'd just say... There you go, breathe with me.

(breathing rhythmically)

And we'd just sit there, just breathing together... (both exhale) ... until it passed.


What was he like? Your father.

Larger than life, I guess.


He had this really great laugh.

It's like, when he laughed, it was like, uh... like it almost surprised him, you know?

Like it surprised him that he could laugh so freely.

Where is he buried?

Uh, he's cremated.

Kate has his ashes.

But we spread some of them near a tree at his favorite park, so that's kind of his official resting place.

Think we could go?

I'd like to pay my respects.

I'd like that, actually.

But not this trip.

It's a half day out of the way.


Put your window down, turn up the music.

Take me to meet your father.

Give me a minute.

Uh, yeah.


Thank you.

For doing what I couldn't.

For raising him to be the man he is.

I'm sorry I didn't get a chance to meet you, brother.

I would have liked to have heard that laugh.


I would have liked to have met my son's father.



I like him.

Pay your respects, and then we should get on the road.

(panting softly)

♪ Uh... huh ♪
♪ My honey and me ♪
♪ Hold us together... ♪

Dorothy: "Dear William, I received your beautiful poem,

and it gave me comfort.

Please stop being so hard on yourself for not making the funeral.

Grandma wouldn't have wanted you to come so far.

I'm going to stay here for a bit and take care of her affairs."

"Dear William, guess what.

I got a job down at the library.

Pays well and I get to be around books all day.

I know I wasn't planning on staying,

but the money sure is gonna help... "

"Dear William, it was so nice talking to you last week.

I'm so glad to hear the band is doing so well

and that your cousin is staying focused."


"No shame in playing great covers, William,

remember that."


"I miss you, baby.

I'm going to make it back soon to see you play."

Come on, baby.

(bluesy rock song ends)

(cheering, laughter)

Mm. So I tell her. I say, I say, "Sweetheart, look, you're a once-in-a-lifetime beauty, no question, but you're talking about spending the rest of your life with me, and... as much as I love a quality fillet, I just ain't ready to give up that whole rack of ribs!"

You know what I'm saying?

Yeah, I like 'em wet, not dry, right?


Hey, William?

Uh, uh...

Oh, see?

My cousin the nun. (laughs)

Hey, man, y'all let him be now.

If we was all as good as my cuz, Memphis would be a hell of a lot safer.

A lot less fun, but a hell of a lot safer, right?


Here you go, baby.

Hey. (sighs)

Hey, look, I'm sorry about teasing you back there, cuz.

You know, um, I get a little loosey-goosey when I...

(inhales sharply) you know.

(both laugh)

I've been writing, and I think it might be good.

Come on.

(sniffles) Let's see here.

Well, um... it's about damn time, boy!

Been waiting on your talented skinny ass to take us to the big time.

Hey, boys!

Hey, kid's got something. Come on.

Right now?

Yeah, right now.

Drinks down. Come on, let's go.


Waiting two years for you to hand me something.

I'm not sleeping on this.

All right, give me a G.


(band playing gentle soul music)

♪ Standing at the station ♪
♪ We don't know what to say ♪
♪ Looking out the window ♪
♪ As you're rolling away ♪
♪ If I'm gonna be alone ♪
♪ Let it be with you ♪

You officially ended our days as a cover band, boy!

On the five!

(band continues playing soul music)

♪ Mother, don't you cry ♪
♪ We're gonna be all right ♪
♪ Open up your suitcase ♪
♪ When you get there tonight ♪
♪ You're not alone ♪
♪ I'm always ♪
♪ Always here with you ♪
♪ So don't give up on me ♪
♪ I'll never give up on you ♪
♪ Everything's gonna be all right ♪
♪ I know you believe it, too ♪
♪ If I'm gonna be alone... ♪
♪ Then let it be with you ♪
♪ Look up ♪
♪ Not down ♪

(crowd cheers)

♪ It all comes around ♪
♪ Even when you're gone ♪
♪ We can always come back to this ♪

(crowd cheers)

♪ We can always come back to this ♪
♪ We can always ♪
♪ Always, always, always ♪
♪ Always come back to this. ♪

(song ends, crowd cheering)

Don't be trying it.



Hey, how you doing?

Hey, you gonna go out with us tonight?

Nah, I'm-I'm gonna call it a night.

Ugh! Man, you know all this 'cause of you, cuz, right?

You should try to enjoy it more. William!

I know. (chuckles)

Uh, ladies ready?

Oh, come on. I got somewhere we can go.

Man: William?

Nice. This is nice.

Your ma's on the phone.

Hi, Mama.


Why are you making the bed?

I like making the bed.

But it's a hotel.

It's a motel, and this is a bed, and I like making it.

Someone else would make it, is all I'm saying.

Well, I guess that's one less thing for someone else to do. All right?


(groans loudly)

Hold on.


Easy does it.



(breathing deeply)

(groans softly)

You ready to go back to Memphis?

("Feels So Good" by Junior Kimbrough playing)

♪ Ooh-wee, my girl, you know I love you ♪
♪ Yes, I love you ♪
♪ When you curl your lovely loving arms ♪
♪ All around me, girl, you make me feel good ♪
♪ Now, girl, I feel good... feel good ♪

Well, we're here.

Yes, we are. (chuckles)

Oh, wow. Soulsville right there is where I grew up.

Used to have a girlfriend lived up there.

(Randall laughs)


Fresh meats that you could actually go (laughs) and pick out the chicken.

He would kill the chicken...


... defeather it, clean it, and then wrap it up for you.

I think I'd be traumatized.

That's how we used to buy chickens back in the day.

William, you know where you want to go first?

I do.

Should I plug it into the GPS, or... ?

No need to plug anything in.

Just make a left right up here.

All right.

♪ Girl, I feel good ♪
♪ Feel good ♪
♪ Well, that feels so good... ♪

This is where I used to live with my mother.

Just the two of you?

Always just the two of us, yeah.

Looks different.

Well, 40-plus years will do that.

What are you thinking?

I can't stop looking at that door.

Used to be two of 'em. Now one is bricked up.

Isn't that a strange thing to focus on?

All these years, and it's a door that's hanging me up.

I used to have a bit of a 'fro.


Yeah, into my 30s, actually.

But then I made partner, life started to get more serious.

Needed to update the look.

Oh, Tess was about three at the time.

And when I came home from the barbershop that Saturday, clean-shaven, clean-cut, she took one look at me and started bawling.

(laughs): No.

Damn near hyperventilated, the poor kid.

And it wasn't that she didn't recognize me.

It just took her a minute to see past the bricked-up front door, was all.

I think I want to go inside.

Oh. Okay.

Well, there's probably people who live there now, so...

I want to see if my treasure is still there.

Your what? Hey.




Um, you don't know us, but my father grew up in this house, and we were wondering if he could take a look around.

This really means a lot to him.

We appreciate it.

No worries, we're happy to.

What the hell is he doing?

I don't know. I'm not...

Hey, William, maybe you shouldn't distort...

My treasure.


Well, what is it?

A few toys and three quarters.

Yeah, no, I see that. I mean...

I put them here once, and after all these years later, they're still here.

Isn't that something?

Isn't it strange how the world sticks and moves like that?



Okay, so...

... here's your brick.

I didn't know that was gonna happen but... thank you, folks. God bless you. Appreciate it.

(door closes)

Randall (chuckles): Ooh-hoo-hoo.

Now we talking eats, son.

I know what I'm getting.

I try not to eat too much pork, you understand.

God bless you.

Bon appétit.

Still the same.



Let 'em know.

He loves it.

Randall: They're making more meat.

Randall: I remember the first time my dad took me to the barbershop.

William: I remember, too, man.

My barber was named Cliff.


I'll never forget him, 'cause he used to always threaten to cut my ears off.


Instead of a Gumby, I had a ramp low-to-high, back like this.

It certainly ain't the Jheri curl.


I got the good stuff, man.

Man: Look good, man.

Yes, sir.

♪ Ooh-wee, you know I love you now, baby ♪
♪ Yeah, I love you ♪
♪ When you curl your lovely loving arms... ♪

This is... this is the one.

♪ Girl, you kiss me, you hold me... ♪

William: This is the original water fountain that they kept here for its history lesson.

That was white and this was black.

You know what? I've been living with white people for a long time.

Oh, my God, you're in trouble now, son.


Think you should have a taste.

Think I should.

For old times.

Why not?


I'm doing it.


(smacking lips)


(both laughing)

(car doors close)

(blues music playing over speakers)

Mm. (chuckles)

(pats stool)


Yeah, I know the timing isn't great, with us taking off and all.

Hey, your mama needs you, all right?

Never apologize for taking care of family.

I won't-won't be gone long.

Mama's a tank.

Yeah, she the bullets, too.

(chuckles): Uh-uh.

I'm gonna come back with 60 new songs.

60? All right, I'm gonna hold you to that, cuz.




No, come on...

Aw, come on, man, take it, take it, take it.

I will give it back to you, really.

Oh, man, you pay me back with a notebook full of platinum records.

That's how you pay me back. All right?

(both laugh)

Boy, you... you really got a gift.

You know that, cuz?

I don't, I don't know about that.

Hey, hey, hey, hey, no more of that, all right?

No more looking away.

Man, you see something you want, you don't look away... you go get it.

You hear me, cuz?

(whispers): Yeah.



(whispers): All right.

All right, come here, you.

Let's do it. (clears throat)

(grunts, breathes deeply)

I love you, cuz.

I love you, too.

(door opens, bells jingle)

(blues music playing over speakers)

Hey, Ricky.

It's me, William.

I know who you are.

Get the hell out my club.

I'm dying, Ricky.

(scoffs) You was dead to me a long time ago, Willy.

I had to go take care of her.

Oh, come on, you think I don't know that, cuz?

I know that.

I'm sorry. Cuz? Like cousin?

This is your cousin?


My son, Randall.

Yeah, he look like you.

I do? 'Cause, you know, I've had a few people say that to me, but I don't really see the re... I'll let you get to it.

I wanted to come back.

Oh, yeah? 'Cause I waited.

For years, I waited to hear from you.

We was gonna do something, man.

Randall: I'm sorry, I know you guys are catching up with each other... but that makes you my what, like, second cousin?

Or is it cousin once remo... Okay.

The hell happened to you, cuz?

Hi, Mama.

(gasps softly)

I told you not to come.

Of course I came.

(breathes deeply)


I'm sicker than I let on, baby.

It's okay.

You'll... be okay.

It won't be long, at least.

I don't want you getting stuck here.

Your life is in Memphis.

I won't keep you from it.

Mama, I...

Now, I want to hear about all these clubs you're selling out.

But you caught me in a nap, so why don't you go out and explore the city a little.

There's a bus stop right out front, and I know how you like the bus.

And bring back some chicken.

I'll cook you up something special for dinner, okay?




All right.

Gonna be okay, Mama?

Yeah... Go on here, get out of here.


All right.

♪ Catch a boat to England, baby ♪
♪ Maybe to Spain ♪
♪ Wherever I have gone ♪
♪ Wherever I've been and gone ♪
♪ Wherever I have gone ♪
♪ The blues ♪
♪ Are all the same ♪
♪ Send out for whiskey, baby ♪
♪ Send out for gin... ♪



Is this seat taken?

♪ Me and room service, honey ♪
♪ Me and room service, babe... ♪


(chuckles) Laurel.



♪ A life of sin ♪
♪ Try another city, baby ♪
♪ Another town ♪
♪ Wherever I have gone ♪
♪ Wherever I've been and gone ♪
♪ Wherever I have gone ♪
♪ The blues ♪
♪ Are all the same. ♪

Oh, no, William, I can't, I can't.

Come on, Mom.

With the spoonfuls, I can't. Please.

I used to love waking you up in the morning when you were a child.

You looking up at me with those big, beautiful eyes.

And now...

..I'm down here... and you're up there.

Do the poem.

The one I like, you know?


Splendid against the night...

Mm. Mm.

The searchlights, the tracers' arcs...


And the red flare of the bombs.

(Dorothy groans softly)

Filling the eye and the brain.

Oh, good.

There's your poem, Mama.

I love my poem.


♪ Pharaoh ♪
♪ Pharaoh ♪
♪ Pharaoh army sure got drown dead ♪
♪ Pharaoh. ♪

William: I was ashamed of what I had become.

All right, I'm well aware I ruined everything.

But now I'm dying, and I just needed to say I'm sorry.

You were good to me, cuz.

I owed you that.


And I owed you this.

Now let's go.

Hey, William.

You, uh... (chuckles)

You too sick to play?

I'm never too sick to play.

(band playing upbeat soul music)

Randall: Wait.

I know you, I know you.

So that makes you...

William's second cousin, and your third cousin.

Oh, so you get a cousin!

You get a cousin!

Everybody gets a cousin!

Sorry, I was raised by white people.


I don't know no better.

(ringtone playing)

Mm. That's my wife. Excuse me.

Baby, you won't believe it.

I'm up to 12 cousins of various forms.

(laughs): Oh.

The pictures are incredible.

Is he actually playing on stage?

He is. Here.

(soul music continues)


I wish you were here.

No, you don't.

Randall: No, I do.

Everything's better with a little Beth on it.

You're the chocolate sauce on my ice cream, girl.


Are you drunk?

♪ Yeah, I may be a little drunk ♪
♪ But that doesn't mean it's not true. ♪

You sound good.

I feel good.

Beth, I got a whole other family down here. You got to see it.

Well, take lots of video.

I will.

I love you, Beth.

I love you.


♪ Diddly-bop-wop-boo! ♪


(baby cooing)

Dorothy: ♪ You are my sunshine ♪
♪ My only sunshine ♪
♪ You make me happy ♪ (chuckles)

♪ When skies are gray. ♪
♪ You'll never know, dear ♪
♪ How much I love you ♪
♪ So please don't take ♪
♪ My sunshine away. ♪

Randall: All right, old man.

I let you sleep 'cause we had a late night, but those ducks ain't gonna wait all day.

Well, actually they probably will, but I won't.

So here's what I was thinking.

We can...

(raspy breathing)

Hey, William.

(raspy breathing continues)

Hey. It's okay.

It's okay. I'm gonna get you to the hospital, okay?

It's okay.

I don't understand. Last night, he was smiling.

He was playing the piano.

I know.

He was fine.

I'm sorry.

There's really no timeline that makes sense of any of this at this stage.

Honestly, it's a bit of a miracle he was able to make the trip.

But we haven't made the trip.

We haven't even seen the ducks, man.


Okay. Uh... (sniffles) I can do this.

I said I would, and I will.

(whispers): I said I would, and I will, so...

Uh, I need to get him home, where he'll be comfortable.

So be direct with me... can he fly?

Because I have the means to get a transport service...

Mr. Pearson, I'm very sorry, but he's looking at hours here, a day or so at best.

No, no. He's-he's got months, maybe more even.

There's an experimental drug that we're waiting for FDA approval...

His organs are shutting down rapidly.

His heart is extremely compromised right now.

Have you spoken to his doctor in New York? Because...

I have.

I'm sure you're very good at...

Mr. Pearson.

I'm very sorry, but you asked me to be direct, so I will be.

Your father is not leaving this hospital.

Now, I need to confirm, are you his medical decision maker?

(voice fading): And in terms of heroic care, standard procedure is comfort and care, pain medication at maximum levels.

No intubation, no resuscitation.

(heart monitor beeping steadily)




(groans softly)

No, no, no, no. You sleep.

I spoke with the doctor.

You knew you weren't coming home.

What are you doing? Leave the...

I got something for you.

In the front of my bag, go ahead.

Waiting for the right moment.

(chuckles softly)

(sniffles) I'm gonna call Beth.

(clears throat) I'll have the girls here hugging you within hours.

No, no, no, no, no, no, no.

I said good-bye when they were laying down.

I want them to remember looking up at me, not down.


Man, that was a hell of a thing you did, knocking on my door that day.

(laughs) Come on, man.

Roll all your windows down, Randall.

Crank up the music.

Grow out that 'fro.

Let someone else make your bed.

I like making my damn bed, old man.

Then you make it.

You deserve it.

You deserve the beautiful life you've made.

You deserve everything, Randall.

My beautiful boy.

My son.

I haven't had a happy life.

Bad breaks and... bad choices.

A life of almosts and could-haves.

Some would call it sad, but I don't.

'Cause the two best things in my life...

... were the person in the very beginning...

... and the person at the very end.

That's a pretty good thing to be able to say, I think.

I think so, too.

(labored breathing)

I'm a little scared.

(labored breathing continues)



You're okay, Dad.


You're good.

Just breathe.


Come on, now, breathe with me.

(breathing deeply)

There you go.

There you go.

♪ Mother, don't you cry ♪
♪ We're gonna be all right ♪
♪ Open up your suitcase ♪
♪ When you get there tonight ♪
♪ You're not alone ♪
♪ I'm always here with you ♪
♪ No matter where we go from here ♪
♪ No matter how the cards will fall ♪
♪ I'll pick you up ♪
♪ And you'll hold me, too ♪
♪ So don't give up on me ♪
♪ I'll never give up on you ♪
♪ Everything's gonna be all right ♪
♪ I know you believe it, too ♪
♪ If I'm gonna be alone ♪
♪ Let it be with you ♪
♪ Look up, not down ♪
♪ It all comes around ♪
♪ Even when you're gone ♪
♪ We can always come back to this ♪
♪ We can always come back to this, back to this ♪
♪ We can always come back to this, back to this ♪
♪ We can always come back to this ♪
♪ We can always come back to this. ♪