Murphy just mucked it up, and Darnell may pay the price for it.
Two of the biggest takeaways from In The Dark Season 2 Episode 7, is that Max is Murphy's kryptonite, and she will bring everyone and everything down around her to keep him safe, and Ben was a problem, and somebody had to deal with him.
We're trudging along and over halfway through the season, but there's no telling where the series will take us from here.
As much as Murphy is fighting against it, she's shown as cut out for this life, and Nia has taken notice. Murphy cares about the people in her life, no matter how often she likes to pretend otherwise. When thinking about her actions, you have to remind yourself of what she's endured in the past year.
She lost Tyson, and she hasn't recovered from that yet. And the most unfortunate part about it was the lack of justice in the matter. She knows Dean is the one who killed Tyson, and he got away with it and is continuing to wreak havoc on her life in other ways.
She also loves Max, and in some way, she lost him too. She thought he was dead at some point. Then, she couldn't enjoy his presence in her life because of the warrants out for him. She had to push him away to protect him, and now she's tied to Nia more than ever in an attempt to keep Max alive.
When considering that she lost her best friend, and Jess was nearly killed and is no longer speaking to her, then her need to get from underneath Nia made all the sense in the world.
She would've gone along with it too; although, she wasn't crazed about one evil (Josiah) used to surpass another (Nia). She was game for it until she heard about the issues Max faced in prison because of the shipment not coming in.
Darnell: So you changed your mind about turning on Nia?
Murphy: Yeah, when you try and kill my best friend, not really gonna work with you anymore.
Does Nia not have anyone there to protect Max from all the addicts looking to score from him? What's the point of having him in jail doing her bidding, if she's treating him as though he's disposable?
Is it that she's ambivalent about whether or not he lives or dies because of him planning to flip on her? Is she doing the bare minimum with the deal she struck with Murphy?
The characters often reference Nia's power and reach, but we don't see as much of it in practice, so it's a mystery. Perhaps she has someone waiting in the wind to take over Max's position if he succumbs to inmate beef.
Her concern about finding a new pipeline to smuggle drugs into the prison was more about her money and a halt in her business and less about Max's potential mortality.
Max has an odd way of remaining centered in the series when it doesn't always feel organic. But while some of his sporadic appearances this season have been lackluster despite Casey Deidrick's best efforts, he was of more interest this time around.
It was largely thanks to the scenes where Murphy smuggled drugs in for him. Their cryptic conversation in the visitation area was one of their best moments from the entire series.
The heat, passion, and love between these two characters lacked this season, or maybe it's a byproduct of feeling indifferent to the pairing, but Deidrick and Mattfield were spectacular in that scene.
They sold that love between them -- the desperation. In so many words, Murphy revealed that no matter what happens, she loves Max, and she would do anything for him.
Yeah, it's reckless and bordering on suicidal at times, but she's not making apologies for that. Max was both disappointed that Murphy got wrapped up in all of this and grateful -- adoring that she did all of this for him.
He loves her; they love each other, and them not saying it was more meaningful than if they had.
Murphy's ingenuity is one of her best qualities, and it was a thrill to see it on display as she determined how to sneak Max the drugs.
It only felt right that she wouldn't be allowed to rely on Pretzel again. It was bound to catch up to her in that regard, and whether they violated the ADA or not, the risk of discovery was high.
Max: Are you insane?
Murphy: Max, it's you. I'll do anything to make sure that you're OK.
The usage of Murphy's cane was a doozy; the scene was reminiscent of a caper film. It was a fun sequence.
But Murphy's love and devotion to Max may have come at the expense of others in her life. It's frustrating that Darnell is doing everything that he can to keep Murphy and the others safe, but Murphy's actions are putting him in jeopardy.
His flaw is in how much he seems to care about others. Darnell's plan was simple for ridding their lives of Nia. Murphy couldn't understand why he was meeting with her to tell her to do nothing, but he's right. Without knowing, Murphy would find a way to Murphy it up.
Ironically, she still managed to do it despite knowing better, and she didn't think to give Darnell a head's up about it either.
Nia, real talk, what are we doing there? It's a guide dog school. There's no security. There are people coming in and out. It's weak, and Murphy, she's messy. She doesn't know what she's doing. She can barely take care of herself, and she's holding your product when we're on the ropes. You and I both know we need to get it out of there. With Josiah closing in, we got to make the smart play here, and it isn't Murphy Mason.Darnell
Darnell wanted to have Nia move her stash from Guiding Hope. All he wanted to do was convince her that Murphy was a screwup, and the establishment wasn't ideal for their stash.
The funny thing about it is he had Sam's backing, so it didn't make him look suspicious either. Sam has said similar things to Nia since the beginning.
And their points are valid. It makes no sense to hide drugs with a bunch of laymen, at a failing business, with no security.
It still doesn't make sense to leave the stash there. The smarter move would be to have Murphy go to another location to retrieve the stash of drugs she'll now be smuggling into all the prisons.
Nia: Everybody thinks I'm stupid for keeping my stash at Guiding Hope, but what they don't realize is, it's not that dog school I see potential in. It's you.
Nia: You act like you don't like it, but you're good at it. You don't ask permission. You don't rely on anybody. You just do. And you do it for yourself, and that's exactly how I got to where I am right now, but if we're going to work together, you're going to need to know a few things.
Murphy's actions have thwarted Darnell's plans, and now, Trey is suspicious of Darnell. It seems Darnell will always have this cloud over him and the vague sense of numbered days.
Josiah wants results, and it's taking Darnell too long to get them. And if Nia finds out the truth about Darnell's plans, then he's a dead man from her end as well.
Nia sees a spark in Murphy, and she's not wrong about it. It does make you wonder if Murphy would continue to find herself in these positions if she got out?
She gets to blame things on Nia and the circumstances, but what if it's all an excuse for some baser instinct she possesses?
Nia is now looking at Murphy as though she's under her tutelage and a future Nia in the making, and it's curious how that will influence Murphy going forward.
In that sense, is it that different than what Amber was saying about Jess?
Jess was giving Felix and Murphy the silent treatment, and she was so affected by her traumatic experience with Nia and Sam.
Brooke Markham has been the dark horse of the season so far. Good grief did she sell the hell out of Jess's weariness and level of DONE.
Amber: You do realize you blame Murphy for everything that goes wrong in your life.
Jess: What? That's not true.
Amber: It's true, Jess.
Jess's forced, resigned smile and terse "right," during the Sterling breakup scene was perfection. You felt it in your soul that she was a woman at her wit's end who could barely react anymore to the level of shit she endured.
Jess was all of us, and Sterling was just one variation of 2020.
You felt for her, but then she reached out to her ex-girlfriend for a moment of comfort and safety, and she didn't find it there either.
As much as Jess deserved a safe harbor to rest in after everything she's gone through, you couldn't exactly blame her ex for everything she said.
Jess does have a bad habit of blaming everything that ever goes wrong in her life on Murphy. She can use Murphy as a scapegoat, but most of the time, these are choices that she makes.
She can't always blame Murphy for being a terrible influence on her. She isn't a child, and there is some accountability she needs to take in that regard.
Technically, she and Felix taking the money they found kickstarted the money laundering agreement they made with Nia in the first place.
Jess hasn't come around to forgiving her friends, but her encounter with her ex probably gave her something to think about, so it's a start.
They're better off together than apart.
And they have to do something about the Ben situation. In news surprising no one, he's an addict, and he was using on the job. Chelsea describing how he let their loved one die a slow and painful death because he stole her pain pills was dark!
His behavior adds up, and it does suck that Ben has been so one-dimensional all of this time.
Chelsea wants to have faith in her brother, but nothing he displayed all of this time supports why she should.
Ben keeps coming between Felix and Chelsea, and had Felix not insisted on going the extra mile to win her over, Ben would be a non-factor.
My brother has come a long way, and I think his sobriety may really stick this time.Chelsea
It was dumb on Felix's part to not check the bathroom and make sure it was clear before checking the stash. Murphy has used the standing on a toilet trick multiple times herself. Come on, people!
Ben threatening Felix isn't the least bit surprising, and it shows how his addiction is clouding his good sense.
He has to know Felix and Murphy are working for someone major, and that there is danger. He also knows that Guiding Hope isn't bringing in the money, and by demanding hush money, it would require them to dip into Nia's funds.
He made himself a problem. He would've done better keeping his mouth shut and minding his business. His death was an inevitability.
What if an impatient Trey and some of Josiah's men decide to hit Guiding Hope. By now, he has figured out that's where Nia's stash is, and he'll want to move fast.
And what if Felix doesn't kill Ben; what if Ben is a casualty when Josiah's men storm Guiding Hope and steal Nia's drugs?
It wouldn't fall on Murphy, not after Nia admitted to taking a liking to her.
How is Murphy's new position supposed to pan out? Won't it be too obvious if Murphy is the only person smuggling drugs into multiple prisons?
Ben: Thing is if you fire me, I'll tell everyone about the heroin you're hiding in the bathroom. Yeah. Certainly explains the IRS. The lack of customers and why you guys are so weird all the time. How about this, I keep my job, and I won't call the police on you. In fact, I want a raise. How's an extra 500 a week sound?
Ben: And um, it's probably a given, but I wouldn't tell my sister about this.
Ben: See you tomorrow, boss.
She stands out as a blind woman, and now Nia wants her wandering into multiple prisons to see inmates? On top of that, Dean dismissed Murphy visiting Max, but he's going to notice if she goes to other prisons too.
He'll be able to piece things together. Well, Gene will put them together, and Dean will run with it.
Gene is a great cop, and he's a total scene-stealer, but we need to get the ball rolling on Dean getting exposed. He's long overdue for comeuppance, and with each installment, the need to have him thrown under the prison is strong.
It was sickening the way he lied to Chloe. When will Dean go down? We are WAITING!
Chloe: Why did Murphy say all that stuff last night?
Dean: What stuff?
Chloe: The stuff about you getting away with murder?
Right now, he has her where he wants her: pitying him and disliking Murphy. It'll break Chloe if she finds out the truth about her father, but it's disgusting how he lies to her.
Chloe isn't the only precious cupcake of a character these days. Josh fits the bill too.
He's such a sweet guy, and it's a matter of waiting for the other shoe to drop. What's going to happen to disrupt him?
Will he find something out about Murphy? Will he turn out to be a baddie? What gives?
I can see how loyal you are to the people you love, and I admire that. I'm going to need some of that loyalty too. Be careful who you trust. I learned that the hard way. People are out for themselves, and when their back is against the wall, that's when you gotta watch out. Take it from me; relationships are the death of this business.Nia
His vision is failing him more than ever, and he's now using a cane. Kudos to how they shot his doctor visit. The blurriness of the scene suited the nature of his conversation with his doctor.
Murphy has taken such a liking to Josh, and he's fond of her as well. Their friendship feels genuine, but at some point, he's going to get dragged into this in some way.
Nia's voiceover was telling. Everything is shifting in their world, but in what ways? We'll have to keep watching to figure it out.
Over to you, In the Dark Fanatics. What do you think will happen to Darnell? Did Murphy make the right call smuggling the drugs? What are your thoughts on Ben?
Hit the comments below with all of your thoughts, and don't forget you can.watch In The Dark online here via TV Fanatic.
Jasmine Blu is a senior staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter.