"Mea Culpa" & Every Time Mea Should Have Hauled A**
"Mea Culpa" (Netflix)

“Mea Culpa” & Every Time Mea Should Have Hauled A**

Netflix’s “Mea Culpa” has certainly left social media in shambles over the past few days. The Tyler Perry and Kelly Rowland-produced erotic thriller follows attorney Mea Harper (Rowland) as she takes on a new mysterious client, painter Zyair Malloy (Trevante Rhodes), accused of murder. Several people are against Mea’s decision to defend Zyair, including her unemployed husband Kal (Sean Sager), Mayor-hopeful brother-in-law Ray (Nick Sagar), and their mother Azalia (Kerry O’Malley). Mea defies her husband and in-laws by representing Zyair, which Ray is prosecuting, and things begin to unravel rather quickly. As Mea began to be pulled in two different directions, there were multiple times when the high-powered lawyer should have washed her hands several times with not only her client but also her bizarre in-laws. Let’s run down each time Mea should have hauled a** from it all and never returned. 

When Kal sold her piano to buy his mother a watch

Kal being unemployed was already a big issue with him and Mea. However, the fact that Kal continued to send his mother money and refused to tell them he was unemployed was a major red flag. Kal used much of his free time to play video games while Mea worked tirelessly to provide for them. As if that were not bad enough, Kal, being the mama’s boy, used their limited funds to purchase his mother an expensive watch for her birthday after selling Mea’s prized piano. For reasons unknown, Mea chose to stay in this joke of a marriage, which would prove a nearly fatal decision. 

When Mea came home to find her in-laws staging an “intervention”

When Mea came home after a long day of providing for herself and Kal, she found Ray and Azalia inside her home. Her ailing mother-in-law prepared dinner for the family, whose sole purpose was to tell Mea that she would not be representing Zyair in his murder case. Ray wants to prosecute Zyair to use his case to promote his Mayoral campaign. The dinner scene was an uncomfortable gang-up on Mea, with Kal, Ray, and Azalia not asking but telling Mea what she would do with her career. 

When Zyair defied Mea’s requests to meet at his apartment

While Zyair is extremely fine and offers a glimmer of excitement that Mea did not have in her marriage with Kal, we must admit that Zyair had an issue with boundaries. This was apparent when he told Mea he would not be meeting at her office and preferred his apartment instead. Mea’s failure to draw a line in the sand obviously led to their steamy affair, which isn’t exactly bad considering what she was forced to live with with Kal. However, IF the goal was to maintain professionalism, Mea probably should have hauled a** in that moment. 

When Zyair took Mea to the sex club

The moment when Zyair stormed out of his apartment and yelled to Mea to follow (which she did), it was apparent that she was way too gone at that point. She was walking the line between being attracted and trying to maintain her professionalism. However, when he took her inside the sex club, their client relationship had officially taken a backseat. At this moment, Mea had yet another opportunity to end this, drop Zyair, and never speak to him again, but no. Our good sis continued to play with fire. 

When the family confronted Mea over her affair with Zyair

So fast forward to Mea spending a hot and heavy evening with Zyair after being incorrectly informed that Kal had likely cheated with a longtime female friend. We witnessed the painting scene in all its messy glory. However, Kal eventually began putting two and two together that something was happening with Zyair and Mea. This prompts another family meeting, where Ray, Kal, and Azalia interrogate Mea about her inappropriate relationship with Zyair, which she ultimately cops to. Kal has a very emotional outburst while he is comforted by Ray and Azalia, who scold Mea to the point of her fleeing the home. While she did indeed run out, Mea missed yet another opportunity to run to the divorce office, which she did not. 

“Mea Culpa” does a fantastic job of exploring Black eroticism, a subgenre that is not often explored in cinema. While Rowland and Rhodes deliver stellar performances as they navigate a plethora of twists and turns, there are undoubtedly several lessons in the film; one of the biggest is learning when to get the hell out of situations that are detrimental to your mental and physical well-being. 

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Gibson Precious

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