Warning: The following contains spoilers for Daisy Jones and six episodes of 7. Continue at your own risk!
The seventh episode Daisy Jones and Six (now streaming on Prime Video) unexpectedly shined a star Simone Jackson, newcomer Nabia Be’s character.
As Daisy’s best friend and rising disco legend, Simone had an entire episode devoted to her life, aside from the titular singer/songwriter Riley Keough. This probably surprised many viewers of the series who had also read Taylor Jenkins Reid’s novel, as Simone’s character did not play such a large role in the book.
Will Graham, co-showrunner and director of Episode 7, admitted to TVLine that Simone’s expanded presence was something that was in the works from the beginning of the book-to-TV adaptation.
“I think it goes back to the very first conversation I had with (executive producer) Lauren (Neustadter) and (co-showrunner) Scott (Neustadter), which literally seems like 20 million years ago, and I said, ‘We want to to see the full life of this character,” recalls Graham. “And in our first conversation with Taylor, too, we said, ‘What are you most excited to see in the movie that you didn’t get to do in the book?’ and she was simply “Symone.”
The episode not only explored how Simone found her sound in the disco world, but also explored her gender identity as a queer black woman during a time when it was difficult for her to exist as such.
“We wanted to make sure she had her own story (as) a black woman who was also an innovator, and make sure she wasn’t just trying to make mainstream music,” Beh says.
With all she was given to play with in the hour, Bae was very excited to delve into Simone’s “romantic relationships, growing into being comfortable in the club scene, fully understanding that she can be herself, be true to herself and have some of the praise and attention, which she longs for,” the actress shares.
During the episode, Simone went to New York hoping to start over. Upon arrival, she seeks out Bernie (played by Aisha Harris), a DJ she met at a party in the past. Seconds after they met, Bernie played Simone’s song at the disco and got her to sing it live, much to the crowd’s delight. For perhaps the first time in the season, viewers saw Simone get the hype she deserved.
“All the disco scenes (were) actually shot in Athens, with the crowd, mostly real weird African immigrants who didn’t have a club to go to,” Graham says. “So the story also became what we told it, and as a queer person, it was a great privilege for us to be a part of bringing that story to the screen, because we really haven’t seen it.”
In this episode, Simone has become more comfortable speaking, but she’s still hesitant to talk openly about her relationship with Bernie. Despite the success she was achieving, Simone was still willing to drop everything for Daisy, in a heartbeat. After receiving a cryptic message from Daisy, Simone flees to Greece, thinking her friend is in trouble.
She and Bernie arrived in Greece only to find a happy, giddy and newly engaged Daisy who just wanted her best friend to attend her upcoming wedding. Although Daisy seemed genuinely happy, Simone saw right through the facade. She tried to convince Daisy to come back to the group, but Daisy didn’t want to because of what happened between her and Billy. Simone tried to snap her out of it by reminding her of who she really is, despite her new husband Nicky’s attempts to change her.
Nicky tried to convince Daisy that Simone wasn’t protecting her, but that Simone was in love with her. Whether Daisy believed this is unknown, but she used Nikki’s words against Simone, much to her dismay. Satisfied, Simone gathered her things and left, but not without giving Daisy her last two cents.
“I really do love you, Daisy, and I’m going to tell you what love is, because you clearly have no idea. It’s when someone tells you the truth, even if you don’t want to hear it. I love you Daisy, so I’m going to tell you the truth, you’re a real selfish bitch,” Simone said.
While Episode 7 delved into aspects of Simone’s character not discussed in the book, it only scratched the surface.
“I think you could do a completely different show about Simone. I loved what they did with her character,” Reid raves.
What do you think of Simone’s expanded role? Share your thoughts in the comments below!
(With a report by Vlada Gelman)