The Last Days of Ptolemy Grey Review

by JoeYancey

The Last Days of Ptolemy: Episodes 1 & 2

Ptolemy Grey, played by Samuel L. Jackson, sits alone, unbothered – calm as can be at what I think is his kitchen table; making a recording for whoever should find it. Skipping ahead some to avoid potential spoilers and plot soilers…


Grey finds himself in an apartment, in far worse condition than the first, unsure if it’s the same apartment in more run-down condition, or if he’s in a completely different place. It is evident he is unwell. The flashbacks are fast and furious. The need of assistance and a helping hand is clear. That help comes from his nephew, who we meet early in the first episode.

In episode 1, Grey doesn’t hold back, asking his nephew “what’s wrong with that lady over there?” As he notices a large growth on her neck. As many moments are full of comedy, there are equally as many full of extreme sadness, as Samuel L; is spectacular in his brazen, filterless state – moving us in and out of laughter and sadness with ease, showcasing the harsh realties of dementia.


Ptolemy Grey can grasp pieces, but not the complete picture. He knows something is missing, and it hurts like hell. Grey wakes up on a bus with no recollection of his grief or sadness. Only scattered memories and what ifs. However a determination burns through the disease, which sparks a desire to find justice.


Episode 2 focuses on cleaning house literally, a fresh start and developing new relationships. Ptolemy Grey is offered a second lease on life. It’s clear he’s fading. The chances of a “normal” life, stable memory and the past, literally flash before his eyes. It’s a chance worth taking. After episode 2, we’re left knowing that anything can happen. If you can handle it, and I realize some cannot, it’s worth watching.


Dare I say this is Samuel L. Jackson’s best performance ever? He’s been reserved to one-dimensional roles for years. This is his best role since Django Unchained in 2013. In fact, it’s better. Jackson wonderfully delivering to us what he is feeling, and then that moment is gone and Ptolemy has to restart anew. Samuel L. Jackson is so convincing in the role, we find ourselves feeling every emotion possible, and some we didn’t even know existed. The Last Days of Ptolemy Grey is a must-watch.

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