Warning: The following contains spoilers for Daisy Jones & the Six Episode 7. Proceed at your own risk!
The seventh episode of Daisy Jones & the Six (streaming now on Prime Video) had an unexpected shining star in newcomer Nabiyah Be’s character Simone Jackson.
As Daisy’s best friend and a rising disco legend, Simone had an entire episode dedicated to her life apart from Riley Keough’s titular singer/songwriter. This likely surprised many viewers of the show who also read Taylor Jenkins Reid’s novel, as Simone’s character didn’t have as large of a role in the book.
Will Graham, co-showrunner and Episode 7’s director, admitted to TVLine that Simone’s expanded presence was something that had been in the works since the beginning of the book-to-TV adaptation.
“I think it goes back to the very first conversation that I had with [executive producer] Lauren [Neustadter] and [co-showrunner] Scott [Neustadter], which literally seems like 20 million years ago now, and saying, ‘We want to see the full life of this character,'” Graham recalls. “And in our first conversation with Taylor, too, we said kind of, ‘What are you the most excited to see in the adaptation that you didn’t get to do in the book?’ and she was just like, ‘Simone.'”
This episode not only explored Simone finding her sound in the world of disco, but it also showcased her sexual identity as a queer Black woman in a time when it was difficult to exist as such.
“We wanted to make sure that she was owning her own story [as] a Black woman who was also an innovator, and making sure that she wasn’t someone who was just attempting to make generic music,” Be says.
With everything that she was given to play in the hour, Be was most excited to dig into Simone’s “romantic relationship, the growing into comfortability in the club scenes, into fully understanding that she can both be herself, be truthful, and have some of the praise and attention that she craves,” the actress shares.
During the episode, Simone traveled to New York City, hoping to get a fresh start. Upon her arrival, she sought out Bernie (played by Ayesha Harris), a DJ that she met at a party in the past. Within seconds of their reunion, Bernie played Simone’s song at a disco club and had her sing it live, which the crowd thoroughly enjoyed. For possibly the first time in the season, viewers saw Simone get the hype she deserved.
Making the sequence even more special was the fact that “all the disco scenes [were] actually shot in Athens, with a cast of extras of predominantly real queer African immigrants who didn’t have a club to go to,” Graham reveals. “So the story kind of became the way that we were telling it, too, and as a queer person, it was just such a privilege to get to be part of bringing that story to the screen, because we really haven’t seen it.”
In the episode, Simone became more comfortable performing, but she was still hesitant in being open about her relationship with Bernie. Despite the success she was attaining, Simone was still willing to drop it all for Daisy, in a heartbeat. After receiving a cryptic message from Daisy, Simone fled to Greece, thinking that her friend was in trouble.
She and Bernie arrived in Greece only to find a blissful, giddy and newly engaged Daisy, who just wanted her best friend at her impending wedding. Although Daisy seemed genuinely happy, Simone saw straight through the façade. She tried to convince Daisy to go back to the band, but Daisy was reluctant because of what happened between her and Billy. Simone attempted to snap her out of it by reminding her who she truly was, despite her new husband Nicky’s attempts to change her.
Nicky tried to convince Daisy that Simone was not protective of her, but rather that Simone was in love with her. Whether or not Daisy believed this is unknown, but she used Nicky’s words against Simone, which really upset her. A fed-up Simone gathered her things and left, but not without giving Daisy her final two cents.
“I do love you, Daisy, and I’ll tell you what love is, because you clearly have no f–king clue. It’s when someone tells you the truth, even when you don’t want to hear it. I love you, Daisy, so I’ll tell you the truth: You are a real selfish bitch,” Simone said.
While Episode 7 dove into aspects of Simone’s character that were not discussed in the book, it only scratched the surface.
“I think you could do a whole other show about Simone. I loved what they did with her character,” Reid raves.
What did you think of Simone’s expanded role? Hit the comments below with your thoughts!
(With reporting by Vlada Gelman)