The group tries to get out the back door, but it’s locked, and Goon still has Starr’s keys. Smoke fills the aisles and they struggle to breathe. Mr. Lewis sees them from outside and screams for help. Tim comes running and opens the front door, but the path to it is blocked by flames. Moments later Maverick shows up and rushes to unlock the back door. Everyone tumbles out of the store. Neighbors with buckets of water try to put out the flames, which have spread to Mr. Lewis’s store as well, but the fire is too big to control. King pulls up across the street in his gray BMW. He and other King Lords laugh and point at the fire.
Tension builds as the group struggles to leave the store. The fact that so many neighbors attempt to help free the children and put out the flames reflects the good part of Garden Heights—its close-knit community. King’s arrival makes it clear he is the one who started the fire.
Maverick screams at King for starting the fire, but King keeps laughing and hides behind his King Lords. Mr. Lewis shouts that King burned down Maverick’s store—loud enough that the gathered crowd hears it. The police and a firetruck arrive. As the police order the crowd to back up, Mr. Lewis tells them that they need to be focused on King because he started the fire. King calls him a liar, but to Starr’s immense surprise, Maverick speaks up to confirm Mr. Lewis’s story. Starr is shocked that her father has “snitched.” But soon many in the crowd join in to confirm that they, too, saw King start the fire.
Having established snitching as the ultimate betrayal in Garden Heights, Maverick’s words here become all the more momentous. He is using his own voice for the good of the community. The entire neighborhood quickly rises against King, refusing to let him rule them via silence any longer.
An ambulance arrives and tends to DeVante. Starr and Chris hold hands, and Starr is grateful that they went through the craziness of the past few hours together. The firefighters put out the flames, but it’s too late: only a shell of the store remains. Starr feels like she is losing another family member.
Starr let Chris into the darkest parts of her world, and their bond is all the stronger for it. Chris also better understands what Starr has had to endure growing up in Garden Heights. The loss of the store, which helped Maverick reestablish himself and provide for his family after prison, is a huge financial and emotional blow for the Carters.
Maverick and Lisa ask where they’ve all been all night. Maverick is impressed when he hears that Starr threw tear gas, though he half-heartedly scolds her in front of Lisa. Maverick admits that Chris must be brave to have stayed with Starr all night through the riots. He tells him to meet him at the boxing ring the following weekend, because you can “learn a lot about” someone by the way they fight. Starr understands this to be a step toward Maverick accepting her boyfriend.
Maverick finally softens towards Chris after seeing that he stood by Starr’s side and fought with her against injustice. He wants to learn about Chris on his own terms.
The police take King and his boys away in their patrol cars. DeVante asks Carlos if he is going to kick him out for walking off without telling anyone, but Carlos assures him that he will just be grounded for the rest of his life and that they love him. Carlos then says that, thanks to all the witnesses, they should be able to charge King for arson, though they won’t be able to hold him for long.
Carlos gives DeVante the kind of support and stability he originally sought by joining a gang. The police are a force for good in this moment as they arrest King. The fact that snitching led to his arrest reasserts the power of language.
DeVante asks if knowing where King’s stash was would help them put King away for good. Carlos says it would help the whole neighborhood if King went to jail, and promises that he would protect DeVante. Remembering April Ofrah’s claim that his voice is his strongest weapon, DeVante agrees to turn witness on King.
DeVante does the opposite of Maverick to free himself from the gang: instead of taking a fall for King, he agrees to tell on him. He is using his voice to help the community and free himself from the cycle of crime.