Yuusuf In ‘Eric’ Explained: What Happens To Him?

Eric, the 2024 Netflix show, was not just about the characters. It discussed in detail the rampant poverty that had afflicted the city of New York City up until the 1980s. Homelessness was at an all-time high, while many in the system were unwilling to help people or find a solution to their problem. The homelessness caused the population to fall into the habit of drug abuse, which eventually became a disease. A disease that began to affect men and women of every stratum as narcotics had suddenly become easily available.

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One of the many characters that went under the radar was Yuusuf, a homeless man who befriended Edgar. Yuusuf was introduced halfway into the show when the police were completely clueless about how to track Edgar. The police were also in the middle of finding out where Marlon Rochelle disappeared. Yuusuf happened to be one of the countless homeless men and women living under the subways in the tunnels. This place had become a home to many who were living off the bare minimum facilities. Yuusuf was initially seen in the sketch drawn by Edgar at George, the janitor’s home. It was later established that Yuusuf, who probably did not have any connection with Edgar’s family, had him staying in his small room below the subway in the tunnels. The pre-assumption was that many people like him were robbers, drug dealers, and killers. This place could turn normal people to killers.

Yuusuf was a young man whose age was not disclosed in the show, but it was easy to assume that the man was harmless and did no wrong to the Edgar. As the show progressed, parallelly, the focus of the show was also on how the mayor, the police, and the many rich construction companies were eager to get rid of the homeless and develop condos for the rich. This was capitalism showing it’s ugly face. Even though the local authorities brushed it off as development required to make the city livable, this project was all about getting rid of poor people, not uplifting them to a proper standard of living. The corruption was the reason why many of these concerns were hardly taken care of. The time was awfully bad for the homeless, people of color, and the queer population. It was the majority that had taken over, and they had no desire greater than to turn this development project into a money-making machine. Yuusuf was just like every other homeless person, hoping to keep himself away from hunger by joining the drives carried out by many to feed the poor and the helpless. It was then that Edgar had bumped into him and had begun to follow him. It was this route taken by Edgar to meet Yuusuf. Yuusuf, however, was not very keen on having a young boy follow him around since he never wanted to be dubbed a pedophile by the authorities. He was already a suspect because of his skin color, so he wanted to stay away from the life of crime. 

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Yuusuf, however, quickly learned the boy was the very Edgar who was missing, as per the news he had heard. He also came across mention of a reward for those who would lead the family or the police to the place where the child was spotted. He began to treat the kid as a chicken that laid golden eggs. He chose to keep the boy with him in the hope the reward price would go up at some point. Yuusuf, though, was a kindhearted man who did not mistreat Edgar. Edgar, on the other hand, wanted to get out and reunite with his mother. Yuusuf never gave him a chance to wander out; in turn, he offered the child good food to eat and other basic amenities. Yuusuf broke the stereotypical mold the other characters were presented in in the show, that tackled the themes mentioned in Eric. In this show, Yuusuf was a nice man whose life was difficult. Yet he chose to refrain from being the bad man that he was expected to be. He chose to understand Edgar and his issues, which gave him an idea of how a privileged kid like him could be dealing with his own set of problems. Edgar was barely ten, but he was a witness to his parents constantly fighting, and as a result, he chose to stay away from them. Even though Edgar was kept away from the city, the boy found solace in Yuusuf, who was willing to listen to him.

Yuusuf was sadly being trapped by another homeless woman, Raya, who knew Edgar was the kid the police were looking for. She was the one who encouraged him to make the ransom call to his mother. Yuusuf was not aware that Raya herself was seeking money to close a debt. Yuusuf sadly never got the money he had hoped for, but his image was everywhere on television, something he never expected. If the police or any of the cops had known him, Yuusuf was far from being a criminal, but circumstances were not in his favor when the police raided the subway tunnels with the approval of the mayor’s office. Yuusuf was aware that if he was caught with Edgar, it would be the end of him, and he would be looking forward to jail time for many years. Since the police were biased too, none of them would take Edgar’s words seriously and go ahead with the prejudices they have towards Yuusuf and other people of color. 

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Yuusuf, however, saved himself by handing Edgar over to Raya. It was Vincent who finally caught on to the sketch made by his son and used it to navigate through the tunnels. A deranged and hungover Vincent ran into Yuusuf the morning after the raid. Vincent figured Yuusuf’s spray paintings were heavily influenced by Edgar’s style, and he assumed the man was aware of his son’s location. Yuusuf repeatedly spoke about how Edgar was disturbed by his father’s behavior. The man was aware he was speaking to Vincent, but that did not stop him from speaking the truth that Edgar shared with him. Yuusuf was judgmental of Vincent, but he also stated multiple times that the kid was smart and creative, and he needed better parenting to flourish. 

Yuusuf then ran away from the subway tunnel and shared the location of the area that Edgar and Raya used to escape. Yuusuf’s last sighting before he ran off had a profound effect on Vincent. Yuusuf’s understanding of the family dynamics made Vincent come to terms with his issues with raising a son. Vincent’s father was emotionally unavailable. While Vincent was slowly turning into his father as well, he learned his lesson the hard way. Edgar’s disappearance acted as a catharsis, and Yuusuf gave him a reality check, and it was slowly making things right for everyone. Speaking to Yuusuf also gave Vincent the strength to call out his rich construction magnate father, a thief for robbing the poor and destitute of their right to a decent life.

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Smriti Kannan
Smriti Kannan
Smriti Kannan is a cinema enthusiast, and a part time film blogger. An ex public relations executive, films has been a major part of her life since the day she watched The Godfather – Part 1. If you ask her, cinema is reality. Cinema is an escape route. Cinema is time traveling. Cinema is entertainment. Smriti enjoys reading about cinema, she loves to know about cinema and finding out trivia of films and television shows, and from time to time indulges in fan theories.

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