Love is never easy. And in this week’s Queen Sugar we are heading to the home stretch, with only one episode left. These Bordelons – over the course of the season, they have earned a place in our hearts from the first moving episode through to #12, “Far Too Long.”
It’s likely because each character represents an almost archetypal figure in the Black community. From the nurturing, loving big heart of Aunt Vi (Tina Lifford) to Ralph Angel (Kofi Siriboe) as a young Black man trying to do right despite his own self-imposed and life-imposed obstacles, to big sisters Charley (Dawn Lyen Gardner) and Nova (Rutina Wesley) very different in temperament and outlook, but who love and fight each other with equal ferocity.
Queen Sugar has also weaved in a great deal of issues of concern and interest to the Black community. Too Sweet (Isaac White) is obviously based on the real-life story of Kalief Browder, who was arrested for stealing a backpack and ended up in New York’s notorious Riker’s Island jail for three years without trial.
Too Sweet is having nightmares about his experiences in jail and while Nova tries to comfort him, he’s clearly in need of some mental health support. And, he’s also in need of a trial date, which Nova finds out is an elusive goal, given the backlog of cases in an overloaded New Orleans criminal justice system. And yes, that too, is based in real-life situations that happen all over this country.
While Ralph Angel is pouting over Charley’s unilateral decisionmaking, she’s at an abandoned mill she believes she can renovate and buy to outmaneuver the Boudreauxs. Remy (Dondre Whitfield) thinks she’s biting off more than she can chew, and Ralph Angel has done his research by finding refrigerated trucks to haul the cane to a mill outside the Boudreaux influence.
It’s Charley so you know she’s going to do what she wants and she wants to borrow the money from the New Orleans Stingrays owner. She also wants him to sign her almost ex-husband Davis West (Timon Kyle Durrett). All Remy wants is a date and a kiss and Charley wisely says yes to both.
Hollywood (Omar Dorsey, Jr.) is waiting on a quickie divorce and won’t see Aunt Vi until he’s got those papers in hand. It’s an honorable move, but it turns out to work against him, when Aunt Vi finds out through Ralph Angel saying just a little too much that Hollywood’s been in town for a minute. Dammit, there goes the mac and cheese she’d brought over and maybe their relationship.
Micah’s (Nicholas Ashe) found love with Miss Sassypants Keke. (Tanyell Waivers). Their little thing is going quite well. He’s gotta meet Boogie, Keke’s stepdaddy again, although Boogie’s already met him. As Keke explains, Southern girls are a little more sheltered than their Northern counterparts so Micah will be meeting him again more formally. Micah’s OK with that, but not with returning his father’s calls. Finding out that his perfect father wasn’t so perfect is a blow he’s going to have to absorb.
Charley’s meeting with the Stingrays owner goes semi-well. She wants Davis down South, and the owner’s open to it, that’s if she can still make deals on behalf of her husband. Charley lets him know she’s still the CEO of Davis West and the owner says that if she can get Davis’s assist-dishing former fellow teammate Felix Evans, on board, that might work.
Apparently, unbeknownst to Charley who hasn’t talked to Davis lately, the two are planning on playing together in NYC. Charley wastes no time calling Lena Evans, Felix Evans’ wife, to see what she can maneuver. Apparently Davis is not the only one in the family with game-winning strategy. Seems like Lena doesn’t know the whole truth about the prostitution scandal (and how much did honey get paid off this situation? Dang) but the world will if she doesn’t get her husband in line.
Charley doesn’t play, y’all. Unfortunately she’s forgotten all about her date with Remy, who shows up to her door looking fly AF and with a beautiful bouquet. Do we need to move down South to find some good men like the ones on Queen Sugar? Charley’s sorry. Remy takes the L. He’s not going anywhere.
Aunt Vi is, though. She’s heading to the local juke joint with Roberta (Ninja N. Devoe) after a flirtatious delivery man suggest they all hang out. Aunt Vi’s having a great time. She has no idea that Hollywood, Boogie (Miles Mussenden) and Ralph Angel decided on a night out as well and when Hollywood sees her dancing with another man, he’s done. Time to head back to the oil rigs, the man can’t be heartbroken in the same town as Aunt Vi.
This sets up a really moving moment when Hollywood has to say goodbye to Ralph Angel and doesn’t realize that without his father, Ralph Angel has come to rely on him. Although Ralph Angel tries to convey his emotional state at losing his play uncle, Hollywood is too distraught over Violet to see it. Dammit, y’all two gonna make us cry. We wanted Hollywood to stay, too. He’s family. But Hollywood thinks it’s time for Ralph Angel to step up and make things work with Darla (Bianca Lawson).
As this storyline has played out, we now understand that when his father and Aunt Vi coddled him and his sisters disregarded him, it was Darla who encouraged him. So her descent into drug addiction made her abandonment that much harder. But Darla is back and she’s ready to take her place not just as Blue’s mama but as Ralph Angel’s woman. Turns out he’s ready too, and lays a kiss on her that should land them in the TV Kiss Hall of Fame.
These two have chemistry. Lawson’s one of those actresses that can move you with just her eyes and small gestures and she does both quite well in this scene. Unlike most other shows on TV these days, you never see anyone actually having sex on Queen Sugar, but the buildup to it is always hella sexy. Also, Ralph Angel does for a white hoodie what Beyonce does to a body-con dress.
Nova finally sits on her panel with Melissa Harris-Perry. We miss you much on MSNBC. Imagine how she would have covered this election. Hmm, conspiracy anyone? But we digress. Nova is eloquent about the abuses of the prison industrial complex. And guess who’s back? Po po Calvin (Greg Vaughan) who the ladies on a certain gossip website have dubbed White Kang. It kinda fits. He’s there to cheer her on and then, afterward, he calls. He loves her. He’s left the wife. Oh, and he got Too Sweet’s charges dropped. He’s become an ally. So what’s Nova gonna do now?
As for Charley, she’s put in a call to Davis West. After meeting Micah and Keke’s friends, maybe she’s not so sure hanging outside of the Jack and Jill crowd is in her son’s best interests. Or maybe she wants West back to ensure he reconnects with his son. Or maybe, just maybe, Charley’s having second thoughts about leaving not just her husband, but the brand she built with him behind. I guess we’ll just have to keep watching and see. We know all these storylines won’t be wrapped up next episode. Dammit, it’s going to be a loooooong wait until Season 2. But hey, at least Being Mary Jane is back in January.
Until next time, Sugar Babies!
What did you think of this episode? Will you miss ‘Queen Sugar?’