D. K. Smith

D. K. Smith

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‘Queen Sugar’ Episode 8: ‘It’s A Love Thing’

‘Queen Sugar’ Episode 8: ‘It’s A Love Thing’

Just when we were getting into the crux of the Bordelon family issues on Queen Sugar, viewers were unexpectedly hit with a monkey wrench – Episode 8 is a midseason finale which means we’ll have to wait a few months into the fall to see the next 8 episodes. Say what? Who’s making the programming decisions over at OWN, I demand to speak with them immediately. I guess they are just doing what networks do – taking a little hiatus so you can catch up or wait with Pookie like intensity to see what happens next.

And Episode 8 will leave you with a LOT of questions. So far, the pace of the show has been a little slow. There are times when Queen Sugar marinates in revealing Black people in all their luminous beauty and while that’s lovely to see, action is what moves a show, and the characters, along. While the pacing does set Queen Sugar apart from less nuanced fare, in Episode 8 we do see some movement on a variety of fronts. First of all, Ralph Angel (Kofi Siriboe) has found out very quickly that things like BILLS are paramount when you want to run a farm.

He’s gone from being angry at his sisters for denying him his rightful ownership to wondering why Charley’s not answering his calls when he needs money to pay utilities and such. Ralph Angel is the most aggravating individual on this show, mostly because he reflects the reality of so many young Black men. Not all, now, but he’s frustratingly familiar. He demands independence but isn’t quite ready for it.

He’s worried that Charley (Dawn-Lyen Gardner) will cut off his paycheck, which might violate his probation. Where was all that concern when he was dragging her for not being around enough? Man, they write this show too realistically sometimes, ’cause we all know a Ralph Angel.

Nova (Rutina Wesley) has arrived in Atlanta and ya gotta love her. She’s a fierce, fabulous and free Black woman. She barely waits until Dr. Dubois (Alimi Ballard) has her in the car before she’s offering up a little Nova lovin’. Of course, Dr. Dubois doesn’t seem to mind.

Charley’s magazine article has the farmers thinking her mill operation might be a fancy woman’s way of finding herself until she finds something else productive to do. Remy (Dondre Whitfield) of course, is leading that charge – we noticed last episode he was becoming a little insufferable. Or is he just the voice of reason when Charley needs it? Everyone dumps on Charley, yet she’s the brains and the money behind the operation. She assures the farmers she’s into Queen Sugar for the long run. And since she’s loosened up her hair, it must be true.

When Ralph Angel wonders what to do when Charley doesn’t answer his calls, Hollywood (Omar Dorsey) tells Aunt Vi (Tina Lifford) she needs to stay out of grown people’s business. She means well, but these grown children need to figure out life for themselves. He’s right, but she’s still stressing.

And maybe Aunt Vi’s is overdoing it, because she faints in the High Yellow. Oh, nooooo, nooooo, please tell me Aunt Vi is OK. I don’t like this development. I credit Ava and Oprah for showing how necessary aunts (and uncles) are to a family dynamic. And it’s also great to see an ‘older’ woman be played not for laughs, but as vibrant and sexual. So please, don’t mess around with Aunt Vi, OK?

Charley and Darla (Bianca Lawson) obviously have an issue as circumstances have forced Darla in the middle of the ongoing battle between Ralph Angel and Charley. But Darla keeps surprising us – her arc on this show has really been beautiful to watch. She tells Charley that she can understand why she’s upset but that revealing she knew about the will wasn’t her truth to tell. If Charley respects anything, it’s honesty. So these two may be OK.

Micah (Nicholas Ashe) has seemed OK but when an arrest takes place outside his school, he’s feeling a little vulnerable. He wants to head to his dad’s spot to show Keke (Tanyell Waivers) around so he calls him to make sure it’s OK. Dad (Timon Kyle Durrett) is not home, because he’s at a “marketing meeting” that is also a cozy date with singer Tamar Judith (Margot Bingham). She’s lovely by the way – the casting director of this show loves Black women of all shades and looks and so do the lighting directors. I need lighting like this in my life.

Micah, strolling around downtown, comes across his dad at his ‘marketing meeting/date’ and proceeds to get angry and show his azz in public. Davis may have deserved it, but Tamar didn’t. Davis surprised and embarrassed as well. He confronts Micah the next day (nerve of Micah to be posted up at Dad’s house with an attitude). Micah thinks his father is a douche (so do we) but Davis reminds him that he’s the only father he has and he’s trying to be a part of his life.

This finally leads Micah to the moving confession of what really happened with his police stop. An officer put his gun in Micah’s mouth. Raise your hand if you thought that was going to go another way when Micah started telling the story. Lawd, what’s gonna happen when Auntie Nova finds this out?

Right now, Auntie Nova is in Atlanta at a lavish dinner with Dr. Dubois’ high-end white friends who include some staunch conservatives. Nova’s looking like a melanin goddess – chile, who is her wardrobe/hair stylist? And in true Nova fashion, she classily exits the room after giving the conservative a–h–le her two cents. Romantic weekend over. Aunt Vi thinks she’s just sabotaging the relationship ’cause it’s what Nova does. But Dr. Dubois ain’t gonna let that happen. Why does this dude show up at her door with a plan to get the wypipo in check?

On another love front, guess who’s finally confessed her feelings. Charley tells Remy she wants them to be closer…as in really close. She’s trying. She wants love and she wants it from him.  Looks like Remy wants it too, as he drops a sexy kiss on Charley, despite her never-ending divorce proceedings. Can these two get a good love/sex scene already?

Darla’s sobriety celebration is coming up but Blue (Ethan Hutchinson) has some questions about why she’s not always around. Imagine having to explain difficult adult concepts to that beautiful child. Darla’s age-appropriate explanation of her drug addiction is a beautiful thing to see. But it must plant a seed in Ralph Angel, because he shows up at her ceremony despite preventing her from being in the house. So does Charley.

She wants to let both Ralph Angel and Darla know that despite their issues she’s not petty enough to hold grudges and yes, she’ll keep giving RA a paycheck. She’s a better woman than some, for sure. Darla’s sponsor basically tells RA he needs to be supportive of Darla or leave her alone. Dang, lady, do you know me? But she’s right. Sobriety is a lifelong battle and Ralph Angel has to decide is he in or out.

We guess Ralph Angel realized how ridiculous he was being, or he missed Darla in his home/bed, or he saw how Blue missed her, or he wants to be there for her because no, this dude did not ask her to get married and came with a ring (Now where did that come from with no money?) even though his lights were turned off because he forgot to call the electric company. Lawd. Darla says yes and I’m thinking the next 8 episodes are going to be LIIIIT with all this going on!

Predictions – There are a few clues that hint at possible plot points. Nova’s White Kang cop boo, Calvin (Greg Vaughn) is returning but for how long or why we don’t know. Charley’s mother, played by Sharon Lawrence, and Darla’s parents, played by Michael Michele and Roger Guenveur Smith will be revealed this season.  Hmmm. I suspect bumps in the road for Remy/Charlie, Davis/Tamar, Nova/Dubois and especially Ralph Angel/Darla, unless they get do married in which case, I suspect bumps anyway. We’re talking Ralph Angel here.

And as much as it’s nice to see a happy Black family, shows and characters have to evolve and we won’t stay interested if they don’t start progressing and dealing with life’s inevitable ups and downs. Queen Sugar has been sweet thus far, but it runs the risk of being too sweet and boxing itself in as a pretty thing to watch that doesn’t move forward.

I miss the contradictions we first saw in Nova – this season she’s become even more of a staunch activist but what happened to her drug dealing on the side? Hollywood needs a job. Remy needs more screen time and more backstory. We don’t even know who the guy really is yet. And yes, these are all great guys and I get that Queen Sugar wants to show positive Black men. But people are complex and multidimensional and contradictory we need to see more of that and not just from Davis and Ralph Angel.

Charley needs to let her family know that dumping on her isn’t cool and she also needs her backstory to come to light. As much as Davis irks me, I’m glad they didn’t cut him out of the show because a lot of divorced people have to co-parent and it’s its own challenge. Let’s see more of those issues. And please keep Aunt Vi healthy – it will be too much to have her sick – but yeah, I see it coming.

Everything’s been set up nicely in these first eight episodes, but I suspect there are more roadblocks ahead for the Bordelons. What’s your take on the midseason finale?

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