Previously on Queen Sugar, “Next to Nothing”
Queen Sugar – S1E10 – “So Far” | Starring: Rutina Wesley, Dawn-Lyen Gardner, Kofi Siriboe, Tina Lifford, Omar J. Dorsey, Dondre Whitfield, Timon Kyle Durrett, Nicholas L. Ashe, Greg Vaughan, Ethan Hutchison, Marycarmen Lopez, Bianca Lawson
The day after more than 50 million people in this country elected the Cheeto in Chief, this episode of Queen Sugar was painfully timely. The Borderlon siblings learn the painful origins of their farm, how much their father had to endure to keep it, and just how far Landry is willing to go to take it.
Thanks to the hurricane, Charley tries to negotiate a deal with a new mill that will get their sugar cane production back on schedule. Unfortunately, the Boudreaux mill offers up an unreasonable split of the profits so Charley passes. The counter offer to buy the farm for $4 million is enough for her to call a family meeting and directly ask Prosper and Aunt Vi why their farm, smack dab in the middle of other farms owned by the Boudreauxs, is so important.
They reveal that the Boudreauxs owned the Borderlons during slavery. When Violet and Earnest’s grandfather was free, he was able to purchase a portion of the farm from the Boudreauxs when they fell on hard times. However, once they recovered, they tried to take the land back, claiming it was stolen, and lynching him and others on the farm. Eventually, proof of sale was provided, but the Boudreaux-Landry family has been making things nearly impossible for the Borderlon farm ever since.
Of course, this news adds an extra layer of heartache when the siblings realize just how much pressure their father was under. It wasn’t just a business to him, or a way a life. His family had literally died for that farm, on that farm. This also instills a new sense of purpose in Charley, Nova, and Ralph Angel as they vow, more than ever, to keep the farm and make it a success.
While this was definitely the biggest emotional punch in “So Far,” but it wasn’t the only one. Nova’s new relationship with Chantal seems to be over after she inserts herself a little too much in Nova’s upcoming television interview. Nova’s hesitant to allow Chantal to hijack her message, while Chantal believes the movement is bigger than any one person and that Nova should take advantage of the platform to keep people motivated. This parting of the ways isn’t surprising. Nova has been shown to have commitment issues, and the mention of Calvin suggests there may be unfinished business there as well; no matter how many phone calls she ignores, she still keeps framed photos of him in her bedside table.
Aunt Vi goes back to work at the diner, but this time as the manager, salaried position. It was great to see because it was clear she loved her job, and was damn good at it; it’s even better that the owner finally realized her worth so she gets to do what she loves and be properly compensated. This is especially gratifying as it comes after a conversation about Micah’s education makes Vi feel Charley looks down on her station in life. Also, Violet hasn’t fully forgiven Hollywood, but she at least offered him a cup of coffee, and we all know how she is with beverages when you’re on her shit list. Just ask Davis.
However, Violet was responsible for a decision that ties to one my biggest issues with the show: Ralph Angel. He’s been slowly allowing Darla back into Blue’s life, and this now includes her taking him to school a few days a week, days that Aunt Vi usually does. When the school rejects his signature on Blue’s field trip permission slip, it makes him feel less than a father in spite of all the progress he’s made. That’s understandable.
What doesn’t make sense is Aunt Violet signing over guardianship to Ralph Angel. He makes the case that he’s paid enough. He did his time, and that’s true. And he seems to be on the right path, and that’s true as well. But since we’ve known him he’s left Blue in the park alone (with some damn churros) so he could rob a store, he pulled a gun on two repo men, and stolen from his employer then hid the goods on the farm. Aunt Vi knows about two of those things, and they were both fairly recent. She has a legit concern with Darla (and the audience has yet to get a look into how Darla’s dealing with her addiction so we don’t know if the concern is unwarranted), and how a wrong move on her or Ra’s part would mean Blue goes into the foster system. Ralph Angel has shown her he’ll still make poor decisions. I don’t buy that she would sign Blue over so soon. He’s only been out of jail six months before he’s robbing a store, and that was only a couple of months ago.
All of the characters are flawed, but Queen Sugar made a bold decision in introducing us to Ralph Angel as he’s about to do something so foolish. It’s hard to root for him as character, and I find any support I might feel is more for the farm succeeding than it is to see Ralph Angel succeed – particularly because he’s shown no real growth. Hopefully, this is something that’s addressed in these final three episodes of the season.
Queen Sugar S1E10 = 8.2/10