Previously on Queen Sugar, “Far Too Long”
Queen Sugar – S1E13 – “Give Us This Day” | 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
This year, we’ve been blessed with some amazing television (Atlanta, Insecure) for and by black people. Queen Sugar was one of the best new shows of the season, period. Through 13 episodes we laughed, cried, and cheered for the incredibly nuanced and complex Borderlon family – even if we didn’t always agree with them. *side-eyes Ralph Angel for those damn churros*
The season finale wasn’t perfect. Some of the more important storylines were tied up a little too quickly and neatly. And while it was frustrating to watch a few disagreements spiral out of control due to lack of communication, it made sense because communication isn’t the Borderlons’ strong suit. Still, they are family, and a recognizable one at that. These felt like people we knew; people we’ve been at one point or another.
Charley’s plan to purchase a mill relied heavily on getting Davis and his ex-teammate Felix to sign with the local NBA team. If she pulled it off, the owner, Frank Rovner, would invest in the mill. To get Davis on board, Charley blackmailed Felix’s wife and lied to Davis about Micah’s behavior. She gets her way – thanks to even more blackmailing – but without any of her dirty dealing coming to light. Perhaps this will be addressed in season two, but for now it’s pretty unsatisfying. That seems to be a trend with a few of the storylines: big things drive the characters to make big decisions that have little to no consequence later.
This can be applied to Nova’s desire to help the innocent Too Sweet. She stole money from the family business to bail him out of jail, and broke up with her lover over the story she uncovered while investigating Too Sweet’s arrest. The only reason the charges are dropped is because Calvin missed Nova and wanted to help. The very next episode, Too Sweet is on his way out of town with a place to stay and a job all courtesy of Nova’s connections. Is Nova going to pay back the $10,000? Will there be any follow-up to the corruption she unearthed? Why didn’t Calvin do this back when Too Sweet was beaten so badly he needed surgery? Are we to pretend her relationship with Chantal never happened? Very little time is spent on these relationships outside of confrontational, big moments, so it’s hard to get a handle on how we’re supposed to feel about these reunion, fights, and break-ups.
On their first public date, Nova is assaulted by one of Calvin’s police buddies because of the story she wrote. We don’t see any conversation about it; just Nova crying into a shirt. Did they break-up again? Is that Calvin’s shirt? Too Sweet’s?
The biggest conflict in season 2 won’t be what happens between Remy and Charley now that Davis is in town, or if Calvin and Nova will make it, and not even what will become of Hollywood and Aunt Vi. One piece of paper is going to rock the already tumultuous partnership between Charley and Ralph Angel.
Ralph Angel finds a will written by their father a few months before he died. In it, he leaves the farm to his son, encouraging him to lay down roots and build something for himself and Blue. It was filled with all the things Ralph Angel so desperately needs to hear, and not just from his father. All season he’s felt shut-out and downright ganged upon by his sisters and Aunt Vi. The one person building him up is Darla, but without spending any time with her outside of her time with Ralph Angel and Blue, it’s hard to say if she’s genuine.
However, what we do know is that Ralph Angel has only recently begun to try. He’s made some fool decisions since getting out of jail, which makes it hard to believe that Earnest would have written that will. To be clear, I’m not suggesting it’s fake. I am saying Ralph Angel has barely done anything after stealing those iPhones to make the audience believe this is a responsibility he can handle on his own. Now that Charley has her mill and a commitment from the local black farmers to use it, this news isn’t going to go over well.
Overall, Queen Sugar mixed compelling storytelling that all people, but especially black people, could relate to. It was wonderfully acted and beautifully shot and directed (by women directors; yes!). I can’t wait to see how the seeds planted this season will grow in the next.
Queen Sugar S1E13 = 8.5/10