Previously on Queen Sugar, “In No Uncertain Terms”
Queen Sugar – S1E8 – “Where With All” | 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
It’s a bit of a trope to have characters with fractured relationships be forced into confrontation because they’re physically stuck with being in each other’s company. Add an impending storm and you have the perfect, predictable recipe for drama. As played as it may be, it really worked in “Where With All,” since the Borderlon family all seem to have the same stubborn trait. It would take a category 3 hurricane to bring them together (or the death of a patriarch).
As you’d expect, Aunt Vi’s is the designated safe place for such an emergency and she spends the majority of the episode trying to shepherd her family home. What she doesn’t expect is to give safe harbor to the two people currently at the top of her shit list.
Hollywood has been staying with Ralph Angel at Earnest’s house, but once it’s boarded up, he makes his way home to make sure Violet’s home is secured as well. And despite her insistence that he worry about where he’s living and not there, he returns later with everyone else. A rousing game of Spades, dinner, and drink only delayed the inevitable. When Hollywood finally offers a full explanation for his actions and lies, Violet compares him to her abusive ex, which doesn’t go over too well. Even though Violet doesn’t come straight out and forgive him or take back what she said, we are shown that the comparison couldn’t be more wrong when Darla finally apologizes for her past.
Was she being a tad manipulative when she shows up with a belated birthday present for Blue when there’s a storm approaching? Perhaps, but she’s there now and despite Violet’s vicious side-eye, Darla stays the night. She overhears Violet warning Ralph Angel against trusting her again and thanks Violet and Hollywood for taking care of her son when she couldn’t. Hollywood was the one who found her with a john and took Blue away.
Darla may have committed the bigger and worst transgressions, but of Blue’s parents, she seems to be a bit more stable than Ralph Angel, who we see still makes questionable decisions (like leaving his baby alone in the park with some damn churros while he robs a store). I find myself rooting for Darla harder than I root for Ralph Angel. And Bianca Lawson was simply fantastic in her scenes this week.
The biggest confrontation of the night goes to Nova and Charley, who’ve had it brewing since Nova’s radio interview. She still hasn’t given a true apology for taking the $10,000, and despite Charley’s request that she not do things with Micah without asking, Nova offers Micah a place to stay when he gets accepted to a local private school. She pushes the issue until Charley finally admits all the reasons she thinks Nova is a bad influence, including growing and selling weed and sleeping with a married man. This, too, ends without being settled, and I have a feeling they’ll encounter some external turmoil that will force them to put these issues aside until we’re closer to the finale. Still, it was great to see someone call Nova on her bullshit. Charley has her ways (like when she refused to let the day workers go home early in the face of a hurricane), but I don’t believe she’s wrong here.
Though they have amazing chemistry, Remy and Charley taking their relationship a step further was the only misstep in this episode. Yes, he’s handsome and supportive, and seems to be loyal, but I wish we’d given her a little more room to breathe and regroup before jumping into another relationship. In the same episode in which she finally decides to stop wearing her ring she also cuddles with Remy and they share a kiss. I’m not against her showing agency and deciding she’s ready to move on, or even decide she wants a casual fling because she feels like it; but it would also be awesome if we got to see her be okay alone for awhile, too. Again, they have chemistry and I truly believe Remy is a good guy, so this isn’t a major problem at all.
One of the episode’s best achievements was using these encounters and confrontations to give us some much-needed backstories. First, via a bedtime story Darla makes up for Blue, we learn that she and Ralph Angel were best friends since they were children and she turned to drugs after he’d gone to jail. And since the whole house hears Charley talking about Nova’s affair, Aunt Vi asks Nova how she could do that considering Charley just went through and what she saw her own mother go through when Earnest cheated with Charley’s mother.
Y’all know Aunt Vi good for some side-eye and hard truths.
Queen Sugar S1E8 = 9.5