Previously, on Queen Sugar
Usually when someone refers to a television show as a guilty pleasure, the implication is that the show is terrible and they feel bad about enjoying it so much. When I say Queen Sugar is my guilty pleasure it’s not because it’s terrible — far from it — I mean that I feel bad that I enjoy it as much I do; surely feeling this good about a TV show isn’t healthy, right? I’m over the moon that this excellent, black-ass show is back for a second season. Just like real-life family, the Borderlons drive me crazy, but I love them and I root for them.
The two-night season premiere addressed a few of the issues I had leaving the season one finale. First, after Nova had a physical altercation with one of Calvin’s police buddies, she was shown at home, crying into a shirt. It wasn’t clear if she’d broken up with Calvin, who had just left his wife for her. Well, the number of men who rotated out of her bed in just two episodes would suggest that they are not together. And the way she treats the men the next morning implies she’s not trying to get attached. Do you, boo. Do you. However, still no mention of her paying back that $10,000 she took from the farm.
Nova’s latest cause is drawing attention to the predatory bail practices that keep poor people in jail and ruin their lives before they’re even tried for their crimes. Micah’s recent experience of being arrested for “driving while black” connects him to this as he was only released because of his father’s celebrity. He’s no doubt wondering what happens to young black men with little finances and fathers who aren’t NBA stars. As I mentioned in my season one reviews and podcast, it would be easy to make Micah an entitled rich kid, but Queen Sugar has instead gone a better route and uses Micah to address important topics. I hope this — and Nova’s influence on him — continues.
Charley manipulated Davis and his teammate Felix so that Davis would sign with the NBA team in Louisiana, which also secured her an investor in her mill. “After the Winter” kicks off with her being turned down for a loan unless Davis is involved with the business. This serves to remind Remy that Charley isn’t completely free, and he puts the brakes on their relationship until she is. By the second hour (“To Usward”), Charley finds herself on Remy’s doorstep after Micah shuts her out. He shares with her the story of losing his wife four years ago, and maintains that she needs to mourn the end of her marriage before beginning a commitment with him. They really are making Remy the perfect man, y’all.
Speaking of raggedy-ass Davis, just when their divorce mediations were set to end and the papers were to be signed, he decides he wants joint custody of Micah. Seeing as how Charley forged his signature on the loan paperwork, she might be forced to go along with this to stay on Davis’ good side. It’s gross that this is a possibility, but Charley has only herself to blame for Davis’ presence in their lives and Louisiana.
Meanwhile, Ralph Angel hasn’t told anyone about finding his father’s amended will. Where I thought Darla might be a voice in his ear pushing him to fight his sisters for the farm, she instead encourages him to work with them and suggests they might surprise him. Ralph Angel’s reservations aren’t without cause. While Aunt Vi and Nova are supportive and commend him on his executive decisions with the farm, Charley is still micro-managing him.
Ralph Angel is the character I struggle with the most. It pains me that Charley doesn’t see what everyone else does, and Kofi Siriboe competently conveys Ralph Angel’s frustration with a world that insists on pushing him a step back whenever he has forward movement, but when he questions Darla’s need to continue seeing her sponsor and attending Narcotics Anonymous meetings, it makes my teeth itch. I cheered when she suggested they slow things down and stop playing house. Drastic changes are a threat to her sobriety and I love that, once again, Queen Sugar isn’t going the easy route with these characters.
Aunt Vi and Hollywood’s separation felt contrived when season one came to an end, so I was happy to see them reconciled by the end of the second hour. It’s not clear if he was ignoring her earlier calls, but he finally answers his cell aboard the rig he’s been working on when she calls about Micah. He calms her as only he can and they both admit they want to see each other; the way they parted was rubbish. When Vi learns there was an explosion on the rig, I don’t think anyone truly believed Hollywood would be killed or injured; it was still satisfying to see him step off the bus and rush into Vi’s arms. The only downside to this reunion? No more drunk Vi in the club showing her entire black ass when someone (in this case, Davis) pisses her off.
Leave your thoughts on the premiere below or on our Facebook post for this review, and we’ll read them on the podcast this weekend.
Queen Sugar S2E1/S2E2
"After the Winter" and "To Usward"
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, Bianca Lawson