Previously on Queen Sugar, “On These I Stand”
For a penultimate episode “Copper Sun” was fine in moving pieces into place for a dramatic finale. Ralph Angel has rallied the family to his side after Darla’s confession, and Charley’s first harvest is tainted by Landry interference. The problem with the latter is that the obstacles feel poorly manufactured. Sam Landry bullying farmers into abandoning Charley is one thing — it’s a brilliant move because it then forces Charley to be the one to take legal action and look like the bigger bad guy — but spreading rumors that her mill isn’t up and running shouldn’t be enough to have farmers, once again, stop doing business with her or threaten to do so. Charley is, once again, forced to reassure a farmer at the High Yellow. Despite her honest transparency, he doesn’t believe her. Despite the fact that they have more access to her than they surely had to Landry, another farmer also panics when he can’t get Charley on the phone to address the rumors. What is stopping any of these men from going to the mill themselves to see that it’s operational? And why isn’t Charley, as business savvy as she is, answering her phone?
It’s particularly frustrating once Nova warns her that a story will run in the paper that alleges there’s all kinds of turmoil at the mill. We’ve seen Charley in spin mode, yet here she’s shook even though nothing has yet happened that warrants going radio silent to her clients and not offering up a tour of the mill so they can see for themselves that everything is fine.
This continues an annoying trend with Charley’s storyline. She’s an outsider, the sugar business isn’t her forte, and she’s a woman. So, yeah, resistance (even from the Black farmers who knew her father) and hesitation is understandable since even among the Black farmers it’s been made clear the business is a boys club. But every few episodes? She keeps getting called to the High Yellow to hold nervous hands when everything she has promised to do has been done. If blatant threats from Landry weren’t enough to get most of them to bail, why are rumors that can be easily squashed doing it?
The fact that all of this comes after Jacob Boudreaux (Lea Coco) makes a surprise offer to go into business with Charley and she turns him down feels like an opportunity for her to either change her mind or make him think she has, and yet another opportunity for Remy to question her capabilities with a side of jealousy for good measure. I’m really over it.
There’s an important distinction made when Ralph Angel finally gathers the family to tell them about Darla’s confession. He says he’s not Blue’s father. Full stop. That’s not what Darla said. Now, does it matter in terms of how devastated they all are? Probably not by much, but enough that the distinction should have been made. Darla lied and she’s wrong for it, but not disclosing that she’s uncertain if he’s Blue’s father robs everyone of hope. Whether Ralph Angel did this because he’s so devastated he’s not thinking straight or because he truly believes he’s not Blue’s father is unclear. The outcome would most likely have been the same: Charley fires Darla and Darla has to stay with her sponsor. I truly hope this doesn’t lead to a relapse.
Micah posts an open letter to his school’s administration on all the lockers in school. It works in getting the sword and other Confederate displays removed, but it earns him a 30-day suspension from school.
Understandable that Vi wouldn’t want to tell the family about her illness under the current circumstances, but it’s a good thing Nova figured it out. Vi’s going to need all the support she can get as she’ll undoubtedly continue to put the others first during their drama.
Give this precious baby all the fried chicken wings, rice and beans and shrimp that his little belly can handle!
What did you think of the episode? Leave your thoughts below or on our Facebook post for this review, and we’ll read them on the podcast this weekend.