Recap Renegade

Queen Sugar – Pleasure is Black

June 22, 2019

Skip Bolen/Warner Bros. Entertainment

Season 4, Episode 1

Queen Sugar is back – finally!!! I missed the Bordelons so much and they came with all the drama. Let’s get into it…

Nova. Nova. Nova. At the end of the last season, Nova had finished her book. It’s called “Blessing and Blood” but from this point on I am calling it Nova’s Book of Secrets (NBOS) for short. We already knew from one of the last scenes of last season (when she was taking post it notes off of her vision board), that she would be including stuff about Charley, Davis and Malina (which is none of her business) and Blue’s paternity (again…none of her business).

The show begins with Nova recording a synopsis of her book. She believes it is our secrets that are killing us. In her book, she offers her family’s secrets as a sacrifice and a guide for how we can all be and get free (self-righteous, much?) I mean…I don’t disagree with what she is saying, but there were so many ways she could have dealt with secrets. And there were so many ways that she could have written this book so that it would not have such a harsh impact on her family. I am just so bothered by the route she chose. She is nervous about it and it’s showing. Her publicist (I am assuming that’s who she was) is surprised to hear that Nova’s family doesn’t know about the content of her book. They need to address the elephant in the room because people will ask why she is spilling the tea on her famous sister and kicking her brother who just got on his feet. Her publisher calls and they are moving up the book release. This bomb will explode sooner than expected. At the grand opening of Vi’s new diner (it’s called Vi’s Prized Pies and Diner – VPPD for short), a patron mentions that her sister saw a billboard for her book in NY. Why hasn’t she said anything about it? Hollywood overhears the convo and follows up on it immediately. He questions Nova about why she hasn’t told them about the release and he is real suspicious of what she has decided to write about it. He tells her that his job is to protect Vi and he plans on doing that AND that she BET not have no secrets in that book. Now…I wonder how Hollywood jumped all the way to that conclusion. Was it because of that last article she wrote about Ernest without anyone’s knowledge that caught them off guard? Perhaps. But, Hollywood ain’t happy and he hasn’t even seen the book yet.

In a rare Queen Sugar move, we get a glimpse of the young Bordelon siblings via a dream/nightmare that Nova has. They are playing tag and running when they are called in for dinner. Charley and RA take off running and so does Nova. Nova falls and when she gets up, she is an adult and dressed in the same white dress she wore at Ernest’s funeral. Charley and RA are standing before her, dressed in their funeral attire as well. They are silent. And Nova awakes from her dream and has a mini anxiety attack. Sis…you think you are having anxiety now, you just wait til Charley and the gang read that book. The wrath will be real. I promise. Maybe it’s the dream that finally compels her to give her family copies of NBOS. The rest of the Nova’s time in this episode was spent delivering copies of NBOS to the family members that she has thrown under the bus. I call this “Nova’s Trail of Tears.” First stop…Charley. Hey…why not. It’s clear that she’s the one Nova cares the least about. She drops by the mill where Charley is busy being the bawse. It’s harvest season and Charley is working overtime. There’s an awkwardness in the convo between them. Nova tells her the book will be out soon and Charley is surprised. She congratulates her on the book and gives her a hug. Nova wanted to see if they could grab a bite to eat and discuss the book, but Charley has an event to attend in the evening and can’t make it happen. Nova offers to go with her, but Charley declines (now that I know what happens at the event, I wonder how it would have gone down if Nova had attended with Charley…hmmm. More on that in the Charley section). Anyway, Charley is busy and has to go. She tells Nova she can’t wait to read it. All I could do is shake my head. Next stop was to Vi’s diner. Nova basically sneaks in and slides by Hollywood. She leaves a copy of NBOS on Vi’s desk, but does so with great reluctance. The final stop was RA’s house. RA tells her he’s proud of her. He’s painting outside with Blue so Nova tells him she will just leave the trash book in the office. She does that with tears in her eyes. Listen, Nova. If you are crying as you drop your manuscript off to your family, you KNOW you are wrong. In what was perhaps the most beautiful and aesthetically pleasing scene of the night, Nova visits Ernest’s grave. She is on her knees, crying and telling Ernest that she is seeking the same kind of freedom that he has in death. People will not understand why she is doing this (you got that right) but she grew up with too many secrets. She is asking for strength to see this thru. *le sigh* Ok, Nova. If you seek freedom from family secrets, I suggest a family therapist as your first choice, not a tell all book. I don’t know what else is in the book, but the stuff that we know so far doesn’t fall in the longtime family secret bucket. Charley’s situation isn’t a family secret and it had nothing to do with her. They just found out about Blue’s paternity so that hasn’t been weighing on her for that long. So, I need more info. On another note, if this book were real, I would have already pre-ordered it on Audible. LOL. I know it’s full of piping hot tea. I hate how it will hurt the rest of the Bordelons tho. *le sigh*

We find Charley in the last place we would expect to…on a massage table. Let’s just take a moment and appreciate that. I cannot recall ever seeing Charley relax since I have met her. This is epic. And what’s even epicer (yep, made that up) is that it’s a couple’s massage with her boo thang, Romero! Hey, Romero. Hey, boy…hey! Apparently, they have been having a little summer romance, and Romero planned a little getaway. I ain’t mad. I ship’d them at the end of the last season and I am happy to see them still together. #teamChamero. While on the tables, they chat about how the real world awaits. Charley has harvest and Micah is coming home soon. Romero finishes up with his massage and the masseuses leave and HE takes over. As he is giving Charley a massage, he tells her (in Spanish) to not think about the real world, right now its just them. In Spanish, Charley tells Romero that he is a kind, loving and patient man. Romero tells her that he will wait for her and for them for as long as it takes and Charley thanks him. He also refers to her as “mi amor.” He compliments her on how good her Spanish is and she tells him that a lot of things are getting good. I am here for all of this bilingual love, chile. Yassssss.

The lovebirds are back from wherever they went and Romero has prepared a meal for Charley before she heads off to be the bawse. It seems like this was real natural for them so I guess they have been doing this all summer. Romero gets serious for a minute and he is concerned about being introduced to Micah for the first time. Surprisingly, Charley hasn’t thought that far. She is enjoying the moment (good for her) and all she knows is that she doesn’t want what they have to end. She tells him that she loves and appreciates how thoughtful he is. He kisses her hand and they playfully talk about the dinner she has to attend for the “Boss Women of NOLA.” He thinks that’s kinda hot. LOL. And I think that I am going to love this relationship. Romero is so gentle and attentive. I know that with all the bombs that are about to explode in Charley’s world, she will need a soft place to land and I am glad he is there.

At Vi’s grand opening, Councilwoman Barrera stops by. Remember her from the council meeting last season? Romero had also mentioned that he worked on her campaign and and that she has been a force for the immigrant community. CB comes bearing 2 gifts for Vi. One from her and one from Frances Boudreaux. Oh, really now? Apparently, Frances has been very generous lately and has given money to the re-election campaign AND for a consultant. CB assumed Charley knew about that since she is a partner in Landry Enterprises, but Charley tells her that she doesn’t own enough stock to go to the meetings (guess she had to give up quite a bit) and now she only gets meeting minutes and an occasional check. But, y’all know Charley is real suspicious of this activity. Why would Frances be so involved and interested in CB’s campaign? Something ain’t right and a few things are prolly about to happen. Charley is gonna start digging to find out what the hell is going on and then put a plan in motion to mess it all up for them. Remember when Charley gave that speech at the council meeting about the prison? I said then that we would should prepare ourselves for #Charley2020. Welp…maybe that will happen sooner rather than later.

At the Boss Women of NOLA dinner, Charley is being honored for blazing her own trails in the sugar mill business and empowering women. Charley barely got two whole sentences out before a reporter jumps up to ask her questions. First of all, where is the dayum security. Second, she was so outta order. Charley tells her that she will answer questions later, but ole girl persists. The reporter has received an advanced copy of NBOS and is ambushing Charley. She wants to know if Charley believes she mishandled the Melina situation. Charley has no idea what she is talking about. She is confused and blindsided. The reporter continues and reads an excerpt from the book to Charley. Lawd, y’all. My heart dropped. And the reaction of the attendees is exactly how the public will react. The ladies were live streaming on their phones and sitting on the edge of their seats waiting to get a sip of that hot tea. And Charley was standing there speechless. Now…Nova had asked if she could come to this dinner with Charley. What would have happened if that had happened? Chile…

It’s interesting that Nova chose this as one of the problems she has with Charley (I am sure there’s more, but this is all we know for now). I still stand by my opinion that this is not a “family secret” or any of Nova’s dayum business. Beyond that, I think that Charley already paid her dues, apologized and repented for those sins. I wonder how much of the story Nova actually knows. Let’s travel back to Season 1, shall we? In the beginning, Davis told Charley that he was with a prostitute ONE time and that was it. Later, on a radio program, Nova basically called Davis a rapist (Charley’s words) and Charley went in on Nova. That was when she told Nova that Melina wanted millions from them (big mistake). Previously, Charley had rolled up on Melina and asked her what she wanted from them (the bribe) in an attempt to be done with this situation and save her marriage. Charley handled it the way Charley is used to handling it. Was it wrong? Yes. Charley is also guilty of leaking Melina’s name to the press. She confessed this to Nova (another mistake) and told Nova that she wasn’t a good person. She regretted that decision. Nova comforted her and told her that she had a card to play and she played it. Charley thought she had handled the situation, and at the attorney’s office, they signed a settlement agreement. But that was also when Charley learned the truth. She was not a prostitute, she was in a relationship with Davis for three years. Upon hearing that, she immediately apologized to Melina and left. She also told Davis that he was a monster and had turned her into one too and they were done. After she played Davis and got money to start her mill, she donated $1Million of it to an organization that supports sex workers in Melina’s name. So…how much of the rest of the story did Nova even know? She did know that Charley had regrets, but did she know that Charley apologized and attempted to make it right? Charley acknowledged that Davis and his lies turned her into someone she didn’t want to be. Does Nova cover any of this in the book? I’d love to know. And, I need to put on my lawyer hat for a minute. The terms of the settlement were confidential. If any of the parties speak on it, the agreement has been breached. So…whose to say that Melina won’t come after Davis and Charley again for some more cash because Nova couldn’t keep her mouth shut? Charley has already requested that her lawyers drop papers for a cease and desist. I fully support it. Davis and Charley have enough money to keep Nova in court and make her use all her new found best-seller book money defending herself. And because I dabble in petty, I would approve of such actions.

Anyway, after the ambush at the awards dinner, Charley comes home and she is BIG MAD. She throws that trash book on the sofa, pours herself a glass of wine, takes it to the head and starts reading Nova’s book. From the looks of it, the shenanigans began on page ONE. She reads throughout the night. She is the first of the fam to do so. The first bomb has exploded. She calls RA and wakes him. They need to talk. She begs him not to read the book. She wants to talk to him first. He tells her that he will wait for her. Although I know that there’s nothing but heartbreak that will follow, I was so happy for this moment. Charley was attempting to protect RA from the inevitable. Those two have come so far. I am guessing that Nova’s book with bring them closer.

Ralph Angel
Ralph Angel is talking to his crew about the afternoon appointment they have with Queen Sugar. Prosper drops by with some important mail for RA. RA thanks Prosper for his time and help on the farm. The letter that Prosper delivered was from the Parole Board. Parole is over and RA is a free man. Prosper smiles with pride and tells him that his Daddy is shining on him and he is pleased and proud. Prosper drives off and RA is overwhelmed. He re-reads the letter, smiles and takes off running. This is definitely a metaphor for running to freedom. Yes, RA! Yes!

All of RA’s people show up at the grand opening. Toine and Parole Office roll thru. They want him to consider starting a re-entry program and hire more folks on the farm for harvest time. This would be a great way to honor his pops.

Darla comes to the VPPD, too. She is there to pick up Blue. And, you know what? Darla looks goodt. She has a gift for Vi and Vi is mad shady towards Darla. RA calls her on it, but Vi don’t care. She disagrees with the way they are co-parenting (handing him back and forth). Anyway, Darla asks RA if he could watch Blue on one of her days. Darla has a date. RA wasn’t ready for that info, but it is what it is.

Later, RA and Blue are at what seems to be a carnival/festival-ish event. They are throwing the football and having some good ole father/son time when a little girl, named Joie rolls up and catches the ball. Her mom, Deesha, apologizes for it and tells RA that she can be without boundaries sometimes. She compliments RA on Blue’s name and they have a nice little convo. So…I am thinking that maybe this is a new love interest for RA. Hmmmm….

Back at the farm, RA and Blue (in their cute matching overalls) have a heart to heart about the end of his parole. It’s a another “P” word that they need to discuss. It just means that now he is done with prison and after prison and he “passed the test.” Blue congratulates him. *tear*

RA gets the early morning call from Charley and doesn’t listen. He doesn’t wait until she gets to the house. He starts reading. Immediately he gets to the part about Blue. And how the family has kept the secret that Blue is not his. And how the family has had to deal with his “fragile ego.” Lawd. Y’all know RA got anger management issues. He is already in tears. He throws the book on the floor.

Aunt Vi
Vi and Hollywood are back from there honeymoon and ready to open “Vi’s Prized Pies and Diner.” Vi is finally living her dream. The grand opening of VPPD begins with a second line down the street, with all of the Bordelons. Man…I am so glad we have this moment of togetherness for them. I will cherish it because it’s gonna be a long time before we see unity again. When they get to VPPD, Hollywood presents Vi with a crown because she’s a queen and Vi gives a speech. She is thankful for all who came, thankful to the ancestors for being everywhere and WELCOME to her new spot! The party seemed live and they had a great time. Oh, and there’s a Blue’s Corner at the diner and Blue was hustling to make some coinZ. LOL.

Boogie’s cousin, Junior, shows up to sing. And guess what…it’s Tevin Campbell!! Cousin Junior sings one of Vi’s favorite songs, Amazing Grace and the crowd is happy. Maybe that was the perfect selection for the fam. They gon need all the grace they can get. And Jesus…they gon need Jesus, too.

The next morning, Hollywood finds the book on Vi’s desk. Vi hasn’t seen it yet. He thumbs through it and comes to the part about her. “America’s curse is its thin sense of freedom that demands we all pretend to be free. We lie. This is what we do. In Blessings and Blood the lies that I have lived are laid bare. The lies and shame that have shackled my family are dragged into the light of truth, because what is real can heal. We see this clearly in the life of my Aunt Violet, a strong black woman who lived much of her life as anything but that.” Hollywood’s mouth is wide open. Vi ain’t gonna take this well.

The timing of Nova’s bombshell is crazy and sad because everyone is actually in a good space. Vi and Hollywood are newlyweds and living the dream – finally. RA has farmed all 800 acres, got off parole, dealt with the paternity issue and is in a good place with co-parenting with Darla. Charley is finally able to run Queen Sugar as the sole owner and has found a happiness with a new love. And here comes Nova effing it all up. The consequences are terrible for all of them, but I think Charley stands to lose the most. She has done a pretty good job of controlling the narrative of her public life and Nova just took all of it away. Also, she has the Landrys breathing down her back on a daily basis. Did Nova just give them all of the ammunition they will need to ruin her? Will Melina file suit against her (and Davis) to get some more coinz? Will what Nova has written change the way Romero feels about Charley? How will Micah react after he learns the truth about what his father actually did and what his mom did to try to fix it? Yall know Micah ain’t loyal. I fully expect him to side with Nova and cause Charley more heartache.

Whew! This episode was A LOT. There was no easing into this season. I know that in the end they will find a way to back to each other, but right now, that path is anything but clear.

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