Recap Renegade

Queen Sugar – I Am

September 12, 2019

The Bordelons have been through a lot this season. There was loss and love, grief and joy, defeats and victories, anger and forgiveness, and turbulence and peace. They have overcome some gigantic obstacles, but emerged as a united front and ready to fight the next battle – together.


Welp. Charlotte earned the first section again because she had an action packed few days. It seems to be the day after Micah’s non-Harvard sendoff party. The streamers and balloons have been taken down, but haven’t made their way to the trash yet. They are still in the den. I guess Charley is still recovering from that blow because that house is always pristine.  Micah is in the kitchen making a sandwich.  Their first glance at each other is extremely awkward. Charley makes her way to the bar and asks if he made a sandwich for her. He shares half of his. They both begin to speak at the same time, but Micah beats her to it with, “I’m sorry.” Charley lets him speak. He is sorry for the way he sprung the Harvard news on her.  She appreciates the apology and lets him know that her response wasn’t just about Harvard.  Especially with this election, she wants to make sure that Micah has every advantage in life. He says he already has advantages, which he is thankful for, and he wants to use them to help others. Charley wants that for him too, but she tells Micah that she is going to need some time to digest this whole thing.  Ok. First, thank you Micah for apologizing.  My main issue with the way this news came out was HOW it came out.  It wasn’t about his dream or his passion or about PWI v HBCU. For me, it was about logistics – time and place.  Charley deserved to have that conversation with him in private and he should have had a heart to heart with her long before his graduation party.  I am thankful that Charley did not approach him with anger.  More than anything, she seemed hurt and maybe a bit defeated. I didn’t expect this to be all wrapped up overnight and for all of the feelings and dreams she has had for her only child for years to just go away. I am glad that this conversation wasn’t another argument.  She heard him out. And now she will have to do what she has to do to move forward. What I want most for her is to enjoy her kid-free life. Micah got bout 2 more months of living in her house. After that, she needs to do her. 

Once Charley told Micah that she needed more time, she apologized to Micah because she knows that’s not what he wants to hear right now. I wanted that conversation to last longer, but Micah walks away and then there’s a knock at the door. Actually, it was banging…like the po-po. And that was because it was, in fact, the po-po. Yes, friends. The SJPD has come to Charley’s mini-mansion to arrest her. #fixitJesus  She is under arrest for arson with the intent to defraud. Lawd, lawd. This wasn’t a total surprise since the police came by last week to question her.  Charley had to know that they weren’t done with this. But I am sure she didn’t expect to be arrested.  At the police station, the Bordelones rally for Charley.  Micah is on the phone. Nova is pacing.  Vi is trying to stay calm and RA is acting TF out.  This past season, we have seen RA and Charley develop a new type of bond and he seems the angriest over her arrest. I know they not tryna keep my sister overnight over this BS! A cop says, “Sir, language” and RA says, “Sir, racism.” I cackled. He was right, but I need for RA to have a seat before he catches a case. He JUST got off parole.  We don’t need no more problems with the law. Simmer down, RA.  Vi tells him to have a seat.  RA is pissed…and he’s still all loud in the police station.  They tryna break us. They been tryna break us. Who called all the reporters? Huh? Nova tries to quell the situation, but she forgot that RA ain’t messing with her yet.  She tells him to pipe down because Micah is on the phone with Charley’s lawyer.  Nobody was talking to you, Nova! Can I be honest? I am here for RA shuttin Nova down. Ain’t nobody else giving her the business like they should.  And just when I got scared that RA was gonna say something else, Charley is released.  The first person to hug her and ask if she’s ok was Micah. She’s good and she’s out on a fixed bail.  I kept thinking about Season 2, when Micah was arrested and Charley anxiously waited for Micah’s release and the way she hugged him that night.  Her lawyer will have this foolishness tossed out asaptually.  They know they have nothing on her.  Charley signs herself out (with an attitude) and Nova tells her about the reporters outside.  She needs to decide how she wants to handle it. Charlotte asks Aunt Vi if she has a compact. Of course Auntie got one. And that’s when I knew that whatever was coming next was gon be goodT.  Charlotte had to get her hair and makeup right for her closeup with the press. Give it to them, Sis! Give the people what they want. Charley strolls towards the door (with that Charley walk) pushes the double doors open and unleashes the fire.   

Outside of the station, Charlotte “Badazz” Bordelon is ready.  The reporters have been waiting.  

Note: Charley’s speech on the stairs, in yet another fly alphet, requires me to give you an actual transcript. You’re welcome. 

Reporter: Is it true you are under the suspicion of setting your own mill on fire? 

CB: That’s speculative stupidity.  I stand before you now because there is no substance to this arrest and the warrant was sought after by Sheriff Gidry who has THREE open cases of corruption against him.  Their only so-called evidence is a drip torch with my prints that was found at the scene. But of course, a drip torch is a common tool owned by most farmers and sugar mills.  My lawyer didn’t even have to fly in to cast doubt on this charade.   

Reporter: You’re saying you’re innocent. 

CB: Ya DAYUM right I’m innocent.  To whomever is fueling these attacks on me and my family. To whomever tried and failed to permanently purge our supporters from the voter rolls, it won’t work.  When you come for me and the people of St. Jo, you betta not miss. AND YOU MISSED. We’ll see you at the polls.  

And she walks through the reporters with all of the Bordelons behind her. Her squad.   

At the diner, Vi awaits Sam’s arrival.  Didn’t I call in the favor? Why you draggin yo feet?  Sam says he had to let the whole thing play out a bit further to make sure it was air tight.  He delivers everything she needs on Frances. All the receipts. Sam got all the receipts.  Vi said she would say thank you, but he owes her, so…there’s that.  Sam asks about Betty, who apparently is Sam’s black baby mama. Vi lost touch with Betty years ago, but his daughter graduated from Spelman (love how all the HBCUs stay poppin up) and then Wharton (see how you can do an HBCU AND an Ivy League – take note Micah) about 10 or 15 years ago. Sam says that in a different time, they could have been a family. But, when that happened, his father would have killed him. So, Vi helped Betty get out of town and convinced Sam’s dad that the whole thing was a rumor. That’s why Sam owed Vi.  Vi tells him that he could have at least stayed in touch, but he says that if Frances had ever found out about his black child, she would have sold him out and his dad would have cut him off. Vi encourages Sam to do better now that he knows better. He says that maybe he will – one day.  And then Vi dismisses him. 

Vi made a beeline to Charley’s house. Charley is on the phone with her lawyer and the charges will be officially dropped in the morning.  Nova offers Vi some tea but Vi says she’s too upset for tea. She’s too upset too drink it, but she ain’t too upset to pour it. She brought over some PIPING HOT Lipton for Charley. She hands over all of the receipts on Frances.  Nova and Charley quickly go through the docs.  Financial books from Landry Enterprises (the real ones – the ones Charley been tryna get her hands on), payments to people she’s never heard of (except Hank Miller), bank transactions from offshore accounts…all the tea. Nova asks Vi where she got this stuff from and Vi told her it was nunya and they forget that she got history on her side.  Charley is speechless.  She keeps going thru the docs and she comes upon emails from Frances’ home server (real Hillary Clinton-ish, ey) between Frances and Hank. They were planning the ICE raid AND talking about the best methods to torch Charley’s mill in a way that would flag the insurance company. Charley is relieved. They can take Frances down. Nova reminds her that there are bigger forces at play.  They don’t have all the info they need. Vi tells them to keep looking.  

The fam is together and they are readying the diner for Charley’s election night shindig.  Vi wants Charley to go and focus on something else besides helping to set up. Charley can’t. All of the exit polls have deemed this race too close to call. She needs to stay busy and keep her mind off this. And then our favorite author walks in, with her boo, Calvin.  Nothing but open mouths.  Vi is the first to be introduced. Ah, yes Calvin, I have read…I mean heard so much about you.  Ain’t nothing like that shade tree Aunt Vi got. Next is Charley. She is poised, as usual and accepts Calvin’s good luck wishes. Woke Micah is next. Oh, Lord. He looked PISSED when they walked in. Will there be another moment of standing in truth for young Micah? No. There wasn’t.  At first, he was shady. But then Calvin congratulates him on his new college plans and commends his strength for changing his path.  And…it seems all is well.  RA walks out, but there were no introductions.  He still ain’t effin with Nova like that. Nova and Calvin are relieved. 

The party is in full swing. It’s going to be a close one and Jacob is leading by 3%.  All of the air is sucked out of the room. Charlotte does what Charlotte does and gives the crowd some encouragement. This race was supposed to be a landslide and they are giving them a real race.  No matter the outcome, they will continue to fight.  They didn’t come all this way to give up in the home stretch.  They will keep fighting.  Charley then goes to check on Joaquin. She wants him to know that she hasn’t let up on his father and brother’s asylum cases.  She won’t stop until she sees them released.  It’s looking like they have a chance. Joaquin is thankful.   

And the final results are in.  They have called the race for CHARLOTTE “BADAZZ” BORDELON. Charley can’t even believe it herself. The entire family embraces her in a group hug. Darla is there too and hugs Charley (awwwwww…I miss Charley and Darla’s relationship.)  Nothing but smiles. And Micah leads the crowd in congratulating Councilwoman Bordelon. And Charley hugs him again. Yassssss! Come on thru, Charlotte. EYE will hold the door. This scene was pure joy. Congratulations, Councilwoman Bordelon.  Ya’ll. I cried like I had canvassed the neighborhood for Charley and casted my vote that morning.  And to finally see Charley win was everything. The smile on her face was priceless. We haven’t seen that all season.   

Fresh off of her victory, Charley strolls into a restaurant to meet the antebellum hag aka Frances. Of note is Charley’s suit. Black. Rhinestone buttons. High collar. Looking like she is coming to bring a good word to the brethren.  Oh, yes. Councilwoman Bordelon is feeling good.  She looks to her right. Sam is seated there. I believe she sees him.  Frances has ordered iced tea for her…because she seems to like to order for Charley (remember how she did that at the Country Club and Charley declined).  Frances congratulates Charley. You managed to pull off a win. Charley told her she did, despite Frances ole tired efforts. Frances says that Jacob’s heart was never in politics anyway, but that’s he’s her son. You can’t fault her for wanting to see him win.  That reminded me a lot of Charley and Micah’s situation. Charley just wants to see Micah win and give him whatever tools he needs to do it.  Anyway, Frances has called her here today to talk about future opportunities for them to work together. She hopes that the ugliness of the past won’t stand in the way. Excuse me, bish? So…here’s the plan. If Charley shows herself to be loyal to the Council’s overarching goals, there may be more resources available to her. Maybe she can rebuild her mill (she forgot Charley was rich) or have more flexibility in how the highway takes shape and where.  Charley can’t believe she is being bribed and she hasn’t even been sworn in yet…and the bribe is coming from a “dead woman walking.” Frances is confused.  Dead woman walking? What are you talking about, Charlotte? She’s talking about the payments Frances made to Hank Miller, and the payments he made to the men who set fire to her mill. They have confessed. Hank has been arrested.  So, if Frances has an explanation for this foolery, Charlotte is sure that the po-po would love to hear it.  And at that moment, a parade of police come to arrest Frances. She refused to be handcuffed by the black police officer and asks to speak to his manager.  Charley’s face says it all. What audacity. Girl, bye. Frances has to do the walk of shame out the place. As she is escorted out, Sam lifts his drink to her.  Charley looks over at him. And then Charley gets a message. Parker Campbell is requesting a meeting with her. The elusive Parker Campbell. This will be interesting.  

Still in that badazz suit, Charley pays this Parker Campbell a visit.  She walks into an office. There’s a white man sitting at the desk and a black woman standing. Charley barges in. So…I finally get to meet the elusive Parker Campbell. She is talking at the man sitting at the desk, but it’s the sistah who turns around and says she will be with her in minute. Lawd, yall. EYE was not ready. Parker Campbell is a black woman. A sistah. Parker excuses her assistant. The look on Charley’s face tho. My Lawd.  Parker introduces herself.  She is in charge of “community relations” at the Beckington Group and basically she makes things happen. SHE is the HNIC.  She advises the lobbying group on where and when to invest. And she smooths things over in the communities that she wrecks.  Oh, word? Charley says…so…you’re a lobbyist who’s sold her soul to work for the Koch brothers. Got it.  Parker is like whoa…why it gotta be “all that.”  She is a businesswoman who lobbies on the side of whomever is winning and right now that isn’t Charley or St. Jo.  However, Parker does admit that the Bordelons have caused them way more trouble than they anticipated. Frances is their main line into St. Jo. Correction, Parker. She WAS…she’s going to jail now.  Parker doesn’t flinch. She clearly has confidence that Frances ain’t going down for the arson. I am sure Parker will do all in her power to get Frances free. Parker also admits that Frances underestimated Charlotte, but she won’t make the same mistake. They still got the highway. Charley reminds her that they did not get their councilman tho…so womp.  But that’s why Charley has been summoned. Parker is asking for Charley’s cooperation in their dismantling of St. Jo.  Cooperate with us. Us? Whose us? Parker tells her assistant to fetch her father. And guess who the hayle her father is. Sam gahtdamb Landry! My mind was totally blown and so was Charley’s.  At the sight of Sam, Charley jumps out of her seat. She grabbed her purse, too, which I thought was amusing and interesting. What on EarF are you doing here?  Sam thanks Charley for her help with Frances.  And all that has transpired confirms that Sam did the right thing by keeping Parker away from St. Jo. So, this is the child that Aunt Vi knew about and Sam pretended to not be in contact with. He has been in contact and has been grooming his child thee whole time.  Anywho, Sam says it was best that another woman take Frances out anyway, for appearance sake.  Parker gets back to business. Charley, we would appreciate your cooperation as we bring fracking and the highway to St. Jo.  Charley finally had a minute to recover.  This is all very cute, but since she was elected to stop the highway, this is a waste of time and she pivots to head on out. Well…Parker isn’t finished. I will take your land. The Beckington Group has already sent a letter of intent to condemn and possess RA’s farm. Charley says it will NEVER happen and steps up in Parker’s personal space (you know…the same way she stepped up in Frances’ face at the Country Club.)  You don’t know me. Parker didn’t flinch and claps back. “And, you don’t know me.”  

Whew, chile!!!!! Charley has a worthy adversary in Parker. Parker is similarly situated in almost every way. I cannot wait to see these two battle it out in Season 5 (please, God, let there be a Season 5.)  This plot twist was a stroke of genius.  Charley and Parker. Both with masculine names. Both bi-racial. Both children of privilege. Both well-educated. Both savvy businesswomen. Both “back home.” Both with something to prove. Both wanting to make their daddies proud.  

I immediately thought of Strom Thurmond’s bi-racial daughter and how she came out of the shadows late in life.  Strom had always taken care of her, but only financially, and only in darkness.  Sam kept Parker out of St. Jo. She is back now because Sam has nothing to lose and probably because he knows that it will take someone like Charley to beat Charley.  Strom, with his black child. Sam, with his black child. Both of them spent a lifetime stealing from and disrepecting black people.  How do they really feel about their kids? 


Darla has come to the farm with groceries for the boys. She is going to cook them dinner.  RA and Darla have also decided to give Blue his gift from Papa together.  Pop wasn’t able to give Blue his gift on his birthday because he got sick.  Blue opens it. It’s a beach ball. Pop knew he loved the water.  But, the gift makes Blue sad. He misses Pop.   

Darla wants to have a heart-to-heart with RA before she gets started on that dinner.  The night of the storm, they told each other that they would never stop loving each other.  They never finished that conversation, but she wants to.  RA does, too.  RA apologizes for the hurt he has caused. Darla says that she appreciates it, but she has to be accountable for herself. RA tells her that she has been through A LOT and he recounts all of past tribulations. Darla doesn’t want to be seen as those labels. She wants RA to see her like he did before.  RA says he can’t do that.  And I was like…dayum, RA. But then he says that he sees so much more now. She is more brave, more beautiful and better than he has ever seen. Go, RA! I see you, Darla, all of you. I love all of you. Whew, chile. Now look. I am on the fence about these two and their relationship, but this scene got me.  RA tells Darla he loves her. She tells RA she loves him. They kiss. 

Nova comes back to the farm to give reconciliation with RA another shot.  She has come to apologize (shocker) and would like for him to allow her to do so.  She tells RA that their mom is buried on the farm.  RA doesn’t believe her.  Pop would have told them if that were true. Nova tells RA about Martha and how Martha told her all of this new info.  Tru is buried there because that was her last gift to Ernest.  RA is skeptical. He aint nevah heard of no Martha. Nova hands over the journal that Martha gave her. It belonged to Tru and has all of her notes.  Nova tells RA that she cannot stay away from the farm because their mom is there. They were not supposed to know so that they would not feel tied to the land.  It was just between Ernest and Tru. There’s not even a grave marker.  RA thumbs through the book and finds his mom’s recipes for home remedies.  Tru had also kept notes. One of them was about Nova and RA and how Nova took great care of him. And that her greatest dream is that their bond remain tight.  The farm is consecrated ground for her and for them.  Nova apologizes but says something good came of it.  They can now work on them. She wants to fix it and re-earn his trust…if he will allow it. They need to stand together now, more than ever. There are people who hate everything they stand for – they cannot be at war with each other.  RA recognizes a picture of a plant in the journal. Ethyl plants. Tru used them all the time and they grow on the farm here and there. There is one spot where they grow wild.  He saw that spot when he was playing with Blue. They need to find Tru’s final resting place. And RA hugs Nova. And just like that, all is well…I guess. 

Nova decided to do what she should have done a long time ago, and got Prosper to answer some questions about Ernest, in hopes that they can find where Tru is buried.  Prosper had no idea.  But Prosper and Ernest used to walk the fields when Ernest was going through bouts of depression.  There were times when Ernest would be in the field talking to himself. But that wasn’t the case. Ernest was talking to Tru.  There was one spot where Ernest would always go.  That has got to be the spot. 


Ah, yes. Nova. Considering all of the mess she has caused this season, she shole does stay winning. Don’t she? Nova is walking through a house that Calvin has chosen for the two of them. It’s perfect. It’s close to his kids and the 9th. Nova loves it. It feels like “us.”  Wherever they are is where home is. I am so over them.  Anyway. Nova is grinning from ear to ear.  Calvin twirls Nova around in their soon-to-be new home.  They are both anxious about today.  She will introduce Calvin to the family. She needs this part to be over so they can get to the good part. She wants her family to know the Calvin that she knows. She knows that they will love him, too. 

Nova and Calvin have cleared their first hurdle.  There were no issues with his introduction to the family.  In the new house, with unpacked boxes all around, Nova writes. Her father and mother continue to show her what love is, even as they struggled with their sense of self and truth – and that is what she has most in common with them.  Her mother’s journey is fueling her right now. She is embarking upon a new journey, called “Truth Papers” This time she is starting with herself (bout time).  And, I am not ready for another one of Nova’s projects. We need time to recover from that last one.  She needs to see if she can get her job at the paper back.  

The ending sequence gives us glimpses of the Bordelons, while Nova reads from her new work and the song playing is one that we have heard several times before.  It is called “Ernest’s March.” It was playing at Ernest’s funeral, when the siblings were struggling and mourning. Nova reached for Charley and RA’s hands and there was a beautiful sunset behind them. It was playing when RA found the letter from Pop and RA walks out onto the porch and sits and looks at all his father has trusted him with.   It was playing when Charley became a mill owner and wrote “Queen Sugar” in the dirt.  And, it’s playing now, as everyone finds themselves in new spaces and places. 

Nova is in her new home and staring on a new writing journey. 

Micah and Keke have begun college and take usies at Micah’s new college – Xavier University. Micah posts the pictures with the hashtag #blackjoy. 

Aunt Vi and Hollywood relax on the sofa looking totally at peace.  

Charley unwraps her official portrait that will hang in City Hall. The gold plaque reads: Charley Bordelon, St. Josephine City Council Member. She looks at a picture of Ernest and Blue in a totally reflective way. 

Blue swims with his parents…and his beach ball from Pops.  Blue points out that Pop’s breath is in the ball. RA kisses Darla. They are a family again. 

And in the end, near the patch of land ordained as “Blue’s Corner,” is Tru’s final resting place. The family has gathered and they are dressed in white, just as they were for Ernest’s funeral, to pay their respects.  There is a marker there now.  Charley reaches for Nova’s hand, just like Nova had reached for hers when they laid Pop to rest. And then they all hold hands in a beautifully shot scene of them on the land that they love so much.   

Dawn-Lyen Gardner tweeted, “We sing. We dance. We rise. We grieve. We heal.” Isn’t that what we always do?

In other news… 

Why is Nova winning so much. Why did she get to light a fire under her family and walk away…and come back to all of these happy endings? I am not here for it. Nor am I here for this fast-tracked forgiveness.  I didn’t see the kind of healing, resentment, remorse, or work that got us here.  Nova claims she has learned her lesson about truth. I still ain’t feeling this. 

Now that we know Tru is buried on the land, can that land be taken? Hmmm….

Remember at the beginning of the season I was commenting on all of the beautiful colors Charley was wearing. It was so refreshing to see her add real color. But as the season wore on, and as she took blow after blow, she slowly went back to black and white and gray, etc.  I was surprised and happy to see Charley in a beautiful periwinkle dress as she unwrapped her portrait. Periwinkle is a cross between purple and blue and symbolizes serenity and calmness. It can also symbolize recollection of memories and eternal devotion.  She views the portrait and then a picture of Ernest. She is still fulfilling her promise to him.  In the portrait, she is wearing a red blazer. Red is a symbol of intensity, energy, war and power. I actually found a little comfort in this. The fight for the land isn’t over. My money is still on Charlotte. 

Vi and Hollywood are in a good place. FINALLY! Vi got rid of all of her burdens and can be happy again. I had forgotton how much I missed the happy Vi and Wood. The future looks bright for them. Vi also thought she had called in the favor that was going to save Charley.  The info she got from Sam did get Frances locked up, which needed to happen because Frances was a straight criminal for having that mill set on fire. But, Sam basically used Vi and Charley to make his next moves.  Vi gon be BIG MAD when she finds out. 

And, Parker Campbell is being played by Amirah Vann. I stan. I fell in love with her when she played Ernestine on Underground. She was nothing to play with then, and she is nothing to play with now.  Charley and Parker are an equal match. Amirah and Dawn-Lyen are an equal match. Their acting is top notch and if we are blessed with another season and get to see those two fight it out every week, we are in for a treat.  All hail to Queen Ava for this plot twist and the casting. 

What’s next? 

I hope Season 5 is next. It sure seems like this season set us up for the next.  Since I am still recovering from this episode, I will save my predictions and random ramblings for next week. It will probably take until then for me to get out of my feelings.  I am so sad to see another phenomenal season of QS end. Here’s to hoping the Bordelons will be back soon. 

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