Season 4, Episode 10
In the hours leading up to this trauma-centered episode, Ava Duvernay and ARRAYNow hosted a live Twitter conversation on black trauma using the hashtag #QueenSugarTalks. That entire Twitter convo ministered to my soul. Somebody tweeted that “healing is a revolutionary act.” It certainly is.
**TRIGGER WARNING: This week’s episode of Queen Sugar discusses stories about sexual assault which may be triggering to survivors.**
NOVA + CHARLEY
Vi is making the rounds at the diner and making sure all of her customers are pleased. She’s all polished and graceful until she heads to the booth by the window – the one that Nova has set up camp in. Like…she had some coffee, notebooks and a whole office set up at the diner. Vi straight ignored her arse when she came to the house, so here Nova is. Vi reminds her she’s not supposed to be here, and especially not squatting in her booth like a sad puppy. Alls I want to know is where is Rhonda? Is this her day off? Did she have a doctor’s appointment this morning? Rhonda is slippin’. Anywho, Nova is not backing down. She is here to talk because it’s been months and they are still family. She asks Vi to not give up on her. Vi lets her in on what’s been going on since she published that little book of hers. Her memories of Jimmy Dale are wrecking her entire life – her mind and her marriage – and that’s on Nova. Nova concedes. It’s on her. She should have discussed the book and gotten her blessing (ya think). But then Vi asks the million dollar question. If I had said no, what would you have done? Would you have listened? Nova is speechless because the answer is hayle no. She would have done it anyway because that’s what Nova does.
Nova is still at the diner, but Charley joins her. Charley hands over a gift and awkwardly says it’s for…Nova’s birthday – which isn’t until next week. Why so early, Charley? Charley says she had to give it to Nova now before she changed her mind (I feel you, Sis)…and it’s really a thank you for her “help the other day.” She didn’t want to wait. Just wanted to get that task over with asaptually. I knew Charley would feel a huge sense of indebtedness to Nova for her acts of benevolence last week. Nova is overjoyed and on the brink of tears for the kind gesture…and she prolly just happy somebody is talking to her arse…for real for real. Nova pulls out her victim card and says that her birthday won’t be much to celebrate this year (and whose gahtdamb fault is that, Nova) and gives Charley her best sad face. Charley changes the subject. The proposition for the highway will get a decision soon. After that, she will be in full campaign mode, so she has a little window of time for a getaway. And then…the unthinkable happens…she invites Nova to “come with.” I was floored. Charley done earned her spot in heaven. I knew that Charley Bordelon was a good woman, but now I know for sure that she is better than EYE am. My forgiveness don’t come quick like that. I am not proud of that, but I just know that He ain’t done with me yet. The high road is not my favorite way to travel. And then I thought about how Nova got to have a hot girl summer on the book tour and then come back home, drag Charley out the bar, and get rewarded with a 5-star vacation on Charley’s dime (because you know Charley ain’t taking no Expedia vacations.) But then this whole thing took an interesting turn. Keep reading.
Charley and Nova are off on a road trip. Charley is driving and the music is cranked up. Nova is jamming and Charley is too – in her own way. Nova takes the time to check in with Charley. Charley says she’s better and thanks Nova again for taking care of her and for writing the article. She appreciates Nova using her powers for good…for a change. Nova inquires about the mill. Bad news. Insurance won’t cover it because the police suspect arson. #fixitJesus So…you KNOW Charley is about to be all up in that Boudreaux tale in a minute. She has to find the connection between thee old hag and Old World Energy and the fire. Nova offers her assistance. Charley doesn’t have to do it alone. She is still a journalist and can do some digging to get at the real story. Oh, really, Nova? You know how to research? Whoda thunk. You ain’t do a damb bit of research for that book o’ yours. Anywho…Charley doesn’t really give her an answer. She just looked like she was thinking it over. I wonder what she was really thinking tho. Does she trust Nova with this task? Does she think Nova is capable? Does she even want Nova’s help? I wonder.
Welp, the sisters have arrived at their destination. It’s a women’s retreat out in the middle of the woods. I ain’t gon lie, I was a little relieved. Nova didn’t deserve a 5-star resort in the Seychelles. She deserved this glorified camping trip. I guess Charley was looking for some extreme self-care when she found this spot (I ain’t mad. Charley needs to be in the middle of nowhere to decompress from her life.) This spot offers the healing powers of nature and can help you get rid of bad energy. Nova is in the right spot. They have mediation, raw food, hikes, etc. It’s real crunchy. Charley says it’s what they need and Nova agrees and thanks her for this. And then they get to their little pimped out pod in the woods. It’s actually kinda cute. I guess it’s like glamping. Anyway, Charley takes a peek in and is…concerned. But she’s gracious and calls it “cozy” LOL. Nova wants to know where the bathrooms are and ole girl points to some outhouses down the trail. This finna be real funny. They look at each other and Charley tells her it’s gon be alright. It’s just like camping with daddy. Ok, Charley…if you say so, girl.
The sisters are on a walk in the woods when Charley slows down. When Nova notices and looks back, all Charley says is, “Remy.” Oh, yes! Charley brought Nova to the forest to get some real answers, chile. She didn’t waste any time! Nova says she had genuine feelings for him, even though it’s hard for her to hear. Charley was broken up from him and they never slept together. Now…how did she know that tidbit? I am guessing it was from Remy’s trash azz. So, because they broke up and never did the do, she thought it was cool. See…there’s a problem here. There was an emotional connection between those two and they almost slept together but decided to wait. There are also couples in the universe who decide to wait to sleep together, so I just don’t think this was a good enough excuse. I have always seen that Remy/Nova fiasco as two people who “may” have had some chemistry coming together with one goal – hurt Charley. But, Nova acknowledges that she acts before she communicates, and promises to never do that again. Charley tells her she doesn’t understand her and she never really did. What makes Nova act so irrationally and rush into things? Nova is trying to figure it out, but her talk with Aunt Vi earlier holds the key. She didn’t want Charley’s “no” or anybody’s “no” to stop her from what she wants to do. Charley says basically she’d rather ask for forgiveness than permission – but how is that working out for you, Nova? Nova acknowledges that it’s a flaw that she has to correct and she promises to do the work. *insert side eye here* I will believe it when I see it.
The sisters are in their tent and it’s the first time they have shared a room in a long time. Charley says it hasn’t been since the summers at Daddy’s – sometimes. Remember, Vi had a room for Charley at her house. I guess sometimes she was allowed to stay over with Nova. The way Charley said it, it seems like there might be some hurt there (and I totally get that.) Nova corrects her. There was another time. When Nova was a freshman at Tulane and Charley was in high school, Nova came out to LA to visit. Picture it. LA. 1999. Charley remembered it after Nova mentioned it. Apparently, that trip was a turning point for both of them. Charley took Nova to a party at a mansion and asked Nova to “be cool” and act like she belonged because all her friends were there. Charley doesn’t remember saying that. Per Nova, Charley ditched her most of the night, and when she finally found Charley, she overheard her telling one of her friends that Nova was just a half-sister and you can’t choose your family. Ouch. But, again, Charley doesn’t remember saying that. But what Charley does remember is that she was so excited to have her big sister visit. But then she was devastated because all Nova did was put her down the whole time – her house, her clothes, her friends. Nova says Charley took her to places she knew she couldn’t afford. But, Charley took her to those places to treat Nova. From Nova’s point of view, it didn’t feel like that. And finally, Nova’s real problem with Charley surfaces. She always feels small when Charley is around. She did then and she still does. At first, it was her problem, but eventually, she transferred that ownership to Charley. She admits that both of those were wrong, sometimes things are what they are. Charley tells Nova that it’s clear they don’t know each other as well as they think they do.
Let’s just stop here because there were sermons all up and thru this scene. First, how many times has someone done something to you that has totally changed your thoughts and possibly your actions – and that person doesn’t even remember the event? Meanwhile, you have given all your energy to something that meant very little to the other party. You either have to address it or let it go, Beloved. Second, it’s all about perception. Charley was ready to treat her big sister and give her a taste of her grand life. In Charley’s eyes, she was doing something good. However, in Nova’s eyes, Charley was flaunting what she had. So what was offered as a kind gesture and no malice became the thing that Nova harbored negative feelings about. Intentions. Sometimes we have the best intentions in mind, but we cannot control the outcome (I do believe that Nova gave some similar advice to Micah.) Third, this is what happens when misunderstandings and hurt feelings go unresolved. That trip to LA was probably the last time Charley and Nova had together for real. That trip changed the trajectory of their sisterhood and most of it could have been resolved. Instead, it festered. I had to keep reminding myself that when this happened, they were young. And when you’re young, you are not thinking about dispute resolution. But, this also reminded me of the fact that there were no adults present to help deal with the sisters. Ernest clearly wasn’t a communicator. Lorna probably wasn’t worried about Charley having a good relationship with her sister because of the circumstances. And Vi was at the house fanning the flames by slandering Charley’s mom and allowing RA and Nova to treat and regard Charley as an outsider. I think Nova’s feeling small wasn’t really on Charley at all and it didn’t start because of what happened that weekend in LA. It had always been with her and was with them throughout their childhood. Nova brought all of her St. Jo baggage to LA and that was a huge part of the problem. And that baggage is what followed her all the way up to writing all of the those things about Charley. It also explains all of Nova’s actions towards Charley. Yelling at her about the repast, organizing several family ambushes, stealing money from her, making her son choose her over Charley and writing about how terrible her sister was for the whole world to read. Those were her chances to make Charley feel small and she took every one she got. Hurt people hurt people and that’s what we’ve been seeing from Nova. I have always wondered why Charley always feels like she has to be loyal to Nova. Maybe it’s because she’s still that little sister that wants her big sister’s acceptance. Last week, Charley asked, “why did you say all those things?” Now we kinda know why. This conversation can’t stop here. There’s so much more there. And, I walked away from this feeling like Nova still didn’t show the kind of remorse I wanted to see – not just for the book, but for everything.
RALPH ANGEL + DARLA
Darla gets a call from her mother (who doesn’t know what’s going on with Darla) to tell her that her friend, Jordan (her best friend from the past) is in town. Usually, this would be something to be excited about, but Darla looks shook. Her mom wants to know if anything is wrong, and I really wanted her to tell her mom about all the stuff that’s been going on, but she didn’t. She reluctantly takes Jordan’s number.
Darla meets up with Jordan and Jordan was immediately on my last nerB. She is still on the party scene, still drinking heavily and thinking about leaving DC and moving to NOLA. Jordan wants to know where the party at and Darla tells her she’s not bout that life anymore. Darla also looks like Jordan is on her last nerB, too. Jordan continues to drink, even though she knows Darla doesn’t. Jordan strolls down memory lane to the party that changed Darla’s life. Jordan names a guy who dragged Darla upstairs after Darla got drunk. There were plenty of witnesses to what was happening, including Jordan (some friend) – so why did this happen? Why didn’t anyone stop it? And then there was another guy who took Darla to the bathroom – where they stayed for an hour. The only problem Jordan had with this was that she had to pee and had to wait. SMH. But Darla was out of it the whole time. So, basically, Jordan is reminiscing about the night that Darla was raped…and Jordan is so clueless that she really doesn’t realize that this isn’t funny. Darla didn’t know any of this information. She abruptly leaves and my heart starting beating double time. Darla is in shock and triggered. She ends up in a bar. I was screaming for Darla not to go in. And then I was screaming at Darla not to drink. But…she did. And she kept drinking. And my heart sank.
I guess Vi is exploring new self-care methods. She’s running in the park and runs into a drunk Darla. Darla looks a mess. She says she’s looking for Blue, but this is the wrong park. Darla is totally out of it. Vi takes her home.
At Darla’s, Vi is trying to get to the bottom of what made Darla start drinking. Darla tells Vi she can’t talk to her about this. Vi tells her she has worked too hard for this addiction to take over again. And Darla finally lets Vi in. She was out of it that night at the party and she found out that there were two guys involved, but she doesn’t remember any of it. Darla blames herself for being drunk and for even being there. Vi will not sit by and let her carry that burden. She didn’t give consent. Period. Darla is struggling with the realization that she was raped. Vi has a similar story. Although she was married to Jimmy Dale, he regularly raped her. She stopped saying no at one point because it didn’t matter – and she blamed herself. But now that she’s older and wiser, she knows that it wasn’t right. No means no. No one has the right to take advantage of you. Darla reaches out for Vi’s hand to support her in telling her story. And here we have this unlikely pair with a shared past. This scene was amazingly done. I need to give Vi and Darla a hug.
Back in Season 2, when Darla first told her story, it was clear that she was raped. I remember talking to some friends and we were LIVID. How come no one else called it rape? Why did her mom seem to gloss over it? We couldn’t understand. I guess it was in the Queen Sugar plans for it to play out like this, but we have known that what happened to Darla was out of her control and a crime. Also, this isn’t Queen Sugar’s first time addressing consent or lack thereof. Remember Melina? Davis basically set her up to be raped by giving her some money and leaving her with his teammates. He had to have known what was going to happen because he knew them. And Charley got her hands dirty in it too, by believing Melina was a prostitute that slept with her husband one time (per Davis) and now wanted money from them. Melina was basically ambushed by the team. She had only given one person consent, and that was Davis. Davis didn’t see the problem tho…because he had paid her.
Vi calls RA and tells him to get over to Darla’s ASAP…alone. Darla tells RA the story and Vi is there to support her in doing it. Vi says, “the truth is a light, even when it don’t feel like it.” #anothersermon Darla struggles to get the story out. She is still struggling to name what happened to her. But she wants him to know the truth about the night that Blue was conceived. Once RA hears the whole story, he reassures her that this wasn’t her fault and there’s nothing for her to be sorry about. RA is shaken, too. He is hurting for Darla. He says all of the right things, including, the fact that she is going to get through this! Whatever it takes, he is right there with her. She is scared that RA will see Blue differently. RA tells her it changes nothing and holds her. Whew! RA stayed the night and picks up his phone to see all his missed calls from Deesha. Remember he was supposed to be going on a date with her. *le sigh* He eyes pictures of Blue and Darla on the mantle, fixes Darla some coffee and checks in on her. Darla thanks him for staying. And when asked how she’s feeling, she says, “empty.” *tear* RA caresses her face and Darla looks at peace. She traces his hand and RA gives her a slight smile. Yall…these two gon get back together. This does change everything!
BLUE + MICAH
Micah drops by to pick up his little buddy, Blue, and take him to City Park. Blue is hype, of course. Blue and Micah are having a grand time at the park. Micah is giving him a whole photo shoot and Blue is eating it up. He wants to send the pics to his Pop and to his friend, Joie. They talk about Deesha and Blue knows that RA and Deesha got a thing going on…but he doesn’t quite know what to feel about it. Micah quells his fears by sharing his own story about his parents not being together and seeing other people. He thinks his parents are actually happier that way and now he’s not as sad. But there are some perks. You get TWO of everything, presents included. And then Micah continues his streak of not being on my trash list. He tells Blue that if he ever gets sad, it’s ok…just call him if he does. It’s a deal. It was so sweet. Blue needs as much support as he can get.
Blue has been downing lemonades at the park and has to go to the restroom. Micah offers to go with him, but he asserts his big boy status. He goes to wait in line and Micah waits nearby. Micah gets a text from Keke – Ant is coming home soon. While Micah had his head turned and distracted, Blue made a move my 6-year old is known for and changed plans (without giving anybody a heads up.) He has to go badly and runs into the women’s restroom. When Micah turns around, Blue is nowhere to be found. *le sigh* Micah takes off to find him (not knowing he just went in the other bathroom) and then Blue comes out and he can’t find Micah. A “nice” police officer assists Blue and tells him to wait in the back of the police car while they locate his cousin. And, my anxiety went into overdrive. Micah spots Blue in the police car and runs for him. The friendly officer needs to see ID. Micah doesn’t understand why. He puts his hands on Micah and Micah tells him that that’s not necessary. They go back and forth and the officer puts his hands on his gun. After that, Micah puts his hands up and reassures Blue (who is looking on from the back seat) that everything is going to be ok. The situation finally ends but the trauma for Micah has reemerged. What would have happened if Blue had witnessed his cousin be shot…for nothing. Blue will probably never forget this either. And, it’s worth noting that at the same time that Blue was lost, Darla lost her sobriety. *insert tear here*
Micah and Blue make it back to Vi’s (thank God) and Blue is kinda hype that he sat in the back of a police car. But that prompts all kinds of questions. Micah has to admit that he lost Blue for a minute and then Blue tells them that the cops weren’t nice to Micah. Micah is visibly shaken and Prosper steps in to tell him it’s ok if he’s not ok. Micah is just tired of it, but Proper tells him to hold on. Don’t ever get so tired that you let other folks tell you who you are. Don’t let them put you in that place. Keep your head up. #sermon And Micah thanks him for this words. Prosper stays coming thru with that elder wisdom. Thank you, Mr. Prosper.
In other news…
At Vi’s house, the men (Wood, RA and Prosper) are gathered in the kitchen. Hollywood is prepping some ribs and my mind kept wondering about what he was putting on the ribs. Wood is prolly a grill master. Remember in the first episode, when he was grilling for Blue’s party. I bet it’s good. Anyway, Wood and RA are giving Prosper props on his new relationship with Ms. Genny. Lookahere. Ms. Genny ain’t wasting no time, is she? She is working at the campaign office errrrday. She was up on the stage leading spirituals at Charley’s revival. I see you, Ms. Genny. Anyway, Prosper is HAPPY and all smiles and “he’s sweet on her.” But Prosper says they are all doing good. Wood got Vi. And RA got Deesha. RA says he is into her and she “sees him” and he doesn’t take that for granted. He has a date with her tonight and he wants to talk to her about them being a thing. From the way things ended at Darla’s house and the fact that he basically forgot about his date with Deesha because he was with Darla, that relationship is not looking promising anymore.
It looks like next week, Nova does come through with some information that Charley can actually use…and it looks like it’s the information that she got from that Skip Gates-ish show (the information she didn’t want to have shared on TV.) Something is going on on Ernest’s side of the family tree and it could be ammunition for Charley. And what does the future of the sisterhood look like for Charley and Nova? I think Nova is going to continue to come thru for Charley and that’s going to make the forgiveness train move a bit faster. And where the hayle is Romero? I need some making up to happen asaptually. It also looks like Calvin and Nova are still a thing. *le sigh* Micah and his peeps look to be headed to prom – uh oh…Keke’s night has arrived. Per Keke’s text, Ant is coming home soon. How will his friends receive him and help him deal with the traumatic experience of incarceration? And Darla is asking RA to forgive her for something. What now? Will Darla go find those two guys ? Before she had no clue who Blue’s father could be, but all that has changed now. And, Deesha. Ughhhh. I was rooting for RA and Deesha. RA was ready to be with her, but now all of this stuff with Darla and Blue’s paternity is front and center again. Looks like that relationship is going to be over before it really got started.
And…at the end of this episode, I was wondering how each episode of Queen Sugar manages to be better than the last. I have real questions about this. This show is simply magic.
There was info for the RAINN/National Sexual Assault Hotline: 1-800-656-HOPE (4673) or www. rainn.org if you or someone you know is dealing with sexual assault and trauma.
Ok…Beloveds…take care. Until next week…