“…whatever has happened, whatever you’ve done in the past, never forget that you are better than you think. You are smarter than you think. You are stronger than you think.” – Ernest Bordelon aka Pop
Remember when Ralph Angel found Pop’s letter? Ernest had some beautiful words for his children to carry with them. In it, he says that all of them meant the world to him. The siblings need their father’s words now more than ever.
Yep. I’m giving Charley the first section again this week because Sis is going through it. You hear me? Y’all must not have prayed with me last week.
Anyway, the episode starts with Charley at the bar guzzling dranks. Like…the bartender asked her if she needed some coffee to clear her head. She tells him that that’s exactly what she’s not tryna do. She has no desire to think about all these 99 problems she got. She got man problems, mill problems, sister problems, kid problems – and she’s running for office. So…basically…just give her another drink and mind ya dayum business. Bartender tells her that if she’s running for office, she better get it together because it gets busy at the bar in the late morning hours. So…Sis been in the bar since last night? Well, Charley is not ready to face the world. She puts on her stunna shades and orders another drink – because she’s still in control – except, she’s not. I wanted her to hear what he was saying, but at that point, it just didn’t matter. Nothing mattered. And Charley stays in the bar…
SN: guess what…she had on that same trench coat that she had on the day after Davis hit her with the baby bombshell. That’s how I knew Sis had had it. The trench coat. It’s hot in NOLA, ain’t it? Poor Charley walking around in a trench coat – again. Smh.
You could call this episode the “where the hell is Charley?” episode, because basically she’s missing. Prosper and Ms. Genny (ok, now…I am here for this senior citizen love) swing by the diner to pick up lunch for the campaign office. Charley hasn’t come in. She hasn’t shown up at the diner either. They assume she just slept in because of all that’s going on. Now…why ain’t nobody actually CALLED Charley yet? Anyway, Prosper tells Vi that when you get knocked down, you gotta get back up. Vi says she doesn’t know what the “get up” is gonna look like with this one, but Prosper says he does and he has an idea. He gets together with his boo and they start planning.
Micah is at the house trying to be a good kid and study (even tho he was supposed to be at skewl) when Keke comes by (she supposed to be at the skewl, too). Keke used to be the good influence, but she came over to get fresh. She also asks the golden question – where’s yo mama? Micah says between the campaign and the mill, she’s probably just handling that. Ummm…ok…you ain’t call? Micah and Keke get fresh in Micah’s room and she wants to make sure he hasn’t been with any of these other St.Jo chics because #sheready. Micah is respectful of her and the fact that he is Keke’s first everything, which makes Keke #reallyready. Micah gets a call and it’s Charley. Charley is LIT, but she still managed to call to make sure Micah made it to school ok (her mama’s intuition probably told her Micah was doing something he had no business) and to tell him she needs help at the office later. She is leaning over the chair, slurring her words and straight blabbering. She tells him that he’s such a good person and that she doesn’t deserve him. Dayum, Sis. She tells him she’s fine. She hangs up. She takes another shot and stays at the bar…with her stunna shades still on.
Micah comes to the diner worried about his mom and her whereabouts (bout time). He was supposed to meet her after school but she never showed up. Prosper and Vi say they have been calling. Micah hasn’t seen her since last night. He is worried. Prosper tells her to check his phone and track her. He does. She’s in NOLA. What could she be doing down there? Ya’ll…it’s the afternoon and Charley is STILL AT THE DAYUM BAR.
Nova finds Charley. She pays the tab. Charley is at rock bottom. With tears streaming down her face, she wants to know why Nova is there. Micah sent Nova to find her. He was worried about her. Nova collects Charley’s things and tells her it’s time to go, but Charley puts up a fight. “No. I’m not going with you.” I feel you, Sis. She puts on her stunna shades, and I guess she was gonna Uber home? I don’t know what she thought she was going to do because she was beyond LIT – you hear me? Nova tells her that she knows she’s still angry with her (ummm…yeah) and she understands why more and more each day (this is HUGE for Nova) but right now she needs to be safe and she’s running for office, so come on let’s go. She reaches for Charley’s arm and Charley resists. Eventually, she gives in and lets her sister take her home. I felt so much anguish here. The last time Charley was in the abyss, it was Jacob, her enemy, who provided comfort. This time, it’s her sister who she’s not even speaking to. It must be hard to not ever be able to get comfort from someone you want to be comforted by. Anyway, Nova has to put Charley’s arm around her shoulder and help her sister up and out of the bar. And…Charley still had on the same outfit from the night before…like…her house clothes. She was all outta dambs!!!! I hate to see my girl like this. I am impatiently waiting for the fighter in Charley to return.
In Charley’s bedroom, Nova takes care of her sister. She carefully changes Charley’s clothes, gets her up, and lays her in the bed. She tells Charley she will be in the guestroom if she needs anything and holds Charley’s hand. Charley pulls away, clearly still not ok with Nova being there. And as she walks away, she hears Charley quietly say, “why did you say all those things?” *insert the first of many tears here* Nova walks back over to the bed. Charley looks lifeless. We have reached the very first sign of remorse, folks. Nova tells her she didn’t mean to hurt her. She thought she was doing something good for all of them, but it was only good for her. Nova’s recognition of her selfishness is refreshing. She tells Charley that she loves her and she is sorry that she hurt her. Lawd…I have waited for what seems like eternity for this moment. I wonder tho. Is she sorry for just the book or for all of her other infractions, too. All is still not well, but an apology is a start. And Charley must have been waiting, too, because she begins to sob uncontrollably. Those sobs were from the heart and from the gut. Nova cannot leave Charley like this. Nova gets in the bed with Charley and holds her sister while she cries all the pain away. Usually I frown upon street clothes in the bed, but I will allow this. Charley needed someone to be close to her and hold her. The internal conflict with this one was real for me. Why did it have to be Nova? Ugh. But…who else would have taken care of her this way? This had to be the most beautiful scene of the night. Everything about this scene was perfect, but the best part (and the part that took me slap out) was the song playing:
“Black girl. We’ll leave this fight to someone else for now. You can close your eyes, let your hair down. Breathe in, breathe out. Yes, there will be battles you sometimes lose. They’d never last for a day in your shoes. You still need to rest, too. You still need to rest, too…They’ll have to find another wonder for today. You don’t always have to be the one to save the world. You’re always the one to save the world. And they never say thank you, girl. I love you. Good night. Good night.” Let’s call this #CharleysAnthem
It’s the next morning, and Charley looks good considering what happened the days before. A beautiful breakfast tray is waiting for her. Charley pours a cup of tea and we see a slight smile (I’m thinking she thought Micah had hooked her up.) On the tray is a newspaper turned to an article written by Nova, entitled, “Why Charley Bordelon is My Role Model.” Well, well, well. What do we have here? My wish has come true. A very public acknowledgement of wrongdoing AND how foolish what she wrote about Charley was. She is writing the article to fix the wrongs. Nova acknowledges that what she wrote hurt her family and diminished her sister (basically what I have been saying all season!) Charley is one of the strongest people she knows, and she’d rather not sell anymore books if it means hurting more people or costing St. Jo one of the best people they could ever elect. Nova goes on to say that Charley will always put the people of St. Jo first because she is selfless, and she knows this to be true because despite all of things that she has done to Charley, Charley still allows her to call her “sister.” Basically, Charley is the GOAT. She’s strong, wise, passionate and a leader. She is who Nova wants to be when she grows up. Charley reads with tears streaming down her face. And finally, it feels like Nova is on the road to redemption. It took forever to even get to this point, but all I can do is a praise dance cuz we here. Nova spent all season acting delusional about her family’s perceived pain, but last night, in Charley’s bed, she got to feel and see some of that pain. It’s about time.
Charley is in her home office, struggling to bounce back. I know she has one helluva hangover. I cannot imagine the knocking that’s going on in her head right now. Micah rolls in and he’s full of joy. SN: This is a record for Micah. He hasn’t been on my trash list for WEEKS. Yall pray he keeps it up. Anyway, he has come to get his mom. He has to show her something. Charley is reluctant, but Micah wins. He takes her to the mill. Charley is confused and keeps asking him what’s going on. In what’s left of the mill, the people of St. Jo have come to lift Charley. Lawd…this was a long time coming, too. The Queen Sugar sign (the one that Charley found in the ashes) is hanging again. There are lights, there are drummers, there’s singing. And when Micah escorts Charley to the front, the family is there to join her. The people are happy to see her. They are finally giving Charley what she has been trying to give to them. Basically, it was like an ole school revival. Prosper was the preacher. Let me just say that I loved how Prosper was behind this. Charley took care of him when no one else did and he came thru for her in a big way. Prosper took the floor to say that enough is enough. They have come to claim this space and what’s left of the mill, what it was, and whatever it shall be. And that they were all gathered there to share in the pain of moving forward. They will do what they’ve always done – make a way out of no way. It’s time to come together. And then, Ms. Genny led the people in song – “I gotta feeling, everything’s gonna be alright” and I felt like I was 10 years old again and sitting in the wooden pews at my grandma’s church deep in the country. And basically…I lost it again. And Charley is thankful, and smiling, and singing and I believe that she gon be alright. Prosper’s gift to Charley was renewed spirit. What an amazing gift that is.
Our favorite best-selling author has traveled deep in the Bayou to find Martha. Martha greets Nova on the porch and tells her that she “doesn’t fool with folks unless their soul has been cleansed, which means I don’t fool with folks in general too often, but we’re family, Nova.” I had to laugh because (a) I feel Martha. Bad energy ain’t nothing to play with, (2) I have questions about Nova’s soul and (iii) I was wondering if Martha was gonna clean Nova’s spirit up. Anyway, Martha is a sight to behold. It was real Daughters of the Dust-ish. She is like that ancestor that comes to you in your dreams to whisper songs of Africa in your ear. I like her. Scratch that. I love her. Per Martha, Nova is the spitting image of her mom and their people. Nova brings her a gift – a sacred herb. Her mother’s favorite.
Nova is like a kid at a candy store at Martha’s. She sees pictures of her grandmothers and great-grandmothers. Apparently, this line of women was called to be healers. Remember in the first episode, when Ernest was in the hospital, and Nova was doing some type of ritual? Vi said that she had learned that from her mom. Oh…and she did something to “heal” Charley and help her open her heart up to move forward with Remy? Remember that? She musta mixed up the wrong herbs or something because she was the one that ended up messing with Remy. I digress. Nova didn’t know that all of her peeps were called to be healers. Apparently some accepted it and some did not. Martha’s father wanted her to ignore her gift and she was banished from the family (sounding kinda familiar), so she went to Africa and Haiti and learned healing ways. She returned when Nova was born and settled away from everybody – but Tru knew where she was and visited. They sit down at the table and I immediately wanted to be there with Martha. I know that whatever she made was fiyah and that tea will probably heal you instantly. She reached out for Nova’s hand and immediately felt her gift – as strong as her mothers. Did you heed the call to be a healer, Nova? She says she did – in her own way. Now…is what you did “your way” of healing because ain’t nobody healed yet.
Nova tells Martha about her dreams of Tru. Martha gives Nova Trudy’s remedy book filled with her notes. The book was given to Martha when Tru decided that the healer life wasn’t for her. Nova ASSUMES that it’s because she accidentally got pregnant with her. And, again, Nova is wrong. Martha tells Nova she got it twisted (what’s new.) Tru realized nothing in her life was an accident – not Ernest and not Nova or RA. Trudy is visiting her in her dreams just to let her know that she loves her and misses her. And, then…another bombshell. Martha tells Nova she should go visit her mom more often. How? Daddy spread her ashes in the wind. WRONG. Trudy is buried on the family farm – a last gift to them. Nova got so much wrong, didn’t she? For a journalist, she was real research deficient. Sheesh.
Darla drops Blue off with RA and his story about school snacks includes Joie – Deesha’s daughter and his best friend. Through the convo, Darla finds out who Deesha is – RA’s woman and Blue’s best friend’s mom. Why didn’t she know this? RA says it’s because Darla didn’t want to talk about who they were dating, so he chose not to tell her. He wants her to know that his intentions are not to hurt her, he is just doing his best. I believe that.
Wood swings by the farm to check on RA and see how he’s doing since he doesn’t have any workers. RA is taking down the Ernest Bordelon Re-Entry Program sign. *le sigh* It is closed until further notice and there’s nothing he can do about it. He was trying to do good and now this has left him feeling empty. Nothing feels right. Wood tells him he’s just in the fire right now. Nova’s book, new relationship, the drama at the farm, but it’s gonna be ok and it’s normal. Hollywood invited RA to chill with his friends, but he declines. He has to get his soybeans ready and since he has no one to help, it will take a while. I loved that Wood came to check on RA. I loved that RA was honest with Wood about how he was feeling. Black dudes need to do more of that.
Darla visits Leo. He is practicing with his band and he doesn’t look too excited to see her. They need to talk because he has read the book (who hasn’t.) Apparently, Leo has ghosted Darla and now she knows why. But he says he was not ghosting her and he’s not judging her, BUT, the fact that her entire past is out there in the world makes him worried for her and her sobriety…and subsequently, his sobriety (which he is not willing to risk to be with her.) He thinks she is very close to relapse and she’s not working hard enough to avoid it. Darla says she’s fine, she’s strong and she’s working her steps. Leo tells her they need to pump the breaks and he needs to get back to the band. And that’s it. I hated this. I know he wanted to protect himself, but gahtdamb man!!! I felt a lack in compassion. Darla leaves and I am officially scared for her.
Micah comes by the farm to get some lights from RA for the surprise at the mill. Before leaving, he decides to get some advice from Uncle RA. He needs some relationship advice. Keke is ready ready, but it’s her first time and it’s a big deal. RA tells her to do right by her and what matters is that he has love for her. He congratulates Micah on finding love. Micah is hesitant, mainly because his dad told his mom he loved her and look at what happened. RA tells him not to worry because he is not his dad. Just follow his gut. The gut is usually right. #onward I was happy for this moment for lots of reasons. First, we don’t get enough uncle/nephew time with these two. Second, Micah felt comfy enough to ask RA for advice. Third, RA gave him good advice. Fourth, he didn’t go to trash azz Davis for a talk about respecting and loving women. After Micah leaves, RA is finally able to get Darla on the phone. Blue wants to talk to her. Blue is going on and on about Joie and school and Darla is on the other end in tears. Darla is not ok. The next day, RA calls Darla and gets her voicemail. For some reason, he is worried about her. He invites her to a get together at the mill. Darla doesn’t come. All while Charley is having her spirits lifted at the mill, and the crowd is singing, “I gotta feeling, everything’s gonna be alright,” we see Darla struggling to not take a drink. And, again, I am not able! Lawd, please help Darla. She has to be ok. I don’t know if it’s gonna be alright.
Aunt Vi done cooked up a big breakfast for Wood. Apparently bad news goes great with country ham. It’s about Jimmy Dale – of course. She cannot shake seeing Hollywood beat JD. That scared her. But Wood says he was just protecting her and Vi understands. The problem is that the first time JD was violent, it was with a man who tried to talk to her in the street. So, basically, Vi has been triggered over and over again. She wants to fix her so that she can fix them. She never dealt with all of the trauma from JD, and things don’t go away just because you ignore them. That’s a sermon.
Wood is playing cards at the house with his knucklehead friends. You know…the ones that talk about how they don’t do what their women tell them to do – even tho you know they lyin. Them kind. They heard Wood had a run in with Vi’s ex and how Wood whooped that azz. But, Wood says he should have handled it better and the situation is more complicated than that. These dudes aint tryna hear none of Wood’s regrets. They are here for the foolery and toxic masculinity…smh.
After the night with the boys, Wood finds Vi at the diner and tells her about the convo he had with the fellas. And he realized that they wasn’t talkin bout nothing and the only time he ever talks about real stuff is with her. When he was talking to RA earlier, it was awkward to him. He looked for support groups in St. Jo for men, but there are none. Maybe if they had them, they wouldn’t go around scaring women with their actions. Is this Wood’s new calling?
In other news…
It shole is good to see Charley back in the land of the living. And even though I still have feelings about Nova, it was good to see the “Bordelon 3” back together and united in the fight. I can’t remember the last time we have seen that (maybe in Season 1 when they decided to keep the land?)
Seasons ago, I absolutely loved the relationship that was forming between Darla and Charley. They seemed like total opposites and their friendship seemed odd at first glance. But Charley and Darla are mirror images of each other. Both of them were raised with privilege and parents who wanted perfection. The pressure of that caused one of them to go left, while the other went right. Both of them have spent the better part of the last two years piecing together their shattered lives, only to be reminded of the past. They both have reached the valley at the same time. And they both are pulled out of the dark by the most unlikely people. For Charley, it’s Nova. For Darla, it seems to be Vi.
Charley is certainly in the valley. Last week, Romero told her that she lost her business and a building, but two men lost their lives. I totally get where he was coming from, except the mill was more than a building and a business to Charley. It was what she was doing for Ernest and now it’s gone, too. Remember when Charley ran into the hospital in the first episode? She immediately knew that she was too late and she screams, “NO, NO, NO.” When she got the call about the mill, her reaction was the EXACT same, “NO, NO, NO.” This was losing Pop all over again for her. But this time, Pop’s friend is here for her. Remember when Charley made a promise to Ernest at the bonfire to take care of Prosper? She did that. Wasn’t it great to see that Prosper had such a huge hand in her making her way out of the valley? I love them.
I know Nova is on this redemption arc now. And, I totally get it. However, I need for the Bordelons to be careful with Nova. Forgiveness should be earned. Nova has to take full responsibility for the bombs that she ignited. They can’t just sweep this under the rug. Maybe Nova is redeemable. Maybe she is toxic. I am not a firm believer in “family over everything.” Toxic people are everywhere, including our family trees. You don’t get a pass if you’re family. They need to have some real discussions and real healing – kinda like the healing that Nova is selling to everyone else.
Welp…it looks like next week will bring mo fiyah. Nova is at the diner – against Aunt Vi’s wishes. Maybe they will have their first real conversation. Aunt Vi, the shadiest of them all, looks to come to Darla’s aid. I didn’t see that one coming. And Charley and Nova look to be at a spa or retreat. That relationship really does need to start all over again. They have some unresolved childhood issues that need to see the light of day.
I am still on the edge of my seat about this secret that Vi is holding over Sam’s head. I ain’t forgot. And, where is Romero? When will the truth come out about the migrant workers so #Charmero can resume? For the past 2 weeks, Nova has learned that she knew absolutely nothing about half of the things she wrote about and that’s a dayum shame. The newspaper article addressed her claims about Charley, but will she end up throwing her entire book under the bus?
I’ve said this before and I will say it again. Dawn-Lyen Gardner deserves every award that’s out there. She continuously gives us greatness. And Bianca Lawson needs to be on the awards list, too. I need for this to happen asaptually. Please and thank you.
I’m all cried out. I am angry, sad, hopeful, scared and lifted. Per the usual, I have felt every emotion possible in the span of one hour. This show is beautiful torture. Imma need a therapist soon.
Until next week…