This season, Queen Sugar seems to be making up for lost time. The lost time of last season, which was frustratingly slow and off-brand. Characters that were once fleshed out, seemed out of character and the pace of the show’s episodes, while always making Black people look beautiful, were sometimes nothing more than eye candy.
Under new showrunner Anthony Sparks (and supervising producer Cheryl Dunye) the show has so far righted what was becoming an adrift ship. In Episode 2 “I No Longer Imagine” things are moving along at pretty fast clip. Kinda of how a mystery man is moving his way through the South to Louisiana. Kudos to whoever cast David Alan Grier in this role as a superficially charming man whose identity isn’t confirmed until the episode’s end (we all guessed who it was, though) but who conveys a palpable air of menace despite his easygoing facade.
The Bordelons are already dealing with an internal enemy. That would be Nova Bordelon (Rutina Wesley) who is airing out all the family secrets in her new memoir Blessings and Blood. She’s already gotten told off by Ralph Angel (Kofi Siriboe) for the second time, now it’s Charley’s turn. Why can’t anybody give Charley (Dawn-Lyen Gardner) a break? Despite going straight to damage control mode, Charley can’t fix this. It’s just too late. The book is on its way and Nova’s already getting the star treatment.
As much as it’s despicable that Nova thinks its OK to out her family’s business, this storyline is a significant one as it deals with a common debate – how much is too much when it comes to ‘your truth’ vs. other people’s right to privacy? Nova is so self-righteous that she’s completely oblivious to the impact that her book will have on the people she says she loves. It’s like she signed them up for a reality TV show that no one wanted to participate in.
We are now in a world where people think its OK to reveal everything without considering the human toll or their own conflicting agendas. When Nova had the audacity to tell Ralph Angel that she’d be happy to explain to Blue (Ethan Hutchinson) about his paternity, it was hard not to be floored by her callousness. Ralph Angel, rightly, told her she’d be seeing Blue again in Neverary.
Did Nova not realize what that revelation could do to a child as sensitive as Blue? Nor did she consider Charley’s feelings about how MIcah (Nicholas L. Ashe) might take finding out just how his mother handled his father’s rape case. Everyone, including the victim, agreed to the terms. In my book, that means a sexual abuse survivor exercised her agency to choose how her violation should be addressed. Not every survivor seeks a #MeToo public spotlight.
Micah is back from a European vacation with a new look – he has locs, at least in the front. Charley is trying, but she’s not sure she likes all the changes she’s seeing. Micah’s apparently become a celebrity influencer, taking selfies when he’s recognized by some of his followers. He still lovin’ Keke (Tanyell Waivers) though and hanging with his activist friends.
But when a white classmate gets out of pocket at a school party, Micah beats his azz. Micah, we didn’t know you had it in you! Looks like he might have some residual anger from the police abuse he experienced. He goes to Nova to get some sympathy and have his superficial wound treated and the two are as copacetic as ever. Charley’s right – I have a feeling Micah’s going to ride with Nova on this book.
But we can also figure out where Aunt Vi is going to stand. She finally pulls it out of Hollywood that he’s seen and read at least some of the book. But Vi thinks Nova’s just exposing the ancestral secrets of the Bordelon family. That’s until she sees her name in it. Nova, you in trouble, girl.
Despite what we know is going to be some rough times ahead for the Bordelons, some very lovely moments also happen in Episode 2. Ralph Angel and Darla have found some new love interests. Ralph Angel is cozying up to hhis new lawyer friend, Deesha, (Erica Tazel) and Darla’s date with Leo (Bryan Terrell Clark) went REAL well, so well, she was kissing him at her door.
Darla deserves some happiness after all she’s been through and this guy is a cutie who has had some experience with addiction as a recovering alcoholic. Darla wisely waves off anything more than a kiss, but Ralph Angel sees it. They ultimately both share that they might be looking elsewhere but in a very sweet conversation, Ralph Angel and Darla also acknowledge that the flame that burns between them isn’t totally out. They have so much chemistry onscreen.
(It’s interesting that Siriboe is almost always cast with actresses much older than him. Tazel is 42, Lawson is 40. But it works for his character, who like Siriboe, is in his mid-20’s.)
Speaking of Lawson, the woman clearly has found the anti-aging secrets of the universe. Girl, share with us.
It’s sad that after rising above so much, Darla now will have her lowest moments paraded in front of the world. I hope there’s a scene coming up with Fierce Darla, who has broken down a few people in her quiet way. I hope Nova will be one of them.
So yeah, it’s Jimmy Dale, Aunt Vi’s ex, who is here to make some trouble for her now that’s she’s married and happy and successful. As much as it’s good to see Grier sink his teeth into a meaty dramatic role, I’m a little scared of what’s to come.
Couple of notes: Kofi Siriboe just got finer after what looks like an off-season workout regimen bulked him up. Did I mention that last week? He just gets more delicious each episode.
Erica Tazel appeared on several episodes of the supremely underrated streaming-only series The Good Fight on CBS’ All Access and was also on Justified.
Bryan Terrell Clark starred in Hamilton.
This season’s costume designer Ayanna James deserves all the props for dressing Nova this year. She has never looked more beautiful. She’s still foul, though.
What did you think of this week’s episode?
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