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This week’s episode finds two very strong women at a crossroads. The usually unshakable Charley (Dawn Lyen Gardner) has hit a low point. Episode 9 – “Stare At The Same Fires” – finds her at a hotel bar in the early morning, getting drunk alone. When she reveals she’s running for office to the bartender, he wisely advises her to leave. But Charley is beyond caring. She orders another drink. When she calls Micah (Nicholas Ashe) he’s worried. He realizes his normally unruffled mother doesn’t sound quite right, and after one boozy call, where she tells him she doesn’t deserve him, she’s stopped answering or returning calls.

Micah has another woman on his mind. KeKe (Tanyell Waivers) may want to move up their first-time lovemaking schedule. When she finds out Micah is home alone, she could care less where Charley is. She just wants to enjoy some time alone. She ready. But Micah wants to make sure she’s really OK with it. Points to Micah for giving her the space to be sure, but it looks like she is.

Nova (Rutina Wesley) is visiting her mother’s cousin. The woman is definitely on the same spiritual vibe as Nova and Nova’s late mother, Trudy, and unlike the rest of the family, she greets Nova with welcoming arms. She reveals, to Nova’s shock, that her mother wasn’t cremated as she’d long thought – she’s buried on Bordelon land. Well, that’s something.

Micah comes to Ralph Angel (Kofi Siriboe) for advice on his love life. Despite the fact that Ralph Angel hasn’t had the best track record, he gives him solid information. Seeing how the men on the show support each other is lovely. Hollywood (Omar Dorsey) might need some new friends, though.

After Vi (Tina Lifford)tells him seeing Hollywood get violent with Jimmy Dale (David Alan Grier)has scared her, he plays cards with a few guys who think what he did was heroic. (Honestly, we did, too.) But an abuse survivor like Vi knows that violent men are generally violent with everyone. She saw Jimmy Dale beat somebody too before he started putting his hands on her. Hollywood isn’t that guy, though. Aunt Vi should know that by now.

Nova knows her family isn’t feeling her but she’s trying to find a way back. Her visit to her mother’s cousin had made her realize anew that family is more important than anything. Micah offers her an unexpected opportunity to try to rebuild her frayed relationships. He has located his mother via the location tracking on their phones and he sends Nova to find her. She does, and Charley is too lit to make much of a protest. In a beautiful scene, Nova takes Charley home and finally, as she should have all along, acknowledges the real pain her book has caused.

One of those people the book has deeply hurt is Darla (Bianca Lawson). She’s found out that Ralph Angel’s new girlfriend is Blue’s best friend’s mother. Ralph Angel didn’t think she wanted to know the details of his new relationship, so he’d left that part out. Darla seeks solace in Leo (Bryan Terrell Clark) who hasn’t been returning her calls. He’s not happy to see her. He’s not judging her past but as a recovering addict himself, he believes that she’s close to a relapse. To ensure his own continued sobriety, he needs to hit pause on their relationship.

 

Darla says she’s fine but it’s clear she’s not. Even Ralph Angel is worried. In a heartbreaking moment, Darla is crying while on the phone with Blue, although he has no idea. She but keeps it together as far as Blue knows as he rambles on about how Deesha (Erica Tazel) brought cupcakes to his class. Deesha’s an accomplished career woman,  a great parent and she’s Ralph Angel’s woman. In other words, she’s everything Darla wants to be. In those moments, you truly understand how deeply Darla feels inadequate, isolated and shamed by a past she’s tried so hard to overcome. ‘

Charley wakes up from the depths of despair to the love and support of her family, who have been inspired by Prosper (Henry G. Sanders) to rally around her to rebuild the mill. Darla wakes up in front of a freshly purchased bottle of liquor to face down her demons without taking the first drink. Anyone knows that once she does, things could spiral out of control. But we’ll be waiting until next week to find out what happens because that concludes this episode.

Until next week Sugar babies…what did you think of this episode?

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