Holding on to Love in Queen Sugar‘s Heartfelt Midseason Finale
(Episode 2.08)Photo: Michele K. Short © 2017 Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc / Courtesy of OWN. TV Reviews Queen Sugar
In tonight’s mid-season finale written by Anthony Sparks and directed by Amanda Marsalis, the hearts of the Bordelon siblings are uncovered as they navigate their love lives.
In “I Know My Soul,” Charley (Dawn-Lyen Gardner) was uncertain whether she was living up to her late father’s legacy in an exclusive interview, in which she failed to mention her divorce from Davis (Timon Kyle Durrett). Tonight, she reveals to Micah (Nicholas L. Ashe) that they’re planning to release a joint statement about the end of the marriage, much to his disappointment.
The interview, with quotes from Charley about finding herself, nonetheless causes unrest among the local farmers, who are concerned she’s opening the mill for the sake of her image—that she’ll eliciting their support now just to leave them down the line. When they all gather together for dinner at High Yellow, Charley is transparent that St. Josephine, a city she only associated with summer visits with her father, has become home. It’s where she’s connected with her roots as she works to build something that will enrich those who took a chance on her, and to honor her father, despite her doubts. In return, they kindly pray for her.
“I am in this for me, for daddy and for all of you.” —Charley
Aunt Vi (Tina Lifford) calls Nova (Rutina Wesley) out for running away from her problems and finding something wrong with Dr. Robert DuBois (Alimi Ballard) after attending a rich dinner party that quickly turns negative.
“Baby, when you find something good in this world, you best hold on. You in love, not desperation. Tomorrow ain’t promised to none of us.” —Aunt Vi
We see the Bordelon siblings, outside of their familial conflict, opening themselves up to receive love and give of themselves to their love interests—or to “hold on,” as Aunt Vi suggests. Nova and Robert act on their affection after their shaky reunion with a passionate kiss over their plan to use those rich colleagues to rebuild the Ninth Ward in New Orleans. Charley feels the distance between herself and Remy (Dondre Whitfield), who was upset with her for not announcing her divorce in the interview. Besides doing so to protect her son and the mill, she wanted to protect Remy from being labeled as her rebound, because he’s more than that to her. Charley finally confesses her feelings for him, tearfully asking for his forgiveness, purely vulnerable with the man she wants.
Charley: Don’t you want to be with me?
Remy: I don’t know.
Charley: Can you try?
Earlier in the episode, Ralph Angel (Kofi Siriboe), in a phone call to Aunt Vi, regrets his recent revelation about the inheritance of the farm, fearing that his sisters have walked away from the land for good. He admits to needing the payroll check for the sake of his parole, something he tells Charley in person at Darla’s (Bianca Lawson) two-year sobriety ceremony. It’s the first time the two have spoken since their falling out, and Charley assures him that she’d never jeopardize his freedom despite their differences: “I don’t have any definitive answers about the farm, but I’m not losing my baby brother over it.”
It’s during the ceremony that Ralph Angel meets Darla’s sponsor, Marleen (Laura Cayouette), who acknowledges that she needs support through her sobriety. She doesn’t beat around the bush with him, saying, “I hope you’re good for her”—and advises him to walk away from Darla if he “couldn’t be what she needed.”
Those words weighing on him, he surprises Darla at the house with a room full of lit candles and flowers to celebrate her milestone. Ralph Angel’s soft spot for her is clear; he becomes emotional after she asks if he’s inviting her to stay the night. He promises her to be what she needs, acting on his declaration of wanting it all with her with a marriage proposal.
“I promise I’ll do my best to help you do your best, always…I want you in this house by my side, next to me, for the rest of my life. Darla, will you marry me?” —Ralph Angel
Sparks and Marsalis sweetly build on the pair’s history in one emotionally tender moment. Through their unashamed flaws, the love they feel for each other is what makes Ralph Angel and Darla one of the most compelling couples on TV—imperfect, but perfectly intertwined with one another. They give one another the space to be liberated and to be the best each knows how to be. Even if nothing else in their life is right, they have each other to endure it with.
But in the midst of the Bordelons embracing new beginnings, Micah’s hopes of a reconciliation between his parents are dashed when he sees Davis on a date with a woman. When Davis further presses on the issue of Micah’s outburst that day, asking, “What happened to you?” it only seems to trigger him again. Breaking objects and screaming, he finally unearths his traumatic encounter with the racist officer in the season premiere. “I’m gonna take that silver spoon out of your mouth, boy,” Micah quotes the officer, who also called him “nigger,” painting the image for a horrified Davis of having a gun in his mouth with the trigger being pulled while parked in a dark alley.
Queen Sugar fearlessly and consciously continues to keep its finger on the pulse of Black America’s history, mirroring it on the small screen to deliver it to the masses. Davis holding his son, at once disgusted by and empathetic to his ordeal, is sadly an all-too-common pattern when it comes to the multigenerational pain of racism. It’s heartbreaking, and in that it’s true to its core.
Ashley G. Terrell is a freelance entertainment writer based in Michigan. Her work has appeared in Ebony Magazine, The Huffington Post, Black Girl Nerds, and more. She is currently working on her first novel and is the creator of the blog, The Carefree Black Girl Chronicles of ASHLEMONADE. You can follow her on Twitter.