Queen Sugar: Season 3/ Episode 10 “Here Beside the River” – Recap/ Review (with Spoilers)

Darlene after Aunt Vi told her off.
65.17% (1)

The nuclear button gets tapped a few times and while it’s mostly by Vi, it isn’t like she wasn’t provoked.


Network
OWN
Director(s) Ayoka Chenzira
Writer(s) Chloé Hung
Air Date 8/1/2018
Actors Introduced
Colton Cullen Moss

The Setup, Takedown, and Boiling Point: Micah, Keke, Darla, Ralph Angel, Colton, Charley, Ant, Darlene, Prosper, Romero

It might be the end for Micah and Keke. With him admitting he was part of the planning to vandalize the plantation and was part of the fire, Keke seemingly is at a point where she doesn’t know Micah. On top of that, she finds it hard to support him as Ant goes down and when it comes to activism, he makes it sound like Keke doesn’t do anything. Not taking it into account, unlike him, she doesn’t have rich parents. Something not brought up because, well, Keke isn’t vindictive. However, at a minimum, these two definitely are on a break.

Though while things are contentious with them, they don’t compare to Ralph Angel and Darla’s family. How? Well, Darlene calls DCFS on Ralph Angel! Yes! Answering the question of why Darla went from 50/50 to 70/30 and was talking about fighting in court. Darlene is whispering in her ear and with Darla only a receptionist, granted at a fancy looking location, her parents likely are still helping with things. But, the issue with this is, while it may help with a trial it pretty much sours any co-parenting progress Darla has been working on. Since you know Ralph Angel doesn’t like cops and people like that in his life.

Luckily, while there is a whole lot of drama in which the Borderlon family are taking Ls, not Charley. She gets that 10% from Colton through blackmail over him doing money laundering. Then, to show her ability to multitask, while taking down Colton she is also helping Prosper’s stubborn behind who, with him canceling his surgery, is dealing with his ill health. Something which, thankfully for Charley, Romero is supporting her with.

Commentary

Charley taunting Colton.
Charley: Your daddy would be so proud.

I’m torn on this Keke situation. On one hand, like Remy, they aren’t doing much with her. Yet, unlike Remy, she does add something to this show beyond drama. At one time, she was part of a beautiful example of young Black teens in love. Also, she remains one of the few dark-skinned love interest on TV. Especially around the characters age. But, she has been dialed back significantly and with Micah’s new set of friends, and with Asha being part of that clique, there were fears Micah would cheat or transition to this new girl. Fears which aren’t really gone because it’s unclear what the state of Micah and Keke are at this point. Are they broken up, on a break, or was that just a fight?

Switching to Charley, I really do wonder what is going to fuel her once she gets past this guilt. After the Landry family is taken down, after Prosper gets better or passes, what will she do next? Romero is around but it’s not like when she was dating Remy. She makes time for him, yes, but he isn’t integrated into her life. Which, depending on how you look at it, might be a better deal for her. Rather than worry about him knowing and understanding her business plans, he can squarely remain part of her personal life and support her where he is actually needed.

As for the Ralph Angel, Darlene, and Darla thing? Well, all I got to say is that Darla is stuck between a rock and a hard place. Her mom, and in extension her dad, are financing her to a certain point and maybe the ones who got her the position she is in. On the other hand, even with Ralph Angel not being Blue’s biological father, he is on the birth certificate and helped raise him. Not to forget, Darla wants to work with Ralph Angel. Which, yeah, has been a bumpy road since Ralph Angel had to get over himself a bit, a task still in progress, but it was a one on one conversation at the time. Now? Likely thanks to Darlene, not only are lawyers getting involved but DCFS. Making this situation increasingly messy.

She Had No Right: Aunt Vi, Hollywood, Darlene, Nova

Aunt Vi is a woman of a certain age and when you hit that age, while still capable of a lot, your acceptance of certain things is low. Bulls*** being one of them. So upon hearing Darlene called DCFS, Aunt Vi heads over to Darla’s to give Darlene a piece of her mind. Leading to her getting a bit nasty, especially in regards to the idea of being treated like babysitters who are overstepping. Oh, and when I say nasty, I mean full on nasty in terms of discrediting and disparaging Darla. Drugs, sex work, and all. Which, to some surprise, Darlene doesn’t participate in which probably just adds fuel to Aunt Vi’s fire.

Especially when she learns about Nova’s article on Ernest. Her making her brother seem weak and suicidal, basically, leads her to accuse Nova of forgetting herself. Arguably even being exploitative of her father, her brother. But, Hollywood breaks things down in a way, as Nova also tries to as well. Nova speaking out has started conversations and when it comes to Hollywood, he speaks on a miscarriage LeeAnne had, 18 weeks in. Him seeing what would have been his daughter rolled out the room has haunted him for 11 years and is something he doesn’t talk about.

Commentary

Nova reading an excerpt from her article about her father.

Usually, I’m not on Aunt Vi’s side when she goes off, but I can make an exception. For I find it really hard to support Darlene. Take note, I get it. Grandchildren are second chances and proof that it wasn’t you, just your inexperience which may have led your child to the path they took. However, calling DCFS on someone who has a record is really messed up. On top of that, you want to speak about instability in Ralph Angel’s home but now DCFS people are showing up and imagine if Ralph Angel went off? Imagine the trauma that kid would have went through with Ralph Angel maybe getting dragged off, talking about his rights or a warrant, and Blue being hauled off to a home.

I know, very dramatic idea that you may say wouldn’t happen. However, I will always point to this whole paternity thing as the weak link in the fence that makes it seem anything could happen. Luckily it didn’t, but the lack of thought is the issue which brings me to Vi’s side. For even with the Ernest thing, while Vi never used the words “exploitative” you can kind of feel that vibe. Does she want Nova to be successful? Yes. However, Vi is also old school when it comes to family secrets and all that. Presenting her brother as someone with suicidal thoughts isn’t an easy idea to consume. Remember her trying to deal with the fact Lorna didn’t steal Ernest away?

But, one thing I can’t support is this woman’s lack of filter. Whether blood or not, she goes for the jugular and while Darlene, like Darla, just takes it like a wall and moves on, we’ve seen what Vi’s mouth does to Nova. Making Hollywood, at least for Nova, speaking up on his own issues creating a welcomed conversation. The kind Nova was speaking of when she said the article started a dialog.

The Aftermath: Ralph Angel, Blue, Nova, Remy

After Darlene’s actions, Ralph Angel’s life is a bit rocky. He isn’t sure if this may affect his limitations being undone early. On top of that, it opens Blue up to knowing Ralph Angel has a record and pushing him to reveal he went to jail. Which, upon Blue saying that jail is for bad people, look at Ralph Angel’s eyes. For a moment, you see that this man is hurt by the idea his son may think of him as a bad person and he breaks it down real quick. That, at least for him, it was because he did a bad thing. So, like when Blue gets put in time out, he got put in time out. But, you can tell, just having that conversation is going to add a little bit more fuel to the fire.

As for Remy and Nova? Well, as many times in Nova’s life, something Violet said seemingly was taken in such a way it led Nova to a decision. The kind which doesn’t push her forward in a positive direction, but more so towards one which is inherently unhappy. In this situation, the term “Come to yourself” aka “come to your senses” is said and with that, Nova thinks she and Remy can’t continue. She even adds in the idea that Remy is with her to stay connected to Charley. Which may or may not have been inspired by their conversation in the last episode – hard to tell.

What is clear though is, if the relationship isn’t over then it is holding on by a thread at this point.

Commentary

Ralph Angel telling Blue about him being locked up.
Ralph Angel: I did something I shouldn’t have.

All I hope is, all the work Darla has made to make her co-parent relationship better isn’t tarnished by Darlene’s phone call. For we all know Ralph Angel has an ego. So imagine him having to tell his son he was a convict. Much less, see his son process that and deal with how it could change their relationship. It was bound to happen, just like it is bound to happen Blue learning about Star eventually – probably thanks to Aunt Vi. Yet, someone else forcing you to divulge such information has to feel like being stabbed.

As for Remy and Nova? The way relationships are on this show, it seems if your name isn’t Hollywood and Vi, a clock should be put on the relationship. If it’s Nova, just wait for it to get too serious or for Aunt Vi to trigger something. If it is Charley, it’s not going to be when you want to be there for her, it is when she needs you to be there for her and it is inconvenient for you. Then with Ralph Angel? It is about if you challenge him. If not you threatening his perception of what manhood is.

Really pushing the need to question, taking note this is a show and it is all about entertainment, can these people find happiness that’s stable. Either in a relationship or outside of one?

Other Noteworthy Facts & Moments

  • Nova lost her mom at 19.

Highlights

  1. All These Sensitive and Vulnerable Black Men

Whether you are talking about Prosper calling for help and just accepting all Charley does for him, Remy opening up about his ex-wife, Hollywood opening up about LeeAnn’s miscarriage, or Ralph Angel being Ralph Angel, you got to appreciate these vulnerable men. Especially taking into account of Aunt Vi talking about how Ernest was weak for having suicidal thoughts and emotions. In many ways, you get the idea of how she represents and enforced toxic masculinity. Yet, through Hollywood, you see that Vi can learn and grow through being open enough to make someone like Hollywood comfortable.

Which is also a big thing – each man’s pain was different. Prosper’s stemmed from fear of death. So, just hearing someone’s husband died on the operating table, he quickly canceled his surgery and seemingly, being stubborn and fearful, decided to just deal with the pain as long as he could. Then with Remy, being that he is fairly young, imagine being a widow. Not a divorcee, but a widow. You had all these dreams, hopes, and expectations, and due to no effort of your own, you lost your partner. Healing from that isn’t easy and it kind of helps you understand Remy’s choices a bit.

Remy talking about the promise he made to his wife if anything ever happened to her.
Remy: I was supposed to set up this new life and…

I mean, take his interest in Charley and Nova. What drew him to them isn’t just their connection to Ernest, but also they value community. Which, as he noted in the last episode, finding his community in St. Jo grounded him. So finding a woman who values that as much as him, it dispels this idea he jumped to Nova to piss off Charley or simply because she is there. It’s the activism and her caring so deeply that draws him in. Plus, unlike Charley, even when she makes mistakes, like the Zika thing, there aren’t moral grey areas in her good intentions.

Then with Ralph Angel, you kind of see the pattern broken a bit. With him, we’ve seen him cry, be emotional, let Blue play with dolls, yet there is still that need to be a man’s man. And it is interesting to see that transition from the old school perception of what a man can or should be paired with the possibilities that are becoming acceptable in modern times.

Leaving Hollywood. With him noting that miscarriage helps you understand why his mother was iffy on Violet and also why he will likely get involved in this Blue situation. Like Vi, Blue might be his present, possibly only, shot to raising a kid. So, as invested as Ralph Angel is, you know Hollywood is as well. For the pain of losing a child who barely got to live this life is one thing, so imagine him finding Blue next to Darla who is all drugged out. Here she is, with a living and breathing child, seemingly healthy, and she is putting him in dangerous situations.

Really taking that in, it makes it harder to judge how he has been recently towards Darla. For there is a certain type of hurt, the kind only those who have dealt with miscarriages know, of seeing someone be blessed with a child and mess up the opportunity. All the while, you are either struggling, have struggled, or maybe decided being a parent vicariously might be the most you can hope for.

Low Points

Keke analyzing Micah as they talk about the fire that happened.

  1. The possible end of Keke and Micah. Alongside the turn Micah’s story has taken.

On The Fence

  1. All this drama Darlene caused and the fallout from it.
  2. This Remy back and forth. Give him a purpose, outside of being someone’s boo, or drop him.

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Previous Episode’s Recap

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3 COMMENTS

  1. Let me also say, despite my irritation with Ralph Angel and many viewers tendency to give his failings and habit of revising history a pass, this is an EXCELLENT and thoughtful article. Probably one of the best I’ve seen reviewing this show. Thank you.

  2. Ralph Angel has been out of jail probably less than a year. Remind me, when was all this time that he “raised Blue”? A good part of the time he’s had him Darla was right there along side him taking care of Blue while they were together, getting engaged, planning a wedding. Or apparently that’s just been forgotten by RAs apologists.

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