Just a Nova seems to be recovering her place in the family, Charley might be ready to cut her and the rest all off.
|Writer(s)||Anthony Sparks, Alison McKenzie|
|Introduced This Episode|
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Let’s Not Repeat The Mistakes Of The Past: Darla, Nova, Aunt Vi, Blue, Ralph Angel
With Nova winning over Charley, the next easiest person to go after would seemingly be Ralph Angel. After all, he forgave Darla after the paternity thing and, since Ralph Angel didn’t meet Martha, Nova is all that is left of their mother right now. Thing is, between Blue being put in therapy to deal with what Nova revealed and Darla’s relapse being blamed on Nova, he’s ready to ice her out.
The problem with doing that, however, is Blue is questioning why and after Aunt Vi and Nova reconnect, even she isn’t for that nonsense. But the big blow might come from Darla. Someone who, if you recall, after the paternity situation, wasn’t allowed to enter the house for a charger. Also, like Aunt Vi, Nova hasn’t really apologized, truly, for all that happened and tried to atone. Which, in her own way, Aunt Vi has, but Nova has yet to take responsibility for her actions.
Yet, that’s Blue’s aunt, she wants her son’s life filled with love, not hate, indifference, or snide comments. So she pushes Ralph Angel, if just for Blue’s sake, to let it go. Which, after talking to Blue, who notes a situation he had with a friend named Marcus, Ralph Angel lets it go. At least in terms of letting Blue interact with Nova. He isn’t at the point yet of embracing her, like everyone else.
Destroying The Path I Laid Down: Aunt Vi, Jimmy Dale, Nova, Layla
Jimmy Dale (Whose name I keep getting mixed up with Jimmy Dean), returns. However, not in the form of him coming to Aunt Vi but Aunt Vi to him. Why? Well, there is this box, filled with mementos from her past, which has been like a boulder and chain. One which makes it so, even with all the riches Vi has, she feels that tug. One that Nova yanks and made Aunt Vi fall to her face. Which is an issue.
You see, Vi may have never put her entire story out there, but she gave the Cliff Notes version. She pushed her triumph, and yet Nova pushed her trials. In fact, Nova put more effort into detailing the trials, seemingly because that was what she needed. Nova didn’t need the grandeur triumph but to fully understand the struggle. One which Vi hasn’t fully moved past.
But that changes this episode. She hands Jimmy Dale her pain, and like the bastard he is there is no acceptance of his part. Insults are still flung, and juvenile behavior we rarely even see from Blue is exhibited. However, bad turns worse as we are introduced to Layla. She is someone either dating Jimmy Dale, maybe married to him, and clearly is being abused. So, rather than just rejoice in how better her life is, while looking at Jimmy Dale’s decrepit house and life, she eradicates her path. Making it so Layla not only can have freedom but forge her own way. One beside Aunt Vi at Vi’s Pie’s, if she decides to take the job – once she handles her business at a woman’s shelter.
If It Isn’t One Thing, It’s Another: Charley, Micah, Keke, Aunt Vi, Nova, Prosper, Frances
Everyone’s favorite cousin, Cousin Frances, shows up and she is just steaming about this reveal of a negro being in her family tree. Dare I say, she had to go see a dentist just to whiten her teeth to feel better. But, considering cops are now suspecting Charley’s brother or son of arson, it seems her showing up to the campaign HQ was just a prelude of things to come.
Which, by the way, includes voter suppression in the form of local farmers being taken off the books and moving polling stations nearly 10 miles away. This, as you can imagine, is a lot for Charley to deal with, on top of the book exposure, reconciling with Nova, and breaking up with her boyfriend. However, Prosper has been through this so he is already working with the community to overcome this obstacle as Charley gets with her lawyers over the purge of the rolls.
But, you know when it comes to Charley, when it rains it pours. First by Nova revealing Charley is facing something bigger than Frances, but a shell company who seemingly eats up small towns regularly. Then, there is Micah. Someone who decides to break out of Charley’s dream for him and not go to Harvard. An idea many in the family support, Keke included, making it so Charley feels unsupported, singled out, perhaps conspired against, and thus she has to leave the room.
Maybe this may lead to her seeking out Darla and reconnecting with the only friend we’ve seen her with that wasn’t family, a business partner, or a potential love interest.
Question(s) Left Unanswered
- Did Davis really put any money towards that Rolex or did Charley just write that on there?
- What is in the box Ernest left for Blue and considering all that has happened, why is it just now being found?
Darla Being The Bigger Person
When it comes to Ralph Angel’s family, nearly everyone in it has done Darla wrong. Hollywood told her to keep her distance, Aunt Vi gives her nasty looks, Nova was a mini-Aunt Vi and used her story to sell books, Ralph Angel blew up her life and didn’t keep the paternity situation quiet, and then there is Charley. Lest we forget, Charley fired Darla, despite being a perfect right-hand woman, just to show her loyalty to Ralph Angel. She spites her business, and what was a growing friendship, just because Blue wasn’t blood.
Yet, look at Darla. This hateful ass family, who would cut someone off or down in a hot minute, she still can see the love in. She can twist how each one are hollering dogs who can’t take someone returning their venom, and see it as them being passionate and loving. Heck, going off of how Blue acts, we can see how he more so is a product of her than any time spent with Aunt Vi as his guardian or under Ralph Angel. So here is hoping this olive branch, which Aunt Vi has taken, is honored not just by her but the others as well.
Aunt Vi Set Free
While loving to her family, and community, we’ve seen the dark side of Vi many times. Not just with Darla, but Nova, Ralph Angel, maybe even Charley – though it has been a while. However, something seems different. With Jimmy Dale destroying that box, it is like whatever bits and pieces were locked up in there, scared to even come out if Vi opened the box, were freed. Whatever was trapped in there, haunting Vi, is gone. Now, she can seemingly, fully, serve her purpose in the world.
Be it helping girls like Layla get jobs and secure independence, after being abused, showing how she set the way for Ralph Angel’s program, or just living her truth. For, in my mind, and as noted above, while Aunt Vi noted her trials, she put so much effort into her triumphs that I don’t think Nova and the rest got the full story. And with Nova looking to Aunt Vi as a maternal figure, lacking the entire story is damaging.
Heck, look no further than the Lorna situation. Aunt Vi told a half-truth there and look at how that affected Nova’s relationship with Charley. Never mind her perception of Charley’s mother – who really should be popping back around sooner or later.
Give Prosper His Flowers
Just like Aunt Vi stepped up when Ralph Angel and Nova’s mom died, Prosper did when Ernest died. Yet, I honestly can’t say he gets enough credit for what he does. Be it getting the farm running, convincing farmers to work with Charley, an outsider, and bringing them to the table over and over, then helping her campaign? Let’s not forget this man is older than Vi and yet still hustling about for people who aren’t even his kin, never mind kids. All with the intention of doing right by them and without a single sign he was doing this to impress Vi.
That to me is a real man and a true friend right there. Even after death, Prosper is treating Ernest’s kids like his own. It’s beautiful enough to make you cry.
Micah Forging His Own Path & Charley’s Reaction
Like some of you, I have a fascination with Black rich kids. The Smith children specifically, for they have a certain level of freedom we don’t often, publicly, see. Like EJ Johnson, they have this freedom to explore, make mistakes, get messy (Magic School Bus Reference), that isn’t available to most Black kids. Which is why I take such great note of Micah’s journey since he may not be fluid in sexuality or gender expression, but how he has used his privilege has always been curious.
Think about it, his father is a rich basketball player and mother a self-made multi-millionaire. Not to downplay Lorna’s role in that, but Charley busted her ass to make Davis who he is. Which perhaps explains why she is so upset. Throughout the last few seasons, Micah has increasingly rejected Charley, what she represents, and her path. He never stopped loving her, but he has made clear he doesn’t necessarily like her decisions.
Making it so, him wanting to get into photography, drop Harvard, and do community work by not pursuing a way to create jobs, but document what is happening, it is the ultimate slap in the face. For, think about it, being a disenfranchised person makes it so giving your children access to do better is one of your top priorities. You sacrifice time, dignity, money, and maybe even love so they can have more, do more, and live a life you paved them to have. So for them to not reject all of that? What does it mean for all those years you spent bending over backwards? For Charley, what was the purpose of letting him go to public school and the leniency you gave? All just so it can bite you on the ass and be in a room of people who care more about this kid and his short-sighted decision than you?
Which isn’t to imply I don’t understand, or disagree, with Micah’s decision. College is a necessary evil and once you go on a path, settle into an industry, and have experience just in that, changing your path is hard. But, also there is this need to recognize that this is partly Charley’s own doing. She has been pro-community for a long time, wanted Micah to know his history and people, and he did. It’s just, he decided rather than become someone over his people, he’d be one of the people. Showing, in many ways, Charley’s dreams for Micah didn’t really include Micah all that much. Hence the constant push back and this lack of understanding between the two.
Leading to another good reason for Nova’s book, so that even if Charley didn’t know her son well, at least her son got some sense of his mom and a reason to ask questions.
On The Fence
There Is Always Something New When It Comes To Charley vs. The Landry Family
I’m just tired. Between Tales From The Crypt Sam Landry, the dog who humps your leg in Jacob, and Hitler’s mistress Frances, they’ve been awhile too long, and the escalation isn’t helping. This story, this long war, it needs to be done. The anger has reached its point long ago when we learned the Landry family-owned Charley’s. This burning of the mill seemed like a way to release Charley from being trapped in St. Jo, so let her win this election and head on a path to DC. Her son is grown, likely going to be cut off, if Charley has anything to do with it, so let her focus on her, her role in the community, and be done with this Landry family drama.