Queen Sugar: Season 4, Episode 6 “By The Spit” – Recap, Review (with Spoilers)

Charley (Dawn-Lyen Gardner) raising a microphone as she announces her candidacy.
Charley (Dawn-Lyen Gardner)
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While some are making strides recovering from Nova’s book, Aunt Vi begins to really feel the effects and Nova, herself, is dealing with the dark side of her new success.


Network
OWN
Director(s) Bola Ogun
Writer(s) Felicia Pride
Air Date 7/24/2019
Introduced This Episode
Pastor Angel Martinez Armando Leduc
Lady Genevieve Ginnie Randall

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Recap

Recovery Is A Slow Process: Aunt Vi, Ralph Angel, Blue, Darla, Hollywood

It seems the effects of Nova’s book, and seeing her ex-husband, has led Aunt Vi to journey further towards rock bottom. Which, for her, is her libido being off, maybe even a sense of depression. Two things which have nothing to do with Hollywood but, lest we forget, he has had a wife before, and in that relationship, he did nearly everything he could and was leaned on. So with that not being the case with Aunt Vi, naturally, he is a bit lost and bewildered as to what can he do. Especially when Vi says she needs space. A request Hollywood honors but it’s clear that Vi being alone may not help her move past her issues.

If anything, she may need counseling like Darla has setup for Blue. Someone who, by the end of the episode, seems a bit like his old self since he got to talk to someone. You know, a professional and not just his parents or his doll. But, as this all happens, there comes the need to ask if maybe Ralph Angel might need counseling too. For between the book, Blue’s reaction, the farm being threatened, and him trying to move on from his past, maybe he could use someone to talk to that isn’t family, an ex, or someone he is dating? Granted, being self-employed means he has to pay out of pocket, assuming he doesn’t have insurance, but it could be a good investment.

What Fed You Once Can Bite You Later: Nova, Octavia

Dr. Octavia Laurent (Cree Summer) as Nova says she has outgrown her.
Dr. Octavia Laurent (Cree Summer)

From what we see, Octavia’s place in Nova’s life is born out of a few things. One is likely a sense of loneliness since it seems whatever itch Nova knows how to scratch, Octavia never found another woman who could do the same. Also, there is the issue of not being that shiny new thing anymore. Dr. Laurent has been in academia for 20 years and, understandably, for someone, her own student, to get further with less to say is astounding. After all, aren’t we all mad about what Nova has said? So imagine someone like Dr. Laurent who has studied what Nova boasts her book to be and her knowing it is BS.

Think about that for a second. Similar to how social media comics get roles that stand up comics can’t get despite their legacies, or how musicians and models get acting roles despite no training, that’s what Dr. Laurent feels. She is a notable academic who can, at most, get to write a foreword while Nova is asked to be a noteworthy writer in a potentially prestigious book.

Now, does that excuse her blocking some of Nova’s blessings? No. Yet, it does remind you one of the reasons Nova has such a hard time in relationships. Everyone wants Nova to be something for them, an escape, a stepping stone, someone to mold into their image, but never Nova. There isn’t one ex that we’ve seen that didn’t push her to be someone, and maybe that’s why, for a hot minute, she pursued Remy. He was the only one who seemed to get her and accepted the person presented to him.

Getting back to the good doctor, with Nova catching the shade and being told Dr. Laurent made her, it becomes clear they are at an end. Not because of Dr. Laurent trying to get a come up, putting Nova down, or trying to manipulate her. It’s just that Nova has clicked into the mindset of realizing that all she could get from Dr. Laurent as a total person has been given. So, at this point, the only thing she is now is convenient. Which isn’t what Nova needs right now so, in her mind, she has outgrown Dr. Laurent, and while insulted, it seems Dr. Laurent agrees. Leading to her leaving in grace.

Your Focus Can’t Only Be On The Opposition, But Those You Have To Win Over: Romero, Pastor Martinez, Charley

With Charley running to represent the parish, so comes a bit of a reality check. Yes, in her world, the one which is predominately Black, she has support. However, the parish isn’t only Black. It is also Latinx and while dating Romero may have inspired her to brush up on her Spanish, even gives her a peer into his culture, it isn’t lost on many she is just now taking note they exist. One person in particular, Pastor Martinez, isn’t really that impressed by Charley’s sudden interest in him, his congregation, or the local Latinx community. In fact, in so few words, he calls out her pandering.

Pastor Angel Martinez (Armando Leduc) having a conversation with Charley about gaining his support.
Pastor Angel Martinez (Armando Leduc)

Yet, it is made clear by the time she officially announces that he is willing to come to the table and have discussions. After all, while Black Americans built America, it is the Latinx community that does the jobs no one else want to maintain it. And if the builders and maintenance folk are fighting, that means the people upstairs can keep counting their money and elevating a few of the minorities to keep their own kind from causing trouble.

Question(s) Left Unanswered

  1. With it being revealed Calvin is making a return, what’s the chance of Dr. Dubois coming back? Was he in the book?
  2. So between what Aunt Vi said about Lorna and Dr. Laurent, who has a more negative impact on Nova’s ability to form healthy relationships?

Collected Quote(s) & .Gifs

“I can’t remember the last time a man added to my life without taking from it or tried to change me.”
— Charley

Review

Highlights

The Shift For Prosper & Aunt Vi

The beautiful thing about Aunt Vi’s character is she brought on the rare representation of a woman a certain age who was vibrant, sexual, had life to her, and was anything but meek. Making this shift in her person enjoyable. Not in a bad way, but we’re beginning to understand how she was able to be that kind of person. It wasn’t from accepting her past, learning from it, and moving on. She suppressed it. To survive, thrive even, she packed away all those feelings and put them under the bed. Dealing with how they’d, on the rare occasion, wake her up from her sleep.

So with Nova opening that suitcase and letting the monster out, I’m looking forward to seeing Vi’s process. For, in this case, there is no cathartic release to help her move on. She can go off on Nova over and over, vent about her too, but that isn’t going to fix things. The demon she has strapped down is now affecting her marriage, her libido, and may have her feeling depressed. Thus really pushing you to wonder if Vi may let this consume her or will she seek out help. Which, essentially, may have been what Nova wanted her to do all along.

Lady Genevieve (Ginnie Randall) greeting Prosper.
Lady Genevieve (Ginnie Randall)

Switching to Prosper, what you have to love about how things have shifted for him is that he is now being seen as more than a mentor. Be it Charley or Ralph Angel, he sort of stepped into Ernest’s role. Not as a father, but as someone who could give them the personal attention they needed when it came to farming that only someone who is, or is like, family could. So with him now being given a personal life, a possible girlfriend in Genevieve, it’s like getting to see him reach the same level Aunt Vi has long enjoyed. Which is his age not limiting him to what role he can play on this show, or in life.

Nova & Octavia

While Octavia, in some ways, gave Nova a taste of karma, in terms of her being used for a potential come up, the thing we really have to focus on is the idea of outgrowing a person, recognizing when someone is a crutch, and taking note of people who invest in order to seek a return. Breaking that down, I think it is best to begin with the crutch statement. In my mind, Nova, similar to Charley, has always had an issue finding a sense of belonging. Whether it is because of her skin tone, perhaps the way she was before Octavia “spit-shined her up” or just feeling out of place, I’d submit many of her relationships, romantic or otherwise, were crutches.

Primarily in the form of her being willing to set aside her morals, maybe even who she is as a whole, to become what that person wanted. She may have done that with Aunt Vi and became the daughter Aunt Vi never had. Nova likely did that with every man and woman she ever dated, and it could be one of the reasons why she has such a hard time with criticism now. Despite how Nova may seem so consistent since season 1, to the point of you questioning if she has developed or evolved much, maybe it is because her turning point happened within a few months or years from the series premiere?

Maybe that is when she started to realize she made herself small or cut pieces away of herself to fit into other people’s lives? Heck, thinking about how she treats Ralph Angel and Darla at times, maybe her lashing out at them is because they have things she has long craved but never found. Validation from another human being. A child, or a young person, who sees the best in them. That is, rather than a bunch of people who may give a methadone shot to her insecurities or loneliness.

Leading to the idea of a return in investment. From Calvin, Dr. DuBois, Octavia, even Chantal, you saw people invest in Nova seeking something in return. Calvin wanted an excuse to leave his wife in a way which wouldn’t put all the guilt on him. Dr. DuBois wanted a sparring partner, and someone on his arm, to elevate his platform. Chantal saw Nova as a leader who she could influence and maybe use for her own interest. Then, with Octavia, she saw someone who could renew her relevance so that she wasn’t just respected, but sought out. It’s toxic relationships like this which help you further understand Nova’s book and her need to call out everyone. Basically, she is lashing out, in a calm, pseudo-intellectual way. For how else can she deal with her demons is everyone else doesn’t deal with their own? You can be as clean as you want to, but all it takes is one filthy person to taint your sense of purity all over.

Nova (Rutina Wesley) breaking up with Dr. Laurent.
Nova (Rutina Wesley)

Bringing us to the idea of outgrowing people, which perhaps is the most complicated of them all. Mainly due to points Dr. Laurent brings up in the belief that if Charley wasn’t Nova’s family, would she be her friend? And while their conversation ends with Nova saying she outgrew Octavia, so comes the question if she is hanging onto some of her family members strictly because they are family? Not because she looks up to them, values, them, still learns from them, but simply out of familiarity or convenience?

Aunt Vi, for example, I think Nova has outgrown. She was a maternal figure when her mom died, and some could say did the best she could, and her best wasn’t necessarily what was good for an impressionable child. Making me wonder, if healing ever does come for Nova and her family, will it lead to them reevaluating their relationships and noting that blood shouldn’t be the end-all to be all unless it is time to close ranks? Since, as seen from both sides, there is a lack of consideration and inability to have a certain amount of empathy for one another. Be it in the good times or bad.

Blue In Therapy

Therapy is something we’re increasingly seeing Black women take part of, but when it comes to Black men, it’s still more an exception than a rule in media. Charlemagne Tha God pushes himself to be an example, and challenges guest to speak out or seek counseling, but in fictional media, it isn’t as big of a thing. That is why Blue being in therapy, and how Ralph Angel is pushed to really deal with his emotions, beyond talks with family members, is of such great importance. Not to say it is going to lead to a bunch of converts and a spike in Black men going to therapy. However, there is always something about seeing someone else do it, even if in a fictional narrative, that may click something. Maybe dispel a prejudice or fear, and lead to a sense of curiosity. Which, in many ways, is needed for suppressing feelings is how so many ended up in the problems they are currently facing.

Skinfolk Ain’t Kinfolk

Charley’s storyline is experiencing a bit of an uptick thanks to this political role she is taking on. But, what is of greater interest is the new challenges it is presenting. Primarily in the form of challenging her to step out of her comfort zone. Which is a big deal since Charley has spent most of her life feeling like she hasn’t belonged and has just recently felt like she found, if not earned, her place in St. Jo’s Black community. So to now challenge herself to find acceptance amongst the Latinx community is going to be a sight to see. Especially since, off the bat, she is presented with caution and skepticism. Romero isn’t allowed to be some sort of pass, nor the former representative.

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What I love about that is that it reminds you, and calls out politicians, from touting out having a Black, Latinx, and etc. friend when entering spaces not made for you. When you go into communities you’ve never stepped in before and are clearly the outsider of. It’s not necessarily on your friend to show you are one of the good ones, down for the people, or what have you. That’s your job. One person can’t speak for the many, and their word can’t compensate for your actions, or previous lack of actions.

After all, lest we forget, things weren’t necessarily the best for the Latinx community when they started working with and for the Bordelon family. So considering Nova’s book, Charley may find herself answering for much more than suppressing and paying off someone Davis was messing around with.

On The Fence

Micah and Keke

Keke (Tanyell Waivers) talking ot Micah.
Keke (Tanyell Waivers)

Being that Keke has been around forever, it is a bit frustrating she has never grown past being Micah’s girlfriend. We were told she does a lot outside of dating him, in terms of volunteering and so much more, but after that whole pageant thing was over, that got dropped. So here is hoping with her being single, or appearing to be, maybe as Micah gets dialed back a bit, Keke may get the chance to shine solo.

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