Queen Sugar: Season 4, Episode 9 “Stare At The Same Fires” – Recap, Review (with Spoilers)

Charley being picked up by Nova at a bar.
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As Nova comes to terms with what she did, and tries to atone, Darla struggles in isolation. Also, the men challenge themselves to open up to one another.


Network
OWN
Director(s) C. Fitz
Writer(s) Lisa Morales
Air Date 8/14/2019
Introduced This Episode
Miss Martha Carol Sutton

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Recap

Oh Mother, Mother Of Mine: Miss Martha, Nova, Darla, Ralph Angel, Blue, Leo

After the reveal that someone from her mother’s side is still alive, Nova ventures to meet Martha who is very similar to her mother Trudy. She is a healer, specifically trained in Haiti and throughout Africa, and she, like Nova currently, is a bit of a Black sheep. One who was disowned by her father, for following the family tradition, for the women, of becoming a healer and since the time Trudy gave birth to Nova, she has not necessarily been in hiding but hasn’t pursued reconnecting with her family – The Lavoisier.

But, alongside talking about herself, giving some of her history, Miss Martha gives us an idea of Trudy as well. One, she was the type to do things her own way, a euphemism for noting she is stubborn, and that despite Nova thinking her birth was by accident, and altered Trudy’s life for the worst, that isn’t the case. Trudy operated on the idea things happened for a reason and was very happy being a mom. As we know, being a wife was a whole different matter, but motherhood agreed with her.

Miss Martha (Carol Sutton) and Nova speaking at Miss Martha's house.
Miss Martha (Carol Sutton) and Nova

The same might be a little difficult to say when it comes to Darla. As we’ve seen, while Ralph Angel is moving on, and having an easy time doing so, Darla is struggling. Leo isn’t like Deesha, as a boyfriend, and with Deesha’s daughter friends with Blue, it is making it so she is integrating and Darla has a problem with that. Not because she doesn’t know Deesha but one would submit, while she knows Blue loves her, and she can’t be replaced, there is that struggle of not being able to provide him with the same family vibe Ralph Angel can. Never mind, with her parents not around, and Leo pushing her away since he thinks she is going to relapse, she feels isolated. Hence her looking at a bottle of whiskey for a possible source of comfort since, let’s face it, Ralph Angel might be kind but his family has long made it clear they don’t want her. From Nova with the book, Charley abruptly firing Darla at the mill, to Aunt Vi being who she always is.

Not All Boys Become Men: Micah, Keke, Ralph Angel, Hollywood, Aunt Vi

Toxic masculinity is brought up in the form of Aunt Vi noting that Hollywood’s aggression triggered her. You see, her ex, Jimmy Dale, he wasn’t always violent. However, the first act was against a man trying to talk to Violet and from there it went from him being insecure about other men talking to his woman to him beating on her for various reasons. This shakes Hollywood a bit, especially as he speaks to his boys and they reinforce the idea that he did the right thing – in a “Protect your property” type of way.

This pushes Hollywood to think maybe he should have handled things differently. Be it talking to Jimmy more, or not walloping on him. And the whole idea of talking to Jimmy pushes him to realize that, outside of Vi, he doesn’t have real conversations. That is, something beyond sports and about how he is feeling, what is going on in his life. For example, he tries to talk to Ralph Angel, whose program is ending indefinitely, and doesn’t know really how to comfort him besides asking him to hangout and drink.

Luckily, it seems the next generation might be doing better. Micah, for example, is saying all Keke needs to hear about him being her first everything and Micah decides to go to Ralph Angel about some of his anxieties. Not because he is a virgin, since that isn’t the case. But, even though Ralph Angel and Micah had their issues, at the same time he is one of the closest people to his age and a good male figure. So they hash it out, help Micah deal with his anxiety over loving Keke and being her first, and Micah seems better about his feelings in the long run.

Gather Together & Share The Burden Evenly: Prosper, Charley, Nova, Micah

Charley is going through it. Something that has been said many times before, but now it is serious. She drives out to New Orleans and decides she is going to drink to get drunk – never mind the idea of taking the edge off. This worries some people, like Prosper and Micah, since she just abandons her other duties. So, despite how their relationship currently is, Nova is called to pickup Charley and they hash things out.

Mind you, not in a drunken argument but Nova admits that she pretty much wrote the book selfishly. I’d submit the idea was maybe healing herself if not freeing herself from all these secrets she was holding that felt like they were weighing her down. That is, rather than doing that for her family or Darla. Which, once admitted, doesn’t make things better but when Nova goes to a party Prosper has thrown, to try to lift Charley’s spirit, Nova comes and while things are slightly awkward, it isn’t like she is run off on sight. She is allowed to stay and participate in lifting Charley up both spiritually and as a local leader.

Ralph Angel, Charley, and Nova at a party for Charley.

Question(s) Left Unanswered

  1. What led to Miss Martha no longer being involved in Nova’s life if she used to rip and run in her yard?

Collected Quote(s) & .Gifs

Things don’t go away just because you ignore them.
— Aunt Vi

Review

Highlights

Micah and Ralph Angel’s Relationship

As noted, Micah and Ralph Angel have been cool, but after Micah got a little rough with Blue, it seemed Micah kept his distance. So him going to Ralph Angel about Keke and that situation, it showed that things are changing. That, while Hollywood may not have relationships which push a deeper understanding between two men, a sense of support, Micah and Ralph Angel do have that kind of relationship and there is hope for that next generation. Heck, maybe that Ernest, before his passing, instilled that in Ralph Angel or, through his interactions with Darla, his sisters, or Deesha, maybe Blue, Ralph Angel picked up these skills.

Miss Martha and Nova

Trudy is a character we’ve rarely seen and only hear about a few times per season. Usually in passing, but never really in depth. Until Miss Martha, we were led to assume Ernest was her all so meeting Miss Martha, hearing more about Trudy, and Trudy’s family history was quite the treat. But, I will admit, I hope this may eventually lead to a flashback since it still doesn’t feel like enough.

Hollywood Recognizing His Toxic Masculinity

Generally speaking, Hollywood is a good man. He is a provider, integrated well with Aunt Vi’s family and when it came to his ex-wife, until a certain point, he was taking care of her long after they were no longer intimate. However, this doesn’t mean there aren’t area to improve and that was a really important aspect of this episode. Showing that even good men have areas they can be better. For Hollywood, it was his communication skills beyond Vi.

After all, while he isn’t that much older than Ralph Angel, with Ernest gone, Hollywood fits an older brother if not paternal figure. One who is in a good relationship, works hard, and he needs to be able to talk to Ralph Angel and guide him. It comes with being in such a tight knit family. So with him picking up on how he can approve, noting how he could have handled Jimmy Dale differently, it sets an example, similar to Aunt Vi being spry and as nasty as she wants, that no matter your age, or how good of a person you seem or are, there is room for improvement and things to do.

Nova and Charley

The sisters are definitely not past what Nova written. However, I think Nova’s chat with Miss Martha revealed to us that perhaps to be the healer she was meant to be, she had to heal herself first. She had to rid herself of the darkness and secrets of others, and while she cut her family and associates open, as we’ve seen, that was necessary. Each one needs surgery and while Nova hasn’t finished her job, it seems now no member of her family can ignore their ills and Nova might finally be at a place to assist in their healing. Basically answering the call Miss Martha believes she has.

Which, when it comes to Charley, is necessary for if she is going to be a community leader, that means taking on the ills and pains of the community. She is one of the leaders and she can’t keep her sins buried and avoid them. Charley has to town up to them, present them as lessons, and be a symbol of how a person grows once they know better. Something for Nova which can only really be taught, shown how to heal from, once you’ve gone through that, experience isolation, and came out standing stronger than ever.

On The Fence

Darla Clearly On Her Way To A Relapse

Darla smelling a bottle of Whiskey.

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On the one hand, Darla having a relapse would allow her to be fallible in ways she hasn’t been afforded to be thus far. Especially for she has been this shining example of recovery. Which, while nice, doesn’t make her seem human. However, with having a relapse allows her to be an example of not just recovery but also the stumble.

Not to say I want her to go deep into Star territory and head back to that direction. But, one of the things Queen Sugar specializes in is illuminating stories, particularly those of African-Americans which don’t see the light of day often. At least on a platform such as this.

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