Star: Season 2/ Episode 16 “Take It Or Leave It” – Recap/ Review (with Spoilers)

Star saying, "Old habits are hard to break, right?"
"Old habits are hard to break, right?"
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Things have been kind of holding together, but falling apart for awhile. But, as Alex’s star rises, and she begins to really leave Take Three behind, Star finds herself making some moves.


Network
Fox
Director(s)Paul McCrane
Writer(s)Moises Zamora
Air Date5/9/2018

Apologies Mean Nothing When You Repeat Your Mistakes: Cotton, Jahil, Jayden, Nakisha, Carlotta

With Jayden having kidney failure, Cotton is freaking all the way out. Nakisha wants to be trans phobic, the boy is asking Jahil if he is going to die, no one seems to be a match for him and Carlotta is focused on Take Three’s drama and not Cotton. It becomes too much and eventually Cotton goes off on Carlotta. She faults the whole situation on Carlotta, the way Cotton makes it sound, kicking her out, forcing her to live with her grandma, and Cotton forcing herself to even be with Nakisha just so she could come back home. An intimate encounter that, in Cotton’s memories, she relates to rape. And, you know, no matter how much Carlotta may apologize, it doesn’t change the past and her still putting her feelings, her work, and everyone else before Cotton? It has to stop.

Commentary

Cotton revealing the sole reason Jayden exists was because Cotton was trying to get back in Carlotta's good graces.
“you told me don’t come back until I became a man.”

You really do have to feel for Cotton. I mean, just thinking about it, while we know Carlotta accepts and loves the girl, take note, since Star, Alex, and Simone came around, she has pretty much put Cotton on the back burner. As I believe was said in terms of Simone, the girls for Carlotta were like a do-over. To get things right in a multitude of ways. Simone being raised in a stable and loving home was to atone for Cotton’s upbringing. Protecting Star and keeping her on the right path was supposed to make up for what Carlotta couldn’t do for Mary. Then, when it comes to Alex, a part of me feels making her feel wanted and beautiful, that was to make up for how she made Cotton feel for quite a long time.

Because, as we dive back into Cotton’s issues when she was confirming her identity, imagine what it was like when she first started to transition? Taking note of some of the stories in The Trans List, not everyone’s transition is easy. Lest we forget, Cotton became a sex worker just to pay for hers and, on that note, how is she affording her hormones at this point? Something which is besides the point but also a question to ask.

Anyway, there is something about watching something try to apologize vicariously through others that is infuriating. And even if you’re not trans, surely you can understand by how grandparents treat their grandchildren sometimes. As your parent, they were rough – to put it lightly. Yet, with your kids, they are everything you wished they were to you. Kind, sought to understand you, listened, yet they struggle to show you the same and you right there. You are not dead yet the experience they give others, they can barely, never mind consistently, present to you.

Desperation: Angel, Andy, Simone, Cassie, Jahil, Ayanna

So much is banking on Noah and with Alex dating him, Take Three takes priority. Never mind whatever stats Angel and Andy have, Ayanna doesn’t care about that. So, with Jahil nowhere to be found, and it being assumed his relationship with Ayanna is the cause of this, Angel and Andy break up to get out of their contract. Leading Andy to Cassie’s bosom, and getting into her business, and Angel sulking in Jahil’s RV trying to figure out his next move.

But, bad things get worse. Andy, seeing Cassie with all this cash, thinks skimming 15K off the top won’t hurt her or nobody else. However, it gets someone killed. Then there is Angel’s situation. Just as Simone opens up to him, gives him just enough to understand what Otis did and why that makes her hesitant about sex, he learns his DACA application has been denied and he has a hearing. Meaning, just as soon as he found something stable, someone to trust, they may be gone from his grasp forever.

Commentary

Angel responding to Simone revealing what Otis did to her.
“You don’t have to say anything else”

I wasn’t all that fond of Cassie in the beginning but she is growing on me. She seems kind of out of place, but I’m learning to appreciate what Brandy brings to the show. Especially in terms of making Andy more than a snarky nuisance. But, let’s be real, the star of the Angel and Andy show was Angel, especially once he got with Simone. That relationship remains one of the cutest, young adult, relationships I can think of, outside of Keke and Micah on Queen Sugar.

But now there is the same kind of instability their lives have always been plagued with. Making you wonder, in an effort to prove she isn’t like the others, will Simone runaway with Angel, maybe head to DR, or perhaps let him go? Clearly, he has opened her up in ways maybe even surpassing Karen so I can’t imagine her just letting that go. For even though it has been a few months now, the loss of Karen is still fresh and losing Angel would seriously trigger that.

Which, considering how good Simone’s mental state has been, can’t you imagine her having a serious breakdown? Perhaps to the point of ending up in a mental ward again?

You Can’t Eclipse Star: Star, Maurice, Natalie, Ayanna, Carlotta, Simone, Alex, Noah

Two major things cause a lot of drama: Alex becoming more and more a solo act, and Ayanna firing Natalie and putting Maurice on probation. This combination makes it so Maurice begins to pick away at the fabric of Take Three and then he strikes at an opportune moment. With Alex not being around for rehearsals, doing a shoot in Savannah, and Noah freaking out, drinking, and losing it, Star steps in when she wasn’t supposed to. In fact, she has a great performance.

But, with that, so comes the issue of Maurice’s influence, Carlotta trying to keep the girls together, and Alex smacking the mess out of Star for taking her moment to shine and being a little too friendly with Noah perhaps? Well, let’s not also forget how stressed out Alex is. The goal since the beginning was to never rely on her father making moves so she could get to this point. So, while there is loyalty to Take Three, Alex isn’t going to say no to a check.

However, between Natalie whispering in Maurice’s ear, Maurice deciding to pull a “killer” comment and address the Mary situation, and pushing Star to step out in front, it might be the beginning of the end. Especially since Star and Noah’s performance got people talking and Maurice gets Star to agree on capitalizing on it.

Commentary

Star's first conversation with Maurice as he plants seeds to break Take Three up.
“Everybody gets a time to shine, right?”

Considering all Star has done to get successful, alongside how Simone seemingly never wanted to be in a group and Alex, well she pretty much is a part-timer at this point, it only makes sense what Star did. As noted by Maurice and Jahil since the beginning, she will burn a village just to have some sort of spotlight. I mean, while she may owe Alex for getting this far, Carlotta for providing a place to stay and all that, she has to break away eventually right? Plus, considering she just looked shocked and didn’t beat the hell out of Alex for smacking her? That’s growth, right? She didn’t even have a nasty comment.

But clearly, what Maurice is doing is going to change the dynamic of Take Three, if not put a nail in its coffin. The question is though, with Alex deciding to steal a track from Star with Jackson, will this tit for tat make them both stars or just the new Mary and Carlotta?

Other Noteworthy Facts & Moments

  • It has been 3 days since the last episode.

Miscellaneous Commentary

Neighborhood Watch

Derek, not to be forgotten, seemingly is creating a purpose for himself. With Ruby, and quite a few others, getting robbed, he is slowly returning to community activism. In his latest movement, since no one wants to snitch to the cops, the idea is to have a neighborhood watch. Something Miss Bruce finds dangerous because Derek put his name on it and Miss Bruce feels it is a dangerous move. But, considering part of Derek’s healing has to require him having more to do than his new girl, his walking progress, and think about Alex, this might just be what he needs.

Noah’s Drinking

Noah revealing to Star the song she liked, which the audience did too, he was only able to write it because he was drunk.
“I was wasted when I wrote it”

Considering all the drama of the girls on the show, it is easy to forget Noah has some of his own. This is the first album since his best friend died. He has no real family support, his return to stardom has been with a lot of false starts, and he’s kind of like Simone and Star in a way. Just look at his face when someone disappoints him or he knows he disappointed someone. You see that abandonned kid all over again. The one wondering if that’s going to be it. Are they going to leave him for better or stick with him?

Highlights

  1. Realistic Drama: From potential breakups to actual breakups, nothing necessarily feels over the top here. Even when it comes to Andy’s drama with Cassie, while not music or family related, it strangely doesn’t feel out of place.
  2. Cotton dealing with her son dying and addressing what led to her son existing in the first place.
  3. Simone opening up to Angel and Angel’s DACA being denied. Note: his DACA being denied isn’t a highlight as much as the stories from that. Be it in terms of representation or what that means for Simone’s future storylines and performance.
  4. The tit for tat which will be coming between Star and Alex.

On The Fence

  1. Andy and Cassie, the 18’ Bonnie and Clyde: Let’s be honest, while cool now, the previews coming up push the idea this whole storyline will only be useful towards making a cliffhanger. Not for the sake of commentary or strong performances.

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About Amari Sali 3365 Articles
New Jersey native Amari Sali takes the approach of more so being a media advisor than a critic to sort of fill in the gap left between casual fans of media and those who review productions for a living. Thus being open about bias while still giving enough insight, often with spoilers, to present whether something is worth seeing, buying, renting, streaming, or checking out at all.

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