Star: Season 2/ Episode 17 “Mrs. Rivera” – Recap/ Review (with Spoilers)

Carlotta praying.
"(exhales) I know it's all in your hands God."

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The characters of Star all go through so much this episode that even trying to figure out what may happen in the finale will depend if the writers will get their foot off our necks.


Network
FOX
Director(s) Tamra Davis
Writer(s) Kimberly Ann Harrison, Nina Gloster
Air Date 5/16/2018

The Calm Before The Storm: Noah, Alex, Carlotta, Ayanna, Jahil, Andy, Angel, Simone, Cassie

With Sound House coming back to the table to finance Noah’s tour, Ayanna gives Carlotta props for what she got done. Even allows her to push a favor in the form of opening Take Three’s contract so that they can get a bigger budget. Also, she sets a release date. Problem is, Alex’s solo projects and aspirations are becoming bigger than the group. Thus setting Star off and with Simone more worried about Angel than Star’s dreams, she decides to quit.

And, while all of that is happening, Andy is dodging Cassie’s phone calls and the last thing you ever should do is mess with a thug, take their money, get to their heart, and ice them out. For that is what leads to what follows. Which all came just as Jahil, perhaps due to foresight, trying to make things right with Andy and Angel by handing over their contract.

Commentary

Simone noting to Angel why she is done with Take Three.
“I realized there’s more to life than chasing fame.”

Sometimes I think Star really doesn’t get the credit it deserves. Not just in terms of the topics it touches on but the writing of said topics. For the build to the emotional points of the episode threw me off a bit. After all, at this point of writing about so many shows a season, and movies, with a decent amount of diversity, I feel a bit callous or numb, or simply I have built a tolerance for basic maneuvers to get a reaction. Thus leading to, like with the house fire, me kind of rolling my eyes more than being scared or worried.

However, before getting into the shocking bits of the episode, which honestly got me a little emotional, I just had to give props to the writers and actors.

Star’s Revenge: Noah, Alex, Maurice, Simone, Star, Angel

Since the beginning, Star has been willing to do and sacrifice whatever it took in order secure a career. She has slept with people, murdered people, consoled people, and tried to keep it cute and friendly when possible. On top of that, she used her career aspirations to help Simone find a way out of the system and also make it so Alex wasn’t in her father’s shadow. Yet, more often than not, when things got tough and difficult, who bore the blame? Star.

So, with Maurice clearly in her head, she produces a diss track. One which has her vent about everything from being with Noah first, how she feels about doing stuff for Simone, and let’s just outright call this track nuclear. The only person she perhaps didn’t come after was Carlotta. Which, considering what she could have done to prevent Mary’s death, or a lot of the trauma Star and Simone went through, consider that a surprise.

But, as the anger built up, and even after the release, Simone begins to wonder, what is life outside of the hustle and pursuing music? She asks this of herself and Star, and talks it over with Angel. For, as said many times, Simone really isn’t into this music thing. It was a means of getting out a bad situation and with her not having to worry about going in the system, now she seems to want to focus on her marriage and who she is outside of Star’s dreams. A question which seemingly will be put on hold.

Commentary

Star opening up to Maurice who asks her to channel her rage and frustration into a song.
“It’s my whole life, and they act like they could do without me.”

Didn’t they tell you that I was a savage? Let’s be real, the breakup of Take Three has been a long time coming in more ways than one. Early on it came from Alex having to deal with Star getting pushed because she had that Adele effect. That is on top of Jahil doing as Maurice is doing now, and pushing the idea that Star is the true Star of the band. Then, alongside that, no matter how you look at it, Simone was never really meant for this life. She barely could keep up with steps, complained the most and, as noted, pretty much kept up with Star because she is all she has. Much less, since Carlotta’s situation screwed up her being adopted, music was the only way to stay out the system.

Then with Alex, let’s be 100% real here, her main goal from the beginning was to break out of her father’s shadow. Star just happened to come at a time where she didn’t have the confidence to do it as a solo act. Maybe even the access to do so without dropping her father’s name. Which, considering how Take Three got some breaks, let’s be real, she never truly distanced herself that much from her dad and used that last name when necessary.

But, getting back to the point, now that, in season 2, she doesn’t have to deal with being in Star’s shadow, people are recognizing her talent as an artist and producer, so comes the question of what she needs Star for? Hence the line about Alex using Star as a come up. Technically, that is what she did. Once she got the confidence and validation she needed, more and more she pursued solo stuff and while there is a conversation about being loyal to the group still, even if you want to take note how the episode ends with a reconciliation, words mean things. She may still want to see the group shine but, at this point, the group is Star featuring Alex and Simone. Not one cohesive unit known as Take Three.

True Death: Carlotta, Jahil, Jayden, Cotton, Angel, Simone, Noah, Alex, Ayanna, Andy, Cassie, Maurice

As Jahil tried to reconcile with Andy, since Angel had the audacity to shut the door to Jahil’s old trailer in his face, Cassie’s goons come around to send a message, if not kill Andy. However, Jahil takes the bullet and this leads to a few things. The first being a reveal that he and Carlotta are married, alongside Jayden getting a kidney once Jahil dies. Which doesn’t make a whole lot of sense considering Jahil’s drinking and drug use, but maybe that would just eliminate the ability for him to give other organs, not his kidneys.

Either way, after Jahil’s death, comes a series of unfortunate events. Ayanna learns she is pregnant, Noah nearly gets a DUI but luckily Alex switches seats and saves him, for now, and Angel gets taken by ICE. Oh, and Cassie warns Andy that she wants her money back or he’ll be in a box next.

But, just to reiterate, there are some good things which come out of this. Jayden gets a kidney, Ayanna does reveal Sound House will finance Noah’s tour and, while Maurice is trash, we get to understand that, in the long run, Carlotta really did love Jahil and he felt the same. For his last words were a proclamation of love to her.

And while I would love to leave things on that note, I gotta say that Maurice is likely going to drop Star’s diss track and despite Jahil’s death bringing Take Three back together, they soon will be apart.

Commentary

Carlotta speaking at Jahil's funeral.
“That’s my ride or die”

Past recaps will show I would have been fine with Jahil dying season one for I hated the out of place drama he brought to the show. However, to be honest, I got a little teary-eyed when he died. Probably because, over the course of the second season, it was revealed to us he wasn’t just a bastard. Someone in it to make a name for themselves and willing to screw over whoever he had to. There was a real, genuine goal to make a person’s life better.

And that is why I credit the writers for the first topic’s commentary for unlike Hunter, Karen, and characters like that, this death wasn’t just for the sake of heightening drama or making way for new love interests. It was about building a serious and emotional arc that would have a real, long-term, past me and others noting it happen, effect. For, as Carlotta noted, and as the relationships we have seen her in exhibit, she probably isn’t going to find another Jahil anytime soon. He was the father of her child, a ride or die, and also pushed her, through both negative and positive ways, to be better. I mean, the game she laid on Ayanna you have to give some credit to Jahil for her picking up how to deal like that.

Now, stepping aside from Jahil, I’m really interested to see if Angel is going to be written off or not. With him in ICE custody and being snatched like that, who knows if being married may help. If not a twist of him being Jahil’s or something else to save him from deportation. Much less, considering Simone was talking about running away, maybe her going with him to DR and her being, temporarily, written out of the show for a bit. I mean, anything can happen and with Brittany O’Grady being having a role in a film which features Game of Throne’s Emilia Clarke alongside Johnny Knoxville and Karl Glusman, it could mean she might be given time to promote that venture.

Switching to the Noah and Alex situation, I feel like they are about to break up. If just for the fact he would drive drunk with her in the passenger seat. For, and to my surprise this wasn’t done, I was fully expecting her to be triggered by what happened to Derek when Noah started swerving. Plus, clearly, as much as Alex wants to be down, she is not the ride or die type. She, due to her mother, has had her fair share of taking care of drunks and people down and out about life and themselves. It is just hard to imagine her allowing Noah the same amount of her time as her mother took up. Especially considering she just told Rose she has had enough of being her crutch.

Leading to this whole Noah and Cassie thing. Considering the preview above, one or both of these characters probably won’t make it to season 3. Which, considering Andy hasn’t done much besides be a snarky butt hole, do we really need him? Could he, somehow, someway, like Jahil evolve? Maybe, but at least Jahil had a bit of panache. Andy is just some privileged dude who hasn’t brought one redeemable thing to the picture. Not even a song that makes you think, “At least his music is hot.” Because, as of late, only Angel has been getting any type of music put out there. Andy has been a serious afterthought.

Then, as for Cassie, while the character has grown on me, she hasn’t really surpassed the point of existing just so Brandy could be on the show. And while, yeah, Cassie now has some sort of connection with Derek, he is on the fringes too since Star doesn’t have late night chats with him and Alex barely talks to him. So add them both to the list of expendables.

Leaving Star. Clearly, Maurice is also a savage, but he is one with power and influence. So, as I believe Natalie made clear, if he has to screw her over to make himself good, as he seemingly has done in the past, he is going to do it. Whether Star is ready or not but there is the situation: Is Star ready and is she also tired of other people getting chances she doesn’t? If it wasn’t Noah, it was Alex. For a moment Andy and Angel got ahead of her despite all the work she has done. So, again, referencing the preview with Sound House talking about backing her, so comes the question if she might be willing to put her ultimate ambitions aside for what is in the here and now. Knowing, based off recent history, it may solely be guilt and temporary circumstances keeping Take Three together.

Other Noteworthy Facts & Moments

  • Derek and Alex reconcile over the past. Not to the point of pushing the idea they’ll get back together but at the very least they can be cordial. Maybe one day friends again.

Question(s) Left Unanswered

  1. What kind of partnership is Cassie really planning with Derek for protection of the neighborhood? Also, how long till her mom catches on to what she is doing?

Highlights

  1. Jahil’s death had a real and serious impact past being a soap opera moment for the sake of shock. It was a real, from season 1 to now, arc that leaves you emotional.
  2. Angel being detained and the show pushing what it means and feels like to suddenly lose someone due to their citizenship status.
  3. Star maybe having the opportunity to go solo. Also, her “diss track” was hot.

On The Fence

  1. Ayanna being pregnant by Jahil and where that may go.
  2. Where any storyline involving Cassie may go.

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About Amari Sali 2718 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. An avid writer, Amari hopes to eventually switch from talking about other people's productions to fully working on his own. Such a dream is in progress to becoming reality.