Star: Season 3, Episode 12 “Toxic” – Recap, Review (with Spoilers)

Gigi staring at the camera.
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Issues with parents are on full display as moves are made to get Star out of jail and the ASA nominations come out.


Network
FOX
Director(s) Tasha Smith
Writer(s) Leo Richardson
Air Date 3/27/2019

#FreeStar: Charlene, Miss Bruce, Simone, Cotton, Star

With it being clear Charlene is out for revenge and gaming the legal system, the question is how? Well, the simple answer is Charlene is the mistress of Star’s judge. This information Miss Bruce found out through their connections, and this leads to them exposing Charlene, with Cotton recording and Simone as a witness. This causes the judge to freak out and promising to undo the damage he did.

Star crying on the phone.

However, before that can happen, Charlene sicks that goon who has been harassing Star to beat her up. Leading to Star, seemingly, ending up in a coma.

The Battle For Respect/ ASAs: Noah, Simone, Alex, Gigi

Despite the possibility of mutually assured destruction that could have happened, especially since Gigi decides to make her beef with Alex public, things go well for all parties. While Alex wins a battle in a silent listening party against Gigi, that Houston shows up to, Gigi gets a nomination for her song “Bossy.” Mind you, over Star’s “There For You.” However, their battle ended before the nominations for reasons noted in the next topic.

As for Noah and Simone? Noah, with Alex, got a nomination for “So Sick” but his issues may deal with getting addicted to OxyContin again. This is discovered by Simone, who has grown close to Noah as she helps take care of Davis. So with him using, and saying it is for his back, she wants to believe but is worried.

Mommy/ Daddy Issues: Alex, Simone, Gigi, Ginny, Missy, Cassie, Calvin, Maurice

One of the consistent issues a lot of characters, if not everyone we’ve met, has dealt with is a rocky relationship with their parents. However, what is prominent this episode is trying to reconcile or recover what can be salvaged. Take Alex’s relationship with her mom Rose. For years Alex has tried to keep things going despite her mom’s alcoholism, trying to mess around with Derek, and other shenanigans and she claims she is sober now. However, the timing makes Alex feel a little apprehensive since this is her moment and her mom, formerly, was all about herself.

Taking things to the next level, Maurice encounters Calvin as he begs for time and attention from Cassie. Someone who still wants not to hear or see her dad and is adamant about that. But, with Maurice talking about reconciling with his mom, after a rough upbringing, and Christine calling about Calvin falling, she goes to see him and confronts him. Leading to the reveal the child he had with Carlotta, a son, is alive out there.

Cassie visiting Calvin.

Leaving Gigi. After antagonizing Alex repeatedly, she shows Gigi she has a video of her doing coke with her aunt, Ginny. Now, Alex didn’t have intentions of putting this out, but she made sure to send the video to Gigi so that all the pettiness would stop. Leading to Missy deciding maybe, if she exposes Ginny, she can manage Gigi by herself. After all, and this is just my way of thinking, Gigi having a coke problem might be a PR nightmare but can be recovered from.

What seems to be forgotten though is Gigi’s mom died from coke and how badly Ginny would take being exposed and cast out. For rather than just cry, be upset, and head home, she publicly kills herself. Perhaps boosting Gigi’s standing due to such a tragic event but also leaving a dark cloud over her head and fears that maybe she’ll die next due to the tragic cycle within her family.

Collected Quote(s) & .Gifs

You’re a conversation, but I’m an entire press conference.
— Gigi

Highlights

Addressing Parental Issues

Gigi talking about the issues she had with her aunts and family.
Gigi: They treated me like a paycheck.

Since the beginning, Star has addressed generational cycles of tragedy, holding parents accountable for childhood trauma, yet pushing the idea that you shouldn’t let your childhood define your adulthood. If not better said, you can break the cycle. We’ve seen that with Star and how she has done everything to make sure she and Simone don’t end up like Mary or even Brody. Carlotta, while getting help from Christine to open her shop, has made it so she could be independent of her and her lifestyle. Heck, Noah, Maurice as we’ve learned, and more have shown they can outgrow and find independence away from their toxic parents.

Yet, Maurice takes that step forward that Star was in the process of doing in season 2 – reconciling. For even though we don’t see his mom in the show, just noting after what likely was a rough childhood that he still speaks to his mom and their relationship healed is important. After all, cutting people off is easy but actually communicating why, how they can atone, coming to an understanding of your part in the situation is hard – whether you’re really at fault or not.

Though the biggest part might be what we’ll see through Alex and that is just sometimes your mom or dad was a flawed adult who may have known better but found it hard to do better. Which, at the time, made you resent them but as you experience your own struggles, you begin to get it. A feeling some begin to have once they are on their own, and maybe Alex is starting to reach the point of. Though Simone and Star not having access to either of their parents and reminding Alex how lucky she is, certainly helps.

Simone Continues To Take Control Of Her Life

Simone thanking Miss Bruce.
Simone: Thank you.

Though this was mentioned before, one thing which can kind of irk you about Star is it can have a character make notable progress as a person or in terms of their importance on the show, and then they take a step back. Cotton is perhaps one of the best examples of this. However, Simone’s time in the spotlight is really pushing you to see she has learned to adapt to new situations and has gained a voice.

Now, has she evolved? Well, yes and no. She can still be that scrappy foster child, as noted by Miss Bruce, but she seemingly is learning time and place. Also, when it comes to Angel, rather than fall into that idea of doing anything to keep her dude since he makes her feel good, even if he is her husband, she is putting her foot down on certain things like getting pregnant.

Mind you, he talks about a condom breaking, and we don’t hear anything about Plan B, but maybe I missed it?

The ASA Nominations Are Finally Out

It’s easy to forget, because of all the drama, one of the original dreams of the members of Take 3 were getting ASA nominated. So with that finally happening, in major categories, it means we’re truly reaching a new chapter of the show and these characters’ lives. One which challenges the writers, surely, of what’s next? If they lose, they can extend this another year, but once they win what follows? Also, with Alex going solo, Star’s solo career already in motion, and Simone having acting and music, what can be done here? Take 3 making albums seems to be a process which strains the ladies’ friendship too much so will there be a time jump? Perhaps a reunion tour or what have you?

Honestly, between seasons 4 and 5, it wouldn’t be the worse idea to jump ahead.

Gigi’s Backstory

Gigi's face with it looking like she is about to cry.

Star is filled with the kind of characters who have bit parts or usually are seen only in urban dramas. But, unlike the aforementioned, what Star does is show people from urban areas as multi-faceted. Yes, they can cut you with their tongue, be ratchet, dance, sing, and entertain. Yet, we’re always reminded these people are human. That those like Miss Bruce, as funny as they often are, they still feel pain, have their demons, and if you say the right thing, you can shut them down and not just shut them up.

As for Gigi, she has been played as larger than life since we’ve met her but only recently has she seem like more than a ball of energy who has a few memorable lines then dramatically exits. So while it is a bit rushed, you have to appreciate learning so much about her upbringing and her speaking for people like her whose talent was recognized and used as a family source of income. Nevermind how bad management, who creates a toxic environment, can be the downfall or rock which either supports or tarnishes a career.

But now with a tragedy fresh in Gigi’s life, so comes the question of what is next? Will she chill out or with Missy now being her manager, will it become worse? If not Gigi trying to venture completely on her own and a new character being introduced to manager her?

Low Point

The Whole Charlene Thing

You know how in many Black movies there are token white folk? Charlene feels like that token who you think is only there for the sake of having someone who isn’t Black and Brown. Which isn’t me forgetting Star is white, but while I’m not giving out invitations to the proverbial Cookout, Star hasn’t said or done anything recently to raise an eyebrow at. Plus, considering her experience at the cookout in season 1, I think she realizes she may have a place, but she needs to be mindful of getting into anyone’s face.

Star aside, I hope the Hunter, Arlene, and Charlene drama ends this season. The three of them have been around far too long and should have gotten dropped like Jahil’s issues with the mob and some political corruption he was in. A season 1, maybe early season 2, storyline that clearly was going nowhere and got washed out.

On The Fence

Calvin and Carlotta’s Son

Calvin revealing his and Carlotta's son are alive.
Calvin: Me and Carlotta’s Little Boy

I want to recognize that this Calvin situation is good for the conversations it can inspire, as well as what it is giving Cassie’s character, and Brandy as a performer. However, my issue has and may always be wondering where that line is between drama for the sake of drama and something more pressing. That is, pushing the need for conversations by exposing and triggering discussions on family secrets. If not crafting storylines which challenge the writers and actors instead of storylines made to trend on social media.

Which, don’t get me wrong, I’m invested in what follows, but sometimes with Star, I get disappointed by how much drama doesn’t involve the music industry and is just soap opera madness.

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