The Kings of Napa: Season 1/ Episode 8 “Judas and the Black Owned Vineyard” – Recap/ Review (with Spoilers)

August realizing they are still being blackmailed

In its season finale, The Kings of Napa makes a smooth transition from the drama we spent the last 7 episodes with to what it can offer in its second season.

In its season finale, The Kings of Napa makes a smooth transition from the drama we spent the last seven episodes with to what it can offer in its second season.

Aired 3/1/2022
Network OWN
Directed By Cory Bowles
Written By Janine Sherman Barrois
Introduced This Episode
Cornelius Jordin Hall
Ray Quinn Martin
Everett James Emmanuel Kabongo


It All Came Down To This – Rose, Dana, Vanessa, Melanie, Bridgette, Kelvin, August

Rose’s return from New York leads to a short-lived reconciliation with Dana. But upon wanting to restart the fertility treatments and learning Dana had a vasectomy, that was the final straw. With that, she is done, and once again, we see how Dana has long been uncomfortable with Rose’s bi-sexuality and makes it clear her value to the company is dependent on her relationship with Dana. For the way he makes it seem, a divorce from him means unemployment for her.

But, while one relationship ends, Kelvin and August decide to give things another try. Though August makes it very clear, Kelvin needs to step up and handle things with his wife and not bring that drama to this relationship. She has too much going on to have to worry about that, and, overall, he has to make her feel more secure, loved, and treated right as his partner – to which he agrees.

Melanie awake

This brings us to Melanie – she wakes up! Now, she isn’t moving around much, is not walking whatsoever, but she can talk to Vanessa, gets to speak with Bridgette, and will stick around.

Pushing Boundaries – Groesbeck, August, Bridgette, August, Jason, Yvette, McConnell, Kelvin

Kelvin continues to push doubt that Bridgette is the blackmailer, but just as August needed evidence to damn her, she needs evidence to go back on what she said. For at this point, she sees flip-flopping being the new thing that could be used against her. Plus, as much as it would be nice for Bridgette to not be guilty, with a new blackmail call comes the idea Bridgette has an accomplice.

However, that’s not true. McConnell, the man Bridgette has been secretly meeting with, is a gallerist that Bridgette has been going back and forth with about showcasing her art. He is not a co-conspirator. Bridgette is innocent. Groesbeck has been blackmailing the Kings’ family due to Reginald buying his family land and not letting him buy any back. That was his craw, and his anger led to the blackmailing, stalking, and threats of violence against August’s family.

Thus, once the police arrest him, Bridgette returns and draws some boundaries. She makes it clear she and August will not have a merry-go-round relationship as they did in the past. They are co-workers, and in fact, Bridgette asks for a 20% raise and VP title since she has vines she thinks can trump what Sean and Shawn are putting out there, and damn if they don’t hit. I’m talking hit to the point of Yvette bringing Jason back to the table and August getting his company to drop Sean and Shawn to work with them exclusively.

You Don’t Even Know What’s Coming – Cornelius, Ray, Everett, Sheila, Christian, Vanessa, Bridgette, Rose, Jason, Yvette

Everett James (Emmanuel Kabongo) introducing himself
Everett James (Emmanuel Kabongo)

With the blackmailer situation handled, so begins the setup for season 2. Christian’s girlfriend, Sheila, we learn, is playing him by duping him into a partnership with two men named Ray and Cornelius. Alongside that, a new character, Everett, is introduced, and we learn he bought Sean and Shawn’s land and plans to open a 5-star resort real soon. Vanessa, who he introduces himself to, doesn’t see that as possible due to zoning laws, but Everett reminds her that money changes minds.

Following those characters being introduced, we learn Rose is readying for a nasty divorce, which has her looking to embarrass Dana and air what family secrets she knows. She says all of this to Bridgette, with whom she isn’t proposing a relationship or alliance but is relying on their friendship through this difficult time.

Which leaves Jason and Yvette and what may become of them in the future. Despite knowing each other for months, Jason proposes for neither is getting younger, and with that, it seems wedding bells or tribulations will be in Yvette’s future.

Things To Note

Question(s) Left Unanswered

  1. Why is it, with all the money and security we were told was on the Kings’ family land, they just now were able to pull information on Groesbeck’s car? During Quincy’s initial investigation, you’re telling me he wasn’t running plates on everyone who has been on or near the property?
  2. How long has Sheila been targeting Christian, and was he her specific target, or was she generally looking for a wealthy man? Also, were one of those investors her actual boyfriend?
  3. If Everett has been buying up land and working to change local zoning laws for a while, why did no one of the family know? I get the blackmail thing was taking priority, but considering all the connections Vanessa has, you’d think someone would have given her a heads up.
  4. Sheila isn’t related to or from Otis’ hood, is she?
  5. Did Sean and Shawn sell because of losing the deal with Jason’s company, or were they already looking to get out of the wine business?
  6. How did Groesbeck learn how to clone Bridgette’s phone?

What Could Happen Next

  1. Jason and Yvette’s engagement period being hectic as she starts to pay notice to who he is
  2. Sheila taking advantage of Christian and using him as a launchpad to further establish herself
  3. Everett seducing Vanessa and Melanie questioning his interest causing issues
  4. August and Kelvin still trying to work things out, while his soon to be ex-wife tries to use August in her and Kelvin’s custody battle
  5. Bridgette and Rose growing closer, and Bridgette’s allegiance being complicated due to Rose and Dana having a nasty divorce



While Things Ended Quickly, There Was No Need To Get Mad About It

Groesbeck being the blackmailer, ultimately makes sense. Have we necessarily been pushed towards that conclusion much? No. We could see a male by the way they looked, but all signs pointed towards Bridgette, who has now been exonerated.

But what saved this semi-rushed ending was Groesbeck’s backstory. His grandfather selling the land and thus allowing Reginald to set up generational wealth helps you understand how generational wealth works. You own land, build on it, and pass it down, which allows your descendants to be set for life potentially. And it is because Black people had their land and businesses stolen or destroyed, they don’t have the privileges that Groesbeck feels were owed to him.

I’d even add in as a plus, Groesbeck represents all the white men who think they don’t have privilege because of how Black, Asian, Latinos, and queer people are doing compared to them. Because they are treated as the default, one-half of the comparison chart, for those like Groesbeck to see themselves not doing well across the board, hence the threats of violence and blackmail. Including Groesbeck going after Sean and Shawn.

How Season 2 Is Setup

Cornelius (Jordin Hall) and Ray (Quinn Martin) having a deal setup by Sheila for them to work with Christian.
Cornelius (Jordin Hall) and Ray (Quinn Martin)

The Kings of Napa went big with the cheating storyline, killing off a lead character and having a notable blackmailer in the area for its freshman season. However, season 2 seems less geared at trying to stand out through being the most dramatic and instead gain and maintain viewers through character-driven storylines.

With Yvette getting married, potentially, it means a heavy focus on who she is, why she is single, and her life outside of being everyone’s favorite aunt. Christian’s storyline of being duped by Sheila could allow the show to tap into him being bi-polar and re-write the narrative that people like Kanye West have taken over regarding what it means to be a Black man with the disorder. Add in Everett potentially trying to woo Vanessa and Rose readying to release family dirt? We could have quite an interesting season two, just as long as OWN makes the investment.

Listed Under Categories:

  • Plot and Dialog - /100
  • Character Development and Performances - /100
  • Visuals and Sound - /100
  • Pacing - /100
  • Value For Intended Audience - /100
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