Wednesday, September 28, 2016

REVIEW: 'Queen Sugar' - The Bordelons All Make Mistakes While Trying to Manage the Farm in 'By Any Chance'

OWN's Queen Sugar - Episode 1.05 "By Any Chance"

Nova's pursuit of justice causes issues in her relationship with Calvin. Charley confronts Davis' accuser. Ralph Angel faces a moral quandary. As the siblings navigate complications with running the family farm, Aunt Vi receives unwelcomed feedback at work and Hollywood resumes contact with someone from his past.

The Bordelons hit a major setback last week when they realized that Ralph Angel may not be the best manager for the farm. They all went back to their separate lives - Charley handling the drama back in Los Angeles, Nova investigating her story and Ralph Angel needing to work at his day job. Nova was successful in her career. Her story is causing major headlines that are getting so much interest. But Charley and Ralph Angel are really struggling. Ralph Angel made such a critical error in buying an infected crop. He wasted a ton of money when the family doesn't have a whole lot to actually spend. It was a huge mistake that proved this family can't operate under the plan they had initially devised up. The sisters believed Ralph Angel could handle all of this pressure. But now, the entire family is realizing just how difficult running a sugarcane farm actually is. Ralph Angel isn't the only one who is capable of making mistakes. The sisters doing so as well helps make them well-rounded and flawed as characters.

At first, it seems like Charley's mistake comes early on. She goes to Houston to visit the woman accusing Davis of rape to figure out what she truly wants. This entire story has offered such a different approach to the sensitive subject of rape. It's this horrible and despicable action. The people who commit this crime should be punished and judged. And yet, the show wants to take a more personal approach. This scandal has caused such a major rift in Davis and Charley's relationship. She no longer trusts him as much as she used to. However, she still believes him when he says he didn't rape this woman. Because the accuser is a sex worker, Charley decides to support her husband. It's a story that highlights her entitlement a little bit. She worked hard for everything she has. It wasn't just given to her. But she certainly looks down at this woman. She does the same thing with her brother. She has so much respect for the people trying to help her with the farm. But she is still a woman trying to silence a rape survivor with no physical proof that no such assault actually happened. Her lawyer says the criminal case is moving forward because there is a rape kit. So trying to buy this woman off seems futile. Until the very end at least when she seems amenable - for three million dollars and an apology where Davis admits to his wrongdoing. That's a concern for the future but it ensures this will continue to be a unique approach to this story.

However, Charley's much bigger mistake happens at the auction to purchase the farm equipment the family needs right now. She needs to be more hands-on with her management of the farm. Ralph Angel is doing his best. But he is too distracted and busy with his own job. A job which isn't even paying him for the amount of time he works just because he's a convicted felon. That's another story angle that is really fascinating to watch. Ralph Angel is hardly an innocent person. He still acts impulsively with deadly force. But this examination of post-prison life is also fascinating and just getting started. He's unable to be the one to buy his father's tractor back. That's all he cares about at this auction. The family can't afford to be that short-sided though. They need more equipment than that if they plan on harvesting this season. They are already so behind. Charley knows they need to get as much as they can for as cheap as they can. And yet, she makes a fool of herself at the auction by going over her budget on an impulsive buy. She doesn't know any better. The price keeps going up and she takes the bait not knowing when to quit. Sure, her rival is a one-note racist and sexist. But it's still a major realization for her when she learns that she doesn't know enough about this business. She's being reckless with the money and not listening to the people who know best. She still has Remy but that's hardly going to be enough.

The farm still doesn't have a manager. After Charley's performance at the auction, it will be difficult to find anyone to do the job. That's a fact she has to accept. Charley wants this farm to succeed. But it's looking more and more likely that she'll have to be the one to do it. She can't just visit the farm every once in awhile. She needs to take on this business herself. Ralph Angel can't do it. Remy knows what to do but is still reluctant to actually take the job. Charley's life in Los Angeles is still so special to her though. Things are only getting more and more complicated with Davis' scandal. That has to take priority in her mind as well. She has a family to worry about. But the farm is a part of her life as well. It demands attention otherwise it will fail before it even gets started. Charley needs to move to Louisiana to oversee the farm. It's something she needs to do. And surprisingly, Micah is very supportive of the move. She doesn't check with Davis to see if it's okay. She's more concerned about Micah. He's not doing well at all after being expelled from school. His story largely happens offscreen. That's good considering he doesn't require as much screen time as he got last week. Again, his mood shifts erratically. When he was in Louisiana, he wanted to return home to Los Angeles. But now that he's in Los Angeles, he wants to leave because he feels like a prisoner where the rest of the world has so many expectations for him. He wants to escape. But he also looks depressed. Charley needs to be a mother above all else. That may be getting lost in all of this mess though.

Meanwhile, Nova learns that it was her marijuana that Too Sweet was carrying when he was arrested. She's the reason why he is in jail now. That makes this even more personal to her. Sure, her selling marijuana hasn't been a major story this season. It was established in the premiere but hasn't been seen since. And now, she learns the truth right before Calvin shows up to confront her once again about the article. He's upset that she used him in order to expose the corruption within the police department. She has no regrets about her handling of the case. But now, it comes at the expense of her relationship. She manipulated this connection in order to get what she wanted. It hasn't been all that clear if this is a bond she truly relies upon. He was there for her when her father died. But that's about as deep as this bond has gotten. It's hard to feel anything when they break up here. It's a devastating act for Nova. These are the consequences of her career. And yet, it is so joyful to watch as she, Charley and Aunt Vi are just able to kick back, smoke a joint together and share overly personal details about their lives. That's a fun scene. There should be more of them in the future.

Some more thoughts:
  • "By Any Chance" was written by Anthony Sparks and directed by Victoria Mahoney.
  • Aunt Vi decides to quit her job at the diner. She doesn't appreciate her new manager coming in and trying to change the way she's done things for years now. But it's more important that she runs into an old friend who has a successful career in New York. All Vi has is her family and this crappy job. She's good at it. But it can't be it for her.
  • Vi believes Hollywood is off at work. They have a schedule to talk to each other every day. But he's not working at all. Instead, he's at a psych ward picking up his ex-wife who has bipolar disorder. It's clearly something Vi doesn't know about. Hollywood is hiding this part of his past. He's moved on but she may not be ready to. Plus, she's a suicide risk.
  • When Hollywood is caring for his ex-wife, she lets it slip that they could try for another baby. Vi knows how good Hollywood is with kids and is disappointed she can't give them to him. But does he already have a child?
  • Seriously though, why doesn't Remy just become the manager of the farm for the Bordelons? He clearly cares about them and wants them to succeed. He stands by Charley even after her mistake. But he's still pushing for other people to take the job.
  • Charley tells Micah that he should go see his therapist. Why does Micah already have a therapist? Is there more to this kid than it initially seems? That's a question for the future. Right now, he just wants to make it clear he no longer has any interest in basketball or eating dinner with his father.
  • Apparently, it's a question whether or not Nova is seeing a man or a woman. Vi knows she's seeing someone. But Nova doesn't share any details while Vi shares too much about how good a lover Hollywood is.
  • Ralph Angel may be getting himself into a new criminal operation. His boss is cheating him out of money. But he still shouldn't trust the guy who pointed him in the direction of the infected crops in the first place.