Wednesday, June 28, 2017

REVIEW: 'Queen Sugar' - Aunt Vi and Hollywood Have an Epic and Loving Reunion in 'What Do I Care for Morning'

OWN's Queen Sugar - Episode 2.03 "What Do I Care for Morning"

Micah finds solace at Nova's place. Charley confronts Davis about their custody arrangement. Aunt Vi's time with Hollywood might be short-lived. Nova meets someone at a symposium. Ralph Angel confronts Jacob Boudreaux about spying.

It's absolutely fantastic that Queen Sugar is seemingly done messing around with Aunt Vi and Hollywood. They are two wonderful characters who make for one amazing romance. They are inspiring to watch because the love is so palpable. It was such a nice and easy dynamic early on in the first season. And then, the show decided to start creating problems for them. That was one of the more annoying things about the first season. It created these outside issues that forced Aunt Vi and Hollywood apart. He had an ex-wife whom he didn't tell her about. It was a huge secret that came out eventually. But it also felt like a very melodramatic twist. It made it seem like this show was a soap opera instead of a genuine family drama with a strong perspective on social commentary. The season ended with him choosing to take a longer job out on a rig at sea. His job was never all that important in the first place. That decision just made it clear that the space between them was both physical and emotional. Of course, it's also been apparent this season that the story is bringing them back together as quickly as possible. That's taken a bit more effort. They did hurt each other last year. Plot mechanics had to make it reasonable for Hollywood to return home early. But it's also so rewarding to see the two of them in the same space again.

All Aunt Vi and Hollywood really do in this episode is have sex and enjoy the simplicity of their romance after all of the melodrama. It's nice and relaxed. There's no stress. There's no big plot points that need to happen. It's just the two of them actually being happy with each other again. It's so nice. That's not to say the dramatic tension elsewhere is bad. It's just great to get this glimpse of happiness in a world that is still pretty complicated and uncertain for the Bordelon family. Aunt Vi and Hollywood can once again be the beacon of hope and stability. They can once again be the symbol for a relationship that can go the distance. They are willing to do whatever it takes to keep this relationship strong. Hollywood quits his job and Aunt Vi just wants to make sure he has thought everything through. It's a decision he makes not because Vi forces him to but because he doesn't want to be away from her for that long anymore. He wants this renewed relationship to be even stronger than before. That's awesome. It's something that deserves to be celebrated - which it is later on. It's also funny that everyone is ready to leave the house afterwards knowing that Aunt Vi and Hollywood will want to have more sex.

Elsewhere, Charley and Ralph Angel are continuing to clash over the decision making at the farm. Ralph Angel has the new will that he could use to take over control of the farm. He's still reluctant to use it though. His parole officer says it looks good and will probably be uphold if he presents it to the courts. But Ralph Angel knows that doing so will only worsen his relationship with Charley. He doesn't enjoy talking with her but he knows that this would make things so much worse. Charley gave up her entire life in California to help manage this farm. Her expertise is still necessary at times. But right now, the two of them don't have a ton of respect for each other and the decisions they are making. They are instead arguing with each other about being cut out of the decision making process. They refuse to see things from the other's perspective. That's dangerous - especially when there is a greedy corporation trying to ruin their business. They need to present a united front in order to handle these threats. Drones are being deployed and crops are being stolen. Sam Landry and Jacob Boudreaux are fearless when it comes to crushing the Bordelon farm. Charley and Ralph Angel have different ways of handling things as well. Ralph Angel wants to believe in second chances because he knows how bad it can get when you feel like you have nothing else to do but take a bad deal. And Charley wants to expose these criminals for their shady dealings before they ruin their new businesses before they are even up and running. Charley still gets to deliver an intense threat that could take the pressure off for a little while. But Sam and Jacob will likely continue to be problems in the future.

The only thing that somewhat mends fences between Charley and Ralph Angel is their children. They come from two completely different worlds and have had different experiences in their lives. And yet, their love for their children is so strong and apparent. Charley sees how good a father Ralph Angel is to Blue. It's inspiring to watch. She understands that he wants to do right by their father and create something better for Blue. It's also great when Ralph Angel sees Micah in pain and reaches out to him. Micah is still struggling in the aftermath of getting racially profiled. Nova and Charley see how serious this trauma is becoming. But right now, all it takes is some comforting words from Ralph Angel to ease the pressure a little bit. He does that because he wants to love and support his family. Charley is very appreciative of that. It even opens her mind to the possibility of it being beneficial to Micah if she and Davis had joint custody. It's something she is incredibly reluctant to do. But a paternal influence could be good for Micah right now. That's something he could use more of in his life. Davis has to be willing to step up and be a responsible parent though. If he messes up again, Charley will destroy him. He says he'll do better. But actions will matter so much more than words.

Elsewhere, Nova isn't even in the same state as everything else. Instead, she's in Atlanta attending a symposium where she also happens to be on one of the panels talking about mass incarceration. It's a fascinating and topical story. It's great how the show treats its audience as adults and wants to have a frank but insightful conversation about this topic. Nova finds herself clashing with an epidemiologist named Bobby. They are clashing largely over semantics. They both feel passionate on this subject. They just have different approaches to addressing the underlying issues. Nova is a well-respected journalist bringing attention to injustices in her city and trying to raise funds for the people in her community who need it the most. It's largely reacting to the horrors of this world and making sure they don't go unnoticed. Meanwhile, Bobby wants to address things before they ever get to those bad places so that communities have better odds of defeating this issue which he calls a public health crisis. They both agree that this is powerful work. It's fun to see them after the panel as well. Of course, it doesn't take long before their dynamic turns flirtatious. And yet, that's pretty amusing as well. The show leaves it a little unclear as to whether or not they actually sleep together. It's implied but not actually seen. The amount of time spent on this story likely means that Bobby will pop up sometime in the future as well. He does have a connection to New Orleans after all too.

Some more thoughts:
  • "What Do I Care for Morning" was written by Anthony Sparks and directed by Aurora Guerrero.
  • Sam Landry and Jacob Boudreaux are somewhat one-note antagonists in the main story. They exist largely to represent white people in power who will do anything to crush minorities in this business. But they aren't exactly fun villains either. It would be distracting if they were. The audience is suppose to hate them just like the Bordelon family does. And yet, they still have the power and influence to get things done.
  • Is Ralph Angel allowed to have a gun at his house? Wouldn't that be a violation of his parole? The show brings attention to the fact that he is still working with his parole officer. The two have actually become friends. But then, he needs the gun in order to scare off the people stealing from the farm. 
  • It's nice and important that Charley and Nova have a talk about Micah. The two of them weren't on the same page in the previous episode. Charley wanted to give him space while Nova was really concerned about him not eating and being very tired. And now, Charley takes all of that seriously as well even though he still isn't talking much.
  • Charley has also decided to start looking for a place to live. She is making this place her home and can no longer just be living with Aunt Vi. She wants a place to call her own. She feels like it's time. No one is pressuring her to leave. It's just something she feels she needs to do in order to get more control over her life.
  • This is the second episode in a row where Charley's mother is mentioned. Davis brings her up in trying to make an argument about the benefits of joint custody. So that makes it feel even more inevitable that she will pop up sometime this season.
  • Hollywood is only back in town because there was some kind of accident out on the rig. It was only a momentary break from work though. If he was going to continue, he'd have to be back out there in two days. Him choosing to quit hopefully means the end of this job. Complications from that accident could still come back. Or they could just as easily be forgotten about moving forward.