Wednesday, June 27, 2018

REVIEW: 'Queen Sugar' - The Bordelon Siblings Struggle to Balance Everything in Their Lives in 'Delicate and Strangely Made'

OWN's Queen Sugar - Episode 3.06 "Delicate and Strangely Made"

Remy and Nova address their feelings. Violet receives a business proposal. Blue reveals what happened at school. Charley discovers something suspicious. Ralph Angel goes on a date.

Last week's episode of Queen Sugar proved this to be the season of new romances for the Bordelon siblings. And now, "Delicate and Strangely Made" proves this to also be the season of the siblings being so passionate about their dreams but also really struggling with juggling the many aspects of their lives. Vi puts it best when she tells Nova that she has to allow herself to dream as big as possible. For so long, their community has been oppressed to the point where they set such low expectations for their lives. They never felt like they had the opportunity to dream big. They always had to be practical. As such, Vi lived most of her life not knowing what her dream was suppose to be. Her mother trained her to be a wife and mother. Her mentality was that that would be fulfilling enough for Vi. Those skills still ultimately suited her well because it gave her the knowledge to make these pies. But she also knew that she wanted so much more out of life than that. She just didn't know what her dream should be. From a young age, Ernest knew that he would have the farm. That was the life destined for him and he was eager and proud to carry on that family legacy. And now, Ralph Angel is doing the exact same thing in order to continue to support the family. They can continue their identities as black farmers who actually own the land they are working on. It puts them in such a better position than many in this community - especially now that Sam Landry and Jacob Boudreaux are kicking people off of their land for mysterious reasons. All of this has proven that Ralph Angel is more fulfilled in his life because he had this opportunity to make something as the owner of the farm. He built a life for his family. Vi wanted the same opportunities in her life as well. And so, this business formed for her. She has been very precious about it as well. She has wanted to ensure that it stays one hundred percent her own. That has made it difficult for her to accept help from other people. And yet, she also gladly takes the offer to expand the business knowing that it's going to lead her to even more success with her dream. It's just going to be a fascinating transition for her especially as she's already struggling to keep the business going while also finding the time to be with Hollywood.

These are the types of stories that Nova wishes to include in her book. Yes, she wants to talk about the systemic oppression of this community and the strain that it has put on black farmers during economically struggling times. She has such a prime focus that she is passionate about. But she also wishes to highlight the humanity behind these issues. She wants to put faces on the struggles so that the reader can actually understand how all of this changes the way that a person sees the world. For so long, Vi didn't believe that she could dream big. And now, she is finding herself having to keep dreaming bigger and bigger because she has found herself very fulfilled and rewarded by these pies. She wants to continue making her way in this world. She is putting such good things out into it as well. She is so incredibly supportive of what Nova is doing to better shine a light on these issues as they are affecting this community. But she's also private about her lupus and what she's doing to manage her disease. She doesn't feel like that belongs in the book even though Nova wants to include as many powerful and inspiring stories as possible in order to reach many different groups of people. She understands the importance of this message. She wants to be so completely devoted to this book. She understands that this is her chance to change the world according to her beliefs and schedule. She is the one who is now dreaming big in the hopes that it pays off well for her. That's what makes it so interesting when she doesn't get any writing done at all this week. She's too busy helping Vi make her pies while also avoiding giving Remy an answer about what they should do following their kiss. It takes until the end of the episode for Nova to reply that it's not a good idea to continue exploring a relationship. She does so because she wants a closer relationship with Charley again. She wants to be there and supporting her during her time of need. That has to come before any relationship with a man.

And right now, Charley is spinning out a little bit because she is forced to just sit back and allow time to pass for her private investigator to piece together all of the clues about what the Landry company is currently doing. Charley is so passionate about helping the black farmers of the community. She wants to get to the bottom of why the company is choosing to evict them. Jacob told her the story of the EPA citing environmental damage to the area that needs to be closely monitored and addressed. But that's not the same story that the land surveyors are saying once Charley notices them out in the fields. She wants clarity on what's going on. Those answers remain elusive to her. Instead, she is just forced to sit in the awkwardness of having her private life out in public again. Davis destroyed their family once. They managed to get things back to a civil understanding. And now, he's ruined their lives again with the news that he had an affair thirteen years ago that produced a secret daughter. He's now run away to Los Angeles to be there for his new family. He's leaving Charley and Micah all alone to deal with the fallout of this action. He's not there to be the rock in the community trying to help mend things with Charley and Micah. Instead, they have to rely on each other for that support. It's just difficult for the two of them to open up and really discuss how they are actually feeling. It's cathartic in the end for the two of them to be sitting at the fire watching all of their stuff from Davis burn. But it definitely takes awhile for the two of them to get to that moment as well. They have to find the peace that they are powerless from the world gossiping about this scandal. They still lash out at the world though. It may not be productive. But it's also what they need to do to find peace with all of this new personal destruction.

That is also a vital component of what's going on in Ralph Angel and Darla's lives right now as well. Darla is trying to rebuild her connection with Blue because he felt so stressed and heartbroken while she was away. And now, that feeling only builds more with the news that his parents aren't actually going to get married and be a family forever. Meanwhile, Ralph Angel is just trying to move on with his life by exploring this new connection with Trinh. He feels comfortable finding the time to do this. That date is very key because the show simultaneously wants us to find the chemistry between them charming and worth exploring while also being destructive to all the growth that Ralph Angel needs to undergo in order to balance his life at the moment. Right now, he feels the responsibility to work the farm and be a good father to Blue. He feels the pressure and the demands of this job. He is devoting so much of his time to it. He finds it rewarding while also continuing his family's legacy. He also feels busy being a present parent for Blue. And yet, it's also clear that he is struggling in that regard. Blue just has so much more affection for Darla. He is scared that if he doesn't love her as much as possible that she will just leave again. He has serious abandonment issues that won't be easily fixed no matter how many times Darla tells him that she is here to stay. He just doesn't understand the complicated lives of his parents. However, Darla is actually listening to him when he talks about an incident at school where he pushed another kid. He did so because that kid said that Darla didn't love him anymore. As such, Darla feels the need to comfort and protect her child with love. But it also feels like she's just doing more to understand what's currently happening with her son. Ralph Angel said that he took care of this issue. And yet, it's never clear what he actually did to address it.

That's what makes it so heartbreaking and devastating during that final confrontation that basically destroys the norms of this family. Ralph Angel and Darla are still figuring out how to co-parent. They both remain untrustworthy of each other as well. Ralph Angel doesn't believe that Darla is stable enough to responsibly look after Blue for an extended period of time. She is still just settling back into this community with not much going on in her life just yet. But Darla is also furious that Ralph Angel is putting their son at risk by opening their home to a bunch of strangers who could be doing absolutely anything. He saw his relationship with Benny as this very beneficial thing where he was helping another ex-con adjust back to life outside prison. Through his handling of that situation, he always made a point that he needed to be a responsible parent first. He still allowed Benny to stay at the house for an extended period of time. It never seemed like Benny was actively looking for another place to stay though. But it's also something that Darla didn't know about at all. She doesn't know the workers who are currently at the farm doing everything with Ralph Angel. She doesn't need to know all of them. She has to trust that Ralph Angel is making the responsible decisions while taking the family into consideration. But to her, this all seems like a massive mistake that has the potential of only traumatizing Blue further. They come home at night and see strangers in the house. Ralph Angel and Benny are no where to be seen. They eventually come into the scene to offer their perspective on the issue. But it's still a very traumatizing sight from such a familiar environment. It means that Ralph Angel and Darla still have so much to do in terms of communicating openly with each other. But more importantly, they need to put in the time and effort to ensure that Blue is still emotionally healthy throughout all of this. If they aren't aware of him and his reactions, then something horrible has the potential of happening.

Some more thoughts:
  • "Delicate and Strangely Made" was written by Channing Godfrey Peoples and directed by Christina Choe.
  • Trinh also felt the responsibility to come back home and take over the family business from her parents. She felt the necessity to do so after she went away to school in order to get her business degree. It was expected of her because the family needed as much help as they could get especially in the aftermath of the gulf spill. It's important to realize that the effects of that environmental disaster are still ongoing as well.
  • It also seems incredibly likely that those land surveyors will report back about the awkward conversation that they had with Charley. She made sure to get a business card from them in order to better research their company to see what kind of work they actually do. She is able to get that information because she was previously seen with Jacob. And yet, that connection can also work against her especially if he finds out that she keeps digging into this issue for the truth.
  • It's absolutely horrifying to see that moment where Micah is just casually hanging out with his friends when a random truck with a Confederate flag proudly displayed just pulls up to them. It shows how any moment can absolutely turn on a dime for people of color in this country. At any moment, a person could reveal themselves to be judging them based on nothing but the color of their skin. Of course, it's also played as an empowering moment for Micah because he stands up for himself.
  • And yet, it also seems like Micah is blowing off Keke while hanging out with his new friends. She isn't included in their hangouts as much despite her also being friends with a couple of these kids. That could be building up to something significant as it's more important for Micah to be around his peers instead of in a relationship with Keke. But that could be just as emotional and difficult for him to navigate as well.
  • Ownership is a key issue for Vi and her business. She wants to maintain control over her pies. She's very fortunate to this grocery story owner who keeps buying more and more from her because they keep flying off of his shelves. But he also wants to become an investor which potentially means Vi having to cede some control over to him even though she will still maintain creative freedom. He could open new avenues for her. And yet, it should be interesting to see what she decides to do in regards to this growth.