The episode opens with Ralph Angel (Kofi Siriboe) and Blue (Ethan Hutchison) at home attempting to do some spring cleaning. While cleaning RA finds a large wrapped gift in the back of one of the closets. It’s a gift addressed to Blue from RA’s late father, Ernest. Unable to deal with it right that second he pushes the box back inside the closet.
Just as he’s stuffing his memories and the gift out of sight, Nova’s (Rutina Wesley) car rolls up to the house. Blue is delighted by the prospect of seeing his auntie, but RA isn’t having it. He informs Blue that Nova is sick and won’t be coming inside and instructs him to continue cleaning up. Ralph Angel meets Nova outside before she can make it to the door. She tries to apologize for laying all of RA’s business bare in her book Blessing & Blood, but Ralph Angel is still pissed. He informs Nova that Blue is in therapy because he knows RA isn’t his biological father. Ralph Angel also tells her that Darla (Bianca Lawson) has experienced a relapse. He informs her that he will never have to worry about enemies with a sister like her. Cold-blooded, but true. Nova is stunned and heartbroken, but she also understands Ralph Angel’s anguish.
Elsewhere, Charley (Dawn-Lyen Gardner) is decked out in her Harvard gear while she decorates for Micah’s (Nicholas L. Ashe) college acceptance party. This is the most gleeful Charley has been in weeks, but Miach seems reluctant. Something is obviously bothering him.
Back in New Orleans, Nova is relaxing and researching at home. She stumbles on a name in her reading that’s connected to the Old World Energy company that seems determined to build a highway through St. Joesphine. She calls in a favor to the New Orleans Daily News to get it looked into. Just as Nova hangs up the phone, there’s a knock at her door. It’s Violet (Tina Lifford).
Nova is shocked to see her auntie. After being invited in, Vi demands that Nova give her Jimmy Dale’s (David Alan Grier) address. Nova, being nosy, wants to know why. Violet tells her to mind her business. In the end, Nova agrees to give Vi the address if she drives her and IF they can talk. Vi agrees to the driving but not the talking.
At Charley’s campaign headquarters, she and Mr. Prosper (Henry G. Sanders) have their eyes glued to the TV. It’s been days since Jacob Boudreaux revealed his great-grandmother was a Bordelon and his campaign has suffered a great deal as a result. However, the Boudreauxes and Landrys have no intention of losing this election. Prosper tells Charley that he and a ton of long-time St. Joesphine residents have been scrubbed from the voter registration log.
As Charley speaks with Prosper, Jacob’s mama, Frances Boudreaux, comes strolling in like she owns the place. Homegirl is IRATE that Charley has revealed the family’s secret. But just as Frances and Charley gear up to lay into each other two St. Josephine deputies walk in ready to question Charley about the Queen Sugar Mill fire.
As she sits to chat with the deputy about the on-going arson investigation it becomes clear that they are insinuating that Charley, Micah and RA are in on some kind of scheme to burn down the mill for the insurance money. Charley isn’t having it and asks them to leave.
On the road to Jimmy Dale’s home, Aunt Vi informs Nova that she got her story wrong. Vi tells her niece that she isn’t some downtrodden woman but someone who escaped her circumstances and soared as a result. When the ladies finally approach Jimmy Dale’s house he has the nerve to open the door and exclaim “I knew you’d be back.” Vi is floored by his audacity. She hands him her terrible box of hurt, pain and bad memories and informs him that she will no longer be carrying the burdens of his inhumanity. At one point Nova approaches the porch clinging to her aunt’s hand for support.
Back at the farm, Ralph Angel is washing dishes as Blue and Darla play outside. When Darla comes into the kitchen RA tells her about the gift and about Nova’s visit. Darla suggests that Ralph Angel stop trying to keep Blue from Nova. Despite the wrong that Nova has done she knows Blue adores his auntie and the same is true of the feelings Nova has for her nephew. Ralph Angel tells Darla that he’s not ready to forgive Nova just yet.
Back at Jimmy Dale’s home, the older man is spiraling into a rage. As Nova and Vi walk off, he throws the box to the ground, shattering it. In doing so, it frees Violet. She informs him that he ain’t s—t and that she’s living her best life. She is finally able to exhale and this causes her to smile and chuckle.
However, as she and Nova move to get into the car, a young girl with a battered face approaches the house. The woman seems horrified that she’s interrupted them apologizing profusely to Jimmy Dale. Violet seizes the moment and tells the girl that she can have a better life and offers to take her to get help. All the while, JD is raging and threatening in the background. The young woman drops the bag of groceries she was carrying and rides off with Vi and Nova. The two drop the young lady—whose name is Lila—at a center for domestic violence survivors. Vi promises her a job at Vi’s Prized Pies & Diner whenever she is ready.
Meanwhile, Micah and KeKe (Tanyell Waivers) are at a museum studying art. While they are discussing their future and what it will really mean to be a long-distance couple, Micah confesses that photography is more than just a hobby for him.
At Vi’s diner, Darla comes in for some food and to thank Vi for sitting with her during her relapse and hearing her out. They chat about second chances and Darla even offers Vi her one-month sober chip. Vi doesn’t take it, but it’s nice to see these two are in a good place.
At Charley’s campaign headquarters she thanks all of her hardworking volunteers and employees. However, she’s found herself in a no-win situation. She has determined that in addition to hundreds of long-time residents being scrubbed from the voter registration, the polling place near the latinx community has been moved ten miles away. Things look bleak, and Charley seems defeated for a moment until Prosper comes up with a plan and reminds her of who she is.
Back at Aunt Vi’ s, Nova is drinking tea with her auntie. They are on the road of healing, breaking bad cycles and looking ahead. There will be no more secrets. Vi also tells Nova she’s glad she was with her at Jimmy Dale’s.
Later, Nova and Charley are preparing to welcome guests for Micah’s party. Nova informs Charley that she’s discovered Old World Energy preys on small towns and that it’s actually a shell company. Someone much bigger, bolder and nastier than their current rivals are desperate to get that highway built in St. Josephine. This is not going to be an easy fight.
Even later, the entire family and Prosper arrive at Charley’s to wish Micah good luck at Harvard. At one point during the evening, Blue tries to sit next to Nova but Ralph Angel intervenes. Later, after having a heart to heart with Blue, RA realizes he’s been silly and tells his baby boy that he can sit with his aunt if he wants to. Perhaps there is room for healing here.
In the living room, Charley begins boasting and praising Micah for being a Harvard man. She even gifts him a fancy watch. After hearing his mom’s praises, Micah gathers his courage and informs his mother that he’s had a change of heart. He tells her that instead of heading to Cambridge, he will be attending Xavier for poli-sci and art with a focus on photography. After hearing that her son has officially rescinded Harvard’s offer, Charley cruelly askes Micah, “How dare you?” In her rage, she blames KeKe and Nova for this change.
Queen Sugar airs Wednesdays at 9 PM ET on OWN.
Aramide A. Tinubu is a film critic and entertainment editor. As a journalist, her work has been published in EBONY, JET, ESSENCE, Bustle, The Daily Mail, IndieWire and Blavity. She wrote her master’s thesis on Black Girlhood and Parental Loss in Contemporary Black American Cinema. She’s a cinephile, bookworm, blogger and NYU + Columbia University alum. You can find her reviews on Rotten Tomatoes or A Word With Aramide or tweet her @wordwitharamide
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