Episode 10, titled “Oh Mamere”, opens with Violet (Tina Lifford) doing her thing at her restaurant. Unfortunately, she has an unwelcomed guest. Nova (Rutina Wesley) has commandeered one of the booths for herself and she has no plans on leaving until she and Aunt Vi hash some things out. When Vi confronts her, Nova refuses to cower. She knows that after bringing Vi’s violent ex-husband Jimmy Dale (David Allen Grier) to her doorstep and writing about all of Vi’s personal business in her book, she needs to beg for forgiveness. Vi tells Nova that past memories are haunting her spirit and her marriage and it’s all because of Blessing & Blood. Nova FINALLY gives Aunt Vi a true apology, before her Auntie hits her with some food for thought. Nova then realizes that she would have published her memoir even if Vi had asked her not to.
We see Darla (Bianca Lawson) at home getting Blue (Ethan Hutchinson) ready for a day out with Micah (Nicholas L. Ashe). Darla ties her son’s shoe and makes sure his overnight bag is packed. When Micah arrives to pick up his baby cousin, the two boys look excited about a day at the fair. Darla seems better than the last episode when we saw her clutching on to a bottle of liquor and her sobriety teetering on the edge. But she still has an uneasiness about her. Almost as soon as Blue and Miach leave Darla gets a call from her mother. She informs Darla that her former best friend Jordan is in New Orleans from D.C. and though Darla seems uneasy about this information she still takes Jordan’s contact information.
Back at Vi’s Prized Pies & Diner Nova is still reeling from her conversation with Vi when Charley (Dawn-Lyen Gardner) drops by. She has an early birthday gift for her big sister and gives thanks for Nova taking care of her when she had nearly fallen apart after the burning of the Mill, her lover Romero’s (Walter Perez) rejection and the attacks against herself and her family from St. Joesphine’s most elite families. Nova is visibly touched by the gesture, to the point of tears. The ladies have a strained conversation until Charley invites Nova on a women’s retreat with her. It will be the last opportunity Charley has to relax before the City Council campaign kicks into high gear.
On the road trip to the retreat, Nova and Charley discuss the status of Queen Sugar Mill. Since the fire has been declared an arson the insurance company won’t pay for it and Charley will have to prove that Old World Energy, the Boudreauxes and the Landrys are responsible. To be of greater assistance, Nova offers her journalistic services to help dig up the truth. When the sisters finally arrive at the retreat they realize they will be alone in the middle of the woods for some time. It’s going to be awkward and unsetting.
At the fair, Blue and Micah are having some #Blackboyjoy. As they’re hanging out Micah casually asks Blue about Ralph Angel’s (Kofi Siriboe) new lady friend Ms. Deesha. Though Blue reveals he likes Ms. Deesha he also tells Micah that he’s sad his parents aren’t together. The heart to heart between the two ends with Micah telling his baby cousin to call him if he ever feels sad.
In the middle of the wilderness, Nova and Charley are having the talk of all talks. Charley asks Nova about her fling with Remy (Dondré Whitfield), the book and why she refuses to communicate. While unpacking all of her BS, Nova reveals that she’s always been a person to ask for forgiveness over permission. However, she’s learned that this strategy only serves to hurt the people she loves most.
Back in New Orleans proper Darla is begrudgingly having lunch with her old homegirl Jordan. Apparently, these two have a super long history of being tight and getting completely messed up together. As Darla sits across from her former friend, visibly uncomfortable, Jordan slings back drink after drink. She then begins to reminisce on one particular night they had in D.C., the last time they really kicked it. She reveals that she saw Darla, who was completely out of it, with not one man, but two. Darla tries to piece together the memories in her mind but she’s drawing blanks. It’s especially traumatic to her because that was the night Blue was conceived. Horrified by the revelation, Darla runs out of the restaurant and into the nearest bar. Our girl can’t hold it together any longer, she begins throwing back shots. Also, Jordan is a trash friend.
Meanwhile, at the fair, Blue has to use the bathroom. After convincing Micha that he can go alone, Blue slips out of the men’s’ room line and runs into the women’s room. The poor baby really has to go. At that very second, Micah receives a text from Keke (Tanyell Waivers) informing him that their friend Anthony who was charged with arson last season is finally getting out of jail. However, when Micah looks up, Blue has vanished, sending Micah into a spiral of panic. As Micah scurries off to look for his little cousin, Blue comes out of the ladies room where Micah is no longer waiting. Panicking, the little boy happens upon a police officer who assures him he can wait for his cousin. Getting out of the heat, Blue climbs in the back of the police car to wait for his cousin. A short while later, Micah finds Blue in the police car, but the situation soon turns tense as the police officer is immediately hostile with Micah. After seeing Blue’s worried face peering out of the police car, Micah calms himself until he’s reunited with his cousin.
Aunt Vi is getting ready for her jog when she can’t seem to get her Apple Watch to function properly. After fussing with it, she reluctantly allows her newest employee Joaquin to help her. With a fixed Apple watch and an iconic jewel-toned sweatsuit, Vi sets off to exercise. As she comes winding down the path she stumbles upon a very drunken and dazed Darla. Though she’s agitated at first, Darla allows Vi to take her home.
Over at Hollywood (Omar J. Dorsey) and Vi’s, Ralph Angel and Mr. Prosper (Henry G. Sanders) are shooting the breeze with Wood and drinking beers as Hollywood seasons up some ribs. The trio share with each other how lucky they are to be with their women–Vi, Ms. Genevieve, and Ms. Deesha respectively. RA tells the older men that he has a date with Deesha that evening and he’s going to ask her to be his lady.
Still together in the woods, Nova and Charley are ready for bed. Nova muses that they haven’t shared a room since ’99. It was Charley’s senior year in high school and Nova’s freshman year at Tulane. Nova went to Los Angeles to visit her baby sister and picked apart every single thing she had and did. Meanwhile, Charley viciously referred to Nova as “just her half-sister.” Their relationship hasn’t been right ever since. There’s so much bad blood there. Nova reflects that she’s always felt small next to Charley. Meanwhile, Charley felt like she was never good enough for Nova. Whew, work this out sistas.
At Darla’s, Vi has taken the fragile young women home where they have one of the most gut-wrenching heart to hearts on TV. Darla reveals that Blue’s father could have been one of two men, but that she was too out of it to recall. Vi urges her to call it what it was–rape. She also reveals that she suffered sexual violence, abuse and rape at the hands of her ex-husband, Jimmy Dale. She impresses upon Darla that even if she didn’t say “No” or was incapable of uttering those words rape is still rape.
As soon as he and Micah cross the threshold to Vi and Hollywood’s home Blue spills the beans about the police incident. Ralph Angel’s temper begins to boil as Micah reveals he lost Blue for a moment, but when Blue says the policeman wasn’t nice to Micah he softens. Mr. Prosper offers all the men in the room some advice–don’t let them change you–remember who YOU are.
In the midst of this Ralph Angel receives a troubling phone call from Aunt Vi telling him to meet her at Darla’s house alone. When he arrives, Darla and Aunt Vi are sitting together on the couch as RA looks on from a chair. He confesses that he’s terrified about what’s going to be revealed. (The last time Darla confessed something, it was that Blue might not be his biological son.) Before they begin, Aunt Vi informs her nephew that “The truth is a light, even if it don’t feel like it.” Darla slowly reveals her truth, telling RA about the two men and what she was subjected to. She also tells him she’s been drinking and that she’s sorry. RA tells Darla she has nothing to apologize for and he quickly calms her fears and informs her that he won’t look at Blue any differently.
The next morning RA wakes up on Darla’s couch alone. As he folds the blanket, his phone chirps. He has two missed calls from Deesha. He has unintentionally stood her up. Sliding Deesha further down his list of priorities, he knocks on Darla’s bedroom door. She looks so sad. When he asks her how she’s doing, she tells him, “I feel empty.” RA tells her to get a little bit more rest, and that he will be right there so she doesn’t oversleep for work.
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