Being Mary Jane Season 4, Episode 2 Recap: Can Ronda Be Trusted?

Photo: Courtesy of BET.
Mary Jane with a gloating Ronda Sales.
Last week, we were left with a burning question: Can we trust Ronda Sales (Valarie Pettiford)? This week we get our answer.

But before sending ourselves into a tailspin, let's first talk sex. Episode 2 opens with a romp between Mary Jane and Lee (Chiké Okonkwo), a.k.a. the comedian. No surprise. Though, there’s another hookup happening just a few states over: cousin Niecy (Raven Goodwin) and Dante (Cesar Cipriano), a.k.a. the father of her newborn. Sidebar: Seeing an African-American woman in an interracial relationship with someone who isn’t white (the usual go-to) is refreshing. Particularly given recent trending news. Though sadly, Dante is a creep and it’s clear to everyone but Niecy. That detail is not refreshing. He's come back into the picture around the same time she’s set to get her settlement money.

Back in the Big Apple, producer Garrett (Ashton Holmes) has news for MJ. She’s covering the glitzy New Hope charity event. But this is Ronda’s charity and usually, well, Ronda covers it. Aha! MJ assumes it’s a ploy to place the two women at each others' necks — just as Ronda warned last week. “I asked for you to cover it,” Ronda later confides. The queen bee wants people to see there’s enough room for two Black women to “have a seat at the table.” Has someone been listening to Solange’s latest album? She also wants MJ to know about Corey, the man running her charity. Apparently, he's sexy and single.

In the season premiere, MJ got the Cinderella treatment after Ronda let her borrow her stylist. This week, Ronda fairy-godmothered her again by handing her a rack of expensive dress options for the big night. MJ is charmed. The two veto options and land on a bold, matte-pink number. She’s almost too nice.

Ronda aside, I think this episode the writers wanted to remind us of just how annoying our leading lady can be. When it comes to love, Mary Jane Paul wants perfection. Her standards aren’t high standards, they’re unrealistic. She’s looking for her “Black unicorn.” But didn’t she get the memo? Outside of emoji keyboards, unicorns don’t exist.

Lee, age 40, eventually loses her attention when he confides that he has two children in London. MJ has questions. Particularly, “Why are you in the U.S. and not near your kids?” You can feel her begin to shut down. After inviting him to be her date for the big night, she recoils. He’ll be a “distraction” she tells him over the phone. Ouch. This also gives her an excuse to search for her nonexistent unicorns.

That night at the charity event, she links up with Corey, or as Kara called him"Andre 2.0" (a reference to her old lover/mistake, Andre Daniels). He’s an angular, broad-shouldered dude with a chiseled jaw. Though Kara sees the red flags: Andre 2.0 is the enemy; he handles Ronda's charity; and as we know, Ronda is to be admired, not trusted.

Meanwhile, Ronda is feeling herself and touting an award around. She talks to MJ about an old professional foe who can now, kiss her "voluptuous, multimillion dollar ass." She gets MJ to talk about her professional foes as well and our HBIC in training shares stories about her nemesis, Justin Talbott (Michael Ealy). She tells Ronda that he, “stabbed her in the back and walked over my dead body.” I can't help but think, Girl...why do you trust this woman with this information?

Corey takes MJ back to her home — currently a hotel — and he clearly intends to turn the heat up. As they arrive, Lee is seen leaving the lobby. Talk about bad timing. He eyes Corey, then Mary Jane.

"I left my notepad in your room," he says surprised to see MJ with another date. "We never said we were exclusive," MJ tells him.

"You certainly are a riddle, Mary Jane..." He then proceeds to read the hell out of her: she's "a woman with everything yet pleads for love from a perfect stranger." (A scene that I still cringe about a week later, btw.) "I'm done trying to figure you out." Yikes. She tells Corey they should grab a drink another time, he watches her as she walks into her home-tel.

The next day MJ tells Kara that Corey is her “Black unicorn.” He’s single, handsome, no kids. Basically, he’s good on paper. She also did what we all do: she stalked him online and discovered that he has a pricey home in Ditmas Park. Though, it turns out, the amount of money he spent on his Brooklyn brownstone was the same exact amount used to build one of the New Hope foundation's schools in Kenya. Corey has been stealing money from Ronda’s foundation — at least that’s what she and Kara assume. Then in the midst of sleuthing, the two discover it’s not Corey who’s embezzling money, it’s Ronda’s cheating husband, Ellison. His goatee and attraction to young blondes spells out: classic midlife crisis.

However, the next morning a major segment is scheduled to air on Ronda's charity, naturally this can’t happen. Kara makes MJ promise that they'll both go to Garrett with this information. "Ronda can't sit in that anchor chair if she's at the center of a controversy," Kara says.

The next day, against Kara’s instructions, MJ goes straight to Ronda. Bad decision. Ronda is shaken. While she suspected there was another woman she didn't suspect hubby was stealing money from her. "This is not how I wanted this to happen," says MJ. "This" referring to her ousting from the lead anchor chair. Ronda then stands, looks at her young protégé and chillingly says, "Do what you have to do, Mary Jane."

Ronda then goes on live television and tearfully confesses to all of America what’s transpired. She explains that her “associate” — not her husband — was caught embezzling money. “Associate” means Corey. Nice move, Ronda. And it all happens before MJ has the opportunity to speak with Garett. Kara is livid. She understands how Ronda works and that she cannot be trusted.

Now humbled, MJ decides to give Lee a visit, and return the notebook he came to pick up the night he eyed Corey. "I have a new one," he says, dismissively, when MJ tries to hand it to him.

She bares her soul and much to her surprise, he forgives her. "What's in it for you?" she asks."The answer to a riddle," he says. "The riddle is a complicated American woman, my complicated American woman." Aww.

The final scene is one we should’ve all seen coming. Justin Talbot — the man MJ told Ronda about, her nemesis— has been hired at Great Day, USA. And, unsurprisingly, we can thank pot-stirring Ronda for that.
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