Last week it was ALL about the fam. Cousin Niecy (Raven Goodwin) got into trouble, and matriarch of the family Helen (Margaret Avery) duked it out with the status quo.
As for our leading lady, Mary Jane Paul (Gabrielle Union)? She steered clear of the drama, despite being hit with waves of homesickness.
This week the two worlds collide. Mary Jane travels back to her hometown for work. Great Day USA is covering a major event honoring Thurgood Marshall's legacy. The crowd will be a who’s who of political darlings and the perfect time for MJ to get back to what she’s best at: hard journalism.
In episode 5 we learned that boyfriend Lee (Chiké Okonkwo), the comedian, was traveling through the midwest on tour. He surprises MJ in Atlanta, apparently a stop in the south was added to his itinerary...how convenient Lee. You know what that means...it’s time to meet the Pattersons.
While we know Niecy means well, from the jump she gives Lee the third degree. After Lee meets her explains and that he’s a comedian, she can’t help but let Lee know that she hasn’t heard him say anything funny since they’ve met. She’s already determined that he’s not good enough for her. She also made it clear that her aunt is too successful for a relationship with “just anyone.”
Niecy loves her aunt and auntie MJ loves her niece, but um... people in glass houses. Niecy only recently broke free from Dante’s spell. And even now, I’m almost certain he’s plotting his return. Perhaps Niecy’s just feeling hypersensitive and warding off unworthy spirits after her moment of empowerment during last week’s episode?
Though in Niecy’s defense, despite Dante being out the picture, everything in her life isn’t going smoothly. Surely she’s still getting over being forced to give her settlement money back. But now her son Treyvion is having problems. At school little Trey is biting kids and throwing tantrums. Mom doesn’t know what to do.
Instead of a hotel, Lee ends up staying with MJ at her family's house. Things then get rom-com-level awkward when it’s decided that the couple will sleep in separate rooms. Of course this is MJ and Lee we’re talking about. Obviously that didn’t happen as planned. The moment the opportunity comes up, these two jump in bed together. And of course Helen catches them. It seems you’re never too old to be scolded by mom. Helen tries to discipline the couple, like they’re two children instead of two (nearly) 40-years-olds. Hey you can’t knock her for trying.
In spite of Lee bonding with other family members, Niecy insists on giving the guy a hard time. When he uses words like “ravenous” Niecy can’t understand why he just doesn’t say “hungry.". She can’t get used to his accent or mannerisms. Poor guy.
Niecy also confides to MJ that she just doesn’t know what to do with Treyvion. MJ recommends he see a professional. While speaking to Lee about it MJ half-jokingly says, “Black families...we don’t do the whole therapy thing.” Which is sad, but very true.
After a few tense evenings in the Patterson household, the Thurgood Marshall dedication event has finally arrived. Lately we’ve witnessed MJ’s slight professional decline into the abyss known as “web correspondent,” it’s great to see her take the reigns again instead of being puppeteered per usual.
She then spots judge McCallister, a supreme court justice nominee at the shindig. Landing an interview with him would be gold for both her and Great Day USA. Every journalist in the building is nipping at his heels for an interview. After bumping into some old media pals who to are also thirsty for an interview, a wager is placed to see who among them can nab McCallister.
In a power couple move, Lee gets one of MJ’s competitors away from the McCallister. He interrupts the conversation to share that he’d overheard that Jesse Jackson was outside. Smooth move, Lee. Goodbye competition, hello opportunity. MJ drops in.
Later, things go south when the man Lee lured away from the judge a.k.a. Mr. Sore Loser, discovers he’s been fooled by Lee. He gets into Lee’s head and mentions that his new girlfriend is only into “powerful” men and is a “self-serving bitch who looks after herself and only herself.”
As the event begins to die down, Lee and MJ share a victory shot at the bar. “I’m happy to dust off the improv skills for a good cause,” Lee says. Then, Mr. Sore Loser spots the two happily canoodling, he’s pissed. He then shares a few nasty words directed at MJ and Lee is not having it. He punches him. Hello bar fight. It ultimately results in Lee and MJ’s exchange of “I love yous.”
The next day, MJ is let in on a little secret. Her mother, Helen, had a life before she was born. It turns out she was a singer, a good one in fact, and there’s a vinyl record to prove it. In a heartfelt moment she shares with MJ that she gave up her singing career 50 years ago to focus on starting a family with her MJ’s dad. It’s clear that while she doesn’t regret starting a family she does regret shelving the talent that once brought her happiness.
She tells her daughter, to remember that she “can have it all.”
We end with Lee's comedy show, and the entire Patterson clan in attendance. After his set, he invites mom to the stage to sing her version of "Ain't Nobody's Business If I Do."
Niecy softens. He's finally won her over.