If there's one thing that I've learned from watching 10 weeks of Star, it's this indisputable fact: Jahil (Benjamin Bratt) is a garbage person. It's difficult for me to understand why the girls still associate with him at all, let alone put him in charge of their careers. It's not exactly like Jahil has some epic music industry connections — Alex (Ryan Destiny) is a music mogul's daughter, and Pumpkin (Missy Elliott) actually seems to like Carlotta. Meanwhile, Big Trouble's "manager" spends his days snorting coke, getting on the mob's bad side, and making vile comments about how he thought 18-year-old Star (Jude Demorest) would be a "fun run in the sack."
Alas, this week's episode of Star has suddenly made Jahil relevant — and I am soooo not okay with this development. We'll get there, but first: drama! The long-awaited Atlanta Next Fest finally happens, which, means one thing: We can stop talking about Atlanta Next Fest.
Here's what shenanigans our characters got into this week.
All About Eva
Eva (Sharlene Taulé) has more than enough chops to be in Big Trouble, and if she were a little less terrible, she might even get Star's seal of approval. Just kidding: Star's ego is the fourth member of Big Trouble, and it already engulfs the stage. Nevertheless, Eva does have chops, which we see when she blends Spanish into the group's latest sexy love song, produced by none other than Pumpkin. Why is Eva back in the group at all? If you guessed "because of some Jahil bullshit," you'd be right. Big Trouble's manager — who can somehow only manage the group if it's via shady scheme — hires a guy to pose as an Atlanta Next Fest executive to insist that Big Trouble must be a foursome in order to compete. That makes pretty much no sense, but no one thinks to follow up with that "rule," so Eva successfully weasels her way back into the group.
The girls win Next Fest, and Star even makes tentative peace with the group's latest addition. However, Simone (Brittany O'Grady) overhears Eva — being really loud and really expository, because of course — and realizes that Eva was in cahoots with Jahil the entire time. Simone reveals Jahil's plan to Star, who tells Simone to keep the info on the downlow — the ladies now have the element of surprise on their side.
How about just saying to Jahil: "Surprise! You're fired!"
Trouble In Paradise
Remember Derek's (Quincy Brown) grandma? The one who kicked Star out of her barbecue for being white, rather than simply terrible? Well, she's back, and refusing to allow Derek to use Alex's fancy schmancy lawyer because he's not Black. Why can't Alex just have her mom find Derek a Black lawyer? These are the kinds of questions we waste time asking, apparently.
My sweet, too-good-for-this-world Derek decides to go to trial, and his public defender decides to look into the police security footage to see if there's something there that can help his case. However, when Derek learns that Alex got roughed up by a notoriously racist cop, he decides to leak the police officer's name to the press.
While driving, Derek tells Alex the truth about talking to the journalist. When she asks why he did it — couldn't that affect his own case? — Derek turns to her and says: "Because I love you." Before I had time to release a single tear of happiness, BOOM! A car smashes into the driver's seat, leaving a bloody Derek at the wheel.
Star doesn't want us to have nice things this week.
Star's New House
I flip back and forth between loving and hating Star, usually multiple times across a single episode. On one hand, she's pretty much a nightmare. On the other, she's a badass lady who doesn't take crap from anyone. I don't condone violence, but Star kneeing Jahil in the groin and then getting into a full-out rehearsal brawl with Eva is my favorite version of her. I don't have to want to be friends with Star in order to enjoy her theatrics, and I definitely do when they're at Jahil's expense.
Unfortunately, there's one person who deserves to be on the receiving end of Star's wrath and is not: Hunter (Chad James Buchanan). I have to say, I respect the way Star is playing out Hunter's character, and I couldn't say that a few episodes ago. Hunter is the hot, rich, successful football player who will give Star anything she could ever want. The price she pays, of course, is far too high: Hunter has already hit Star multiple times, and will again — which we know even before seeing the preview for next week.
That's why it's so damn sad to see Star crying over Hunter's "kindness." At the end of the episode, Hunter — who has been forgiven by Star, apparently — reveals that he bought Star a house, and put it in her name. My "adult" brain wants to know if Star will have to pay taxes on this Atlanta mansion (if you know, sound off in the comments?), but there's more to worry about here than just the IRS. Star, get out while you can — you deserve better.
Cotton's Daddy Issues
What the actual hell, Star? YOU KNOW HOW MUCH I LOVE COTTON. Alas, we now know where Cotton's (Amiyah Scott) drug habit has come from, and it's not from Ms. Carlotta. After Cotton spends the episode high out of her mind (but still sewing Big Trouble's costumes like a champ, because Cotton is the best), Jahil takes her back to Carlotta's place. Cotton tries to kiss Jahil, but he rightfully pushes her away, even though he "likes her as a person" and thinks she's a "beautiful woman." (Doesn't Cotton know that Jahil is only attracted to people that he also kind of hates?) Carlotta, misreading the situation, storms out of her house and decides that this is the best time to tell Cotton the truth about her father.
Remember how worried I was that the show would reveal that Jahil fathered Star? Turns out Star faked us out on purpose. Jahil is actually Cotton's father, which actually makes a surprising amount of sense. I'm livid, of course, because it means we're back to humanizing Jahil. Ugh.
Next week: It's a hospital episode! Alex and Derek better not die on us.