Last week there was an awkward cliffhanger: Lee’s (Chiké Okonkwo) ex-wife asked if he’d be the sperm donor for her child. Unsurprisingly, Mary Jane Paul (Gabrielle Union) was unnerved by the request. "You haven’t cracked a joke since we left the restaurant,” MJ asks Lee at the start of the episode, while sitting on the sofa, staring into space.
“She’s gonna have this baby with or without me,” Lee says.
“And that bothers you?” MJ asks.
MJ’s eyes tear up. She’s pushing 40 and still wants kids. However, this is not how the baby discussion was supposed to roll out.
Lee’s conflicted. He (like his wife) wants his kids to have the same parents. This may have been a valid excuse pre The Brady Bunch era, but in 2017 blended families are the norm. Buddy, your ex-wife cheated on you and is in a committed relationship with another woman. You’re in a serious committed relationship with Mary Jane. How would Lee feel if the tables were turned, and MJ was considering being a surrogate mother?
Mary Jane is still cooling down from last week’s major win. Garrett (Ashton Holmes) asks MJ how she plans to follow that up. Of course she ain’t ready. Thankfully, choirboy Justin (Michael Ealy) chimes in and pitches a follow-up about a woman who was the target of an internet bullying story a while back. The woman has since moved to the Virgin Islands and rebuilt her life. Ronda (Valarie Pettiford) makes it clear if anyone is covering a major story in paradise, it’s her.
Justin’s scheme to get Ronda off site works. While the queen is beachside working on a major story, he plans on getting Mary Jane to sub for Ronda. He wants her to “test drive” the big chair alongside co-anchor Aaron. It’s MJ’s shoo-in for the big time, and every young anchor on staff is vying for the opportunity.
Meanwhile Kara’s (Lisa Vidal) relationship with star athlete Orlando is heating up. In an interview during a sports segment, he adorably confesses he’s in a committed “monogamous” relationship with a “beautiful woman.” The ever private Kara looks uneasy. It’s then revealed that she’s the lucky lady.
Garrett, however, is over the moon about the news. He reveals to her that the entire office already knew. He then hugs her as a congratulations, much to Kara’s discomfort. It even made me cringe. As surely every "single" woman watching the show did, because it kind of proves that old trope: Women ascend the professional ladder quicker when they appear to have it all — a successful relationship, children, and a career.
As expected, word gets around to queen bee Ronda that MJ wants to fill in for her while she's away. This is all said civilly over gourmet coffee in Ronda’s office — no Keurigs here, folks.
“Do you want sugar?” she asks. MJ declines. Had this been a Greek tragedy those sugar cubes would’ve been laced with poison. She then proceeds to drop a cube in a porcelain cup anyway, to prove that what MJ wants is of no concern to her. “It helps the bitterness go down,” she says.
You know something is coming...
“One of the privileges about this job is being able to whisper into Aaron’s ear who gets to replace me,” she says to MJ. Ronda then tells MJ she recommended Natalie for the job. MJ is furious.
Soon after Lee shows up to MJ’s job. He’s excited to tell her that he’s NOT donating his sperm to ex-wife Zoe. He also apologizes to not taking her MJ's feelings on the matter into consideration. Finally!
Though, the real shocker from this scene is when Lee meets Justin for the first time. Lee is friendly but Justin immediately sizes him up, eyeing his camel coat. “You work in construction?" he asks Lee. Ouch. Is this the backhanded equivalent to when someone says “Wow you’re so brave to wear that outfit!” Absolutely.
Lee isn’t the only one being graded. Kara is now on the receiving end of the benefits of dating a celeb. Her Q Score is up as is her fuckability. Seriously, she was voted “MILF of the Week” on a popular website. To further prove his support of Kara’s new celebrity boo, Garrett invites her to his secret, monthly poker game that no one can get into. Despite all this, Kara remains insecure about Orlando’s age — he’s several years younger — and he’s a celebrity with a womanizing past. MJ calls her out but it’s not enough. The attention is simply too much for her.
While scrolling through images of Orlando’s previous
conquests relationships Kara’s insecurities boil over. She’s not a fan of being a “MILF.” She hesitantly tells Orlando it’s over, who seems genuinely heartbroken.
“If you let me walk out that door I’m not coming back,” he says. He leaves. She sits on the sofa then proceeds with a big, fat ugly cry. Kara and MJ consistently sabotage their lives. No wonder they’re so close.
Back in the office, some big news is revealed. Lead anchor Aaron chose Mary Jane to sit in Ronda’s seat. Per usual Ronda is pissed. What happened to Ronda’s strategic niceties at the beginning of the season? Wasn’t MJ supposed to be her protégé? I had such high hopes for Ronda’s and Mary Jane’s narrative this season.
While Ronda may not have taken the Greek tragedy route, she poisons MJ in another way: She gets in her head and reminds her about the pitfalls of live television. “Anything can happen,” she says, while discussing how another anchor failed to sub for her and was ultimately fired.
After Ronda leaves for the Virgin islands, MJ jumps headfirst into training mode. However she can’t concentrate and Ronda’s comments are eating away at her self confidence. While rehearsing late one night at the office, she calls Justin in to help her. “I’m off my game” she says. He immediately comes to her rescue in a dated beige-colored blazer. Where is Lee to ask him if he's a used car salesman or something? Though, despite the fashion faux pas, he’s still gorgeous. He’s also very touchy feely with his star anchor. Uh oh.
The next morning while MJ is still sitting in the makeup chair, who rolls in? Queen Ronda. She returned to New York early, and waltzed into the Great Day USA offices, cloaked in savagery and a fabulous coat like the daytime goddess she is.
Mary Jane is angry. She throws a full-on temper tantrum in her office and it takes Justin to calm her down. He also does this by leaning in for a daytime soap-ready kiss. Instead of backing away, MJ returns to her messy self and embraces the moment. He backs away and proceeds to talk like nothing happened.
MJ is stunned.
Phew! We knew this was coming, right? Is Justin really into Mary Jane? Or is he using her to get ahead? If he were still Ronda’s producer, I can’t imagine he’d be hitting on the competition.
Here’s hoping we get an answer with next week’s season finale!