We start off with Mary Jane Paul (Gabrielle Union) on the phone with her boyfriend, Justin Talbot (Michael Ealy). Since Justin is currently exiled to Vancouver, MJ sneakily suggests a weekend getaway to Necker Island. A first class trip to the private island costs more money than I can even fathom. Justin, completely unaware that Mary Jane is trying to gauge his net worth, instead agrees to The Hamptons as if that’s a bargain brand. My wallet hates this TV show. The part of me that craves drama can't get enough.
After a few rocky weeks, everything feels back to normal. Mary Jane can finally come to Kara (Lisa Vidal) for advice about Justin and she doesn’t hesitate to show her best friend a photo of Justin’s multi-million dollar bank statement. I want to be shocked, but this is on the tamer side of crazy, potentially illegal things Mary Jane has done to one of her boyfriends.
Kara scores Mary Jane a field assignment covering a protest at a high school. The school board has cut funding to the school, making it impossible for students to graduate on time. Unfortunately, new girl and casual racist, Dani (Victoria Staley) is supposed to hold down the fort at Good Day, USA. This time, the pros outweigh the cons because Kara also convinced Garrett (Ashton Holmes) to let Justin come back and produce the segment! Reunited at last. Everything is falling into place for MJ, so you know it’s about to get crazy.
Mama Patterson (Margaret Avery) has been on a serious health kick lately. She’s doing aerobics, eating healthy, and being cheerful. Paul (Richard Roundtree) gets suspicious when his old friend, Frank Pearl, rolls back into town. It’s been forty years since they’ve seen each other, due to some vague wrongdoing. Frank wants to make up, but Paul is still upset. After he leaves, Paul accuses Helen of trying to exercise because she knew Frank was in town. Looks like Mama Patterson once had eyes for someone else. This totally explains that weird interaction in episode 11, where Helen was worried that they were the reason Mary Jane has affairs. I know I said this episode would get crazy, but I figured it would be MJ wilding out, not her parents!
During Dani’s segment with a school board member, she ignores Kara and goes completely off script, playing into the school board’s agenda and reporting her own opinions. As a journalist, TV viewer, and human, I am offended. Luckily, so is Kara. She goes off on her, just like she did to Marisol way back when they worked in Atlanta. Dani deserved it. It’s one thing to be conservative, but it’s another to use a national media service to broadcast your opinions, especially when those are not the views of the brand. Later, Dani rants about the liberal media using social media, bypassing her contract.
Meanwhile, in the field, Mary is covering a protest outside the school. At first, it's peaceful, but when the school board member tells Dani that they actually plan on shutting down the high school, leaving hundreds of students with nothing, the protesters are understandably angry. Their peaceful demonstration gets physical. The police interfere and start detaining people. Mary Jane is caught in the middle of it, screaming for Justin. He swoops in like a true superhero and pulls her out.
When they return to the office, everyone is happy they’re okay, but Aaliyah (Raney Branch) lets MJ know that the best way to improve her ratings is to go public with her relationship with Justin. The cameras caught her screaming his name during the protest and everyone is asking: #WhoIsJustin. Mary Jane is hesitant, but not against this idea. Justin is not excited at all. He’s a journalist, first and foremost. He feels like he shouldn’t become the news. Not to mention, the crowds of fans and paparazzi waiting outside their workplace is a major inconvenience.
Helen watched the protest from her living room in Atlanta and is immediately intrigued by Justin. She had no clue that Mary Jane was seeing someone after what happened with Lee and tries to pry some info out of Niecy (Raven Goodwin). Niecy doesn’t have time for all these games, though. While at work, she comes up with a business idea for Amika (Marshay Weaver), who is struggling financially. She rents out her old carseats and will buy seats from moms once their children grow out of them. It’s honestly genius and so sweet of Niecy to let Amika profit from it. Moms gotta stick together.
Kara gets the school board member to come back onto Good Day, USA and be interviewed by Mary Jane. MJ eviscerates him, exposes his ulterior motives in building for-profit charter schools, and doesn’t even break a sweat. I watched this scene twice, y’all. That’s how good it is.
Later, Helen calls her daughter to ask about Justin. Mary Jane admits that Justin is the one she left Lee for. She says that he just lights a fire in her that Lee never did. Something clicks in Helen and she leaves the conversation quickly, heading to Frank’s hotel room. Apparently, 44 years ago, Helen was going to drop everything for Frank, but he skipped town. After spending all this time wondering what happened, she finally gets closure.
That night Justin and Mary Jane are still trapped inside the Good Day, USA studios, swarms of photographers at the exits. Justin, who always seems to have a plan, decides that they should face the limelight and use the publicity to shift the focus back to the school board. Mary Jane wholeheartedly agrees. Talk about a power couple. Before exiting, Mary Jane says, “I promise you, whatever happens, I take full responsibility, okay?” and I can already tell that’s going to come back to haunt her.
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