Things aren't off to a good start at the beginning of this week's episode: Micah skipped out on his joint therapy session with Charley. So their therapist suggests some time alone with her, and while Charley is hesitant about opening up (no surprise there), she eventually admits that her own mother's pressure on her to be perfect growing up makes her not want to push perfectionism on her own son — but the therapist helps her realize that perhaps Micah doesn't realize his mother doesn't expect him to be perfect.
Ralph Angel is cooking up some breakfast for Darla (a DREAM), who came over early to help out with Blue. RA admits he's been worried about Darla since she lost her job, reminding her she could move in, but she's not ready. (And I wanna yell at her like girl, do you see him? Why not?!) But then she says that she wants to get back on her feet on her own, to do it for herself, which I get. (But still...waking up to that every morning? Girl...)
Darla then drops by Charley's office to ask her to take a look at her resume, but Charley doesn't really see much she can do to help. Darla then meets with her sponsor and admits that RA's continuous offers for her to move in just make her feel worse, as if she can't provide for herself. It's clear she's having a rough time, and when she's back at Ralph's house playing with Blue in the tub, and she asks him why he likes his female doll Kenya so much. Blue tells her that it's because Kenya's hair is soft and she's good with secrets. It's strange, but for a moment, I wonder if Darla is...maybe...jealous of that doll? We'll find out more on this later in the episode.
Nova, meanwhile, is running a Habitat for Humanity project in New Orleans, and guess who shows up all the way from Atlanta to help? Dr. Dubois, of course. Well, coming from Atlanta to New Orleans to help out her cause is certainly one way to get Nova's attention! Next, Davis shows up to pick up Micah, and the "You Ain't Shit" look Nova gives him is priceless. On their way out, Davis and Micah see a singer named Judith Tamar being interviewed. Davis is looking at her with stars in his eyes, and I immediately know: This is going to be trouble. But we don't see much more happen with her this episode, but I have a feeling she'll be back.
When Nova and Dubois leave the worksite, Nova tells him that there are now tour buses that drive through the areas ruined by Katrina and other disasters; they pass a sign that reads "Tourist: Shame on you, driving by without stopping, paying to see my pain." Whoa. She explains to him that this is why she carriers her city with her wherever she goes, and Dubois commends her for her strength. I love that these two clearly have love that is slowly burning between them — and is rooted in respect. Over coffee, Dubois compliments Nova's writing, and Nova says he's going to make her head swell. "What's wrong with that?" he asks. PREACH! This was my favorite part of the entire episode, because women are so often trained to downplay their skills and assets that it was refreshing to see a male character encourage her to be confident about hers.
But in the middle of their date, Nova gets a call from Charley. She tries to play it cool, but Nova can tell her sister is in distress, so she ditches Dubois (wah!) to go over to her sister's house and offer her some company (ok, maybe makes ditching Dubois worth it.) And then we see one of Nova's healing rituals, with sage and candles. "This place needs to be lifted up!" she tells her sister. The two get to talking about Charley's need for perfection; Nova tells her, out of love, that her mother made her a control freak, and that now, she has a blank slate to color how she wishes. Charley agrees, but reminds Nova that she has a blank slate, too.
Back to Davis and Micah, Davis has taken his son to play a little basketball game: For each three-pointer each makes, they get to ask the other person a question. Micah goes first, asking his father if he's a sex addict. Davis says that he's not, but that he thinks he got used to getting whatever he wanted, when he wanted — but he's trying to do better. For a half a second (just a tiny little half) I feel a bit of empathy for him. After all, it's an issue we see a lot in our society: Kids getting a ton of money to play professional sports too young, and not knowing what to do it with it — or ever learning boundaries. (Still a fuckboy, though.) Davis then asks Micah if he got roughed up when he was arrested; Micah says no, but admits that he was incredibly scared. For the first time on this show, Davis drops some real wisdom: "Fear is a rite of passage for us," he says. "The question is, how do you use it to make yourself smarter and better?"
Later, Darla walks into RA's house and sees Blue having a meltdown. Ralph tells her that Kenya is missing, and she admits to him in private that she threw Kenya away. Ralph is outraged, asking her where she threw it out so he can try to go find it. Looks like I was right; it's clear that Blue became attached to his female doll because his mother was often absent, and now that she's back in his life, Darla is trying to get rid of her.
Over at Violet's house, Violet is making pies to sell, but she's preoccupied, telling Hollywood that she's worried about starting her own business — especially since a bunch of family business is about to blow up once Ralph Angel reveals to his sisters that their father actually left the farm to him, not all three of them. Hollywood reminds her that it's not her job to be the family peacekeeper, and it's time for her to chase her own dreams. But after an unsuccessful day pitching her goods to local businesses, she ends up in bed, depressed, unsure if this whole starting her own business thing is a good idea at all. But once again, Hollywood convinces her to keep going, telling her that he believes in her. "Everything you want in life, I want it for you just as much." Real tears, y'all! The words and emotion in that scene were so real — and sweet! I think these two are officially my favorite television couple. #Goals
Poor Ralph Angel is now over at a dumpster, searching through trash bags for Kenya. And then a cop car rolls up, and my stomach sinks. It's bad enough that he's a Black man rooting through trash on private property, but he's already on parole. Luckily, one of the cops is a Black man, and it turns out, a friend of Ralph's from growing up, Antoine, who convinces the other officer to let him go. RA's had no luck finding Kenya, but he tells Antoine he's ok with Blue having a female doll because he wants to let his son be who he is. And then Antoine thanks Ralph for always letting him be who he is — which, it turns out, is a person who was born Antoinette, and struggled with bullying growing up until he found himself. It's a sweet moment, and I love that this show has found yet another way to address a touchy subject in a real and poignant way.
At the end of the episode, Micah finally returns home to Charley, who's painting the walls of her new home. Wordlessly, he picks up a paint roller and helps. She asks him (with a clear attempt at trying to be casual) if he wants to go see a movie later, and he says that he would. Looks like mother and son are on the road to healing — together.
The next scene made my heart sing. Nova goes to see Dubois and brings him coffee. (Payback for those Atlanta coffees!) She admits that she likes him, too. When he tells her that she's beautiful, instead of saying "You're going to make my head swell" again, she simply says "Thanks." And then the two drink coffee side by side. Yes, Nova! Open your heart to love, girl!
On to the end of the episode: We see Darla on the porch of Ralph's farm, with a new Kenya doll that she's trying to rough up so Blue won't notice it's not the original. And then she gets a call from Charley, who says she thought of a job Darla would be right for: Her office assistant. Darla is thrilled, but when Ralph hears the job is with Charley, he is not. After all, he doesn't get along with his sister, and he's been quietly contemplating whether or not he wants to tell his sister that actually, the farm was left to him, not all three siblings.
Yikes. Things are only going to get messier from here, y'all. See you next week!