Star Episode 3 Recap: Did Simone Make It?

Photo: Carin Baer/FOX
For the past two episodes, we've seen how Star (Jude DeMorest) is so focused on "making it" that she's written off Simone's (Brittany O'Grady) self-medicating completely. Now that Simone has collapsed from a combination of Xanax and booze, her issues are front and center. Will Star continue to sweep them under the rug? Star's combination of ambition and teenage naïveté means she doesn't take her sister's problems as seriously as she should — and it could spell disaster down the road. That's not to say Simone isn't dealing with a disaster in this episode. After the events of last week, Simone has been rushed to the hospital. As she's in and out of consciousness, Simone sees her mother calling to her (via song), telling her it's okay to "come home." Fortunately, a vision of Star is also in this musical number, begging her sister to stay alive. Simone ultimately chooses to stay with Star — even though, outside of Simone's dream, Star has no idea Simone is dealing with a life-or-death crisis. That's because Star still thinks Simone is at church, "praying for a Grammy." That's what Star tells Big Boi (played by the real Big Boi of Outkast) when she and Alexandra (Ryan Destiny) meet up with him at a club. They want him to produce their demo for the radio contest, and as Alex and Big Boi are old friends (of course), he agrees, despite their two-day deadline. Meanwhile, Jahil (Benjamin Bratt) all but begs a music industry pal for some time in the studio, which his friend agrees to after Jahil shows him the cash he acquired from his shady lady friend in the previous episode. That money wasn't free — Jahil knows he has to pay the piper by running a definitely illegal errand. He just knows Star's his last shot at achieving some dreams of his own. These dreams are put on hold when Star finds Simone in the hospital. Star begs her sister to stop with the drugs by reminding her that their mother died a junkie, but Simone is seemingly clearer than ever about what she wants. She wants to get out of the hospital and go make music, so that she and Star can live out a true story that "inspires people." Besides, Simone reminds Star she can't exactly hang around the hospital with the police possibly searching for them for that murder they think they committed. That's not going to fly with Simone's doctor, who put Simone on a 72-hour psych hold. Star gets in the doctor's face, but Carlotta (Queen Latifah) reminds Star that the doctor can't find out that Carlotta isn't Simone's legal guardian — otherwise, it's back to foster care. Star couldn't be snottier to Carlotta in this episode, but fortunately, Carlotta has her pastor boyfriend Bobby (Tyrese Gibson) to provide Bible verses and sweet kisses as a pick-me-up. She'll need to lean on him when she hears Cotton's news: Cotton (Amiyah Scott) is getting gender reassignment surgery, which she has saved up for by working at the strip club against her mother's wishes. Star's got a dude of her own if she wants him. Hunter Morgan (Chad James Buchanan) is smitten with Star following her knock-out performance at his birthday party, and even arrives at the hospital with flowers for Simone. "Most girls come when I call," Hunter muses when Star rebuffs his advances. Star fires back with a yaaass-worthy: "You're going to have to do a lot more than call to make me come." Star and Alexandra break Simone out of the hospital and take her to the recording studio, where Big Boi is ready to lay down some tracks. The song "I Don't Need No Man," is, unsurprisingly, fire — and, in my opinion, the best since the pilot. However, Carlotta interrupts the session and demands that Simone returns to the hospital — there's nothing she can do if the hospital calls the cops. Big Boi dips because of the rising tensions, and Simone heads back to the hospital. Where is Jahil during all of this? Glad you asked: He's become inadvertently involved in a human trafficking ring. The "shipment" he was supposed to pick up isn't filled with drugs as he thought, but women. Jahil, knowing he can't abandon the money or these women, comes up with a plan. He lets the girls go, then has his godson Hunter punch him in the face so that he can fake a carjacking. The plan works so well, you know it can't work for long — which it doesn't. The next morning, Jahil meets up with Star, and she explains all that went down with Simone. Jahil is mad that their efforts have been for nothing — it's too late to enter the contest. Star says nuh-uh: they just have to get creative. "Creative" leads to a dance number in the psych ward, complete with breakdancing orderlies and the girls donning straight jackets. It's...a lot. Or it would be if the song weren't so damn catchy. The girls enter the contest, and all is good with the world. Or, well, it seems to be...until the woman whom Jahil released from the truck shows up at his front door. Gulp. Additional Thoughts:
— If there's one person I feel for in this episode, it's Cotton. Carlotta has fought for Simone and Star like they were her own daughters, but can't accept that she already has one. — Not here for Hunter and Star's budding romance. He's dreamy, sure, but so far has proven to have the emotional depth of a bag of dirt. Pass. — The realest thing: Big Boi leaving the recording studio the second Simone declares that she can kill herself if she wants to. Nobody has time for that.
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