Star Season 1, Episode 8: Can Cotton Live?

Photo: Carin Baer/FOX
Last week, we watched as the Black Lives Matter protest took an ugly turn thanks to outside instigators who attacked the police. Derek (Quincy Brown) was wrongly arrested after trying to assist a police officer who had been beaten up — and now, his bail is set at $25,000. Big Trouble decides to raise money for the cause with a block party performance, but first Star has to ask Hunter for a big donation. Meanwhile, Jahil (Benjamin Bratt) and his sociopathic girlfriend Eva (Sharlene Taulé) hatch a plan to work her into the group — despite knowing that Star (Jude Demorest) would rather eat glass than share the spotlight. As for Cotton (Amiyah Scott) and Carlotta (Queen Latifah), an attempt to fix their relationship makes it even uglier — and reveals Pastor Bobby's (Tyrese Gibson) true colors. Here's the rundown of where all of our characters are at:
Alex & Derek

The MVP couple of this show (not like there's much competition, but still) are struggling to find common ground when Derek is in jail. Though Alex (Ryan Destiny) quickly gets out of her "driving without a license" arrest thanks to her mom's (Naomi Campbell) fancy lawyer, Derek is still stuck behind bars. The activist tells Alex that he might take the plea deal, despite being innocent of the crime — the odds are already stacked against him. Alex can't fathom that, to the level where she's not sure she even wants to be with Derek anymore. That lasts about 30 seconds, because, as we all know, Derek and Alex are the light of this show and need to be endgame. After the block party money comes up short, Alex asks her mom for the rest, manipulating her into thinking she'll come back to New York City if she fronts the cash. She does, but Alex stays firmly planted in Atlanta, despite her mom's warning that Derek will break her heart. Probably, but who cares when they look at one another like that?

& Eva

Once upon a time, Jahil was a hero of this show. And by "once upon a time," I mean when he was burying Otis' body mere episodes ago. Alas, that ride-or-die Jahil — the one who declared he'd do anything to make Star's dreams come true — is gone. He and Eva are now very much a couple —despite Jahil telling everyone that Eva was his niece, ew — and suddenly he's way more invested in making her famous than keeping Star happy. That's fine — Star can be knocked down a few pegs, and probably should be — but even Star doesn't deserve to be manipulated like this by her own manager. Does Jahil care about Star, even a little bit? It's no wonder that Star quits Big Trouble in the final moments of the episode, after Jahil insists on making Eva their fourth member. Dramatic? Sure. But also — can you really blame Star?

Carlotta & Cotton

I know we're supposed to love Carlotta, but she's not my mama bear. When Cotton brings home her new boyfriend Elliot (Jack Yang) Carlotta immediately accuses Cotton of bringing a pimp into her house. Not only is Elliot not a pimp (or, at least, isn't Cotton's pimp — we don't know much about this mysterious guy), he's also incredibly understanding when Cotton tells him that she was born a man, and still has a penis. Carlotta and Cotton get into it, and Carlotta straight-up slaps her across the face. (So many slaps in this episode, and none of them are okay.) Carlotta apologizes, but it's quickly tainted when she asks Cotton for the money she was saving for her sex change operation — Carlotta wants the money to go towards paying Derek's bail. If Cotton had a drink in her hand, I would have hoped it would be across Carlotta's face by now. Later, Pastor Bobby — who hasn't been the most "godly" of men considering he's having a sexual affair with Carlotta, but whatever — comes to Carlotta's house under the guise of helping her and Cotton get over their mother-daughter issues. Instead, Bobby demands that Cotton own her male identity and birth name Arnold, leaving the poor woman in tears. That's too much for even Carlotta, who kicks Bobby out of the house. Later, we see Bobby sobbing over his bible, declaring that he's "not one to judge." Well, Bobby, it's too little, too late, and now I'm judging you. Bye. Cotton is appropriately traumatized by Bobby's behavior and runs up to her room, grabs a gun, and puts it to her temple. She may have pulled the trigger, had it not been for the (finally helpful!) Star, who distracts Cotton by telling her there's no way she's cleaning blood off of those glitter curtains. Eventually, the friends collapse on Cotton's bed, laughing, and it makes me realize that maybe Star isn't the worst after all.

Star & Hunter

At the request of Alex and Simone (Brittany O'Grady), Star asks Hunter (Chad James Buchanan) to make a serious donation to Derek's fund. She tries to play it cool — she knows how pissed Hunter and his mother got last time she went on a shopping spree with his credit card — but Hunter blows up. It's frightening, and completely knocks the football player off any pedestol the show has put him on. During their argument — in which Star tells him to go buy his mom another tanning bed instead — Hunter slaps Star across the face. While it's a shocking act, it's not an unprecedented one. Hunter threw her phone into traffic, breaking it, in the last episode. Seeing the potential for abuse here is disturbing. Star walks, and my heart breaks for her. Star, Alex, and Simone perform TLC's "Waterfalls" at the #FreeDerek block party, after which Hunter takes the stage for a major surprise. That surprise is Pumpkin — better known to everyone in the real world as Missy Elliot. The famous music producer, who just so happens to be longtime buds with Carlotta, isn't enough to get Star to forgive Hunter, and rightfully so. Hunter needs serious help — and needs to quit these performance-enhancing drugs, if he hasn't already — but that doesn't mean Star should stick around. This girl may not be warm and fuzzy, but she's been hurt by too many people to let Hunter get away with it.


"John Doe" has finally been identified by the cops as Simone's garbage of a foster father (Darius McCrary). It won't be long before the cops put two and two together and come for Star and Simone. But who really killed Otis? We're no closer to solving that mystery, but my money is still on Cotton. Read These Next:
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