Whatever magic spell that made Jahil (Benjamin Bratt) such a piece of crap for the past few episodes has apparently worn off, because Big Trouble's manager is back to acting like a decent human being again. I'm happy(ish) about this development, mostly because Cotton (Amiyah Scott) deserves a dad who isn't pure and utter garbage. She certainly needs someone to lean on in "Saving Face" — even if Jahil's help isn't exactly legal or even ethical. Hmm... maybe that's why Carlotta (Queen Latifah) wasn't so keen on announcing him as the father of her child all those years ago? Jahil, Carlotta, and Cotton don't exactly fit nicely inside a family portrait just yet.
It's not just Cotton who is dealing with an unexpected reveal. Derek (Quincy Brown) and Alex (Ryan Destiny) survived that car accident, but things went full-on teen drama when Alex's blood work came back from the lab. Meanwhile, Star (Jude Demorest) decides to play house with Hunter (Chad James Buchanan), but isn't willing to sacrifice her music dreams to do so. That doesn't sit well with Hunter — and the football player commits yet another unforgivable act in retaliation.
Here's a breakdown of all the drama:
That Moment Star Became One Tree Hill
While Alex escapes the car accident without a scratch, Derek isn't so lucky. The activist and overall gem of a human is devastated to learn that he likely will never walk again thanks to the spinal cord injury he suffers. (Want to know what not to say to someone who just learned that he won't ever walk? "You're lucky to have survived the crash at all.") Derek tells the doctor not to inform his grandmother or Alex just yet, which is probably a good thing, because there's another major life event on the horizon: Alex is pregnant. Will she keep the baby? While it seems she's leaning toward "yes" by the end of the episode — following a surprise bonding moment with her mom (Naomi Campbell) — learning of Derek's situation might give her some pause.
The Moment The Show Decided To Make Things Worse For Cotton
I've said it once, and I'll say it again: Can this show please let Cotton live? This week's struggle is particularly heartbreaking, and completely unexpected. Remember back in the pilot, when Cotton told Jahil that Michelle (Joseline Hernandez) had an STI in order to get Jahil to pay attention to Star? Apparently Michelle does, because Cotton's new roommate takes all of the money she was going to use for her surgery and books it to Los Angeles as revenge. (Spin-off?!?)
Cotton quickly goes home to collect her jewelry, but pawning her gold won't give her nearly enough for her to pay her doctor. She heads to Elliot's (Jack Yang) house, hoping that an apology might earn her back his favor. When she finds Elliot with another woman, she decides on plan B: stealing his checkbook. Later, Cotton heads to the bank, dressed as a man, in order to withdraw money from Elliot's account. In the car, however, she once again finds comfort in a tube of red lipstick.
The Moment Jahil Got Insulted By Big Boi & Then Arrested
Big Boi (yes, the Big Boi, back again) comes to watch Big Trouble in action — a performance that lands them a slot at Atlanta Next Fest. Big Boi wants to produce the foursome's album, and while he's into Eva (Sharlene Taulé) being a part of the group, he's not so into Jahil. Big Boi tells the group to cut the fat, which leaves them in quite the pickle: Big Boi or Jahil? In a weird twist of character, Carlotta actually defends Jahil — he did take them to Next Fest, after all — but Big Boi can take them to the Grammys. Big Boi and Jahil exchange words, ending with Big Boi telling Jahil to get "new boots" — he's clearly been walking a lot in them. Ouch.
That's hardly Jahil's only issue. First, he realizes that he actually is falling for Eva — so much so that he's admitting she's not really his niece! (You should have done that before sleeping with her, but okay.) Unfortunately, immediately after Jahil shares an intimate moment with his new girlfriend, someone shows up at his door — and this time, it's not his recently discovered daughter asking for a fake ID. Instead, it's the police — here to arrest Jahil for Otis' (Darius McCrary) murder.
Hmm... how did the cops figure out Jahil was the one who buried Otis? We're not sure yet, but someone did call in his license plate...and Eva did have a satisfied smile on her face when Jahil was taken away in handcuffs...
The Moment Star Had Enough...For Now
Let Star be a reminder to the world that no matter how tough, sassy, or resilient a woman is, she's not immune to a domestic abuser. That's exactly what Hunter is, and there's zero excuse left for his behavior. In "Saving Face," Hunter is emotionally as well as physically abusive to Star. When Jahil announces that he's booked Big Trouble a tour, Hunter loses it: He wants Star to remain in the mansion he just bought for them. Star lays it out on the table when she tells Hunter that this is merely a house — it's not her dream. She'd never ask him to skip a season of the NFL, and it's not fair that he's asking her to take a step back from her career.
Hunter can say he loves Star and wants what's best for her, but his talk is damn cheap. Star comes home from rehearsal and asks Hunter — now drunk off his ass — to turn down the TV, and they begin fighting. Hunter, drunk, punches Star in the face, sending her crumbling to the ground. It's incredibly frightening — even more so because he then yells at her that it's her fault that he almost knocked her out. Following the punch, Hunter runs over to the kitchen sink and vomits. When he returns, Star is no longer home — but whether she'll stay gone is another story.
— Chad James Buchanan is doing a fantastic job portraying Hunter. He's able to make Hunter "likable" in one moment and then absolutely terrifying in the next. We know Hunter is a monster from the outside looking in, but it's easy to see why someone really living in that moment would write off his behavior. He's an abuser wrapped up in a nice-guy shell.
— What if Eva wasn't actually a victim of human trafficking at all? Is it possible that she was only posing as a survivor in order to get close to Jahil? Given her behavior — and little fear of being recognized on a national stage — it's quite possible that she was working with the traffickers. What a twist!
— I'm all for loyalty but...it's Big Boi.