This season, after much anticipation, I've been waiting on two things to happen: for Mary Jane Paul (Gabrielle Union) to turn 40 and for her to finally settle into New York with an actual home. While the latter is still in question, this mid-season finale is all about MJ turning the big 4-0.
Speaking of birthdays, Kara (Lisa Vidal), MJ, and Lee (Chiké Okonkwo) are discussing just that as episode 10 opens. The trio are having a few laughs and glasses of wine in Kara’s dining room. Zadie Smith’s name even comes up in conversation — adulting 101. Out of nowhere Justin (Michael Ealy) appears, with a voice, though soft spoken, that still manages to drown out Lee’s laughter. Oh wait, that was just Mary Jane daydreaming.
In case you forgot, Lee and Mary Jane are having a baby. Correction, they’re now trying to have a baby, which is why after the visit to Kara’s, MJ was ready for a romp but Lee wasn’t into it. “We can’t do this tonight,” he says shirtless on the bed, as Ginuwine's “Pony” plays in the background. “I’ve gotta make a deposit at your rock star fertility doctor in two days.” Fair.
He hands MJ her vibrator like a gentleman and makes his exit. She flops back into her bed. Two words: sexual frustration.
The next day, Justin, Kara, and Garrett (Ashton Holmes) excitedly discuss a major sports segment during a meeting — which no one else on the Great Day USA team cares about. “Ugh you’re putting me to sleep,” says Queen Ronda (Valarie Pettiford). Then, right on queue, Justin suggests MJ co-anchor the segment with lead anchor Aaron. The more those two appear side by side, the better. Justin has made it clear that his determination to get MJ into the “big chair” knows no bounds. What are his ulterior motives? We still haven’t figured out what he’s getting out of Mary Jane’s wins. That blind spot leaves her vulnerable.
Later in her office, Justin reveals to MJ that he’s made a serious discovery. It turns out a major news story that Ronda took the lead on wasn’t properly vetted. It turns out a woman who was deemed a victim of online bullying, wasn’t a victim at all. She made the whole story up and the error was apparently easy to spot. What does this mean? “If Ronda aired a bogus story she’s done as an anchor,” MJ says. “Just remember who made it all happen,” Justin says on his way out.
At 3 a.m. Mary Jane is high on life. She’s up before her alarm moisturizing and getting ready for work. Lee walks in and she shares the good news. She tells him it was all Justin’s idea — the ousting of Ronda Sales — and Lee looks concerned. “Justin?! And you’re just gonna go along with it?” he asked. He’s uneasy about Justin, particularly after last week’s awkward exchange. The conversation takes a turn after Lee explains to MJ that things might be going too quickly for them. It’s just dawning on Lee that he’ll have two kids on two different continents. There’s a lot at stake.
She describes his ex-wife as "wackadoodle baby mama" and it’s all downhill from there. It all peaks when MJ throws a tea cup at his head. Yes, she threw a porcelain tea cup at her British boyfriend’s head! He tells her to add him to the list of men she’s chased away. “Good luck with your job," he says before leaving in a huff.
MJ heads into the office and falls apart at her desk. So much for a perfect morning. Justin walks in and has no idea what's going on. He gets Kara to help her. After telling Kara that she and Lee are no more, she mumbles,“We should just go home and listen to Adele.”
Admittedly, I didn't know they were broken up. Sure it was a nasty argument, but broken up? So easily?
To further exacerbate the problem, MJ and Aaron’s major sports segment has been changed. At Ronda’s suggestion, the two are now covering the release of new emoji. Like the professional she is, MJ pulls it together and the segment goes off without a hitch.
Justin later reveals his big discovery about Ronda’s fumble to Garrett, who’s furious. He knows he’s just lost his star anchor and the network’s credibility is about to plummet. Later that evening it happens: Mary Jane is told that Ronda has been placed on suspension and that MJ's getting the chair.
So let’s recap a few things: Mary Jane finally got what she wanted, she’s single, and really wants to get laid. She’s also intoxicated from one too many cocktails made by Justin, naturally.
And well, endorphins triggered by way of career wins plus alcohol are the underestimated aphrodisiac for any professional over age 30. They have sex...on top of the desk she’ll be broadcasting from the following day.
The next morning of MJ’s 40th birthday, Queen Ronda has some choice words for MJ, who's currently living on cloud nine. "A drug like that is bound to lead to some bad choices," she warns her. The drug in question is that damn anchor chair. Despite Ronda's recent fall from grace, she's as queenly as ever in a dramatic fur-collared coat. An empress 'til the end. The newly promoted MJ is in a hoodie.
As for parting shots, Ronda assures MJ that she’s “won” but says that she’s “sad that Kara won’t be here to see it.” MJ is confused. “Tell her I wish her the best of luck,” Ronda says before leaving.
Ronda convinced the powers that be that Kara, her producer, was also responsible for the misstep. This is despite the fact that the Kara didn’t produce the original story, just the follow-up. Though Ronda brought her into it, it was Justin’s fault. Kara warns Mary Jane for the billionth time all season to "watch her back!"
The saddest part of this episode is when Lee comes to her office just before Mary Jane goes on air and sees something subtle. He watches Justin brush a hair away from her face. Lee knows something is up.
And so you have it, part one of season 4 is all wrapped up and boy, do we have questions. Will Lee and MJ work things out? Will Kara recover? Will Ronda, clad in a fur, return with the wrath of a goddess scorned? But seriously, will we finally know what's driving Justin?
Being Mary Jane starts back up July 18!