Alright, Queen Sugar fans. We can finally all breathe a sigh of relief: Our show is back for a second season, and the premiere episode did not disappoint. If you need a reminder of where we left off (which I admittedly did!) you can read my recap of the end the first season here. And now, we're back in St. Josephine with the Bordelon family!
We begin with a reminder of this show's breathtaking cinematography and beauty: Nova's tie-dying some cloth and hand-wrapping it with recycled paper (which momentarily inspired me to get my Pinterest on next time I have some gifts to give), and she looks like a brown-skinned goddess, per usual. And then: A man walks out of her house, fixing his clothes and interrupting her peaceful reverie. It's not her ex-lover, Calvin, but he's definitely a close look-a-like. It appears maybe Nova isn't quite over her old flame yet and is trying to replace him...but only temporarily. As soon as homeboy walked outside, she dismissed him with a quick "Have a good day." Savage!
Charley is, of course, all business. In a meeting with investors for the upcoming Queen Sugar mill, it looks like she's in total control — until the investors assume that her estranged husband, Davis, is also involved in the business. When she tells them he's not, they threaten to back out...so she proceeds to confirm that he'll get on board. Uh oh. She doesn't seem worried, though, as long as they're on board, but her semi-boo Remy isn't as thrilled. He lets her know that as long as she's still married and using her husband's name for her benefit, they'll need to keep their relationship strictly professional. I can't say I blame him, girl.
Meanwhile, business is booming at the High Yellow diner for Violet. When Prosper asks how she's treating her kitchen boys, she's quick to tell him she actually hired some women from the local halfway house to work for her. Message! Perhaps my favorite moment of this episode is a shot where we see Violet getting home, then scrolling through her ex Hollywood's Facebook page. I don't know a single person who isn't guilty of that, so I appreciated the writers attention to that little detail. But she then calls him, and he doesn't pick up. Sadly, it seems these two are still not speaking. (And it ain't just Vi that's pining for her old love: Hollywood also calls Ralph Angel to ask about her instead of just...you know, calling her back! These two are like teenagers.)
Next we see who Nova was making that pretty package for: Her friend's baby shower, where we meet a group of Black women having one of the kinds of real-life conversations I love Queen Sugar for: What does it mean to be a family? If you're of a certain age and want to raise kids on your own without a partner, can you? Should you? Is it different for you if you're a Black woman? As someone who's nearing that age where these questions are top of mind, it was dope to see the writers slip a topic like this in here in a relatable way. (Nova also reminds the women that they can't find a partner, they might want to consider Latino or white men. Or women!)
Nova then announces she wants to take Charley out for Micah's birthday, an idea I truly support because, why shouldn't a mother be celebrated for giving birth, no matter how many years later?! The trio goes to the club, and Aunt. Vi. Is. Lit. The girls are having a great time until: Charley sees her estranged husband, Davis, in the VIP area with a much younger (and, it's worth mentioning, not Black...) woman. Or, as Violet calls her, a "low-life hussie who barely has her Pampers." Just when I thought I couldn't hate Davis any more.
This episode, we're also reunited with little cutie Blue. Ralph Angel and Darla seem to have a happy little family with their son, and Ralph confides in Darla that he's growing some soy beans on a patch of land on the farm — which his sisters don't know about yet. But while they seem like a happy little family, we learn later that Darla is still struggling with her addiction. Though she hasn't relapsed, she reminds Ralph that there is no cure for her disease, and by the end of the episode she feels like they need to slow things down so she doesn't get too overwhelmed. We can tell that Ralph is hurt, but he agrees to give her some space. (I'm sure plenty of girls would like to fill that space for him in the meantime...)
One thing Ralph doesn't agree with, though, is Charley's business methods. When he lets it slip that he took it upon himself to fix up their old tractor instead of getting a new one, Charley isn't too happy. But Violet encourages her to support her brother and affirm him for taking some initiative. Charley's not having it, though. It's clear these two are going to have an even tougher time getting along now that they have a brand new business on their hands.
The climax of this episode is watching everyone prepare for Juneteenth dinner. (Did that dinner spread also have y'all drooling? I want to be in the Queen Sugar kitchen for a day.) On the way to dinner, we see Micah speeding down the highway in the brand new convertible he got from his dad for his birthday. While earlier in the episode he admitted knowing it was an attempt from his dad to buy his love, he sure is enjoying joyriding around in it — until he gets pulled over. As soon as I see the police sirens, my heart sinks for him. We can tell from the tension between him and the white police officer that this is not going to go well, but all hell breaks loose when Micah reveals that he doesn't have his driver's license on him and then attempts to reach over to look for his registration. The cop pulls out a gun, and next thing we know, Charley and Davis are both at the police station trying to find their son.
The next scene is a tearjerker, but also, unfortunately, very realistic. The police officers are less than friendly when the estranged couple inquires about their son's location, but once one of them recognizes Davis as an NBA player, their demeanor changes completely. Davis tensely agrees to take a selfie with him, and all of a sudden they're able to find Micah and release him.
In the parking lot, Charley and Davis argue about this — whether Davis dancing for The Man was worth it in order to get their son back. While they argue (which, maybe not the best time considering what your kid just went through, guys...), there's a touching moment where Micah's Aunt Nova notices a wet spot in the front of his pants. The poor kid was so terrified that he peed himself, so Nova discretely ties her sweater around the front of his waist so that he won't be even further traumatized — and tells him that he has nothing to be ashamed of. My heart truly broke in that moment.
This was a tough couple of scenes to watch, but I give props to the Queen Sugar team for giving us a poignant glimpse into something happening far too often in our country every single day.
There was one small bright side to that whole horrible situation, though: Violet calls Hollywood for some support while everyone is searching frantically for Micah, and he picks up. The two agree to see one another soon; perhaps ViWood (how's that for a couple name?) could be reunited...
This week's episode ends the morning after all the drama: Ralph Angel and Blue are on their own again, in bed sans Darla, getting ready to make breakfast; Nova is waking up next to yet another white, Calvin look-a-like that she seems to have no connection with whatsoever; and Micah tells his mom that no, he does not want to talk about what happened last night.
And then. Charley goes out to the porch, reviews the mill paperwork from those investors, and signs her name — and Davis's. Swiftly. Damn, girl. Only the beginning of the season, and you're already committing forgery? Things are about to get messy!
That's all for the premiere, ladies and gents. See you tomorrow night for a recap of episode two!