And just like that, we're already off to episode 2! We start off with a an adorable moment: Ralph Angel stops by Darla's teller booth to bring her beignets (jealous!) and ask her out on a "proper date." (Double jealous!) We can tell Ralph is really trying here, and the only thing cuter than this moment is when Ralph hits up a local farmer's market for soy beans, and Blue is off to the side, playing with fluffy baby chicks. My heart!
But all isn't going exactly according to plan for RA. In order to buy those seeds — which, you might recall, he's still keeping a secret from his sisters — Ralph needs money. But when he goes to the bank to make a withdrawal, he's told he can't take out money without Charley's signature. Tired of consulting his sisters for everything, he decides to confide in Remy, who encourages him to apply for a micro loan to get the funding he needs to make moves on his own (in other words, behind his sister's back). Ralph Angel moves forward with requesting the loan, but he's nervous because of his criminal record, and also because he knows he'll need a letter from his employer: Charley.
Serving Ralph and Remy as they talk at the High Yellow is Roberta — you remember good-for-nothing, trying-to-steal-everyone's-man Roberta from last season? Well, I guess she's good for something, because she tells Violet that she overheard some troubling news: There was an electrical explosion at the rig Hollywood is working on. Oh no! Here, I silently said a prayer that the Queen Sugar creators would not go as far as to kill of Hollywood, everyone's favorite uncle and friend.
Nova, meanwhile, is on a mission to get ready for a community fundraiser she's putting together to raise money for an anti-police brutality bill. She stops by the local barbershop to pick up the can of tips she's been collecting, and one barber in particular, Andre, seems particularly eager to help. Later we find out why: He alludes to what happened between the two "the other night," but Nova is there for strictly business, no pleasure. She brushes him off with a swift "It was cool, but let's leave it at that." Again: Savage!
Charley, on the other hand, is heading to her final divorce mediation session with Davis. I'm hopeful that she'll finally get some closure, especially after what happened at the club last night. But of course, Davis being Davis, he throws a last-minute curveball: He wants joint custody of Micah because he feels like his son needs a father right now after what happened with the police. Charley points out that Davis doesn't need to have joint custody when he doesn't even make Micah a priority as it is, but Davis tells her that he's already spoken to Micah, and he's on board.
There's some really breathtaking acting here from Dawn-Lyen Gardner; you can feel the pain that she feels at hearing her son wants to spend time with his traitor of a father, especially when she's been having a hard time getting him to open up to her after the arrest. She calls Micah to talk to him, but he tells her he needs some space. (I can't imagine telling my parents at that age that I needed "space," but I guess he gets a pass after everything he's been through.) Charley is visibly upset, but she agrees.
And then we're at date night, with Darla, Blue, and a shirt-and-tied Ralph Angel. The could is trying to enjoy their romantic dinner, but it's hard for them to break out of parent mode with Blue playing loudly with his doll, Kenya, next to him. But when the waiter comes over and asks if Blue wouldn't rather have a Transformer than a doll, Ralph is not having it. "We'll have two ice cream sundaes — one for my son, and one for his doll." You better tell him, Ralph!
The trio seem to be doing okay until the end of their date night, when Ralph admits to Darla he doesn't have enough to tip the waiter (who doesn't deserve one, anyway — asshole!) because he only brought a certain amount of money. When Darla offers to put some money toward the tip and he tries to refuse, she tells him he doesn't have to play a role for her: They can be themselves, and honest with each other. I love the dynamic between these two, though I'm admittedly always a little bit weary of Darla and her intentions. (Promise it has nothing to do with jealousy. Okay, maybe a little bit.)
Feeling broken after her failed divorce mediation, Charley makes a surprising phone call: To her mom, who we haven't heard much about since she sent flowers to Charley's father's funeral in Season 1. Charley leaves her a voicemail telling her that she misses her. She's clearly lonely, and her next stop is Remy's house, even though in the last episode Remy told her he doesn't want to be involved while she's still technically married. Remy informs her that it's the anniversary of his wife's death. Eek, that's awkward. But he still invites her in and proceeds to open up about the grief of losing his wife. And then over pie, he apologizes to Charley for trying to rush things between them while she was still sorting through a divorce. Maybe things aren't over between these two, after all.
And then, in a beautiful bit of storytelling, at the same time Remy is talking to Charley about his wife's death in the Army Reserves, we see Violet over at the rig, searching anxiously for Hollywood. For every man that walked off the rig bus, I was biting my nails, searching right along with Vi for Hollywood, mentally praying again that Queen Sugar wouldn't do us like that. Luckily, they didn't, and I literally sobbed when these two ran into each other's arms. Don't you just love Black love? And these two together?
After he hangs up with his mom, we see Micah walking around town, strolling aimlessly down random streets and attempting to get on the bus, which the suburban LA kid has no idea how to do. And then British soul singer Sampha's "100°C" starts playing (I swear that man's voice breaks my heart every time I hear it, from the very first note), and we see just how lost Micah truly is — literally and figuratively.
At the end of the episode, we see where his wanderings lead him, coincidentally: To his aunt's fundraiser. Nova embraces Micah in a hug and tells him it's gonna be okay — as the sirens of the police who are monitoring the event flash behind him. Damn. Goosebumps.
The second episode of the season (and the ending, specifically) was a reminder of just how powerful the storytelling is in Queen Sugar — and the unique way the series has of weaving in the realities of our world with the fictional world of St. Josephine. I'm looking forward to next week and hopefully seeing Micah heal, Violet and Hollywood reunite, and Charley getting back to business.
Until then, Queen Sugar fans!