Relationships are tough. Whether it’s family, friends, coworkers, fellow professionals or the general public, interacting with, getting through to, and understanding others can be difficult.
Last night’s episode of Queen Sugar explores this aspect of life, especially the fact that we are often driven by what is left unspoken, unattended and buried within.
Grief pushes our secrets, deep emotions, hidden beliefs and insecurities to the surface in a way that life’s day to day won’t allow. It rips the bandages off of our wounds, exposing them to us and others in a raw, heavy, intense way.
Nova, Ralph Angel and Charley are allowing their wounds to slowly come to the light, and we see
them struggle with how this affects their identities. Strong can only last so long in the face of pain.
We also get a glimpse of their perceptions of themselves, contrasted with the way the people they know and love view them.
It is powerful storytelling, with a beautiful side of wisdom, reality, hope, love and healing.
This episode, titled “I Know My Soul”, starts where last week’s episode ended – in the midst of the chaos, anger, disappointment and betrayal following Ralph Angel’s confession.
Here is my “Reel Noire” recap of yesterday’s episode, on the lessons and moments that grabbed my soul:
1. You become what you think. You are what you think. Guard your thoughts. Everything that flows from you starts in your mind. Get your mind right.
Everything starts off with Charley, Ralph Angel and Nova arguing about who’s at fault for Ernest working as a janitor, Ralph Angel mentioning that he discussed the letter with his parole officer, then Nova demanding that she sees the letter Ernest wrote. After Ralph Angel leaves to get the letter and brings it to the house, they all sit down at the table while Aunt Vi reads the will. In the letter, Ernest writes, “You, Ralph Angel, are more than you know...Whatever happened, whatever you’ve done in the past, never forget that you are better than you think. That you are smarter than you think. You are stronger than you think.”
2. Sometimes we don’t get what we deserve, good or bad.
After the reading of the will, Charley has a conversation with Aunt Vi, where she tells her how she always made her feel at home when she visited, including how much it meant to her. She adds that everything has been about Ralph Angel since she’s returned, but she needs help too. She asks, “Ralph Angel went to prison because he did something to make that happen. But what did I do, to deserve what I’m going through?”
3. Look at people, places and circumstances for what and who they are. Take an honest look, without judgment. Accept what is true.
Charley goes to Ralph Angel’s house to talk. She asks him how he’s going to operate the farm if she doesn’t fund it, and he says, “I’ll do what I gotta do.” She asks, “What does that mean?” and RA replies, “I’ll figure things out, just like pop did.” Charley responds, “Daddy never figured it all out.” RA tells her not to talk about their dad like that, then Charley adds, “I loved him just as much as you. I’m just dealing with what is, not with how I want things to be.”
4. Sometimes the best thing to do is ask for help.
Throughout their conversation, Charley tries to get RA to understand that running the farm is much more than sowing seeds and gathering the harvest. She has the experience, resources and knowledge that he needs to run the business side of the farm, but he insists on doing it on his own. He even tells her, “I don’t want to be asking you for nothing.”
“Like” if you agree with Charley, “RT” if you think Ralph Angel is ready. #QUEENSUGAR pic.twitter.com/My57MF8rsf— Queen Sugar (@QueenSugarOWN) July 27, 2017
5. Family is everything. Always.
Nova uses her investigative skills to dig up some information about the farm, then goes to Aunt Vi’s house to talk about her discovery that Aunt Vi used to own a part of the land. During their conversation, Aunt Vi tells Nova about the history of her and Ernest’s relationship, and discloses that her ex-husband drew a wedge between them. She tells Nova that when she divorced him, she sold her portion of the land to Ernest, and adds that although they weren’t on speaking terms, he was still her brother. She says, “He was right, I was wrong, but when it counted, he was there. Yeah, I lost the land, but I got back my freedom, independence, and most important, I got my brother back. So frankly, I got the better part of the deal. Baby, compared to family, that land ain’t nothing but a mess of pottage. Love always comes first.”
6. Stand up for yourself when you aren’t being loved or treated the way you want to be loved or treated.
During their heated argument about their father’s will, Charley receives a call from Remy about a deal from a new farmer. She needs paperwork drafted as soon as possible, and instructs Darla to go to the mill and prepare it. Ralph Angel tells Darla to stay with him, because he needs her, and Charley urges her to go, as it’s an emergency.
Outside, Darla tells RA that the reason she’s working for Charley is because she lost her job trying to help him with the farm, then she leaves.
Later on, Darla comes to the house to spend time with Blue, and RA is still mad. She lets him know that she won’t let his issues with her affect her relationship with her son, adding, “I’m not going to let your anger get in the way of me seeing Blue.”
That's right Darla - stand up for yourself and resist Rah's janky misplaced anger. @kofisiriboe @BiancaLawson luv it! pic.twitter.com/1CZiOITIFj— Monica Macer (@MonicaMacer) July 27, 2017
7. Dark times don’t last forever. Keep going. Keep living.
Hollywood visits Ralph Angel on the farm with a couple of beers in hand, signaling that it’s time for a bro chat. RA expresses how it feels like everything he wants and has been working for – the farm, his romance with Darla, his family, is crumbling. “This feels different. Everything pops thought I could be is falling apart. I don’t know what to do.” In Hollywood fashion, he responds with a plan of action, rooted in wisdom: “You gone wake up, every day. You gone work this land. You gone be a good father to Blue. You gone do what every other farmer around here does. And in due time, this too shall pass.”
8. Why you do what you do is just as important as you doing it. The truth hurts. Don’t run from it, confront it.
Earlier in the episode, Remy calls Charley out for using her divorce as part of her business plan for the mill, and proceeds to call her “calculating”, instead of “thoughtful”, which is how her father described her.
Later at the mill, Charley is rehearsing her responses to interview questions, when the reporter suggests that they wrap things up. He asks her, “How would your father feel, about you reinventing yourself as a budding agricultural industrialist?” She responds, “Well, I’m not reinventing myself, as much as I’m using...my...I’m using my uh...uh...you asked what my father would feel, right? I don’t know.”
In this moment, she realizes that what Remy said about her is true.
Well, sugar lovers, next week’s episode is the midseason finale of “Queen Sugar”! Take a first look at the episode here.
Did you watch the latest episode of “Queen Sugar”? What moments stood out to you?