(Photo: Richard Roundtree, Margaret Avery, Fred Williamson)
By Mwabi Kaira
We hear about getting older and not caring about what people think. Look at our beloved Queen Maxine. I can’t wait to be like her when I grow up. They say you finally get it together the older you get and I believe this but as with everything there are exceptions. Being Mary Jane showed us this with the recent love triangle between Mary Jane’s parents Helen and Paul and an old friend Frank.
Mary Jane is quite the mess when it comes to men and in the last few episodes we see that she’s not the only Patterson woman who is a mess. When we were first introduced to Helen Patterson in season 1 she was bed ridden and very ill. Now she’s out here taking no mess, meddling in her children’s lives and moving the most vital piece in her Jenga puzzle just to watch it all come tumbling down.
When Frank, played by Fred Williamson shows up announced to pay his old friend Paul a visit, Helen keeps her cool and lets the fellas catch up and gives them their space. Frank is back in town to rekindle his bromance with Paul but it is Helen who can’t keep her excitement on the low and proceeds to risk it ALL. Homegirl suddenly pulls out her Jane Fonda VHS tapes, leotard and leggings and proceeds to get her body right. She starts cooking dishes Paul ain’t seen in awhile and can’t hide her disappointment when Frank doesn’t come around again.
Helen lies to Paul and goes to see Frank in his hotel room. A trip down memory lane reveals that Paul was Helen’s second choice after Frank took off running and never looked back. Helen can’t resist Paul’s charm and they end up in bed. And so the love triangle begins.
The biggest loser in this triangle is Frank. How do you still have these playa tendencies this late in the game? How do you show up to a couple’s house just because you’re in town 40 years later? How do you try to insert yourself into a married woman’s life without thinking about her family and the life she has made? What kind of friend are you Frank? And why are you still calling a home phone and hanging up in 2017?
Nothing about Frank is genuine. He is in town to see about his sister and is bored. If he really cared about Helen he would have come to see her when she was sick and bedridden. Instead he sees an opportunity to mess up a good thing and goes for it. Helen misses the signs and risks it all by falling for it. How can she be this grown and fall for such a player move?
Frank ups the ante and asks Helen to run away with him after Paul kicks her out and asks for a divorce. Playas say anything to get what they want. Where are you taking her Frank? Do you even have a home? Frank strikes me as a wanderer that still lives here and there and that is not for Helen. And Frank really reveals his playa self mere hours after being rejected by Helen by already having a new woman in his bed.
The winner in this love triangle is Paul. He shows us how a grown man handles foolishness. He refuses to be played for a fool. He loves Helen but she has made her decision and he chooses not to be her second choice again. He married her knowing he was her second choice, he raised Patrick as his own child even though he is not his biological child, and he made a home with her. Paul ultimately chooses himself and his happiness as any grown person should.
Do you know any messy old folks?
Mwabi Kaira is an African girl navigating her way in an American world. She is of Zambian and Malawian heritage and moved to the USA in 1993. Writing has been her passion since she could put a sentence together on the page. Mothering her sons is her pride and joy. She has been an avid runner since 2013 and has run 10 half marathons and a full marathon. Keep up with her at http://africanbeautifulme.blogspot.com/