What I’ve always respected about Queen Sugar is that the writers are purposeful with each episode and the series’ overarching narrative. No plotline is introduced unless it will be fleshed out thoroughly and carefully. That ethos runs through this season’s fifth episode, “A Little Lower Than Angels.”
Last episode, it was clear there was some unspoken tension between Nova and Remy. This week, all the cards are laid out on the table after the two share a kiss during a fishing trip. To say that I suspect Nova and Remy’s nascent love affair will cause trouble between Nova and Charley is an understatement. Seeing your sister’s ex-boyfriend is generally frowned upon and I imagine there will be some hell to pay in short order — if only a question about sisterly loyalty. Outside of her newfound beau, Nova has also completed her book proposal and is one step closer to her professional dreams.
Ralph Angel is also making moves on a new object of desire. Over a meal of traditional Vietnamese and Viet-Cajun fare, he bonded with Trinh, the daughter of his boss at the docks. Later, back at the fishing docks, Ralph Angel makes his move and asks Trinh out on a date. I hope that their relationship can grow but it seems doubtful as Ralph Angel has still not addressed his feelings concerning Darla and their current standstill.
At the farm, Darla and Ralph Angel finally clarify the status of their relationship to Blue. Earlier, Blue asks Darla when she is coming back to the farm to marry Ralph Angel. After that, she decides it’s time to come clean. After learning the truth, Blue is devastated and asks to return to his room. In that moment, Ralph Angel glares at Darla and walks out of the room — leaving everything they should discuss in that moment unsaid. Again, I am frustrated by Ralph Angel’s inability to directly address his feelings. He and Darla have barely had a conversation even when telling Blue the truth — they talk around each other instead. That seems too easy. Furthermore, how long can the shunning of Darla go on? She is Blue’s mother and she shouldn’t have to shrink her presence to make Ralph Angel or any of the Bordelons comfortable.
I understand why the Bordelons are cold to Darla — it’s not realistic that they would welcome her back with open arms. Her truth created a significant ripple in the narrative of their family, but the truth is the truth and nothing can be done to change the circumstances of Blue’s conception. Further, Darla is Blue’s sole biological parent. She would be well within her rights to sever Ralph Angel’s parental rights, pack her things and return to Washington, D.C., with Blue in tow. It seems foolhardy to continue to isolate Darla when she could easily decide to cut ties. Additionally, Darla and Ralph Angel have yet to have a direct conversation about Blue’s parentage. That seems purposeful on the part of the writers and I expect that whenever that conversation comes, it will shake the table.
Meanwhile, Micah and his new friends are honing their organizing skills. Their visit to a local plantation is just the first stop. Afterwards, they happen upon a local penitentiary — which houses the brother of one of Micah’s friends. This plot point is no mistake. Louisiana has the highest incarceration rates in the United States. Black Americans make up a large percentage of those in the net of the state’s prison-industrial complex: One in seven black men are either in prison, on parole, or on probation. Micah and his friends seem destined to make strides in terms of their activism.
At home, Charley seems rattled by everything. She seems concerned about Micah’s new friends. Additionally, what is happening with the farmers is weighing on her. If her plate wasn’t full enough, Davis’s secret — his affair and the child he’s hidden for 13 years — devastates her. “When will you hit rock bottom,” she asks him. Davis always seems to find a way to lower the bar for himself, so my guess is that he still has some time before he bottoms out. Charley, unable to reach any family members during the aftermath of her conversation with Davis, decides to meet with Jacob Boudreaux, and their night ends with a kiss. Getting too close to Jacob seems to be a recipe for disaster, but time will tell.
What will the near future bring for the Bordelon clan? The stage seems set for a turning point. Perhaps all the things that have been left unsaid — from Nova, Ralph Angel, and Charley — will be brought to the forefront.