Last week’s episode exposed the individual tribulations facing each Bordelon. The season’s tenth episode, “Here Beside the River,” is about laying burdens down and picking the battles one can win.
“Here Beside the River” begins with Nova reading her New Yorker essay about Ernest’s suicidal ideations and the role of the land for the Bordelon clan to a captivated audience. Her monologue sets the tone for the the episode: Family and the land are what consumes the Bordelons. In Nova’s essay, the land is again invoked as more than a setting or plot point — it is something just short of human. The land has served to nourish the Bordelons and to burden them. Sharing Ernest’s truth has served to set Nova free as well — personally and creatively.
The issue of the plantation fire has not gone quietly into the night. St. Josephine is teeming with the news about the fire and cops have visited the home of Micah’s friend, Anthony (Ant). Things are closing in on the group whether they know it or not. Their original protest at the basketball game put them on the radar of the local authorities and they are the main suspects for the arson. The writers have foreshadowed this by mentioning a lost item of Ant’s, mostly likely lost in the book-bag that caused the fire. The lost item probably tipped off the investigators and led to them arresting Anthony. How likely is it that Ant will take the sole fall for the fire? If he’s been caught, surely that means time is ticking for the rest of Micah’s friend group. I did not predict that Micah’s foray into teen independence would go quite literally up in flames, but it looks like it did exactly that.
At a meeting with Colton Landry, Charley takes no prisoners. Colton is under the impression that he has the upper hand, but Charley quickly disabuses him of that notion. The dossier given to her by the Boudreauxes included information about Colton’s flagrant money laundering. He’s been using his shell company to launder money for his fraternity brothers — a federal offense that will certainly draw scrutiny to Landry Enterprises’ business dealings. “You can take your daddy down, or I can take you down,” Charley calmly tells Colton. The only thing the Landrys seem to care about are money, power, and legacy. Later, Colton soon concedes to Charley, recognizing that keeping his company shares isn’t worth the possible federal investigation Charley intimates that she’ll tip off. With a stroke of a pen, Colton begrudgingly signs over his 10 percent of company shares to Charley. Does this mean that the threat to the land is over?
At Ralph Angel’s house, what could have been an amicable custody agreement between Darla and Ralph Angel has escalated. Child services agents and a sheriff crowd Ralph Angel’s porch and announce that they are there for a home visit. Ralph Angel’s anger is palpable: Who called DCFS? Darla? Her family? The answer is Darla’s mother. Calling DCFS as a scare tactic, or in Darla’s mother’s case, a power move, is akin to bringing a gun to a knife fight. Where will this fight for custody end — especially with Darla’s mother pulling the strings and calling DCFS despite there being no history of abuse? The child services visit has drawn a line in the sand between Darla and Ralph Angel and extended the Sutton and Bordelon families. Ms. Sutton is not prepared for Violet’s wrath after she learns of the DCFS visit. Violet dresses Darla’s mother down with razor-sharp precision. Violet and Ernest raised Blue and she will be damned if Darla and her mother take Blue away from the Bordelons. Ms. Sutton’s call to DCFS has drawn the battle lines between the families and Violet tells her, “I will bring you a fight.”
One important detail that came to light in the confrontation between Violet and Darla’s mother is that the status of Blue’s paternity is something that Ralph Angel, Nova, and Charley have held close. It’s unclear if Darla is even aware of what the paternity results were. Will Blue’s paternity only come to light once this custody case goes to court?
At Violet’s home, she admonishes Nova for telling Bordelon family secrets to the world in her New Yorker article. “Come to yourself.” She sees Ernest’s bout with suicidal ideations as weakness and Nova’s airing of that dirty laundry as a betrayal. This makes me wonder if Nova’s creative project will continue to put her at odds with her family. Her book is about family, and there are bound to be other Bordelon secrets revealed.
Just as the episode began with Nova, it ends with Nova. This time, at her home, she and Remy come to the conclusion that their relationship may be too painful for those around them. Will Nova sacrifice her relationship with Remy to avoid discord with Charley?
• Ralph Angel’s brief interaction with the parole officer demonstrates the casual indifference of the system. She treats Ralph Angel with clear disdain.
• The scene where Ralph Angel explains his prison time to Blue is a tender moment between father and son.
• Perhaps the best advice Ralph Angel has received all season is from his childhood friend, Toine, the police officer. “All that man shit … all that gonna do is take you close to losing him,” he tells Ralph Angel. Will Ralph Angel take his words to heart?